From the ancient era till the medieval period when the Muslim Saltantes were established followed by the Mughal and British Empires, this region was ruled over by native Dravidian Kings. As a royal cultural tradition, the kings in this region used to build a Temples better than their Places and Forts. Thus royal dignity of kings in the region is reflected by the marvelous temples rather than their forts and palaces.
The most famous temple in Chennai is Kapaleshwarar Temple (1640 AD) constructed in the Dravidian style with mandapams (pavilions facing the temple) and gopuram (gateway tower). Another Hindu Shrine in Chennai is Vivekanand House (1897) in Victorian architectural style with a Museum depicting Swami’s life who stayed here in 1897.
At Mamallapuram Beach, 58 Km. from Chennai, there are temples cut out from rocks except Shore Temple which is the oldest structure built in seventh sanctuary AD which was demolished by cyclone and rebuilt. At Kanyakumari beach (Southernmost Tip), Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet. Off the shore at meeting point, there stands high Vivekanand Rock stuck violently by meeting waters. This rock locates the Kanyakumari Temple, a famous Hindu pilgrimage said to be a spot where beloved wife Parvati waited for his Lord Shiva and Swami Vivekananda sought seclusion for meditation by swimming through the turbulent waters.