Raised in a fairly liberal (but spiritual) South Indian family, I have been torn between the entire Religion vs. Science debate for the longest time. In our class Theory of Knowledge in High school, we were taught to question everything we were presented with, from fact to fiction.
Religion being the most controversial topic that I had the most knowledge of, hailing from a family that obeyed superstitions and followed rites and rituals, I had a lot to contribute but at the same time, very little will to contribute, having seen what I had. This was probably because I had personally witnessed the magnificence that is the beauty of temples I had been to in South India.
My mother always (even though slightly biased) said there was a certain spark and beauty unmatched in temples in South India. Temples everywhere are majestic and regal in their own way but deep down, I had to agree with her. It was a vibrance in the atmosphere that was unmatched.
The little children in their new silk clothes and their mothers in gold rimmed sarees and fragrant flowers in their hair. If you’re thinking of a temple pilgrimage and want to short-list some temples to fulfill your desires, make it a point to include these 10 famous South Indian temples in your list:
#10: Mahadev Mandir, Goa
The beauty of Goa is that this state was occupied by Portuguese settlers who came bearing values and beliefs of Christianity and influenced several followers. What remained intact was the oldest temple in Goa, Mahadev Mandir (constructed in the 12th century).
It was constructed in 1271 by Kind Ramachandra, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Situated 65 kilometers away from Goa’s capital Panaji, it is cosily located in Bolcornem village in Mahaveer Sanctuary.
#9: Tirupati Temple, Andhra Pradesh
This sacred temple attracts millions of tourists from all over the world waiting to behold its magnificence every year.
It is situated on the foothills of the Eastern Ghats and is most holy to visit during Brahmotsavam season. Tirupati is known as the dwelling of the Hindu god Venkateshvara “The Lord of Seven Hills”.
Tirupati temple encompasses and charms you with ancient Dravidian style architecture. It is famed the world’s richest temple with an annual 5 billion visitors and a daily Rs. 75 lakhs daily.
#8: ISKCON Temple, Kartanaka
Situated bang in the middle of its capital city, Bangalore, The International Society for Krishna Consciousness Society (ISKCON) is formed by the devotees. An example of how devotion and divinity make for a wonderful combination, ISKCON Temple is situated on a small hill and extended over a total area of seven acres of land.
Granite steps need to be climbed before reaching the main deity. After a weary pilgrimage, tourists can view the delightful, calming waterfall not too far away.
ISKCON Temple in Bangalore is an incredible amalgamation of glass and gopuram, a blend of modern and ancient styles. It took seven years to build this perfection.
#7: Meenakshi Amman Koil, Tamil Nadu
Dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, it is typically referred to as the “Meenakshi” temple. It has royal sculptured halls, pillars, and tall towers that boast beautiful artwork.
According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva with his heavenly group of followers emerged here in this city of Madurai, to get marry the daughter of the Pandya ruler, Meenakshi, who is believed to be a form of Hindu goddess Parvathi.
It’s striking architecture paved way for it to be considered one of modern times’ seven wonders of the world (in terms of architectural importance).
#6: Sabarimala Temple, Kerala
There is a 3 month pilgrimage season, where devotees from all over the world flock to worship Lord Ayyappa. 41 days of traditional vratham can make a man a “bramhachari”.
Women that are fertile are not allowed to be a part of this, but women under 10 and over 50 are permitted.
#5: Sri Bhagavati Mandir, Goa
This temple in Panaji, Goa’s capital is dedicated to Goddess Bhagavati. Goan temples are known for peace and devotion to God.
It is situated in Pernem Taluka in North Goa, 28 kilometers from Panaji city.
#4: Palani Murugan, Tamil Nadu
The temple at Palani is one of the ancient Murugan Temple which is situated at an altitude of 1500 feet above the sea level.
This temple has a breathtaking altitude, one that providers its viewers solitude and relaxation.
There is a famous myth about how Lord Murugan came across this temple, after which this land became “his”. After that, Murugun became the holy deity of the land.
#3: Sri Mangeshi Mandir, Goa
This temple was constructed in 1764 and is dedicated to Lord Mangueshi.
The real temple was ruined by Portuguese settlers in 1543. This temple is in Mangeshim village in Ponda Taluka, 26 kilometers away from Margao.
#2: Mahabalipuram temple, Tamil Nadu
The temples of Mamallapuram were built to depict and portray artwork and scenarios from Mahabharata.
There is a sculpted cliff with Shiva’s image on it and a shrine dedicated to Vishu, depicting the growth and influence of Gods from the Sangam period and a deterioration from the Vedic period.
#1: Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala
Situated in Kerala’s temple town Thrissur, Guruvayoor is a district within the town itself that has an enchanting, mystic air of divinity.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and is known as “Dwarka of the South”. The Lord, as seen in the sanctum, is believed to have given darshan in this particular form to Vasudeva and Devaki at the time of His birth and to Arjuna during the Kurukshetra battle.