St Thomas Church at Palyar in Trichur, Kerala is considered to be the oldest church in India. In 52 A.D. Thomas Didaemus, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ. is believed to have landed at Musiris (Cranganore) in Kerala. He made his first converts both Jews and Hindus at Palayur a town now in Trichur district, Kerala. There he built a small church with an altar, which he consecrated. The Palayur church still stands at the same site and is the oldest church in India. In the 17th century Reverend Fenichi enclosed the original church with a new outer building, as the wooden walls of the old church were destroyed with time. But the original altar consecrated by St. Thomas still remains at this site.
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The corridor of Ramnathswamy Temple at Rameshwaram is the largest temple corridor in India. The temple has 1220 metres of magnificent corridors and has 1200 gigantic granite columns. Ramnathswamy temple was built in the 17th century. The temple is situated close to the sea on the eastern side of the island and has a 54 metre tall gopuram.
Rameshwaram is an island situated in the Gulf of Mannar at the tip of the Indian peninsula. Rameshwaram is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of India. Rameshwaram is an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus. According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Rama performed thanksgiving rituals at Rameshwaram after his triumph over the demon king Ravana. Therefore, Rameshwaram attracts Vaishnavites and Saivites
Jama Masjid in New Delhi, overlooking Chandni Chowk and the Red Fort, is the largest mosque in India. The mosque was built by Mughal emperor Shahjahan in 1656. It has typical Mughal architecture with three gateways, four towers and two minarets. The Jama Masjid is made up of red sandstone and white marble. About 25,000 people can pray here at a time. The mosque has a vast paved rectangular courtyard, which is nearly 75 m by 66 m. The whole of the western chamber is a big hall standing on 260 pillars all carved from Hindu and Jain traditions. The central courtyard is accessible from the East. The Eastern side entrance leads to another enclosure containing the mausoleum of Sultan Ahmed Shah. It took fifteen years to build the mosque and more than five thousand artisans worked on it.
Tawang Monastery in Arunachal Pradesh is the largest monastery in India. The monastery is 3 storey high and occupies an area of 140 sq m. It is enclosed by a 610 m long compound wall. Within the complex there are 65 residential buildings and 10 other structures.
Tawang Monastery is one of the most largest Monasteries of Mahayana sect in Asia. It was founded by the Mera Lama Lodre Gyasto in 17 century AD in accordance to the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, Nagwang Lobsang Gyatso. The Monastery is also known in Tibetan as Galden Namgey Lhatse, which means a true name within a celestial paradise in a clear night. The library of the monastery has valuable old scriptures mainly Kanjur and Tanjur numbering 850 bundles.
Golden Temple in Amritsar is the largest Gurudwara in India. In fact, Golden Temple is the largest Gurudwara in the world. Golden Temple is also known as Harminder Sahib and is considered to be the most sacred shrine of Sikhs. Golden Temple was built during the leadership of the fifth guru, Guru Arjan Dev (1581-1606). The temple construction was started in 1588 and was completed in 1601. Golden Temple is surrounded by a small pond of water, known as the Sarovar which consists of Amrit (Holy Water). There temple has four entrances, signifying the importance of acceptance and openness. All devotees are expected to cover their heads as a sign of respect and wash their feet in the small pool of water as they enter the Golden Temple. Drinking alcohol, eating meat, and smoking cigarettes is prohibited in the temple premises.
Gol Gumbaz, situated in Bijapur district of Karnataka, is the largest dome in India. Gol Gumbaz has a diameter of 124 feet and is the second largest dome in the world, next only to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The dome was built by Muhammad Adil Shah in the year 1656. It has a floor area of 1700 m2 and a height of 51 m. The walls of the structure are 3 m. thick. The dome contains tombs of Muhammad Adil Shah, his two wives, his mistress, his daughter and grandson. Gol Gumbaz is an architectural wonder as it stands unsupported by pillars. The most remarkable feature of Gol Gumbaz is its acoustical system. Even the faintest whisper around the dome echoes several times.
Se Cathedral in Old Goa is the largest church in India. The original building was constructed of mud and stones and straw and was erected in 1510 and was dedicated to St. Catherine. In 1538 the church status was elevated to that of a Cathedral with the establishment of the Diocese of Goa. The Cathedral as it stands today took 90 years to be completed. The Portuguese viceroy, Dom Francisco Coutinho, the Count of Redondo (1561-1564) commissioned its construction. The building work began in 1562 and was completed in 1652. The height of Se Cathedral's front piece including the cross is 115 2/3 feet and its breadth is 100 4/3 feet. The total length of the Cathedral is 250 feet and it breadth id 181 1/3 feet. Externally, Se Cathedral is built in half Tuscan and half Doric style, and internally it is built in the Mosaic-Corinthian style.
Ellora temples in Aurangabad, Maharashtra are the largest cave temples in India. Ellora cave temples are a perfect example of Indian rock cut architecture. Ellora is a World Heritage Site. It has 35 caves. These caves comprise of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cave temples and monasteries, which were built between the 5th century and 10th century. There are 12 Buddhist caves, 17 Hindu caves, and 5 Jain caves. The Buddhist caves were the earliest structures, created between the fifth and seventh centuries. These consist mostly of viharas or monasteries. The Hindu caves were constructed in the beginning of the 7th century. The Kailasanatha Temple in the Cave 16 is the main attraction of Ellora. The temple is designed to recall Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva. The Jain temples reveal specific dimensions of Jain philosophy and tradition.