The temples of South India are not restricted to some pilgrimages only; they carry some ancient Indian heritage, culture, unique rituals, historical facts and unique artifacts. Many historians consider the South Indian temples to be the finest devotional monuments to be constructed. We have compiled a list of Famous South Indian Temples based on their grandeur or social importance.
The Srirangam Temple, Tamil Nadu
The Srirangam Temple or the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is a temple in Sriranga, an island in the city of Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu. It is dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form of the Hindu deity Maha Vishnu. This temple exhibits a beautiful form of Dravidian architecture glorified by Alvars, the Tamil poet saints, in their Divya Prabandha – a collection of 4,000 Tamil verses composed by the 12 Alvars. This temple holds the unique distinction of being the foremost among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
The Srirangam Temple is constructed in a unique Dravidian style of architecture and it is one of the finest examples of such an architecture in India. It is massive in scale and is spread over 156 acres (63.131 hectares). It is one of the largest functioning temples in the world according to some scholars. Apart from the 7 prakarams with massive walls, the Temple Complex has 21 very colourful sculpted gopurams (consecrated gateways with towers), 50 sub shrines, 9 sacred pools, a gilded Vimana (dome) over the sanctum sanctorum of the presiding deity, and other interesting features such as fresco paintings. The temple town, besides its religious prominence, is also a significant archaeological and epigraphical site, providing a historic window into the early and mid- medieval South Indian society and culture. The Srirangam Temple holds the position of being the largest temple compound in India and one of the largest functioning temples in the world. The temple is an active Hindu house of worship and follows the Thenkalai tradition of Sri Vaishnavism. The annual 21-day festival conducted during the Tamil month of Margazhi (December–January) attracts 1 million visitors every year.
How To Reach
- Air: The nearest airport is Tiruchirappalli International Airport
- Rail: Srirangam has a railway station that can be reached from Chennai through any of the major trains travelling on the Chennai-Kanyakumari railway track. The approximate journey time from Chennai is about 5 hours and 10 minutes (320 km).
- Bus: Most of the bus services plying in Tamil Nadu have regular buses to this place.
Ramanathaswamy Temple, Tamil Nadu
Rameshwaram is one of the oldest and most famous pilgrimage center in India. It is associated with the history of the Ramayana period. Rameshwaram temple is also the symbol of Indian integrity. The Kasi pilgrimage is considered to be one of the most important religious duties of the people.The kasi Yatra is complete only after worshipping Ramanathaswamy in Rameshwaram. Rameshwaram is the only south indian siva temple of the four major temples of India viz, Rameshwaram, Dwarka, Puri and Badrinath .Of these char Dham, Rameshwaram is the only Shiva temple and the other three are vaishnava temples. Out of the twelve Jyotirlingas eleven are located to the north and only Rameswaram is in the south Indian . The place is called as Rameswaram because of the worship of shiva by Sri Ramapran in this place. The hymns of Thirunavukkarasar, Thirugana Sankara, Arunagirinathar Muthuswami Dixithar and many other saints have sung the glory of the shiva and goddess of this temple. The temple is situated about 15 acres in an idyllic conch shaped island . The 22 sacred theerthams located inside the temple make the body of the body and the heart clean. Taking holy bath in these theerthams is considered very sacred.
How to Reach
- By Air: The nearest airport to Rameshwaram is Madurai Airport, which is around 149 kms from the city.
- By Road: Rameshwaram is well connected to various parts of the country by road. Regular bus services are regulated by the local transport association to various other cities and places.
- By Rail: Rameshwaram railway station is the medium through one can reach the city via the rail link.
Meenakshi Amman Temple, Tamil Nadu
Meenakshi Amman Temple, also known as Minakshi-Sundareshwara Temple, is one of the oldest and most important temples in India. Located in the city of Madurai, the temple has a great mythological and historical significance. It is believed that Lord Shiva assumed the form of Sundareswarar (the handsome one) and married Parvati (Meenakshi) at the site where the temple is currently located. Renowned for its astonishing architecture, Meenakshi Temple was nominated as one of the wonders of the world, but couldn’t make it into the list of ‘Seven Wonders of the World’. However, the temple is definitely one of the ‘Wonders of India’. It is also one of the main attractions of South India with thousands of devotees thronging it every day. During the ‘Tirukalyanam Festival,’ which takes place over a period of 10 days, the temple attracts more than a million devotees. Despite many people visiting it every day, the temple is well-maintained and was named the ‘Best Swachh Iconic Place’ (cleanest iconic place) in India. The temple occupies a huge area in the heart of Madurai as it spreads over 14 acres. The temple is enclosed with huge walls, which were built in response to the invasions. The entire structure, when viewed from above, represents a mandala. A mandala is a structure built according to the laws of symmetry and loci. There are various shrines built within the temple complex. Apart from the two main shrines, which are dedicated to Sundareswarar and Meenakshi, the temple has shrines dedicated to various other deities like Ganesha and Murugan. The temple also houses goddesses Lakshmi, Rukmini, and Saraswati.
How to Reach
- By Air: The adjoining airport is the Madurai International Airport. The city is well connected to major cities like Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Tiruchirapalli.
- By Train: The Madurai Junction is well joined to numerous significant cities in India like Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chennai, Cochin, Goa, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Patna, and Trivandrum with many others as well.
- By Road: The city is well linked to all main cities in Tamil Nadu along with the adjoining states.
Laxmi Narayani Golden Temple, Tamil Nadu
The Sripuram Golden Temple is a sight to behold, and it is situated in Tirumalaikodi at Southern Vellore, Tamil Nadu. The golden temple sits inside a spiritual park or ‘Spiritual Oasis’, and a star path leads the visitors towards it. The main feature of the temple has to be that it is covered in real gold foil and it is regarded as the biggest and the only temple to do that. The inauguration took place on 24th August 2007, and it was inaugurated by Narayani Amma. The chief deity of the temple is Sri Lakshmi Narayani or Maha Lakshmi, who is the Goddess of wealth in Hinduism. Sashasra Deepam or one thousand eight lamps is a ceremony that is performed in the temple every morning and in the evening. Pilgrims enjoy the beautiful natural park when they visit the temple. The best time to visit the temple is every day as the body decided to keep it open 365 days in a year. The speciality of the temple is that the temple is very beautifully covered with the pure gold foils from inside the temple as well as outside the temple. Every part of the temple was handmade using gold bars to convert them into foils. In all, around 1.5 tons gold was used to make this temple. The path which makes you enter towards the temple is in the shape of the Star, which brings peace and relaxation to the visitors. Devotees passing through this star path are blessed to read messages of truth, righteousness and transformation in human beings. The shape is regarded as auspicious as Sri Chakra. The Golden Temple of Sripuram is built in the Vedic style of architecture. The Annapoorani Mandapam or dining hall with around 10,000 people capacity developed where devotees are served delicious vegetarian meals on fresh banana leaves.
How to Reach
- By Road: There are many buses from Bangalore, Tirupati, chennai and from other cities.. The central bus stand is 12km away from the temple.
- By Air: The nearest international airport is Bangalore and chennai.
- By Rail: The main railway station from Vellore is at Katpadi. Katpadi is 18km from Sripuram. There two railway stations newly opened Vellore town and Vellore Cantonment.