Tamil Nadu is called the Land of Temples. It has about 33000 ancient temples. Several of them are 800-1200 years old. The entire state is dotted with temples. Some of the biggest Hindu temples are in the state. The temples reflect rich culture and heritage of this southern state of India. They feature stunning architecture, diverse sculptures, and valuable inscriptions, with certain historical records as old as 3000 years.

Famous Temples of Tamil Nadu

Murugan Temple

Tamil Nadu has plenty of temples dedicated to Lord Muruga. Some of them are located in mysterious surroundings. The journey to the Six Houses of Lord Muruga or Aruppadai Veedu might be tiresome, but it is believed to bestow rich rewards. The six houses of the Lord are: Pazhamudhircholai, Thiruthani, Swaminmalai, Palani, Tiruchendur, and Thirupparankundram.

Thiruthani is 87 km from Chennai. It is on a small hillock, featuring winding 365 steps that represent days of the year. Swamimalai is 45 km from Thanjavur. It is also on a hillock with 60 steps. They represent the cycle of 60 Hindu years.

Tiruchendur lies 48 km from Tirunelveli. This 2000-year old temple features Lord Murugan in a different posture. Instead of the usual spear, he holds a string of Rudraksha beads. Pazhamudhircholai is 16 km from Madurai. The temple is several hundred years old. It is believed that Lord Murugan gave “darshan” to Avvaiyar in the form of a playful young boy.

Thirupparankundram is 8 km from Madurai, while Palani is 120 km from it. The latter is regarded as one of the most hallowed shrines of the Lord. According to a survey, more than 7 million pilgrims visit Palani every year.

Navagraha Temple

For believers of astrology Tamil Nadu is a great place to be. The state features a group of temples that date back to the Chola Dynasty. They are near Kumbakonam. Each temple is situated in a different village. It is regarded as the abode of one of the Navagrahas or nine planets. Yet, most of these temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva.

The only one dedicated to the Graham is Surya temple. It is dedicated completely to the worship of Sun God, plus other nine planets. The temple was constructed in 11th or 12th century, according to historical records. The other temples of the Navagraha were built between 7th and 9th century.

Meenakshi Temple

It is in Madurai. It is the twin temple of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar. The temple is the life of Madurai city. The temple was built 2000 years ago. Different rulers contributed to the construction of this temple, including special contribution from Thirmalai Naicker. This helped to expand the temple complex over a vast area of 65000sqm.

The locals call the temple complex a city of its own. It features four 9-tier Gopurams, one 7-tier Chittirai Gouprams, five 5-tier Gopurams, two 3-tier Gopurams, and two Golden Gopurams. These majestic towers increase the aesthetic value of the temple manifold.

There is a Golden Lotus Tank. It is believed that Golden Lotus for the “puja” of Indira blossomed in the tank. The Hall of Thousand Pillar spellbinds tourists. This is of the Thirumalai Naicker period. Such is the architectural marvel of the hall that the pillars appear to be in a straight line when viewed from any angle. The corridors of the outer courts feature musical pillars carved of stone. Meenakshi Temple is open from 5 in the morning to noon; then from 4 in the afternoon to 9:30 at night.

Rameswaram Temple

Rameswaram is a chief pilgrim center of Tamil Nadu. It is actually an island in the Gulf of Mannar. Pamban Bridge connects the island to the mainland. It is believed that Sri Rama, after killing Ravana, did his repentance prayer to Lord Shiva to absolve the sin of slaying Ravana. The island is said to receive thousands of pilgrims from across India to absolve their sins and to perform rituals meant for their ancestors. The temple is as significant as the one in Varanasi in North India.

Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple lies near the sea on the east of Rameswaram Island. It is famous for its architectural marvel. Its grand corridors or Prakaras feature huge sculptured pillars on both sides. The corridor from east to west is 197 meters long. It is believed to be the longest corridor in the world. Another corridor from south to north is 133 meters long. The temple witnesses special “puja” daily for the worship of crystal lingam called Spatikalingam.

Thanjavur Temple

Temples of Thanjavur reflect the past glory of the Chola Dynasty. They are known for their splendid architecture and artistic sculptural work. They may not be as old as temples of 274 Saivaite temples or 108 Divya Desams built by Nayanmars and Alwars, respectively, between 7th and 9th century. Thanjavur and adjacent areas of Nagapattinam and Kumbakonam are dotted with hundreds of ancient and significant temples. Cholas, Nayaks, Pandiyas, and Marathas have contributed in a way that this part of Tamil Nadu is today called Treasure House of Temples.

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