Southern India has some magnificent temples that were constructed hundreds of years ago and are still standing erect. Some of these temples are architectural marvels and will give you a glimpse of the rich history of Southern India.
Virupaksha Temple, Hampi
Lord Shiva is also known by the name “Virupaksha” and this temple in Hampi is dedicated to him. This is a magnificent temple in the Vijayanagara and is present in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. It was in the 7th century that this temple was built, but the rulers of different eras made a lot of additions to it. You can visit this temple for its architecture and the intricate carvings on the walls of this temple. If you happen to visit this temple in December, you will see a lot of marriages happening here.
Meenakshi Temple, Tamil Nadu
Meenakshi temple is one of the oldest temples in Southern India (as per mythology, it is believed that lord Indra laid the foundation of this temple!), though the initial structure was destroyed by an invader named Malik Kafur. Now what we see is the structure that was built in the 16th century. There are 14 gopurams in this temple and the two gopurams are made of gold. Though the whole architecture of this temple is magnificent, there are two features of this temple that will leave you spell-bound; the Nataraja in the raised leg pose and goddess Meenakshi holding a parrot. If you happen to visit this temple during the Tirukalyanam Festival (this festival is organized annually), you will see millions of visitors flooding into the temple to celebrate this 10-day grand festival.
Venkateswara Temple, Tirupati
This temple is famously known as the Tirupati temple and is known as one of the richest temples around the globe because millions of devotees donate money, gold, silver, etc. to this temple as a sign of their faith in the Tirupati temple. This temple is situated in the hills of Tirumala (a small town in Andhra Pradesh). If you want to truly see the magnificence of Dravidian architecture, then you should pay a visit to this temple at least once in your lifetime. While you are there, do not forget to get a good look at the black crown on the head of the lord’s idol; it is believed to be made of pure diamond and is one of the most precious diamonds in the world. You can take a discounted bus ticket from the online travel portal to reach Tirumal from Tirupati, for “darshaan”.
Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameswaram
There are 12 Jyotirlingas in India (dedicated to Lord Shiva) and this temple in Rameswaram is considered as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. Apart from that, this is also one of the “Char Dhams” of India. The USP of this temple is that it has one of the longest hallways, as compared to other temples in India and there are 4000 pillars in this hallway. Another noteworthy feature of this temple is the statue of Nandi, which is about 17 feet high and 15 feet wide. If you are planning to visit this temple then do remember that there are certain rules to travel in India, especially in South India. The temples’ authorities are particular about the dress code and you will need to stick to this code.
Brihadeeswarar Temple, Tamil Nadu
This temple is over 1,000 years old and is a living example of how great the Chola dynasty of India was. This is a majestic temple situated in Thanjavur and belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. There are many one-of-a-kind features of this temple; when the sun’s position is at the pinnacle, this temple does not cast any shadow of its own on the ground. The temple houses 8 guardians of the directions (namely, Varun Dev, Vaayu Dev, Isana Dev, Yama Bhagwan, Kubera, Indra Bhagwan, Agni Dev and Nirriti). Inside the temple, you will find a lot of pillars, which when tapped release different musical notes. All these reasons are enough to pay a visit to this oldest temple in the South.
The Srirangam Temple, Tamil Nadu
This temple also goes by the name Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple and is dedicated to the Lord Vishnu (actually to a form of Lord Vishnu, named Ranganathaswamy). An islet is formed by two rivers flowing down south, Cauvery & Coleroon, and this temple is built on that island. This temple is grand and is located in an ethereal surrounding, emitting a strong positive aura of its own. The USP of this temple is that it houses the shrine of Lord Vishnu that manifested itself. This temple is more like a temple town built on a 156-acre land area.
Suchindram Temple, Kanyakumari
This temple is full of architectural miracles and thus attracts pilgrims from various parts of South India. This temple is a must-visit for its hanging pillar (it is said that a pillar is standing without any support in the interior of this temple and if this pillar is removed, the whole temple with come crashing down!). This temple also houses 4 pillars which when tapped, release music. If you plan your trip in advance, you will be able to cover a lot of temples in South India and spend less on planned trip to South India.