India is a land of historical evolution, cultural heritage, and mythological mysteries, and it is home to so many mysterious sites. The country worships hundreds of Gods and Goddesses and you can find a temple in every few steps. However, there are certain temples that narrate inexplicable stories, follow puzzling rituals, and showcase weird phenomena — happenings that still continue to defy logic. Scattered across the nation, spanning the states of Rajasthan, Kerala, Assam, among others, these mysterious temples of India definitely deserve a visit.
So, if you wish to explore the more mystic side of this country, then plan a trip to these sites and experience a weird aspect of Indian beliefs. And if you are planning a solo trip, your best bet is to make reservations in convenient, affordable youth hostels.
Wondering why youth hostels? Because these accommodations grace almost every state of India and promise you a comfortable, budget-friendly stay.
Let us explore seven of the most mysterious temples of India.
Mahendipur Balaji Temple, Rajasthan
In the small district of Dausa in Rajasthan, you can see the legendary Mahendipur Balaji Temple, dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Every day devotees turn up in hordes at its doorsteps to exorcise ghosts, demons, black magic spells, and evil spirits. The temple follows extreme methods of penance such as banging one’s head against the walls, pouring boiling water over one’s body or chaining themselves. Several researchers have visited this site to examine these bizarre rituals and to validate their authenticity. It is the only site where priests still perform an exorcism.
Pilgrims do not offer prasad to the deity here. Additionally, when you leave the premises of the temple, you should never turn back to give a second glance. According to belief, this can cause evil spirits to invade you.
Kamakhya Devi Temple, Assam
Maa Kamakhya Devi Temple is seated above the Nilachal Hill Station in Guwahati. One of the most mysterious temples of India, it is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas in the country. There is no idol, but instead, devotees pay homage to the yoni of Devi Sati.
The bizarre fact that makes this temple so famous is that each year, during the monsoon season, it is closed down. According to belief, the Devi menstruates and the Tantric fertility festival or Ambubachi Mela starts. Only on the fourth day, the temple opens again. Surprisingly, the underground spring within the premises of the temple turns red during these four days. If you visit the Goddess on any of the above dates, you are given a red cloth, which you can put over the stone as prasad.
Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple, Kerala
Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple, Kerala, was built to pay homage to Goddess Bhadrakali. The site holds one of the weirdest 7-day festival, called the Bharani Festival. Pilgrims adorn themselves with red clothes and visit the temple, armed with swords. Not only do they use these swords to harm themselves but also enter the premises and start abusing the Goddess by singing abusive songs. They don’t offer prasad with respect but instead hurl it at the statue. Once the festival ends, the temple closes down, when caretakers spend the time to clean blood stains off the walls, floor, and interiors.
Kal Bhairav Nath Temple, Varanasi
Kal Bhairav Nath Temple, Varanasi, is the earthly abode of Lord Kal Bhairav Nath, Lord Shiva’s reincarnation. Devotees here make their offerings in the form of alcohol. You can pour whiskey or wine over the deity or offer it as prasad. In fact, the stalls outside the temple do not sell sweets or flowers. You will get only different types of alcohol on sale.
Stambheshwar Mahadev, Gujarat
Stambheshwar Mahadev, situated quite close to Vadodara, is another among the mysterious temples of India, gracing the shores of the Arabian Sea. It is the home of Lord Shiva. You can visit the temple only during the day time when the tides are low. When the tides rise, the high water swallows the temple and the sea completely submerges it. You can again see it only once the water recedes.
Venkateshwara Temple, Andhra Pradesh
We usually recognize temples as holy sites, which survive on donations and offerings from devotees who visit them to pay their homage. However, there are a few temples which give birth to a lucrative market. Among them, one unusual temple in Andhra Pradesh is the Venkateshwara Temple — the worldly seat of Lord Vishnu. The weird practice here is that pilgrims offer their hair as a token of sacrifice. The temple then sells it to Western markets at a high price.
Every day, more than 12000 pilgrims visit this temple. Multiple barbers, who sit across its two huge halls, shave the hair off visitors. Annually, it gathers around 75 tons of hair, which fetches a huge price of over $6.5 million. Italian wig manufacturers use this hair to make premium wigs and the Chinese food industry utilizes its extracts to preserve food.
Devaragattu Temple, Andhra Pradesh
The last entry on our list of mysterious temples of India is Devaragattu Temple, located in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool district. You might have heard about the famous Bani Festival. Each year, on the occasion of Dussehra, devotees from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh gather in the temple, equipped with sticks (lathis) and continue to hit one another until midnight.
The ritual symbolizes the vanquishing of a demon by Mala-Malleswara AKA Shiva. Dripping with blood, pilgrims continue the celebration throughout the whole night. As per scriptures, 100 years back, people used to follow the ritual with axes and spears. However, after 54 casualties in 2014, local rules stopped this practice and currently allow the participants to enter the temple grounds, only with lathis.
Above, we have mentioned only the strangest of mysterious temples of India. In fact, there are so many more. Ancient Hinduism has given birth to thousands of temples, some more than 2000 years old. Each of them is unique in its own ways. After all, India is the land of wonders. And that’s why we say ‘Incredible India’. A true and befitting description indeed!
If that excites you about the mysticism of India, explore all about this country of sages on the various India portals and create your own kind of India story.