Tamil Nadu, the Land of the Tamils, is the 11th largest state in India.
Blessed with more than 33,000 temples, Tamil Nadu, popularly known as the Land of Temples, has some of the grandest and most revered temples in India. These temples have been a source of reverence for believers throughout the world.
Most of the temples in the state are built in the Dravidian style and are proof of the architectural genius of the bygone era. Besides being timeless architectural wonders, these temple towns reverberate with a divine energy that draws thousands of pilgrims throughout the year.
Here are Some of the Most Sacred Pilgrimage Centers in Tamil Nadu:
Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, also called as Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, is one of the biggest and most popular temples of India and also one of the top pilgrimage places to visit in Tamilnadu.
Dedicated to Goddess Parvati and Lord Siva, the Madurai Temple is considered an architecture marvel and was shortlisted as one of the top 30 nominees for the New Seven Wonders of the World. The temple was built by Kulashekara Pandya of Pandya dynasty and was rebuilt by Viswanatha Nayak, the 1st Nayak king of Madurai. The temple was substantially expanded to the current structure during the reign of Thirumalai Nayak.
The complex is built over an area of 45 acres and is surrounded by 14 towers. The temple consists of four entrance gates, while the entrance on Eastern side being the main entrance. There are several corridors, pillared halls and sub shrine inside the temple complex. The corridors and pillars are adorned with wonderful artwork of bygone era. The annual 10-day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam held in April and May, attracts 1 million visitors from all parts of India.
Rameshwaram Sri Ramanatha Swamy Temple, one of the most famous Hindu temples in India, is situated on the Pamban Island in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Rameshwaram Temple is one of the most famous Shiva shrines in India and also one of the top places to visit in Rameshwaram. According to the legend, Rameshwaram is the place where Lord Rama, built a bridge across the sea with the help of vanaras to rescue his consort Sita from Ravana. This is also the place where Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva to cleanse away the sin of killing Ravana. Rameshwaram along with Dwarka, Puri and Badrinath form the sacred Char Dhams.
Rameshwaram is also considered as the Varanasi of the South, second only to Varanasi itself. However, a pilgrimage to Varanasi is not considered complete without a trip to Rameshwaram.
Sri Ramanatha Swamy Temple in Rameshwaram stands as an epitome of Dravidian architecture and is renowned for its magnificent corridors and massive sculptured pillars. The third corridor of Rameshwaram Temple is the longest one in the world and it also happens to be one of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples. Agnitheertham, Gandamadana Parvatham, Dhanushkodi, Kothandaraswamy Temple and Erwadi are the popular and the most visited places in Rameshwaram.
Kanyakumari, also known as Cape Comorin, is a coastal town in Tamil Nadu and is located at the southernmost tip of the Indian mainland. Kanyakumari has been a great center for art and culture for centuries and is also famous for Kumari Amman Temple. Considered as one of the Shakti Peethas, the Kumari Amman Temple attracts huge number of devotees every year. This is one of the best places to visit in South India and also one of the popular places of Pilgrimage in Tamilnadu.
This is a popular tourist place and a place of great natural beauty as it is situated at the confluence of the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. It is the only place in India where one can enjoy the unique spectacle of Sunset and Moonrise simultaneously on full moon days. The Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Gandhi Memorial, Thiruvalluvar Statue, Padmanabhapuram Palace, Suchindram, Vattakottai Fort, St Xavier's Church and Udayagiri Fort are the top Kanyakumari Tourist places. The Chaitra Poornima Festival and Navratri are the major festivals celebrated in Kanyakumari with great pomp and fervor.
Kanchipuram, also known as Kanchi, is a popular temple town in Tamil Nadu. The town is known for its temples and silk sarees which are woven manually. Kanchi is famous for Sri Kamakshi Amman Temple and is the landmark of Kanchipuram. Kanchi Temple is one of the most famous South Indian temples and also one of the major religious places to visit in Tamilnadu. Renowned as one of the oldest cities in India, Kanchi served as the capital of Pallava dynasty, and most of the known temples were built during their reign.
Apart from Kamakshi Amman Temple, Varadharaja Perumal Temple, Kailasanathar Temple, Karchapeshwarar Temple and Ekambaranatha Temple are the popular temples in Kanchi. The temples of Kanchipuram are known for their architectural grandeur. The architecture of Kanchi monuments are adorned with great sculpture work and unique style.
Chidambaram is a sacred town in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. Famous for Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram is one of the most popular pilgrimage places in South India and also one of the best places to visit in Tamil Nadu. The Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram was built during the 11th century and is one of the most celebrated Shiva Temples in South India.
Nataraja Temple has great religious as well as historic and cultural significance. This is one of the Panchabhoota Stalas signifying the five elements of wind, water, fire, earth and space. Lord Shiva is worshipped here in the form of Akasha Lingam, an embodiment of Shiva as the formless Space. Brahmotsavam, the annual chariot festival held in the month of April, is the popular festival celebrated at Chidambaram which attract large crowds. Natyanjali Dance Festival is another major festival held in the month of February in Chidambaram.