Needless to say, the architectural beauty of Tamil Nadu’s temples is simply ‘extraordinary’. The beauty of the state reveals itself magnificently in the architecture of its temples, which are internationally renowned. The classic aura of the temples have been the delight of the tourists all over the world. This art form of the state speaks volumes about the craftsmanship of the artisans of the bygone era. The list of the temples in the state seems to be endless. Each city and town of Tamil Nadu has its own share of captivating temples with ageless beauty and legends. These temples are a great testimony to the rich cultural heritage of South India.
Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple
Located in Madurai, the Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple is the landmark of Tamil Nadu. The glory and grandeur of this Temple leave onlookers in awe. Built in the 17th century, it is dedicated to Goddess Parvati. Held in high esteem by the Hindus, the temple boasts of intricate carvings, life-size statues, huge gopurams, the tallest being 48 meters in height, bewitching sculptures, fascinating mandaps, tanks, shrines and beautiful images of goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. According to the legend the wedding of Shiv and Parvati was solemnized here. The anniversary of the deities is celebrated in the temple every year thirukadaiyur. The festival is called Meenakshi Kalyanam and is celebrated in the month of Chaitra (April- May).
Ramanatha Swamy Temple
Occupying a prized place in the holy town of Rameshwaram, the Ramanatha Swamy Temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. Devotees who make a pilgrimage to Banaras also come to this temple, as it is believed that the pilgrimage to Banaras is incomplete without a visit to this holy place. Sprawling over an area of 15 acres, it was built in the 12th century. The dramatic features of the temple are its walls adorned with exquisite carvings, 4000 pillars and remarkable mandapams. The temple has the largest temple hall in India.
Breathtakingly beautiful, the Mahabalipuram Rathas Temple are monoliths(an obelisk, column, large statue, etc., formed of a single block of stone) and the influence of the Buddhist Viharas and Chaityas can be seen in their architectural styles. These Rathas temple are a wonder in themselves and are popularly known as the Pancha Pandava Ratha.
Brihadeswawa Temple is a World Heritage Site visited by tourists from far and wide. Located in the city of Tanjavur, it is an important pilgrimage of the Hindus. One of the most ancient temples, the Brihadeswara Temple is well known for its astonishing architectural beauty. The temple is amazingly festooned with frescoes in the typical Thanjavur style of painting. The image of Nandi bull at the entrance of the temple is probably the largest of its kind on the earth.
Built meticulously, Kanyakumari Temple is dedicated to Kanya Devi (goddess Parvati). The temple offers magnificent views of the beautiful surroundings. What a peaceful and blissful environment the temple offers!
Airavatheeswara Temple Rewarded with the title of ‘World Heritage Site’, the Airavatheeswara Temple at Dharasuram, 34 km from Thanjavur, is a must-visit temple in the state. Reflecting the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple has a tower rising up to 23 m in height. The hundred-pillared Maha Mandapam and the exquisitely carved panels in the temple are quite notable. Plan a temple tour to Tamil Nadu and get soaked in peace and beauty. The best way to end this article is by the quote of Hap Hagood. “Within every block of wood and stone, there dwells a spirit, waiting to be released. Direct carving is a way of freeing the spirit – my own and that of the stone or wood”.