Posted on Nov 03, 2021
South India is home to some magnificent temples that boast of their rich history and incredible architecture. Intricate pillars, high-standing Gopurams, ornate halls, the exclusivity of South Indian temples grab every eyeball with its aura and charm. In this blog post, we have covered ten famous South Indian temples that are worth visiting for every traveler.
Standing top in the South Indian temple list comes the Sri Ranganathswamy Temple of Srirangam. Also known as Thiruvarangam, the island city of Tiruchirappalli in the state of Tamilnadu hosts the famous temple of Sri Ranganathaswamy. The temple is a significant pilgrimage destination for the Srivaishnavites or the followers of Lord Vishnu.
According to the legend, Lord Ramchandra gifted an idol of Lord Vishnu to Vibhisana, brother of Ravan, to take back to Lanka with him. Vibhisana, while traveling back to Lanka, came across this beautiful place of Srirangam located beside the banks of the Kaveri river. It was then the festival time at Srirangam. When the festivities got over, the deity of Lord Vishnu refused to go to Lanka with Vibhisana, saying that he loved Srirangam. But he promised to bless Vibhisana by always facing south towards Lanka. This is the reason the Vishnu deity in the temple faces the south.
This South Indian temple is considered the world's biggest functioning Hindu temple. It is also the foremost of the eight self-manifested shrines of Lord Vishnu (Swayam Vyakta Kshetra). The temple boundaries enclose seven concentric wall sections and 21 tall Gopurams. One of the Gopurams is entirely made from gold.
Second, on the list of South Indian temples comes Hampi Virupaksha Temple. Located along the banks of river Tungabhadra, the shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is one of the oldest shrines in Hampi, whose inception dates back to the 7th century AD. Surrounded by entrance gateways, courtyards, smaller shrines, and Gopurams, the temple depicts various architectural forms from the period of Vijaynagara, Chalukyas, and Hoysalas.
The third mention in the South Indian temple list is Rameswaram. Known for its extended pillared hallway, the temple of Rameswaram is dedicated to Lord Shiva. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ram worshipped Lord Shiva before heading towards Lanka. It is also said that the bridge built by Lord Ram over the sea to Lanka is located here. Being one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, Rameswaram is known for its architectural splendors like painted ceilings, carved pillars, and ornamented gateways.
Meenakshi temple is one of the best temples in South India. It is dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi, a form of Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. The massive temple structure is ornated with more than 4000 pillars and 12 towers or Gopurams. The famous 12-day festival of Chithirai is celebrated here every April to celebrate the wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Surrounded by the sprawling Tirumala hills, Tirupati is the abode of Lord Venkateswara, a form of Lord Vishnu. With a gold-plated dome, Tirupati is one of the wealthiest temples in the country. The temple boasts a Dravidian style of architecture that is reflected in its massive hallways and courtyards. It is also one of the most crowded temples in South India that receives a minimum of 50,000 pilgrims daily.
Another masterpiece of the Chola dynasty, the South Indian temple of Brihadeswara, has enlisted itself in the inventory of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The thousand-year-old temple is home to the Vimana tower, considered one of India's tallest tower. Though Lord Shiva is the main deity here, the temple premises includes shrines of Ganesha, Nandi, Parvati, Kartikeya, and Dakshinamurti.
This is another famous temple in South India dedicated to Lord Krishna. Janmashtami, Kumbham Utsavam, Guruvayur Ekadasi are a few of the major festivals celebrated here. On the Northern side of the temple stands the holy water tank of Rudrateertham. It is said that Lord Shiva used to bathe in this water from which the name derived as the same.
If you want to perceive a fusion of Keralan and Tamil design, come to Padmanabhswamy temple in Kerela. This 16th century South Indian temple is home to the deity of Vishnu enshrined in the 'Ananta Shayana' posture. Lord Padmanabhaswamy is also the main deity of the Travancore Royal family, the trustee of the temple. High temple walls featuring Chera and Dravidian styles are the main architectural attraction of the place.
Pattadakal or Raktapura is a complex surrounding 7th and 8th century CE Hindu and Jain temples on the banks of the Mallaprabha river. The UNESCO World Heritage site features frescos of Ramayan, Mahabharat, and Vedas on the temple walls and facades. Some of the main temple attractions on the premises include Kadasiddheshwara temple, Galaganatha Temple, Kashi Viswanath Temple, etc.
Just at a distance of 10 km from Pattadakal stands another masterpiece of the medieval period, Aihole. This South Indian temple complex encloses Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain temples from the 6th century to the 12th century CE. The premises behold more than 100 stone carved temples and monuments. While the Hindu temples are mainly dedicated to Goddess Durga, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, and Lord Surya, the Jain temples are dedicated to the Tirthankars.
The South Indian temples never cease to fascinate tourists with their divinity and grandeur. Standing the test of time these gala monuments have firmly uphold the history and tradition of incredible India.