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Ravinder Malik Jul 16 2014

Which are the 10 most beautiful temples in south India?

Jigyasha Prasad Jul 16 2014
10 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

There are so many temples of great architectural beauty in south India that it is difficult to pick the best. Here is our list of the 10 most beautiful temples in south India. This list is by no means a comprehensive one but each temple selected is truly remarkable.

Photo of Devi Kumari Temple

1. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

The Meenakshi Temple is dedicated to Shiva and his consort Meenakshi (Parvati). While the initial structure of the temple was started in the reign of the Pandyas, it was the Nayakas under whom the temple was transformed into the splendid complex as it stands today. This is also one of the few temples that has 4 gateways facing 4 different directions.

Photo of Meenakshi Temple (by Emmanuel Dyan)

The complex has several smaller quadrangular complexes and has 14 gopurams or towers.The eye-catching vimanas over the shrine of the two central deities are another sight to behold, each with their own set of intricate carvings depicting humans, animals, demons and gods, both being plated in gold. A visit to this temple also calls for a visit to the Hall of 1000 pillars or Aayiram Kaal Mandapam.

Photo of temple interiors

2. Vittala Temple, Hampi, Karnataka

The Vittala Temple is one of the most famous attractions of Hampi and is an extravagant architectural showpiece. Built originally in the 15th century, many successive kings enhanced the temple complex during their reign. The highlight of the Vittala Temple is its impressive pillared hall with musical pillars and the absolutely astounding stone chariot.

Photo of Vittala Temple

Photo of the interiors of temple (by Vinayak Wiki)

3. Kamakshi Amman Temple, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Much of the Kamakshi Temple as we see it today dates to the 14th century when an older shrine was extensively rebuilt. Beneath a gold-plated vimanam is the sanctum inside which sits Kamakshi, resplendent with four hands holding a noose, staff, sugarcane bow and flower arrows.

Photo of the temple

Photo of a festival at the temple

4. Chola Temples, Tanjore, Tamil Nadu

Tanjore was the seat of the Chola Dynasty and was the centre of art and architecture. There are so many temples in the surrounding area that you will be spoilt for choice. All the three, including Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram and the Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram are part of the UNESCO World Heritage monuments. No wonder then, the Chola Temples are there in the list of the 10 most beautiful temples of south India.

Photo of the temple

Part of the Sivaganga Fort, Brihadisvara Temple (1099 CE) is surrounded by a dry moat, and with its enormous entrance arch, looks awesome. At the entrance of the temple, the resident elephant will bless you on your head with a moist pat of it’s trunk! Unlike most Tamil temples, the entrance tower is shorter and less ornate than the one over the sanctum.

Photo of Brihadisvara Temple (by வணக்கம்)

5. Kumari Aman Temple, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu

Also known as Devi Kumari Temple, this ancient temple that lends its name to Kanyakumari houses the virgin goddess Devi Kanyakumari, made of blue stone. It is about 3000 years old and is set at the edge of the ocean. Apart from the religious importance, this temple offers spectacular views during sunrise and sunset.

Photo of Devi Kumari Temple (by Aleksandr Zykov)

6. Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple, Alleppey, Kerala

Dedicated to Lord Krishna, this pristine temple is located about 14 km from Alleppey and is a sight to behold with its simple yet elegant architecture. A typical Kerala temple, it is immensely famous for its palpayasam or sweet pudding made from rice and milk.

Photo of the temple (by Hareeshn)

7. Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

The Padmanabhaswamy Temple is located right at the centre of Thiruvananthapuram. The 30-metre gopuram above the entrance, built in the Dravidian style, and the 365 carved granite pillars in its inner corridor set it apart from all other temples in Kerala. This temple, which is one of the famous attractions here, is a must visit if you love beautiful temples. The principal deity, Padmanabhan, is shown reclining in a yogic pose on the serpent, Anantha. This temple is also among the wealthiest temples in India.

Photo of the temple (from the official website)

Photo of the temple (from its official website)

8. Tirumala Temple, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh

Tirumala temple is located on the Venkatadri Hill, one of the seven peaks of the Saptagiri Range. Lord Venkateshwara (also known as Balaji, Tirupati Thimmappa, Srivari and Srinivas) is resplendent in the sanctum lit with oil lamps. He is adorned with what is said to be the world’s largest emerald.

Photo of the temple (by C|-|ANDRA)

Photo of the temple (by sluffs)

9. Thousand Pillar Temple, Warangal,Telangana

On the Hanamkonda Hill stands the Thousand Pillar Temple, an example of Chalukyan architecture at its best. The temple was built in 1163. It is located at about 140 km from Hyderabad.

Photo of the temple (By Gopal Veeranala)

10. The Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

The Shore Temple is a dramatic sight on the very edge of the sea where the waves can sweep right in. The temple was built by Narasimha Varman I, and added to by Narasimha Varman II. The central shrine has a giant rock carving of Ananthasayana (the Sleeping Vishnu), which has to be seen in segments through various doors. There are two Shiva shrines as well. After sunset on weekends, the temple is spectacularly lit up.

Photo of temple (by dev2r)

Photo of interiors of the temple (by dalbera)

The above list of 10 most beautiful temples in south India are truly a visual treat. Let us know about more temples that stand out for their architectural splendor. Don’t forget to like and share this list.

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