Spiritual Places of Tamil Nadu

With thousands of temples occupying the landscape of Tamil Nadu, the state is also called the land of temples. The diversity in ethos and religious practices in Tamil Nadu has led to setting up of numerous places of worship, belonging to the followers of different religions. A number of Churches, Mosques, Synagogues, Gurdwaras etc represent the sentiments of the abovementioned religions. Many temples in Tamil Nadu are more than thousand years old. Most of the temples in the state are built in Dravidian style. These temples are proof of the architectural genius of the bygone era. The temples at Mahabalipuram and Tanjore belong to this category.

Airavateshwara Temple at Darasuram

Location:
situated in the village of Darasuram which is situated 2kms southwest of Kumbakonam.
Dedicated To: Nagaraja, Dhakshinamurthi (lord facing south) and lord Shiva.
Best time to visit: October - March
Built In: AD 1146-73 by Rajaraja Chola II and completed by Pandya Rulers.
Get There: Connected by rail with Trichy, Madurai, Nagore, and Madras directly. The nearest airport, Tiruchirapalli, is 58 kms.

This temple is famous for its musical steps. This temple has the most artistic stone pillars and streamer on its walls, in a style contiguous on mannerism, with an emphasis on elongated limbs and polished features.

Alwar Tirunagari Temple

Location: 20 Miles East Of Tirunelveli and 17 Miles West Of Tiruchendur, Tamil Nadu.
Dedicated To: Lord Vishnu
Best time to visit: October to March
Built In: 12 century and built by Tirumangaialwar.
Famous Festival: Aadi bhrammotsavam

Some of the important features of the temple include the gold plated chariot of the Lord Adinathahaswamy and 48 pillars, each carved out a single block of stonework. This temple covers the area of 5 acres.

Avudayar Koil Temple

Location: located in the small town named Audayaurkoli which is around 14 kilomeetrs city of Pudhukkottai district in Tamil Nadu.
Dedicated To: Lord shiva
Best time to visit: October to March
Built In: 8th century AD and built by Manikavasagar.

The sculptural work of this temple is exquisite. It is one of the oldest temples of the south India. There is just a platform in the main shrine.

Azhagar Koil Temple

Location: 21 kilometers North West of Madurai, Tamil Nadu.
Dedicated to: Lord Vishnu resides as Azhagar, brother of Meenakshi.
Famous Festival: Chithirai Festival (April/May)
Best time to visit: October to March.
Get There: Madurai is the nearest railway station and airport.

This temple is surrounded by hill, green lush valley, beautiful garden with fragrant flowers & coconut trees and the temple faces east. The flowing fountains near the temple increase the prettiness of that area. Lord Vishnu came to this place from his heavenly abode to give away Goddess Meenakshi in marriage to Lord Sundareswarer. The temple is 5000 years old.

Brihadeswara Temple

Location: Thanjavur district (rice bowl of Tamil Nadu), Tamil Nadu
Dedicated to: Lord Shiva
Built by: The great Chola king in 11 century
Best time to visit: Throughout the year
Famous festival: The annual festival is celebrated in month of Visaka according to the Hindu calendar.
Get there: Trichy is the nearest airport which is 65 kilometers away from the Thanjavur and nearest railway station is Thanjavur which is well connected to the Madurai, Chennai and Trichy.

This Thanjavur Brihadeswra temple is the ancient and popular temple of the south India. The other outstanding feature of the temple is the Great Nandi which is established in at the entrance of the temple. The UNESCO has adjudged this thousand years old temple a "World Heritage Site". This temple is 3000 years old. The temple is built over 29 square base and is surrounded by moat on two sides and Grand Anaicut River on the other side. Art galleries, Sangitha Mahal etc are the other attractions.

Chayavaneswarar Temple

Location: Situated on the Sirkazhi - Poompuhar road, just before Poompuhar, Tiruchaaikkadu, Tamilnadu and 24 Kms. from Mayiladuthurai.
Dedicated to: Lord Shiva as a Chaayaavaneswarar and Kuyilinim Nanmozhiammai.
Build by: Kochengat Chozhan (1070-1120 AD)
Get there: The nearest airport is located in Tiruchchirappalli and Nidamangalam (12 kilometers).
Famous Festival: Adi Amavasya (July/ August)
Best time to visit: December to February

The entrance of this temple is east. It is situated near the river of Kaveri with the sea. A 154 feet high RajaGopuram adorns the entrance to the outermost Prakaram. There are several beautiful pillared halls in the temple - such as the Thousand-pillared hall, the Vallala Maharaja Mandapam, the Yaanai Vaahana Mandapam, Garudavaahana Mandapam, Vennaithaazhi Mandapam and Punnai Vaahana Mandapam.

Chidambaram Natraja Temple

Location: 250 kilometers from Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Dedicated to: Lord Shiva
Build by: Kulotunga Chola in 1213 AD.
Get There: Trichy and Chennai are the two nearest railway station and nearest international airport is Chennai.
Best time to visit: September to February.
Famous Festival: Nayanjali (February)

This temple occupied an area of 51 acres. It is of great religious as well as historic and culture significance. Chidambaram associated with Nataraja or Shiva. One of the great temple complex of South India. The temple called ponnambalam or Kanaga Sabai is one of the oldest temples of the Chola period.

Darbhasayanam Temple

Location: at Tiruppullaani near Ramanathapuram district
Dedicated to: Adi Jagannathan
Build In: 1065 AD
Get there: Ramanathpuram is the nearest railway station. And the nearest airport is Chennai.
Famous Festival: Brahmotsva (April /May)
Best time to Visit: October to February

It is the well-known holy place of south India in the Hindu Mythology. The main deity worshipped here is Kalyana Jagannathan or Aadi Jagannathan in a standing posture facing east and the Goddess worshipped here are Padmasini and Kalyanavalli. This temple with two Prakarams covers an area of about 1.5 acres and is crowned with a 120 feet high Gopuram. This temple covers an area of 1.5 acres.

Ekambareswarar Temple

Location: Kanchipuram district at the state of Tamil Nadu.
Dedicated to: Ekambareswarar (Lord Shiva)
Build In: 600 AD
Renovated by: Vijayanagar Kings
Get There: Chennai is the nearest airport to Kanchipuram and Trains for Kanchipuram are available from Chennai, Chengalpattu, Tirupati, and Bangalore.
Famous Festival: Panguni festival, Ani Tirumanjanam( June-July), Avani Moolam (August-September), Thai Poosam (January – February).
Best time to visit: January to April

There is no separate shrine for the Goddess in this temple as she is worshipped along with Lord Shiva. It is the largest temple where thousands of devotees come to Darshan of God. A 3500 years old mango tree adores the sanctum having four branches each dedicated to the four Vedas. There are held six types of Puja daily in the temple by the name of Ushadkalam, kaalasanrhi, Uchi kaalam, Prodosham , Sayaratchai and Ardhajamam. This temple covers an area of 40 acres.

Gangaikondan Cholapuram Temple

Location: 51 kilometers from Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu of south India.
Dedicated To: Lord Shiva
Built By: Rajendra I, a Chola king and built in 1014-44 AD
Get There: The nearest airport is Trichy and nearest railway station is Kumbakonam.
Famous Festivals: Mohini Alangaram (March/April)
Best time to visit: September - March

This temple is built in 1040-44 AD by Rajendra, A Chola King on the bank of River Ganga. It is located in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. The stately entrance of the sanctum is adorned by the beautiful image of Goddess Saraswati. The wall of the temple is made of copper plates and took nine years to complete. There is a beautiful sculpture representing the Sun and eight planets on an altar in the corner of one of the halls of the temple. This sculpture is carved in the form of a full-bloom lotus resting on a two-tiered square base. This is the most visited temple of South India.
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