Anyone in the world who has a little bit of knowledge about India will know that it is a country of gods and people have a lot of faith in them. It is a country where you can easily find temples in every corner of the country. You can call it belief, faith or superstition but this is the reality of all Indians as well as India as a whole. From north to south as well as from east to west, you will see people practicing different religions. In every 25 km, you’ll notice a change in language and culture.
Religion in India is something that can even affect the nature of politics as well. In our long history, let it rulers or let it be the parties in the current scenario, they all have played the card of religion to succeed. Thus, it is going to be fun knowing about some famous temples of South India which are standing from ages with their great mesmerizing view, shape as well as grandeur. Remains of different rulers who once ruled the south may have been dead to ashes but these temples speak about their times and their religious beliefs and prove how religion has found its way through so many centuries in India. In this article, you’re about to witness the beauty of the finest art ever made in the history of the world. Here is a list of 10 must-visit temples of South India:
1) Virupaksha Temple, Hampi, Karnataka:
Virupaksha Temple is located in Hampi that lies in the Ballari district of the state of Karnataka. This temple was built in the 7th century. It started as a shrine and later it developed as a large complex. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva (also regarded as Lord Virupaksha in southern India) and it was built under the Vijayanagara Empire. It is present on the banks of river Tungabhadra. It is a part of the Group of Monuments at Hampi and is designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is a Shiva Lingam (religious stone) present which is believed to be changing its color three times a day.
2) Sri Venkateswara Temple, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh:
It is the richest temple in the world as it receives a lot of donations from tourists who visit here (50,000 to 1,00,000 tourists are estimated to visit daily and 30 to 40 million people on annual basis). This temple is located in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati, which is in the Chittoor district of the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is a famous Vaishnavite temple (as Lord Vishnu or Lord Venkateshwara is worshipped in this temple). This temple is also called Tirupati Balaji temple. This temple was built around 300 AD. According to legend, the idol of the Lord shall remain until the end of Kali Yuga which is an Indian way of distributing several years into 4 parts of which it is the last part.
3) Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu:
It is an ancient Hindu temple which is located on the bank of the Vaigai river. This temple is in the city of Madurai in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is also known as Meenakshi Amman or Meenakshi-Sundareshwara temple. Meenakshi is a form of goddess Parvati whereas Sundareshwar is a form of Lord Shiva. It was built by King Kulasekara Pandya. You can easily find the art forms of Hindu God and Goddesses in this temple. It was one of the nominees of New Seven Wonders of the World.
4) Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu:
It is a Hindu temple located on Rameswaram island in Tamil Nadu. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva Temples. According to the legend, during Ramayana, Rama (7th incarnation of Lord Vishnu) prayed to Lord Shiva to forgive him for the sins he did in the war against King Ravana of Sri Lanka. He thus ordered his lieutenant (Hanuman) to bring lingam from mountains but he delayed the task, so Rama himself made it from sand (not much big though). It was called Ramalingam and the one brought by Hanuman is called Vishwalingam.
5) Airavateswara Temple, Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu:
This temple was built in the 12th century CE based on Dravidian architecture and present in the town of Darasuram. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The name of the temple is kept on the name of the elephant of Indra (Emperor of gods) as he used to worship Lord Shiva. It is a
UNESCO World Heritage site. It was built by Rajaraja Chola 2.
6) Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala:
It is located in the capital city of Kerala that is Thiruvananthapuram (meaning City of Lord Ananta in Malayalam). God Ananta is worshipped here. It is based on the fused art of Dravidian and Chera Style. Lord Vishnu is the chief deity. Only Hindus are allowed here and a tough and disciplined dress code is adopted.
7) Thanumalayan Temple, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu:
It is a Hindu temple located in Suchindram in Tamil Nadu. It is known for its stone craftsmanship. Only 1035 pillars are constructed for the dancing hall in this temple. There are 22 feet Hanuman (Anjaneya) statue which is carved out of one single granite block. This temple depicts the artistic form of three major Hindu gods that are Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Brahma. It is called as Sthanumalayan.
8) Brihadeshwara Temple, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu:
This Hindu temple is present on the bank of the Kaveri river and it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is based on the Dravidian style and regarded as Dhakshina Meru. It was built between 1003 and 1010 AD by Raja Raja Chola 1 and it is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Tamil, Sanskrit and Maratha inscriptions can be found here.
9) Ayyappa Temple, Sabarimala, Kerala:
It is located at Sabarimala inside of the Periyar Tiger Reserve, which is situated in the Pathanamthitta district of the state of Kerala. People worship god Ayyappa as the chief deity who according to the tales is the son of Shiva and Mohini (the female incarnation of Lord Vishnu). Annually 40 to 50 million people visit this temple. Recently, this temple has been in news regarding the ban on the entry of women inside the main temple. Makaravilakku and Mandalapooja are major festivals celebrated here.
10) Golden Temple, Vellore, Tamil Nadu:
Everyone knows about the Golden Temple in Amritsar. But you’d be surprised to know that there is also a Golden Temple in southern India which is situated at the foot of small green hills at Malaikodi in Vellore in Tamil Nadu just 120 km from Tirupati. It was completed in 2007 by an organization headed by Shri Sakti Amma. It is interesting to note that everything in this temple is made of pure gold (1,500 kg). Goddess Lakshmi or Mahalakshmi or the goddess of wealth is the chief deity in this temple.
There are many other famous and prestigious temples in the south but all the temples which are the most visited over the year of all have been chosen by us. Now you would have known about what we’ve told you earlier about the fine art of Southern temples of India. Have you visited any of them? If yes, then how many temples have you been visited? Tell them in the comment section.
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