There are three main Gods in the Hindu pantheon- Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. While Brahma is known to be the creator of these three worlds (heaven, earth and hell), Vishnu, the preserver, Shiva is known as the Destroyer. These three are believed to hold up this world together in place in a balanced way. However, the inclusion of Shiva within the Hindu pantheon is riddled with mystery. It is believed that Shiva is a later addition to the Hindu pantheon, which is essentially dominated and determined by the people of the northern part of India whereas Shiva was a God worshipped in the South. Some historians are of the opinion that in order to include the South within the folds of Northern India, Shiva was incorporated into the North Indian Hindu pantheon. Others say that references to a God, who can be today identified as Shiva was found from the ruins of Harappa and Mohenjodaro.
Thus, it stands undisputed that Shiva was and still continues to be a worshipped deity of all times. The Hindu pantheon rests on idol worship. The greater the prowess of the God and peoples’ faith in him/her, greater will be the number of idols. Shiva has always been about grandeur and opulence, and this is exactly what the 10 tallest statues of Shiva in India exemplify. If you are a Shiv bhakt or are intrigued by who is probably the fascinating God of the Hindu pantheon, then do visit these places at least once:
- In the deserts of Rajasthan: If you travel around 48kms to the north-east from the city of Udaipur, you will come across a village known as Nathdwara. It is quite ironical that this village is actually famous because of the temple of Srinathji or an infant Krishna, but it is also the home of the tallest statue of Shiva found in India. This statue is around 251ft or 76.5mts tall! This town itself has an interesting story to tell, and the huge statue of Lord Shiva adds to the intriguing feature of it! Thus, if you visit Rajasthan, you know which place NOT to give a miss.
- Moving down South: In Murudeshwara, which is located in the district of Uttara Kannada, in Karnataka is located the second largest statue of Shiva in India. There is a very interesting story associated with this place which today houses this statue. It was during Ravana’s time that due to much penance and meditation, this king of Lanka has earned the grace of Lord Shiva, and he was asked to put a statue of him that would never touch the ground. Ravana did as he was told but later he was tricked by Vishnu and Ganesha placed the statue on ground. Ravana tried to destroy it and pieces scattered here and there, and the cloth that covered the statue is said to have fallen in Mrideshwar, which is today known as Murudeshwara. Thus, it is but fitting that this place would have one of the tallest statues of Shiva, which is around 123ft or 37.5mts tall!
- A little to the West: Right in the middle of the city of Vadodara, which is in Gujarat, there is a lake known as the Sursagar Lake or Chand Talao. In the middle of this lake stands a 120 ft or 36.5mts tall Shiva. This statue was built by the efforts of the ‘Vadodara Mahanagar Seva Sadan.’ Vadodara is an interesting place to visit and with this statue that can be found in the heart of the city, makes the place all the more appealing as a tourist destination.
- A little to the East: There, in the state of Sikkim, we have the South Sikkim’s headquarters, which is called Namchhi. The meaning of the name Namchhi is sky high, and it is extremely apt since nestled in between the hills, you have a 108ft or 32.9mts long statue of Lord Shiva. If you do head out to explore the hills and the state of Sikkim, do make it a point to visit this statue.
- In the holy city of Haridwar: One of the holiest cities of northern India is Haridwar. Though it is most revered because you find the rushing Ganga slowing down a little as it hits the plains for the first time, the city is also famous for stories of Rama and Lakshmana. In Haridwar, there is a place called Har Ki Pauri, which has a statue of a Shiva standing, the height of which is around100.1ft or roughly 30mts! People often visit the Lakshman Jhula and take a dip in the Ganges when in Haridwar, but this is also a manmade wonder that one must see.
- Back to Karnataka: At Bijapur in Karnataka, you will find a white statue of Lord Shiva in the seating position, mounted on what can be called a pedestal. This Shivagiri is around 85ft or 25.9mts tall.
- Again moving to Gujarat: Another 82ft or 25mts tall statue of Lord Shiva in the seated position in found in Dwarka in Gujarat. Though Dwarka is famous as Krishna’s city, you will find the destroyer dwelling here in all his glory. This is popularly referred to as the Nageshwar Shiva Statue.
- To the heart of the country: The Kachnar City Lord Shiva is located in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. It is around 76ft or 23mts tall.
- Moving to the IT hub: In the IT city of India, Bangalore in Karnataka you will find the Kempfort Lord Shiva, which shows the God seated. It is around 65.6ft or 20mts tall.
- And last but not the least: In Ganjam, Odisha is the Bhanjanagar Lord Shiva. It is around 61ft or 18.5mts tall. This statue too shows the God in a seated position.
These are the top 10 tallest statues of Lord Shiva that you will find in the Indian subcontinent. You can definitely try visiting these at least once simply for their grandeur and magnificence.