An imagination of sacred and captivating temples runs through our minds when we talk about South India. Southern Part of India is known for its numerous exquisite temples. The beautiful temples built in the South Indian art and architectural style draws the attention of many tourists from all over the world. Let’s find out the top most amazing temples of Southern India, which cannot be missed.
List of Top Temples of South India
1 : Tirupati
Tirupati Temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwar (Lord Vishnu) is the most popular amongst the pilgrims. The temple is situated in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. The pilgrims need to climb 4,000 steps up the hill to the temple. It takes from two to four hours to reach atop the hill to the temple. There is an alternate and easier way to reach the temple is by bus.
It is one of the wealthiest and most visited temples in India. It has a gold plated dome. It has been patronized by not only the kings and rulers but also the film stars. Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan offered prayers at this temple after getting married. It is believed that only true devotees can make their way to the temple as one has to face several challenges during the pilgrimage.
2 : Madurai
One of the most impressive temples of South India is Meenakshi Temple situated in the ancient Madurai, in Tamil Nadu. Whenever you make it for South India, be sure to visit this temple. This massive temple has a complex, covering an area of 15 acres, comprising of 4,500 pillars and 12 towers. It has many astonishing sculptures. In the month of April, the heavenly wedding of the temple's god and goddess is featured on the 12 day Chithirai Festival, held in Madurai every year.
3 : Kanchipuram
Besides its silk sarees, Kanchipuram is known for its unique temples and is titled "City of a Thousand Temples". It is located at a distance of 80 kilometers from Chennai, on the road to Bangalore. It had been the capital of the Pallava dynasty. The temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Vishnu. These temples were built by various rulers (the Cholas, Vijayanagar kings, Muslims and British). Each ruler sophisticated the design. .
4 : Kumbakonam
40 Km away from Tanjore is situated Kumbakonam town, which has 18 temples! It is a place with fabulous temples. The Sarangapani Temple is the most popular and impressive temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It has a shrine in the form of a chariot. The 12th century Airatesvara Temple is located four km west of Kumbakonam. This Temple is famous for its temple art specially the exquisite stone carvings. Another well known temple is Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The Ramanathaswamy Temple of Rameshwaram is famous for its captivating pillared hallway. It is regarded as the longest in India. The mesmerizing painted ceiling draws the attention of the visitors. It is located about 100 meters away from the sea, where the pilgrims take a bath, before entering the temple. The water is believed to be sacred and purifying for both mind and body. Rameshwaram is the place where Lord Rama with his disciples built a bridge across the sea to rescue Sita.
6 : Thanjavur (Tanjore)
Thanjavur is regarded as the strength of Tamil culture in the 11th century. More than 70 temples were built by the Cholas in Thanjavur. The 1000 years old, Brihadeswara Temple is the most popular among all. It is now a World Heritage site. The temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva symbolizes the unrivaled supremacy and might of the Cholas. It is constructed with stone having 60 meters high dome.
7 : Chidambaram
The Natraj Temple situated in Chidambaram, draws a large number of tourists. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the posture of cosmic dance. This ancient temple follows Vedic rituals (set by the sage Patanjali). The rituals are performed every morning as part of the puja (centered on fire and yagna -fire sacrifice).
8 : Tiruchirappalli (Trichy)
The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple of Tiruchirappalli or Trichy is the largest temple in India. It is dedicated to a reclining form of Lord Vishnu. It covers an area of 156 acres with 21 gopuram (towers). Its main tower is 73 meters high and is regarded as the second tallest temple tower in Asia. Also visit the Rock Fort Temple (by the Nayaks of Madurai) and Thayumanaswamy Temple. The Vinayaka Temple, dedicated to Lord Ganesh is also a must to visit temple.
9 : Tiruvannamalai
Arunachaleswar Temple is situated at Mount Arunachala in Tiruvannamalai. This large temple complex has nine towers and three inner courtyards. As the element of fire, Lord Shiva is worshiped in this temple. On every full moon, pilgrims come here to walk leisurely around the mountain. Many shrines and sadhus can be seen there.