Temples of South India showcase splendid amalgamation of absolute spirituality and architectural superiority. For tourists, South India temples tour is a lifetime experience, where they acquaint themselves with a millennium old culture. The culture was very carefully kept preserved and nurtured in the temples of south India during course of history by different dynasties which ruled South India. The temples in the southern part of India spread across states of Orissa, Kerala, Karanataka, Andra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu showcase different architectural style and commissioned by the respective rulers in reverence of their holy deity. Among different architectural styles practiced in conceiving and constructing the temples in south India, the most important one is the Dravidian architecture.
Dravidian architecture originated thousand years ago and primarily practiced construction of Pyramid Shaped temples which is also known as Koils. In Koils, the structure depends on the proficiently carved stone to form steps designed with statutes of deities, kings, warriors and dancers. Dravidian style of architecture also flourished in royal courts of empires like Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyan, Chera, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas and Vijayanagara. Each empire contributed substantially to the architectural style. The composition and structure in the style is consisted of Vimanam- the main part, Mantapams-the porches, Gopurams-Gate-pyramids and Chaultris- pillard halls. Though there are several hundred temples scattered across entire south India.
Yet some of the must visit temples are as follows:
Situated in state of Kerala, this is another important pilgrimage of Hindus. Devoted to Lord Ayyappa, the temple attracts around forty to fifty million devotees during its annual pilgrimage between months of November to December every year. Its location on the top of the 468 meters high mountain above sea level and surrounding forest make the temple scenic and picturesque.
Situated in state of Orissa, this temple is devoted to Lord Harihara. This one thousand years old temple is located in the emple city of Bhubaneswar and is one of the biggest temples in India. Embellished with Kalinga architecture and sculpture, the exotic Lingaraja temple is 180 feet tall.
Located on an island in Rameswaram close to Tamil Nadu coast, this is an important Hindu pilgrimage. The temple is constructed in praise of Lord Shiva. Architecturally, the pillars and carvings on the temple magnify the beauty of the temple.
Located in Triupati in Andhra Pradesh, this is a renowned Hindu Temple revering Lord Vishnu. The Temple is also known as Tirumala Venkateswara or the Temple of Seven Hills. This temple is visited by 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily, thus is a most visited pilgrim site of the world. The annual festival of Brahmotsavam is also held in this temple.
Situated in Madurai in state of Tamil Nadu, this is one of the most beautiful temples of India. The Temple is also known as Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple. The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati, was constructed about 1600 years back.
Hence, south Indian temples are must visit part of your itinerary, while on a tour of South India.