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Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai - Amazing Temple to Visit in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Temple Tourism: 5 Amazing Temples to Visit in Tamil Nadu (2021)

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Tamil Nadu is the ‘temple city of India.’ Tamil Nadu is one state in India where the brilliant sculpting and exquisite architecture will leave you spellbound. Any trip to India is incomplete without a visit to Tamil Nadu to see these majestic and holy wonders carved in stone.

Nearly all the temples in Tamil Nadu have been built during medieval and ancient times, and a trip to these temples is as good as keeping a foot onto that side of history. Come see the extraordinary sculpting, artistic, and architectural skills of the engineers, architects, and artisans of an era long gone. The temples are the perfect showcase of the opulent and lavish tastes of the ancient kingdoms, from the Cholas to the Nayakas and the Pallavas. Standing tall, these temples form the backbone of the Tamil culture.

Tamil Nadu Temple Tourism: 5 Amazing Temples to Visit in Tamil Nadu

Here are some of the best temples of Tamil Nadu.

1. Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai

One of the most famous temples in Tamil Nadu, the Meenakshi Amman temple is also one of the most ancient temples, not just in the state, but in all of India. According to many archaeological and historical records, the Meenakshi Amman temple was initially built somewhere in the 6th century AD. However, the present structure dates back to the 16th century, when it was restored after being destroyed by Muslim invaders in the 14th century.

This famous temple of Tamil Nadu is an architectural masterpiece and gives us a peek of Dravidian architecture. The sculpted outside of the temple building can be seen from a far-off distance. The temple is adorned with sculpted figures of thousands of gods, goddesses, and demons. The intricately carved sculptures and scenes depict various phases and tales from Indian mythology, which adds a unique charm to the temple. You can see scenes of the ancient ocean of milk being churned by both the devas and the asuras; there is a famous figure of the nine-headed- Ravana playing the veena, and even the wedding ceremony of Meenakshi Amma with Sundareshwarar is depicted.

Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai - Amazing Temple to Visit in Tamil Nadu

Photo by Appaiah  Image Source

Another outstanding feature of this temple is its thousand pillared halls. This engineering marvel is such that each pillar has been built out of single granite rock and produces a different musical, not if tapped.

The temple experiences a footfall of thousands of tourists and devotees every day, which reaches around a million during the months of April to May when the annual Meenakshi Thirukalyanam festival is celebrated.

Timings to visit the temple: 05:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 16:00 to 22:00 p.m.

2. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam

Popularly known as the ‘Ranganathaswamy Temple,’ this temple is located on the island of Srirangam in the Tiruchirappalli city of Tamil Nadu. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is another masterpiece showcasing Dravidian architecture. It is a vast temple complex, spread over 150 acres, and has 49 sub-shrines. It is also dotted with 21 beautifully carved Gopurams (which are tower gateways) and the main gopuram, known as the ‘Raja Gopuram.’ The Raja Gopuram stands proud and tall at an astonishing 236 feet, making it one of the tallest towers in all of Asia.

The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is known as being a unique shrine, as you will find a mix of a temple and a township co-existing within the same compound. The township is a part of the temple. The temple is dedicated to temple activities, and the remaining portion serves the townspeople of the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam-Temple to Visit in Tamil NaduImage Source

The temple also consists of seven enclosures or prakaras. The presiding deity of the temple, Lord Vishnu, is reclined in the form of Lord Ranganathaswamy on a five-headed serpent. The tower located above the innermost enclosure is made in the shape of ‘Om’ and is purely gold plated.

This temple is counted as being one of the first amongst the 108 ‘Divya Desams’ or the holy abodes of Lord Vishnu. This is why the temple sees uncountable devotees and tourists every year.

The exact date of the temple’s construction is not known. As per archaeological records, the original structure is said to date back to the early 10th century to the Chola dynasty.

Timings to visit the temple: 05:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 16:00 to 21:00 p.m.

3. Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Chennai

The Kapaleeshwarar Temple was constructed under the reign of the majestic Pallava kings in the 7th century CE. It is located in the Mylapore district in Chennai. If Chennai is your first destination as you visit Tamil Nadu, then a visit to the Kapaleeshwarar Temple should definitely find a mention in your stay.

The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is worshipped here in the form of Sri Kapaleeshwarar. The temple is today one of the major pilgrimage sites in all of Tamil Nadu and India for the followers of Lord Shiva, attracting thousands of devotees each day.

The most striking feature of this temple is the enormous rainbow-colored gopuram. The pillared halls and a separate water body are some of the finer features of the Dravidian style architecture.

Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Chennai- Amazing Temple to Visit in Tamil NaduImage Source

Lord Shiva is enshrined here in the form of a Shivalinga, and there is also a smaller shrine of Goddess Parvati, who is enshrined here in the form of Goddess Karpagambal.

The Kapaleeshwarar Temple attracts a huge crowd of devotees on Fridays, which is when the presiding deity of Lord Shiva is adorned with a wondrous garland of gold coins.

Another exciting feature of this temple is that there is a small shrine under an old Punnai Tree in the temple’s courtyard that shows the story of how Goddess Parvati in the form of a peahen worshipped the Shivalinga here.

The Kapaleeshwarar Temple is one of the most revered temples in Tamil Nadu and is a must-see when you visit Chennai.

Timings to visit the temple: 05:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 16:00 to 21:00 p.m.

4. Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur

Located in the city of Thanjavur, the Brihadeeswarar Temple is another famous temple of Tamil Nadu. The temple is popularly referred to as the ‘Thanjavur Periya Kovil’ and is said to be the largest temple in India. Furthermore, the outstanding architecture of this temple also makes it one of the best temples in the country.

This is a 1002-year old temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Built n 1010 AD in the Chola dynasty by Emperor Rajaraja Chola I, the temple is a representative of the brilliant architectural skills of the Chola dynasty. It is estimated that around 130,000 tons of granite were used for constructing the temple. The temple’s tower or Vimana is a grand 216 feet, said to be the tallest in the world. There is also a grand statue of Nandi (Lord Shiva’s sacred bull), which is 16 feet in length by 13 feet in height that has been carved out of one single stone. This is known to be one of the largest carved Nandi statues in the world.

Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur- Best Temple to Visit in Tamil NaduImage Source

There are hundreds and hundreds of sculptures dedicated to Lord Shiva, and a massive idol of Lord Shiva with three eyes also grace the main sanctum of the temple. There are also over 250 shiva lingams, and sculptures of the Lord’s 108 dance poses within the premises of the temple.
The Brihadeeswarar temple is today recognized as a World Heritage Monument by UNESCO.

Timings to visit the temple: 06:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 16:00 to 20:30 p.m.

5. Kumari Amman Temple in Kanyakumari

Kanyakumari, the last point of India, is a breathtaking and must-see place in itself if you visit Tamil Nadu. One of the most famous temples of Tamil Nadu can be found here – the Kumari Amman Temple. Located on the shores of Kanyakumari, this temple is devoted to one of the incarnations of Goddess Parvati, who came in the form of Kanyakumari, or the Virgin Goddess.

The temple hails back to the 8th century when it was built by Pandya kings. Subsequently, rulers from the Vinjaynagar, Nayaka, and Chola dynasties have renovated it over time.

Kumari Amman Temple in Kanyakumari-Must Visit Temple in Tamil NaduImage Source

The unique blue stone idol of Devi Kanya, located in this temple is believed to have been installed by Sage Parshuram himself. The Goddess holds a garland in her right hand and has a sparkling nose jewel. There is a significance behind the sparkling nose ring as it is believed that the nose ring shone so bright that it was mistaken as a light from a lighthouse. The brilliance of the nose ring confused many ships sailing in the sea, and they got destroyed against the sharp rocks, keeping Kanyakumari safe from many foreign invaders over the years.

The Kumari Amman Temple in Kanyakumari draws visitors and devotees from all over India, and it is known as being one of the most beautiful temples in India.

Timings to visit the temple: 05:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 16:00 to 22:00 p.m.

Known as the Land of Temples, there are many more beautiful temples in Tamil Nadu to visit. For centuries now, the temples of Tamil Nadu have served as a source of reverence for devotees from all over the world. It is said that there are over 33,000 temples in Tamil Nadu, with some of the grandest and revered temples located here. The temples mentioned above reverberate with divine energy that attracts pilgrims and tourists throughout the year.