Architectural Style of Towering Temples of South India

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The temples of South India are not restricted to some pilgrimages only; they carry some ancient Indian heritage, culture, unique rituals, historical facts and unique artifacts. Through the tallest towers situated at the entrance of almost every temple, you can find different ritualistic options and you can find the rich history behind these south Indian temples.

Some of them were founded by the Pallava Dynasty and some of them were made by the Chola Dynasty. You cannot find this rich architecture, thousand pillars engraved with different murals, multi-cultural environment and festivals
with Indian traditional dance forms in other temples, which you can easily find in these south Indian temples.

Those who want to take a historical tour and want to have a glimpse of the socio-economic picture of Indian religions can explore these south Indian temples once in their life time.

During sunset, the vermillion shadow of the setting sun reflects on the finial (top of the  temple), and the sound of the seashore creates some unique effects inside these South India temples.

Some temples are situated on top of the hills where you need to reach by walking through the forest. So the natural climate, elements and the significant Indian traditional architecture make your south Indian temple tour quite a remarkable one.

Meenakshi Temple, Madurai

Meenakshi-Temple
  • Established In: 6th century BC
  • Established By: Kulasekarer Pandya
  • Primary deity: Parvati & Shiva
  • Location: Madurai
  • Architectural Style: Dravidian architecture
  • Main Attraction: Music Pillars, gateway towers
  • Main Festivals: Chithirai Thiruvizha

Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historical place situated in Tamil Nadu and this temple is located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River. This temple is dedicated to Parvati as her other name is Meenakshi, and here you can find the idol of lord Shiva as Sundereswarar. The Meenakshi Temple was established between 1623 and 1655 CE. During the Muslim Sultanate, Malik Kafur looted the temple, and afterward, Viswanatha Nayaka rebuilt the temple with new variations of architecture.

Worship and history of Meenakshi Temple:

Inside the Meenakshi Temple, you can see a large sculpture of the Vimanas. More than thirty three thousand sculptures are scripted inside this temple. According to Tamil literature and mythology, the Meenakshi Temple was built by Lord Indra and he founded this temple to appease Lord Shiva.

But according to reliable historical facts, this temple was founded in early 7th century and it was reconstructed by the Nayak King of Madurai. Ariyanatha Madaliar, the prime minister of the Nayaka Dynasty initiated the Poligar System in the Meenakshi Temple.

Architectural value of the Meenakshi Temple:

The Meenakshi Temple has four entrances toward different directions, and you can find some ancient urban paintings on the walls. The temple is situated in the center of the city, and there are different streets culminating from the temple. The tallest tower of this temple is designed with various sculptures, and you can find some historical and religious facts inscribed on the temple.

  • The hall of thousand pillars is divided into two separate rows of this temple, carved with Yeli (the mythological beast of Nayak Dynasty). This projects the power of the Nayak Dynasty.
  • Here the idol of lord Shiva is sculpted as performing the cosmic dance and the idol is designed with several precious stones including emerald, and metals like, gold, silver and copper.
  • More than fifty priests perform the daily puja to lord Shiva during the Shivaratri festival, and the temple is decorated with several lights and natural flowers during the festive seasons.

Those who want to explore Hindu Mythology and those who are interested to visit some fine artwork can surely travel around the Meenakshi Temple once in their life.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Madurai Airport, Airport Road, Vallananthapuram, Avaniyapuram, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

Nearest Railway Station – Madurai Railway Station

Madurai Mattuthavani Bus Stand, Tamil Nadu, India

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Natraja Temple, Chidambaram

  • Established By: Pallavas (Tamil Shaivites)
  • Primary deity: Lord Shiva
  • Location: Chidambaram, Cuddalore District
  • Architectural Style: Tamil architecture
  • Main Festivals: Maha Shivaratri

Thillai Nataraj Temple, Chidambaram is situated in Tamil Nadu and this Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is located in the town of Chidambaram of East-Central Tamil Nadu, where you can find some rich architecture, sculptures, scripts and stone idols carved on the walls of this temple.

During the Maha Shivaratri, the famous Natyanjali dance festival is conducted inside the temple premises every year.

Design of the temple:

The temple shows statues ideally performing some Indian classical dance forms which were performed during the Chola period. Here the devi or lord is known as nritta (dance), Surya shrine was crafted on the chariot wheels and hundreds of pillars stand erect as a symbol of glory and Indian tradition.

The Nataraj temple went through several renovations by Pallava dynasty, Chola, Pandya, Chera and Vijayarangara royals during the per-medieval period.

During the Chola period, there was a dense forest area situated, surrounding this temple and they founded the stones-studded metal sculpture of Thillai trees on the temple.

According to Hindu mythology, the Chola King Kocengannan Chola was born after the payer of his parents in this temple, and his full life was dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva to the Nataraja Temple.

Interesting facts about the Nataraja temple:

  • The traditional name of this temple was Chidambaram Tillai Nataraja Koothan Kovil which was originated in Saivite worship.
  • The mangrove extending toward the temple was the second largest ancient mangrove in the world.
  • The original shrine of this temple Shivalingam was worshiped by saint Patanjali and Vyagrapathar.

Apart from that, here you will get stunned by viewing the traditional architecture, Ganesha shrine and shrine of Muriga inside the temple premise.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Tiruchirapally Airport

Nearest Railway Station – Chidambaram Railway Station, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India (CDM)

Chidambaram Bus Stand

Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram

Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram
  • Established In: 700–728 AD
  • Established By: Narasimha Varma
  • Primary deity: Shiva
  • Location: Mahabalipuram
  • Architectural Style: Dravidian architectural style
  • Main Festivals: Mamallapuram Dance Festival

The Shore Temple was founded during 700-728 AD and it is situated in Mahabalipuram, a village in Chennai. The temple is structured with several blocks of granite and it is situated near the Bay of Bengal. During the Pallava Dynasty, this area was identified as a busy port area and recently the temple has been classified as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

This temple is famous as the largest stone temple in South India and the temple is situated within the surrounding mountains and greenery.

Historical aspect of the Shore temple:

During the reign of the Chola Dynasty, the Shore temple worked as a landmark for navigation for their ships, and sailors named this temple as Seven Pagodas because the temple appeared like a Pagoda from the ships.

King Narashima Varma-I established the Shore Temple during 7th century. After several periods of time, this temple was renovated by King Narashima Varman-II of the Pallava Dynasty. During the Tsunami in 2004, the outline of this temple and surrounding sister temples struck the coastline.

Few interesting facts about the Shore temple:

  • During December to January, the Mamallapuram Dance Festival is conducted in this temple, and this festival is organized by the Department of Tourism of Tamil Nadu Government. Indian traditional dance forms like Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Odissi, Kuchipudi and Kathakali are performed in front of the temple, by renowned artists and their groups during this festival.
  • According to the Hindu mythology, Prince Hiranyakasipu initiated the seven pagodas of the Shore temple. He refused the worship of lord Vishnu, but his son Prahlada believed that Vishnu is the main lord who exists everywhere. After a long discussion, when Prahlada said that Vishnu also exists on every pillars of this temple, Hiranyakasipu suddenly kicked a pillar, and Lord Vishnu emerged from the temple with a lion head. Afterward, Prahlada became the king and his grandson Bali founded the Mahabalipuram temple in this place.

So if you are interested in these historical and mythological facts then you must visit this Shore temple once in your life.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Chennai International Airport, Meenambakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Nearest Railway Station – Chengalpattu Railway Station

Mahabalipuram Bus Station, East Raja St, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Cave Temple, Mahabalipuram

Cave Temple, Mahabalipuram
  • Established In: 650 AD
  • Established By: Mahendra Varman
  • Primary deity: Vishnu & Durga
  • Location: Mahabalipuram
  • Architectural Style: Dravidian architecture
  • Main Attraction: Varaha Cave Temple, Krishna Cave Temple, Panchapandava Cave Temple & the Mahishasuramardini mandapa

Cave Temple of Mahabalipuram is situated on the hillock town, near the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. This is in Kanchipuram District in Tamil Nadu. From our ancient history, we have some significant Buddhist and Jain sanctuaries in these caves.

The rocks of this temple were engraved manually, and then the artists structured the temple with some chiselled metals like iron and copper. During the 7th century, the Pallava dynasty founded these caves in Mammalla style, and there are more than hundred pillars structured and engraved inside the caves.

South India Architectural Tour

Historical facts about the Cave Temple of Mahabalipuram:

During the year 650 AD, the Cave Temple was founded by King Mahendra Varman-I, and then the temple was reconstructed by Rahasimha or Narasimhavarman-I.

According to Thirumangai Alvar, a vaishnava saint, the Cave temple was founded during the Pallava period because during that time, these caves were identified as a symbol of navigation for ships sailing from the port. Some European architects also found their own style and they identified some Indian cross- legged style in these caves. Pallavas were great supporters of Indian art forms, and they made these stone and rock structures during the peak reigning period of their dynasty.

Interesting facts about the Cave temple:

  • You can find various human figures sculpted on the cave temple, and these figures are engraved with oval shaped body with high cheekbones. Also there are some sculptures found which elaborate the Hindu mythology and the different forms of lord Vishnu.
  • You find more than eleven cave temples in Mahabalipuram like Krishna cave, Varaha, Mahishasuramardini, Trimutri, Kotikal and Tiger caves.

Those who are interested to know about the facts about our Indian tradition and Hindu mythology, can explore these caves in Mahabalipuram.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Chennai International Airport, Meenambakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Nearest Railway Station – Chengalpattu Railway Station

Nearest Bus Stop – Mahabalipuram Bus Station

Kapaleshwar Temple, Chennai

Kapaleshwar-Temple
  • Established In: 7th century
  • Established By: Tuluva Dynasty
  • Primary deity: Shiva
  • Location: Mylapore (Chennai)
  • Architectural Style: Dravidian architecture
  • Main Festivals: Arubathimooval festival or brahmotsavam

Kapaleshwar Temple is situated in Mylapore, Chennai. This temple is dedicated to lord Shiva and here lord Shiva is encrypted with his consort Parvati. This temple was founded during the 7th century and according to Hindu mythology, Shakti worshiped Shiva in a form of peacock which is also known as Mylai in Tamil language. Here Shiva is worshiped as Kapaleswar and he is represented as the Lingam.

Mythological facts about Kapaleshwar Temple:

According to Hindu mythology and Puranas, when Brahma met Lord Shiva at the top of Mount Kailash, Brahma did not show due respect to Shiva and he refused to take the worship from Shiva.

Shiva plucked one head of Lord Brahma, and then Brahma came down to this site of Mylapore and installed a Lingam of Lord Shiva to agree to do his worship.

  • Here Rama also offered worship to God, to win the war against Ravana to rescue his wife Sita from Lanka.
  • Shiva’s Son Murugan received the sakti vel from Parvati to wage war against the demons from this temple.
  • This temple was worshipped with four Vedas. Brahma worshiped here to get rid of his ego against Lord Shiva.

Designs of this Kapaleshwar Temple:

The Kapaleshwar Temple is designed according to typical Dravidian architectural forms. The temple has two separate entrances and each of these entrances is known as Gopuram in Tamil. The east gate of this temple is about 40m high and the western gate of this temple has a water tank facing it.

From March to April every year, the government and the temple authority conduct annual festival named Panguni inside this temple premises.

If you want to see the traditional history with mythology, then you must visit this temple once in your life.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Chennai International Airport, Meenambakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Nearest Railway Station – Chennai Central Train Station

Nearest Bus Stop – T Nagar Bus Terminus, Thiyagaraya Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur
  • Established In: 1010 CE
  • Established By: Raja Raja Chola
  • Primary deity: Siva Peruman / Shiva
  • Location: Thanjavur
  • Architectural Style: Tamil architecture
  • Main Attraction: 108 dance karanas, Nandi
  • Main Festivals: Car festival

The Brihadeeswarar Temple is locally known as the Big Temple, which is situated in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. This temple is also famous as the Raja Rajeswara temple in Tamil Nadu, and Raja Raja Chola-I during 1010 CE, built the Brihadeeswarar Temple.

This is a thousand year old temple, which is also listed among the Great Living Chola Temple in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Oldest heritage of Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur

The Tamil emperor Arulmozhivarman known as Raja Raja-I founded this temple during the Chola period. The temple was designed with axial and symmetrical geometry styles, and this temple represents the wealth, power and artistic forms of the Chola Dynasty.

The rich heritage of this temple is structured with large stone engraved work, and you can find various Hindu symbols, idols and figures inscribed on the walls of this temple.

Structural design of the Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur:

  • Raja Raj Rama started building this temple and the solid base of this temple is structured with large stones. Here you can find a large dancing Shiva idol made with a single stone. Along with that, the large idol of Nandi (Bull) is placed at the entrance of this temple, and this idol is also made with a single large stone.
  • The complex of this temple is designed with several walls made of stones and every wall is designed with several sculptures. People can enter this temple through the five-story gururam (entrance gate), or they can also enter this temple through the huge free- standing second entrance.

This temple is dedicated to lord Shiva in the form of Lingam, and at the exterior wall of this temple you can find several sculptures of Surya, Chandra and Dakshinamurthy.

So explore the origin of rich Indian heritage and visit the Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur on your next vacation.

Tamilnadu-Temple-Tour-02

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Civil Airport(TRZ), Tiruchirappalli Tamil nadu

Nearest Railway Station – Tanjavur Railway Station(TJ)

Nearest Bus Stop – Shivaji Nagar, Thanjavur

Annamalaiyar Temple, Tiruvannamalai

Annamalaiyar-Temple
  • Established In: 9th century CE
  • Established By: Chola Kings
  • Primary deity: Shiva
  • Location: Tiruvannamalai
  • Architectural Style: Tamil architecture
  • Main Festivals: Karthigai Deepam, Tiruvoodal

Annamalaiyar Temple is a Hindu Temple situated in the town of Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu. This temple is structured on the hills, and there are five separate temples, which were constructed during the 7th century.

The Indian traditional colonial designs are encrypted on these temples, and the major one is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Here Lord Shiva is referred to as Agni (fire) lingam and Parvati is depicted as Unnamulai Amman. The five different structures are dedicated to five elements or Pancha Bhoota Stalas, and the main fire temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva only.

Annamalaiyar Temple represented by Legend from the Hindu mythology:

According to Hindu Mythology, Devi Parvati, the wife of lord Shiva once closed her husband’s eyes playfully in the flower garden of Mount Kailash.

After this moment, all lights were taken off from the earth and the planet became dark. Then Parvati prayed to Shiva to appear in the lights and she suddenly identified a glimpse of fire on the Annamali Hills. Afterward, here Shiva was represented as the fire lingam.

Interesting facts about the Annamalaiyar Temple:

  • The present towers of this temple were built during the 9th century CE by the Chola kings. Afterward the inscriptions of this temple were done under the supervision of the Pallava kings. Here you can find some poetic works inscribed on the temple and these were encrypted by Nayanar Saints Sambandar and Appar.
  • Several pillars and towers surround the temple and it spreads over 25 acres of land. There are four different entrances or gopurams, and the main entrance named Rajagopuram is the main gateway of the tallest tower of this temple.
  • The temple priests perform pooja (rituals) six times on daily basis, and various festivals are conducted inside the temple throughout the year.

So find the significance of oldest temple and architecture, and explore the Indian traditional heritage through these historical temples.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Chennai International Airport

Nearest Railway Station – Villupuram Junction Train Station

Nearest Bus Stop – Tiruvannamalai Bus Stand, Mathalangulam, Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India

AiravatesvaraTemple, Darasuram

AiravatesvaraTemple
  • Established In: 12th century CE
  • Established By: Rajaraja Chola II
  • Primary deity: Airavateshvara (Shiva)
  • Location: Darasuram
  • Architectural Style: Dravidian architecture

The Airavatesvara Temple is a great living Chola temple situated in Darasuram in Tamil Nadu. It is the nearest place to Kumbakonam. Rajaraja Chola-II established the temple during 12th century and recently, this temple was listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The temple is dedicated to lord Shiva and he was worshiped as the white elephant. This is a symbol of the king of God, Indra and this is known as the Airavata in Hindu Mythology.

Hindu Legend:

According to ancient Hinduism, the King of Death, Lord Yama, was also worshiped by lord Shivain this temple. He was suffering from burning sensations all over the body due to a Rishi’s curse and he used to take bath in the sacred tank of this temple. Afterward, this tank along with the temple came to be known as the Yamateertham.

Architectural value of the Airavatesvara Temple:

The Airavatesvara Temple is designed according to Dravidian style, and here you can find heavy stonework on the walls of this temple. The Vimana (tower) is located at the eastern side of this temple, which is the main entrance. There are various inscriptions created by Chola artists, and here you can find some of the finest inscriptions like Rajagambhirantirumandapam at the front of this temple.

The southern part of this temple is designed according to a huge chariot style, and during festivals, this chariot with large wheels and horses play a significant role. There are several pillars situated inside the temple,and all these pillars are encrypted with various Indian traditional art forms.

You can explore this Great Living Chola Temple with its historical aspects, and you can find several Indian traditional murals inside the temple.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Chennai International Airport

Nearest Railway Station – Kumbakonam Railway Station

Nearest Bus Stop – Kumbakonam Bus Stand

Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Thanjavur

GangaikondaCholapuram, Thanjavur
  • Established In: 11th century AD
  • Established By: Rajendra Chola I
  • Primary deity: Shiva
  • Location: Thanjavur
  • Architectural Style: Dravidian architecture
  • Main Attraction: Royal Palace

Gangaikonda Cholapuram is one of the oldest temples, which were built by the Cholas. The king RajendraChola-I son and successor of Rajendra Chola built this temple during the 11th century AD.

This temple is dedicated to lord Shiva and the whole temple is structured according to Vastu Shastra where a Vishnu idol is situated at the western part of this place.

Significant facts about Gangaikonda Cholapuram:

  • Gangaikonda Cholapuram is a temple, which follows the medieval Indian architectures. The main entrance of this temple is located at the eastern side, which is called the Mahaduvar. This entrance leads to the inner court.
  • You can find the royal palace near this temple, which was built with burnt bricks. The ceiling of this palace was made with small tiles and you can find several pillars and walls which were made with granite and polished wood. There is an internal tunnel, which is connected to the palace with the temple, and historians found iron nails and clamps in this palace during their recovery and restoration work.
  • This temple presents some devastation symbols of Chola dynasty. The Chola dynasty ended up due to mismanagement by Chola-III and afterward the Pallava kingstook the charge of this state.During their wars, the temple was affected massively and still now you can find some remnants of the decline inside this temple.

If you love history, Indian tradition, and if you want to know more about the Chola dynasty, then you should visit the Gangaikonda Cholapuram once in your life.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Civil Airport(TRZ), Tiruchirappalli Tamil nadu

Nearest Railway Station – Tanjavur Railway Station(TJ)

Nearest Bus Stop – Thanjavur

Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameswaram

Ramanathaswamy-Temple
  • Established In: 12th century
  • Established By: Pandya and Jaffna kings
  • Primary deity: Shiva
  • Location: Rameswaram
  • Architectural Style: Dravidian architecture
  • Main Attraction: Char Dham
  • Main Festivals: Vasanthotsavam

The Ramanathaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple, which is dedicated to lord Shiva, and this temple is situated in the Rameswaram Island in Tamil Nadu. This is also known as one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples of Lord Shiva and according to historical facts, the Ramanathaswamy Temple was extended and reconstructed by the Pandya Dynasty during the 12th century.

Rama established the Shiva lingam here during the Ramayana period and Lord Rama is an incarnation of Vishnu.

Legendary facts about the Ramanathaswamy Temple:

According to the Ramayana, Rama the seventh incarnation of lord Vishnu prayed to god Shiva before he began the war with King Ravana. He used to pray to lord Shiva to dissolve him from the sin of killing any Brahmin during the war.

Hanuman was directed by Rama to find a lingam from Himalaya and bring it to this place. However, when Hanuman delayed in bringing the Lingam, Sita, wife of Rama built a small lingam with sand from the seashore. According to Hindu mythology, that lingam is still there inside the temple and it is worshiped as lord Shiva.

Tamilnadu Temple Tour
Interesting facts about the Ramanathaswamy Temple:

There are two lingams inside the sanctum. The first one was built by Sita, wife of Rama, which is known as Ramalingam, and the second one was brought by Hanuman from Kailash which is called the Vishwalingam.

Rama instructed that everyone should worship the Vishwalingam first, because Hanuman brought it and still now,the priests maintain this tradition.

  • The temple is designed with high compound walls and there are some huge towers engraved with several murals. The north and south gates of this temple are constructed with large towers or Gopurams, and these towers extend towards the east and north gates of this temple.
  • This temple is one of the Hindu Char Dhams meaning the four most sacred places, where more than millions of people visit every year.

So to explore something new and to touch the essence of the holiest tradition, you can visit the Ramanathaswamy Temple.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Tuticorin airport(TCR), Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu

Nearest Railway Station – Rameswaram Railway Station(RMM)

Nearest Bus Stop – Rameswaram

UcchiPillayar Temple, Rockfort

UcchiPillayar-Temple
  • Established In: 7th century
  • Established By: Pallavas
  • Primary deity: Lord Ganesha & Shiva
  • Location: Tiruchi
  • Architectural Style: Dravidian architecture
  • Main Attraction: Rock Hills, Rock Fort

Ucchi Pillayar Koil temple is a Hindu temple situated at the top of Rockfort in Trichy, Tamil Nadu. This temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and it was built during the 7th century. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha ran from King Vibhishana and established the Ranganathaswamytemple in this place.

Architectural importance of the Ucchi Pillayar Temple:

The Pallava cut the Rockfort and they started to build this temple first. However, the Nayaks of Madurai completed this temple during the reign of the Vijaynagara Empire. The temple is situated on the top of the rock and it has magnificent mountain views.

Apart from that, the entrance is very small and people need to enter this temple one by one. Due to the ancient tradition and historical and architectural value, the Archaeological department of India now maintains this temple.

Mythological facts about Ucchi Pillayar Temple:

Vibhishana was the younger brother of Ravana and he assisted and helped Rama during the war between Rama and Ravana. He used to symbolize faith, truth and morality during this war, because Ravana kidnapped Sita, wife of Rama, which was immoral and unethical.

At the end of the war, Rama killed Ravana with the help of Hanuman and monkey army. Rama, as a token of love, gave an idol of worship to Vibhishana. However, many Godscould not accept this truth and they did not want to accept ademonVibhishana in their team.

One day, when Vibhishana went to Trichi and he wanted to take his bath in the Kaveri River, that time, Lord Ganeshatook his idol and ran away. Then Vibhishanachased Ganesha and hit him on his forehead. Still now you can find a spot on the Ganesha idol inside this temple. Then Ganesha revealed himself to be Vinayaka and Vibhishana immediately apologized to the Lord.

During the Chola period, one of the Cholakings chased a parrot and he found this idol accidentally. Then their clan established this temple during their dynasty.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Madurai Airport

Nearest Railway Station – Tiruchirapalli Train Station

Nearest Bus Stop – Chatram Bus Stand

Murugan Temple, Tiruchendur

Murugan-Temple
  • Established In: 875 AD
  • Primary deity: Senthilanathar (Murugan)
  • Location: Tiruchendur
  • Architectural Style: Dravidian architecture
  • Main Festivals: Aavani festival, Maasi festival

The Murugan Temple is an ancient Hindu temple, which is dedicated to Lord Murugan. This temple is situated on the shore of the Bay of Bengal in Tamil Nadu. Formally, the temple was known as Jayanthipuram, and this is the fourth temple in Tamil Nadu, which received the ISO certification.

This is the most popular temple in South India located in Tiruchendur under the district of Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu.

Historical facts about the Murugan Temple:

The Murugan Temple was built during 875 AD, during 1646 to 1648 the Dutch East India Company occupied this temple. The local people tried to rescue their temple several times, but the Dutch Company refused to give their authority.

When the Dutch returned to their homeland from this place, they carried away some precious idols from this temple, which were returned after the negotiations with Madurai Naikaar. In the year 1868, three priests started to rebuild this temple, and they also started collecting funds for this issue. In 1941, finally the temple was reconstructed and a large tower or Gopuram was added in 1971.

Interesting facts about Murugan Temple:

  • There are several gates designed inside the temple premises, and the main tower built by Thiruvanduthurai Adheenam in the year 1650. The three precincts of this temple cover the full premises, and one of the major precincts is situated on the shore of Bay of Bengal.
  • The temple is dedicated to Murugan who is the brother of Ganesha and the son of Shiva and Parvati.
  • Here the deity is worshiped in the name of Senthikumar. The shore of Bay of Bengal has marked this temple more significant as a tourist spot.

So to explore incredible India, you must visit the Murugan Temple once in your life.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Tuticorin Airport

Nearest Railway Station – Tiruchendur (TCN)

Nearest Bus Stop – Tiruchendur

Ranganathaswamy Temple, Trichy

Ranganathaswamy Temple, Trichy
  • Established In: 6th to 9th centuries AD
  • Primary deity: Ranganatha (Vishnu), Aranganayagi (Laxmi)
  • Location: Trichy
  • Architectural Style: Tamil architecture
  • Main Attraction: 21 Gateway towers
  • Main Festivals: Brahmotsavam, Ra Pathu, Pagal Pathu, Jyestabisheka

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is also known as the Thiruvarangam and this is a Hindu temple, which is dedicated to Ranganatha, a declining form of the Vishnu. The temple is situated at Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, in Tamil Nadu.

The full temple is designed with Tamil architectural style, and the temple follows the Thenkali tradition of worship. The main entrance of the Ranganathaswamy Temple is known as Rajagopuram, which means the royal temple tower and this entrance is extended toward the Northern side along with its similar eleven pillars.

Historical and Mythological facts about the Ranganathaswamy Temple:

  • During the month of December of every year, more than one million visitors come to enjoy and participate in the 21 days annual festival conducted inside the temple. The temple stands along with its rich Indian traditional architecture, and the temple is spread over 156 acres of land.
  • According to the Ramayana, after killing Ravana, Lord Rama, an incarnation of lord Vishnu gave an idol to Vibhishana as a token of love and appreciation. One day Vibhishana was carrying the idol and passing from Lanka, and midway, to take rest, he stopped at the seashore.He placed the idol on the seashore and afterward when he tried to lift the idol, Lord Vishnu appeared as Ranganatha. Afterward, here lord Vishnu came to be worshipped as Ranganatha.
  • The inscriptions on this temple belong to the Chola, Pallava, Hoysala and the Vijaynagam Dynasties. However, the temple was founded during the time of the Chola period. According to historical facts, once one Chola King was running away from this place and he was chasing a parrot.Suddenly, he discovered this idol in this place, and he built this large temple during his own dynasty.

You can visit this temple during the annual festival or you can also explore some other festivals conducted by the temple authority like the Vaikuntha Ekadashi, Jyestabisheka and Brahmotsavam.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Trichy Airport

Nearest Railway Station – Trichy Railway Station

Nearest Bus Stop – Trichy Central Bus Stand

Jambukeswarar Temple, Thiruvanaikaval

Jambukeswarar-Temple
  • Established In: 1,800 years ago
  • Established By: Kochenga Chola
  • Primary deity: Shiva
  • Location: Tiruchirapalli (Trichy)
  • Architectural Style: Dravidian architecture
  • Main Festivals: festival of classical Indian dance

Thiruvanaikaval is also known as Thiruvanaikal and Jambukeswarar. The Jambukeswarar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is situated in Thiruchirapalli or Trichy, in Tamil Nadu. Before 1800 years, the Kochenga Chola built this temple and this temple represents the five elements (Mahabhuta).

There is an underwater stream inside this Jambukeswarar temple and if people pump out the water from this place, then it will gets filled up with the same water level instantly.

Mythological aspects of Lord Shiva or Jambukeswarar Temple:

According to the Hindu mythology, once Devi Parvati wanted to establish the Shiva’s presence on the earth but Lord Shiva refused to do that, and directed her to visit the earth and start the ritual to get his worship done.

Parvati came to this earth and established a small lingam out of the seashore from river Cauvery that was known as River Ponni. Shiva gave his darshan to Parvati and taught her Shiva Gnana. Here Parvatiis worshiped as Devi Akilendeswari and Lord Shiva is worshiped as Appu Lingam or the water Lingam.

Interesting facts about the Jambukeswarar Temple:

  • The temple is surrounded with large stone walls. Here you can find the stone architectural work inside the temple and there are five enclosures designed inside.
  • Here the two temple idols are installed on the opposite direction and such temples are known as the Upadesa Sthalams in South India. Here Devi Jambukeswara acts like a Guru or teacher and marriage ceremonies cannot be conducted inside this temple like in other Shiva Temples.
  • This temple is referred to as the Pancha Bhoota Temple because in South India there are only five Shiva temples situated with the same system, and in these temples, Lord Shiva is shown to perform as different elements of five major elements or Pancha Bhoota.

So now, you can explore the heritage of Hinduism with some significant facts and structures, by visiting this Jambukeswarar Temple once in your life.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Trichy Airport

Nearest Railway Station – Tiruchirapalli Train Station

Nearest Bus Stop – Chathiram Bus Stand Trichy

Uppiliappan Temple, Thirunageswaram

Uppiliappan-Temple
  • Established In: 1014 CE
  • Established By: Rajendra Chola
  • Primary deity: Vishnu
  • Location: Thirunageswaram
  • Architectural Style: Dravidian architecture
  • Main Attraction: five-tiered rajagopuram
  • Main Festivals: chariot festival

Uppiliappan Temple is also known as the Thiruvinnagar, which is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple is situated near Thirunageswaram, which is a village in Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. Here lord Vishnu is worshiped as Uppiliappan and his wife Lakshmi is worshiped as Bhumi Devi.

The temple was constructed during the Medieval Cholaperiod, which started from the late 8th century, and the temple is extended and engraved with lots of stone architectural works by the Thanjavur Nayakas.

The temple has five different tower entrances, the main entrance is known as the Rajagopuram, and this entrance tower is enriched with the finest granite work on the walls.

History and the mythology of Uppiliappan Temple:

According to the Brahmananda Purana, Tulasi did penance to attain closeness to lord Vishnu and Vishnu gave this plant to his consort Lakshmi. Here the Tulasi appears under the lap of Lakshmi.

Afterward, Tulasi appeared in this land of Thirunageswaram, and Vishnu decided to appear on the earth as a son in law of Tulasi and Lakshmi became the daughter of Tulasi.

Then once upon a time, Markandeya was passing from this place and he started chanting the Lakshmi mantra to get the blessings of Devi Lakshmi. Lakshmi appeared as a baby in this place and Markandeya adopted Lakshmi as his own daughter.

After several years, Lord Vishnu appeared on the earth as an older person, and he wanted to marry Lakshmi. However, Markandeya refused to accept this marriage said that his daughter was very young and she did not know cooking and even how much salt should be used for preparing a dish.

Lord Vishnu told him that if his daughter doesn’t know how to cook then he will eat the foods without salts, but he will marry his daughter surely, and Lord Vishnu revealed his original Vaikundam. Then Markandeya accepted this marriage. For this reason, still now the foods of this temple are prepared without salts.

So if you want to explore this glory of Hinduism then you can surely visit the Uppiliappan Temple.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Trichy Airport Tiruchirapalli

Nearest Railway Station – Thirunageswaram Railway Station

Nearest Bus Stop – Kumbakonam

Ekambareswarar Temple, Kanchipuram

Ekambareswarar Temple, Kanchipuram
  • Established By: Chola Kings
  • Primary deity: Ekambaranathar (Shiva)
  • Location: Kanchipuram
  • Architectural Style: Dravidian architecture
  • Main Festivals: Karthigai Deepam

The Ekambareswarar Temple is dedicated to the Hindu Lord Shiva and this is one of the five element temples in South India, which is situated in the town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu.

Here Shiva is worshiped in the form of Prithivi or Earth Lingam and the temple was structured during 7th century. This is one of the largest Hindu temples in India, which spreads over 25 acres of land.

This is the tallest temple and the house inside this temple is designed with more than thousand pillars. These pillars and stone architectural works were designed during the Vijaynagaram Period.

Mythological facts about the Ekambareswarar Temple:

Once Parvatiwas cursed to become dark like Kali, and she settled under an ancient mango tree situated near this temple.

Shiva sent fire to rescue her from this darkness, and she prayed to her brother Vishnu to help her out. Then Parvati took the Moon from Shiva’s head and enlightened her surrounding place and Shiva sent Ganga to dispute parvati’s penance. Parvati convinced Ganga that both of them were sisters and Ganga should not harm Parvati in any manner.

Then Parvati established a Shiva Lingam on this place and started praying for his worship. The Shiva Lingam is also known as the Ekambareswarar here, which means lord of the Mango tree.

Interesting facts about the Ekambareswarar Temple:

  • The vast temple is one of the most ancient Hindu temples, which was constructed during 600 AD. Initially Pallavas started building this temple and thereafter, the Chola kings extended the temple with their traditional architectural arts.
  • There are two major halls situated at the main entrance of this temple named Vahana Mandapam and Sarabesa Mandapam. These halls are designed with more than thousand pillars, and the Vijaynagar Kings constructed these halls.
  • The temple authorities organize various festivals throughout the year and the most important festival named Panguni Brahmotsavam is conducted from March to April every year.

So to explore new heritage and to know more about the traditional historical facts of India, you can visit the Ekambareswarar Temple once.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Chennai international airport

Nearest Railway Station – Arakkonam Railway station

Nearest Bus Stop – Kanchipuram

Kailasanathar Temple, Kanchipuram

Kailasanathar Temple, Kanchipuram
  • Established In: 685-705AD
  • Established By: Rajasimha (Pallavas ruler)
  • Primary deity: Shiva
  • Location: Kanchipuram
  • Architectural Style: Dravidian architecture
  • Main Festivals: Maha Shivaratri

Kailasanathar Temple is one of the oldest temples situated in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. The temple is designed according to the Dravidian architectural styles, and the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

According to historical manuscripts, Rajasimha, a king of the Pallava Dynasty, built this temple from 685 to 705 AD.

Here you can find 58 small shrines, which represent different forms of lord Shiva, and the large compound wall of this temple is designed with hard stones.

Here you can also find some Dravidian designs like half-animal sculptures on the walls, and you can explore some fine art forms inside the temple.

Historical facts about the Kailasanathar Temple:

Kailasanathar Temple means the “Lord of the Cosmic Mountain” and there are various idols established inside the temple of Lord Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha and Kartikeya.

The temple was constructed during the Pallava dynasty, who ruled in Kanchipuram in the ancient times.

The Pallava dynasty considered this place as their capital and the name Kanchipuram means the “Place of Shiva and Vishnu”.

Interesting facts about the Kailasanathar Temple:

  • Here the main Shiva Lingam is made of black granite and you can find the sculpture of Nandi on the main entrance wall. This is identified as a guard of Lingam and Nandi here is seen performing the role of a private guard of Shiva.
  • Here you can visit during MahaShivaratri because more than thousands of devotees flock to this temple during this time every year, and this is the biggest festival conducted inside the temple premises.

So now plan to visit the Kailasanathar Temple and explore the old heritage of Pallava Dynasty and find out the finest art work of the Dravidian architectural styles.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Chennai International Airport

Nearest Railway Station – Arakkonam Railway station

Nearest Bus Stop – Kanchipuram

Ramaswamy Temple, Kumbakonam

Ramaswamy Temple, Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu
  • Established In: 16th century
  • Established By: Nayakkar kings
  • Primary deity: Rama & Shiva
  • Location: Ramaswamy Temple, Kumbakonam
  • Architectural Style: Dravidian architecture
  • Main Festivals: Mahamaham

The Ramaswamy Temple is one of the most ancient temples, which is dedicated to lord Rama. This temple is situated in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu. The Nayakkar Kings built the temple during 16th century and the prime minister of the Nayakkar, named Givinda Dikshikar constructed this temple.

He also added a commercial corridor between the new temple and the older Chakrapani temple.

Architectural value of the Ramaswamy Temple:

The Ramaswamy Temple has three different tower entrances and the temple is designed with surrounding walls.

The central shrine is designed with the image of Rama, who is seen seated with his wife Sita. Along with that, there are other images of Rama’s brother like Lakshmana and Bharatha who are seen standing behind him.

  • You can find 64 different pillars inside the hall of this temple and each pillar is designed with different episodes of Ramayana. Here you can find every scene of Ramayana in these sculptures, and here Rama is depicted with Vyakarna Mudra, while Hanuman is depicted holding manuscripts.
  • Along with that, you can find some unique depictions of Vibhishana, corrosion of Sugriva, and Agalya getting relieved from curse by leasing a veena played by Hanuman.

So those who want to explore the period of Ramayana, can find some life forms of different scenes of Ramayana on this temple.

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Civil Airport(TRZ), Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu

Nearest Railway Station – Kumbakonam(KMU)

Nearest Bus Stop – Kumbakonam

Murugan Temple, Swamimalai

Murugan-Temple
  • Established In: 2nd century BC
  • Established By: Parantaka Chola I
  • Primary deity: Murugan( Arupadaiveedu) / Skanda-Murukan also known as Swaminatha
  • Location: Swamimalai, Tamil Nadu
  • Architectural Style: Dravidian architecture
  • Main Festivals: Vaikasi Visagam

Murugan Temple is also known as the Swaminathaswamy temple, which is located in Swamimalai. The temple is dedicated to Murugan and this temple is situated five kilometer away from the Cauvery River. Here Muruganis known as Arupadaiveedu, the main shrine is situated on the top of the hill, and two separate shrines are located at the downhill.

These two downhill shrines are dedicated to Murugan’s mother Parvati, who is famous as Meenakshi and the other shrine is dedicated to his father Shiva who is known as Sundereswarar here.

Mythological facts about Murugan Temple:

Brahma created Murugan at the time of visiting Mount Kailash. The child Murugan got angry with Brahma and he asked Brahma about the creation of human beings, and how Brahma created living beings.

Brahma answered that he created the living beings from the Vedas. Murugan told Brahma to explain the Vedas and Brahma said “OM”. Then Murugan further asked Brahma to explain “OM” but Brahma did not answer his question this time.

When Murugan attacked Brahma, the Devas were surprised with this activity and they requested Lord Vishnu to rescue Brahma from Murugan. But Vishnu could not help them and then Lord Shiva came to Murugan and told him to leave Brahma.

Then Murugan refused to leave Brahma and he told Shiva to explain the Vedas. Shiva told him to explain the Pranaya Mantra and Murugan started teaching Shiva by chanting this mantra from the Vedas. Here Muruganis also known as SwaminathaSwami, which means “the teacher of Shiva”.

Interesting facts about Murugan Temple:

  • The temple has three major entrance towers (Gopuram) and the priests do six times puja (rituals) everyday inside this temple. The authority and the government conduct three major festivals every year inside this temple, and more than thousands of devotees attend this festival.
  • The temple was built during 2nd century BC by the kings of the Sangam Dynasty and then, the Parantaka Chola-I refurnished this temple during his period. However, later the temple was massively affected due to war between Hyder Ali and the British. Now the Tamil Nadu Government maintains the temple.
  • This temple has three town entrances (Gopuram). One of the main entrances is situated under the ground at a basement level, and one is on the midway toward the hilltop and the last entrance is situated around the sanctum.

So those who want to explore some significant places which carry rich historical heritage and Indian cultures, can visit the Murugan Temple once in their life.

South India Architectural Tour

Connectivity

Nearest Airport – Tiruchirappalli International Airport, Tamil Nadu

Nearest Railway Station – Ariyalur Railway station, Tamil Nadu

Nearest Bus Stop – Swamimalai

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