Top 10 Temples of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is well known for its temples. There are 33,000 ancient temples are scattered all over the state and most of them are listed as largest Hindu temples in India. You’ll find some of the most spectacular temples of Tamil Nadu here.
Here’s the top 10 temples that will never stop wowing you.

1. Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadeeswarar Temple is locally known as Periya Kovil and Rajarajeshwara temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India. Brihadeeswarar Temple, is one of the largest temples in India and it is considered as the example of Tamil architecture. It is built by Rajaraja Chola I and completed in 1010 CE. UNESCO world heritage site list Brihadeeswarar temple as the “Greatest living Chola temple”.

History

Foundation of Brihadeeswar temple was laid out by the Tamil emperor Arulmozhivarman who was popular as Rajaraja Chola I. Main purpose of building this temple was to grace the thrones of Chola empire with the compliance of one command Rajaraja Chola I receive in a dream. The foundation was laid out in 1002 CE. . An axial and symmetrical geometry rule the temple layout. The temples from two following centuries and from the same period are an expression of Tamils Chola power, artistic expertise and wealth. This temple shows an architectural example showcasing the Dravida type of temple architecture and representative of the Chola empire ideology and Tamil civilization in southern India.

2. Ucchi Pillayar Temple,Tiruchirapalli

Ucchi Pillayar Koil is a 7th century Hindu temple located a top of Rock fort, Trichy, Tamil Nadu dedicated to Lord Ganesh. Ucchi Pillayar Temple stands 83 m tall perched atop the rock. The temple is situated at the top of the rock. The Belief about this temple is a vinayaga is shown with a small bump on his head, which was caused when Vibhishana knuckled vinayaga on his head.

History

Vibhishana was the younger brother of Ravana who ruled Lanka. when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after rescuing Mother Sita, who was kidnapped and held by Ravana. Sugriva and Hanuman helped Rama for rescues of Mother Sita. Vibhishana aid Rama in his battle against his brother Ravana. After winning the war. Rama gifted an Idol of Lord Ranganatha, a form of Vishnu.

Vibhishana though supported Rama, He was basically an Asura. So The Devas wanted to stop this idea of taking the Idol of Lord Ranganatha to his kingdom. They request the help of the Lord Vinayaga and Lord accepts their plan.while returning back to his kingdom with the gift, Vibhishana came south through Trichy. Seeing the beauty of the Cauvery river he wanted to relax for a while. While giving the Idol Rama told Vibishana not to keep in the land, if once kept in the land it can’t be removed. So he called a small boy near the river. Vibhishana not knowing the small boy was Lord Vinayaga.He gave the Idol to the small boy. After a while waiting for Vibhishana small boy kept the Idol on the ground. Vibhishana was shocked to see the boy was missing. He applied all his energy to remove the Idol from the ground but he fails. He got furious with the small boy and went chasing him. The boy went to the hill top. Vibhishana knocked on the small boys head with anger. The boy revealed himself as Lord Vinayagar to vibhishana.Vibhishana prayed Lord Vinayaga and left the Ranga on the bank of Cauvery.

And Lord Vinayaga who played the tricks with Vibhishana, is work shipped as an Ucchi player at the hill top.

 

3. Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai

Kapaleeshwarar Temple is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in Mylapore, Chennai, Tamilnadu. The temple was built around the 7th century with the Dravidian architecture. Curious fact about this temple, Even though the temple was built in the 7th century. It was destroyed by the Portuguese and rebuilt in the 16th century.

History

The commonly held view about the Kapaleeshwarar temple was built by Pallavas in 7th century CE.In this temple, Goddess Parvati was worshiped as karpagavalli. Goddess Parvati begged lord shiva as she wants to know the full meaning of the mantra na ma shiva ya. While Lord shiva was teaching her on these topics. God Parvati was attracted by the beauty of the peacock dancing before her. For her inattention, Lord cursed her to become a peacock. For relief from her curse, Lord advised her to go to the earth and penance of him. God Parvati work shipped the shivalinga under the pine tree in this place. Moved by her penance Lord shiva appeared before her and confirmed her release from the curse and named her karpagavali. As requested by the God Karpagavalli, Lord shiva approved the name of the place Mayilai-now Mylapore. We can see the representative on the stone in the small shrine under a pine tree in the courtyard of the temple.

4. Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple, Kanchipuram

Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in Tamil Nadu, India. This temple has a Dravidian architectural style. It was built by Pallava King in 7th century AD. The Shiva Linga in this temple is 10 feet high.

History

The Kanchi Kailasanathar temple is constructed by the Pallava dynasty during 685-750 AD. Kailasanathar temple is famous for its magnificent Vimana, the Gopuram over the sanctum Sanctorum. The temple is adorned with many sculptures of Lord Shiva in 64 postures. The Narasimhavarman II Pallava ruler started the construction, but it was completed by his son Mahendravarman III.58 small shrines with different forms of Lord Shiva surrounded the main shrine. The walls of the temple were covered with the beautiful, beautiful paintings of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati In different postures. Special feature of this temple is the 16 sided Shiva Lingam made up of black granite at the main shrine. According to the local belief, the temple was a served as a shelter to the kings during the war. The secret tunnel built by the kings was used as an escape route and still it is visible. The Kailasanathar temple has other names such as Kachipettu Periya Thirukatrali, Inspired by the architecture of this temple, Raja Raja Chola I built the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur.

5. Arunachaleswarar Temple,Tiruvannamalai

Arunachaleswarar Temple is located in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Arunachaleswarar Temple is significant to the Hindu sect of Saivism as one of the temples associated with five elements, the Pancha Bhoota Stalas and especially the element of fire or Agni. The Saiva saint poet Manikkavasagar composed the Trivempaavai here.

History

Lord Brahma and Lord Thirumal entered into a controversy among themselves so as to ascertain who was greatest. Both the Lord asked Lord Shiva to judge them. Lord Shiva told whoever able to see his crown as well as feet will be declared as the greatest. Lord Brahma took the form swan and flew to see the crown of Lord Shiva. Lord Brahma saw a thazhambu flower which had decked Lord Shiva’s crown. Brahma asked the flower as to the distance of the Lord Shiva’s crown whereby the flower replied that it was falling for forty thousand years. Lord Brahma, realizing that he would not able to see the Lord Shiva Crown, Lord Brahma asked the flower to act as a false witness. The thazhambu flower acting as a false witness declared that Lord Brahma had seen the crown. Lord Shiva became angry at the deception and cursed the Brahma should not have any temple on the earth and not to use the thazhambu flower while praying for Lord Shiva. The place where Lord Shiva stood as a column of fire to eliminate the ego is Thiruvannamalai.

 

6. Srirangam Temple,Tiruchirapalli

Srirangam Temple is a 6th to 9th centuries AD Hindu temple located in island of river Cauvery, Srirangam, Trichy, Tamilnadu. This temple is dedicated to Ranganatha (Vishnu). It is one of the masterpieces of the Dravidian style of architecture and has a tallest gopuram in south India. Srirangam temple is famous for the festival Vaikunta Ekadeshi is celebrated every year in the month of December to January.

History

Vibhishana was the younger brother of Ravana who ruled Lanka. when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after rescuing Mother Sita, who was kidnapped and held by Ravana. Sugriva and Hanuman helped Rama for rescues of Mother Sita. Vibhishana aid Rama in his battle against his brother Ravana. After winning the war. Rama gifted an Idol of Lord Ranganatha, a form of Vishnu.

Vibhishana though supported Rama, He was basically an Asura. So The Devas wanted to stop this idea of taking the Idol of Lord Ranganatha to his kingdom. They request the help of the Lord Vinayaga and Lord accepts their plan.while returning back to his kingdom with the gift, Vibhishana came south through Trichy. Seeing the beauty of the Cauvery river he wanted to relax for a while. While giving the Idol, Rama told Vibishana not to keep Idol on the land, if once kept in the land it can’t be removed. So he called a small boy near the river. Vibhishana not knowing the small boy was Lord Vinayaga.He gave the Idol to the small boy. After a while waiting for Vibhishana small boy kept the Idol on the ground. Vibhishana was shocked to see the boy was missing. He applied all his energy to remove the Idol from the ground but he fails. He got furious with the small boy and went chasing him. The boy went to the hill top. Vibhishana knocked on the small boys head with anger. The boy revealed himself as Lord Vinayagar to vibhishana.Vibhishana prayed Lord Vinayaga and left the Ranga on the bank of Cauvery.

It was Vinayaga trick to retain Lord Ranga in Srirangam, Trichy. Now famously know as Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple.

 

7. Sri Meenakshi  Amman Temple,Madurai

Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple is a Hindu temple loactedat the bank of RiverVaigai, in Madurai,Tamil Nadu,India. This temple is dedicated to Lord Parvati  known as Meenakshi, and her consort Lord Shiva as Sundareswarar.Many Historical evidence evidence of the temple was have been found dating the early  A.D. The temple was destroyed by theIslamic conqueror Malikkapur in 14th century. It was then rebuilt by the  Nayak ruler Vishwanatha Nayakar around the 16th century.

History

According to the Hindu legend, in order to answer the prayer of the King Malayadwaja Pandya and his wife Kanchanamalai, Goddess Parvati appeared out of the holy fire of the Putra Kameshti Yagna as a girl Child. The girl had three breasts, a voice from the heaven told not to worry about the abnormality and also said that the third breast will disappear as soon as the girl met her future husband. The king named the girl “Tadaatagai” and was trained carefully in all 64 Sastras. she ascended the throne and gave good governance to her people. Tadaatagai reached the marriage age. she was set out with her army to conquer regions, including Mount Kailash where she fought with Shiva too. When she looked at Shiva, she was unable fight and bowed her head due to shyness and one of her breasts disappeared . she understood that the Lord Shiva was her destined husband. Marriage was arranged. Lord shiva tied the knot to Tadaatagai on Panguni Uthira . After the Marriage, the pair ruled over Madurai for a long time and then assumed divine forms as Lord Sundareswarar and Goddess Meenakshi.

8. Swaminatha Swamy Temple,Swamimalai

Swaminatha Swamy Temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan located in Swamimalai, Tamil Nadu, Trichy. The temple is one of the six holy shrines of Lord Murugan. The temple is believed to be in existence from 2nd century BC that is from the Sangam period and was modified by the Parantaka Chola I. In 1740, during the Anglo-French war between Hyder Ali and British the temple was greatly damaged.

History

The Lord Murugan here presents himself as Gurunatha who taught the essence of the Pranava Mantra to his father, Lord Shiva and thus become Swaminatha. It is once said that as a result of the curse laid on Lord Shiva by Bhrigumuni, Lord Shiva forgets the “Pranava Mantra”. Lord Shiva immediately sent his on Subrahmanya and asked him for the Mantra. The young Subrahmanya replied as he knew the Mantra and asked Lord Shiva to learn the Mantra in a proper manner There upon with the folded hands and bowed heads, Lord Shiva stood before young Subrahmanya with great veneration and learnt the Mantra. As this incident took place in this sacred place it was called as “Swamimalai” and the deity as Swaminatha.

 

9. Mahabalipuram Temple ,Chennai

Mamallapuram, well known as Mahabalipuram is a town in Kancheepuram District, Tamil Nadu, India. It was a port city of the Dynasty of Pallavas. The sculptures here show the day to day life. In 1827, British Raj established the modern city of Mahabalipuram.

History and Temples In Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram Temples were built by the regions of Narasimhavarman and his successor Najasimhavarman, showcase the movement from the rock-cut architecture of structural buildings. There are several temples in Mahabalipuram with enormous size. The free standing monolithic temples are called as “Rathas”. The temple with two towers are famously known as shore temples. The two low hills in Mahabalipuram suited about 400m from the sea, which is known as “Mandapas”. On the top of the big hills there is a structural temple and at a little distance there is a “Vijayanagara Gopura”. There are 8 monolithic temples and five Rathas, namely Ganesha Ratha, Pidari Rosas’ and Valayanakuttai Ratha are in one place.

The shore temple

The shore temple is so named because it overlooks the shore of the Bay of Bengal. It is built in the 7th century during the rule of Narsimha Varman II and Rajasimha. It has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.This temple is the most complex is the most complex group of all the temples as it has two shrines placed one behind the other and the two shrines are separated by the thrid shrine. The first two shrines are Saiva and the thrid being Vimanas. The shore temple is a complex temple as consist of two Siva temples and a carving of Anantasayana Vishnu.

 

Temple of Sthalasayana Perumal

The Sthalasayana Perumal temple is situated to the north of the big hill, Most of the monuments here are Pallavas dynasty except this Sthalasayana Perumal temple. This temple was constructed at the time of Vijayanagar and the Mandapas belong to the Chola period. This place is also a world heritage marked by the UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are forty monuments of different types and the arts in Mahabalipuram, which includes the open-air-bas relief.

 

10. Darasuram temple,Kumbakonam

Drasuram is a Panchayat town located 3 kilometers from Kumbakonam in Thanjavur District, Tamil Nadu, India. The town is known for the Airavateswara temple. It is built in the 12th century by Rajaraja Chola II. The temple is a recognized by UNESCO World Heritage site. The Great Chola temple Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Darasuram were built by the Cholas between the 10th and 12th centuries and has a lot of similarities.

History

The Airavatesvara temple is dedicated to Lord Siva. Lord Shiva here is known as Airavateshvara, Lord Shiva was worshipped at this temple by Airavata (the elephant which carries the god Indira). Legends has it that while the Airavata, suffering from the change of colour curse from the Saga Durvasa, had its colours restored by bathing in the sacred water of this temple. This legend is marked by the image of Airavata with the Goddess Indira in an inner shrine. The temple and its Goddess derive its name from this incident.

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