The southern part of India is known as South India that includes the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana, as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry. Among all these states, Tamil Nadu is the southernmost state on the east coast of India. It is popularly known as the temple state of India. It is also known as the City of Thousand Temples. There are many temples in southern India that will hypnotize you for sure.
You can also visit Madurai for shopping as it is famous for ornaments. The Guruvayur and Sabarimala Temple located in Kerala is also very popular among the people. There are also many famous temples in Andhra and Telangana such as the temple of Thousand Pillar, Jagganth Temple, Tirupati Temple, etc. Today I will tell you a piece of brief information and some facts about these temples.
Some of these temples come into the List of 38 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
Best Temples In South India
Here is the list of the most beautiful and popular temples in south India. If you are planning to visit South India you must visit these temples.
1. Virupaksha Temple – Hampi, Karnataka
The Virupaksha temple is one of the famous and beautiful temples of South India. This temple is located in Hampi which is 350 km away from Bangaluru. The temple was built by the queen of Vikramaditya to honor the victory of the king. This temple is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site.
This magnificent temple is situated at the bank of the beautiful river, Tungabhadra. The Virupaksha temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is known for its tall gopuram, grand architecture, and intricate carvings. The Virupaksha-Pampa festival organized in the temple is a big attraction. This temple is also a center for marriages.
2. Meenakshi Temple – Madurai, Tamil Nadu
The Meenakshi Temple is situated on the southern banks of river Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is dedicated to Parvati also known as Meenakshi and her consort, Sundareshwar, a form of Shiva. The temple is also called as Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple and is a symbol of culture and art.
The temple was listed in the top 30 nominees for the “New Seven Wonders of the World”. It is believed that the temple was build in the 6th century by Kumari Kandam, and was looted by Muslim Malik Kafur in the 14th century.
In the 16th century, the Nayak ruler Bishwanath Nayakar rebuild the structure. The big halls, gopurams of the temple are ornate, grand and splendor in their appearance.
3. Venkateswara Temple – Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh
Sri Venkateswara Swami Temple is one of the most popular temples in India. The Temple is also known as Tirupati Balaji Temple. The Tirupati Balaji Temple is located in Tirumala of Andhra Pradesh and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
This temple is the richest temple in India where devotees donate a huge amount of gold and money every year. Sri Venkateswara Swami Temple was built in 300 AD and is located in the hill town of Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh. The temple is based on magnificent Dravidian style architecture.
The famous story behind the big donation of gold and money is that Lord Vishnu could not return to Vaikunta without paying the debt of Kubera, which devotees believe to help Vishnu to pay the debt by donating their valuables.
4. Ramanathaswamy Temple – Ramnad, Tamil Nadu
The Ramanathaswamy Temple is one of the most famous temples as it is considered one of the twelve sacred Jyotirlinga temples. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Ramanathaswamy Temple is known for the longest and most ornate corridors among other South Indian temples.
The tale narrated by the legends says that Lord Rama who is believed to have prayed to Lord Shiva here. The temple is located on a big island of sand in the Ramnad district of Tamil Nadu. It was built in 7th to 8th century. Rameswaram is also one of the char dhams for pilgrimage.
5. Airavatesvara Temple – Darasulam, Tamil Nadu
Airavatesvara Temple is located in the town of Darasulam near Kumbakonam. Airavatesvara Temple is an example of Dravidian architecture and was built in the 12th century by Rajaraja Chola. The temple is listed as the world heritage site by UNESCO.
The story says that the white elephant of Indra who worshipped Lord Shiva in this temple was a devotee of Lord Shiva. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is known for its exquisite stone carvings.
The build of the temple resembles with the shape of a chariot and it is classified as Karak kovil. The area inside the temple used for temple festivals.
6. The Brihadishwara Temple – Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
The Brihadeshwara Temple is a splendid example of the Dravidian style of architecture which is located in the city of Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and also listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The temple is one of the largest temples in India which was completed in 1010 CE.
There is a big statue of Nandi which was carved from a single stone. The temple tower is 60 meters high and considered as highest in the world. This temple is the most visited tourist attraction in South India.
7. Vitthala Temple – Hampi, Karnataka
Vitthala Temple is considered to be one of the biggest and the most popular architectural structure in Hampi. The temple is situated in the northeastern part of Hampi, just near the banks of the Tungabhadra River.
The spectacular masterpiece has an amazing stone architecture such as the incomparable stone chariot and the fascinating musical pillars. The temple is the biggest attraction for tourist who comes from all over India.
The Vitthala Temple is dedicated for the Lord Vishnu who is also known as Lord Vittala. The monolithic and giant stone-chariot attract tourist from all over India. The temple was constructed back in the reign of King Devaraya II.
8. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple – Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is located on an island in the Kaveri river in Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli. The temple is dedicated to Sri Ranganatha who is a form of Lord Vishnu. The temple complex is huge and spread over an area of 156 acres.
The stunning Dravidian style of architecture attracts tourist from all over India. The temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Vishnu. The Dravidian style of architecture looks magnificent in its appearance. The temple is also considered as one of the eight “Swayam Vyakta Kshetras” of Lord Vishnu.
As per the research, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is considered as one of the largest functioning temples in the World.
9. Ayyappa Temple, Sabarimala
The Sabarimala temple located in the Pathanamthitta district in Kerala. The magnificent temple of Lord Ayyappa is situated in the beautiful Sabari Hills covered by dense green forest. Millions of devotees visit this temple every year during Mandalakalam to seek blessings from the Lord Ayyappa.
The temple is known for the cultural, societal, and cultural elements attached to it. This is the reason this temple is one of the largest annual pilgrimages in the world which is visited by over 100 million devotees each year. The Sabarimala temple is mentioned in Ramayana. This temple is also known for religious harmony and the Vavar Thara in the premises of this holy temple.
It is believed that Vavar, a Sufi saint who became the friend of Lord Ayyappa. Women pilgrims of age between 10 to 50 were not allowed to enter the temple between 1991 and 2018. In September 2018, a judgment by the Supreme Court of India ruled that all pilgrims regardless of gender, including women in the menstruating age group, should be allowed entrance to Sabarimala.
10. Thanumalayan Temple – Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu
The Thanumalayan Temple is located in Suchindram in the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, India. The Thanumalayan Temple is one of the most popular temples in India. The temple is also known as Suchindrum Temple and was built in the 17th century.
There are some special features of the temple including the four musical pillars, the hanging pillar, and the single Linga which represents the triumvirs, Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh. The temple is a magnificent architectural example of its quality of workmanship in stone.
11. Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu
Kanchipuram is the reason why Tamil Nadu is known as a “City of a Thousand Temples”. Kanchipuram is not just famous for its distinctive silk saris but also there are 100 of temples with unique architectural beauty. This place is located around two hours southwest of Chennai, on the main road to Bangalore. It was once the capital of the Pallava dynasty.
This city of temples has many temples with unique architectural beauty. The diversity of temples is especially remarkable. These temples are built by various rulers (the Cholas, Vijayanagar kings, Muslims, and British also ruled this part of Tamil Nadu) and they are dedicated to both Shiva and Vishnu god.
12. Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram
Nataraja Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Nataraja (Shiva as the lord of dance) in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India. It is also known as the Chidambaram Nataraja temple or Thillai Nataraja temple. This beautiful temple architecture expresses the connection between the arts and spirituality, artistic activity, and the divine.
The wall of temple carvings displays all the 108 karanas from the Natya Shastra mentioned by Bharata Muni. These postures form a foundation of the classical Indian dance Bharatanatyam.
Read More, List of Famous Temples in India to Visit
So, this was the list of beautiful and magnificent temples of south India. If you are planning to visit south India this list would be helpful for you. The build of temples and stories mentioned in the walls of these South Indian temples are incredible. You will get surprised after knowing the technology people used in ancient times.