Planning a vacation to South India this season, then you must visit the magnificent temples that decorate the region throughout. These Dravidian architecture masterpieces are a great way to discover hidden historical facts, and cultural secrets. These temples showcase the greatest of temple architecture in India, and here are the top five South Indian temples that you must visit.
- Meenakshi Temple, Madurai: Ancient Madurai was one of the biggest religious and cultural centers of India, and it is also the home to the most impressive temples of South India. Meenakshi temple is one South Indian temple you must definitely see, the temple complex is spread over 15 acress, with 4500 pillars and 12 towers. The most stunning feature about the temple is its various sculpture, and then there’s the Chithrai festival that goes on for 12 days. During this festival the celestial marriage of god and goddess of the temple is re-enacted during the month of April. This is truly one of the top five South Indian temples.
- Tirumala Venkateswara, Tirupati: This majestic temple is not only the part of our list of top five South Indian temples, but is also one of the most amazing temples around the world. It is one of the most sacred temples of Vaishnavites, and is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, one of the most powerful gods in the Hindu religion. Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, one of the richest religious bodies in the world, maintains this temple. The temple is also famous for the prasadam, Laddu. It has the largest solar power kitchen, and the whole temple complex uses only solar and wind energy. Moreover, around 75,000 devotees visit this temple every single day.
- Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram: The Ramanathaswamy temple is known for its wondrous pillared-hallway that is the longest in India, with an amazingly painted ceiling. It is located in the holy city of Rameshwaram and just 100 mts from sea, where devotees have to take bath before entering the temple, and taking a bath in its 22 wells. The water in these wells is considered purifying and holy. Rameshwaram is located at the tip of Indian peninsular, and is a holy land from where Lord Rama and his army built a bridge to cross the sea to rescue Sita. It is definitely one of the top five South Indian temples.
- Kumbakonam: The town of Kumbakonam is located 40 kms from Tanjore and is home to 18 temples, specially the Sarangapani temple. It is one of the top five south Indian temples. This town is best known for temple hopping, and Sarangapani, the most magnificent of all is a shrine in the form of a chariot. Then 4 kms from Kumbakonam, there’s also 12th century Airatesvara temple.
- Thanjavur: Thanjavur is known to be the stronghold of Tamil culture during the 11th century, when Raja Raja I of Chola Kingdom built magnificent temples around the region. In total, Cholas built 70 temples in Thanjavus, with Brihadeswara being the most beautiful one, it is also known as the Big temple and is now a UNESCO world heritage site. The temple turned 1000 years old in 2010, and is the symbol of the might of Cholas, it is also one of the oldest temples in India that is dedicated to Lord Shiva.