11 South Indian Temples with the most scenic locations - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Friday, October 18, 2019

11 South Indian Temples with the most scenic locations

The famous pillars of Hoysala architecture at Belur, Karnataka

India is a land of temples and this temple riches can be seen all over the country. While each one of them are beautiful in their own right through their spiritual significance, cultural riches and glorious past, there are a few that are set in some of the most scenic locations. The temples located in the Himalayas usually enjoy such heavenly locations, but there are some in South India that enjoy pretty locations too. Here is a list of 11 South Indian temples that enjoy the most scenic of locations.

T A M I L    N A D U

Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam

Sesaharayar Mandapam art work, Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam

It is the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world. It also has the largest temple complex in India. It’s southern gopuram, at 239.5 feet, is the tallest in Asia. It is a major pilgrimage site for Srivaishnavites. I am talking about Sri Ranganathaswamy temple, one of the 3 temples of God Ranganatha that are situated in the natural islands formed in the Kaveri river. The Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple is the most downstream one (Antya Ranga), while the other two upstream ones are Ranganathaswamy temple at Shivanasamudra (Madhya Ranga) and Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangapatna (Adi Ranga).

This temple is famous for the Anantasayana Vishnu or Lord Vishnu in a reclining posture, but the interesting thing to note here is that the lord faces south unlike other Hindu temples of India where the lord usually faces the east direction. Built during the Chola empire, this temple rose to its current prominence during the Vijayanagara empire. Today, it is one of the most sacred spots in the country. On one side of the temple flows the beautiful Kaveri river and on the other flows its distributary, the Kollidam. Pilgrims visit this temple to absolve of all their sins, to immerse the ashes of the departed and to find the path to vaikuntam, which means no more cycle of rebirth. If you are offering any special prayers or wish to catch the abhishekham or opening of garbha griha doors, do keep a tab on the srirangam temple timings as everything works according to that. You might have to wait for a long time if you happen to miss these time slots.

Papanasanathar Temple, Papanasam

Neeranjanam offering at Papanasam Shiva Temple

This 1000 year old Shiva temple is located by the banks of the Thamarabharani river and is surrounded by the pristine forests of Kalakad Mundanthurai tiger reserve. A few kilometers from it is the Agastyar falls and the Papanasam dam that stores water and generates power for this region. While it is surrounded by sensational nature of the Western Ghats, pilgrims come in droves to this temple to get rid of their sins. They usually take a bath in the Thamabharani river and climb the steps from the river ghat straight into the temple to offer their prayers.

Arulmigu Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram

Corridor of 1000 pillars at Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram

This island in the Bay of Bengal is considered one of the holiest places in India for Hindus. One of the four char dhams in the iconic Hindu pilgrimage circuit, this place is where Lord Ram built a Shiva linga and worshipped to get the blessings of Lord Shiva in the Treta Yuga. People visit this temple and drench themselves in the water from the different wells inside the temple complex to absolve of all their sins. A lot of people also immerse the ashes of the departed here. The highlight of a trip to Rameshwaram is the wave less ocean, the iconic Pamban railway bridge and the vast blue spectacle.

Murugan Temple, Tiruchendur

The Sea Shore Tiruchendur Temple

One of Tamil Nadu’s richest temples, this temple dedicated to Lord Subramaniya is located just a few metres from the Bay of Bengal whose waves lap the beaches of this temple. One of the 6 holy places of worship for Lord Murugan, this temple designed in Dravidian style is known for the different looks of the lord on different days, its stunning gopuram and its lovely seaside atmosphere.

Shore temple, Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram Sea Shore Temple

Another Shore temple, but this time a 7th century UNESCO World heritage site that is located at Mahalabalipuram. Built by the Pallava kings, it is one of the oldest structural stone temples of South India. The highlights of this gorgeous temple are the lion monolith, the Ananta Sayana Vishnu, the cluster of temples, the Pancha Rathas (five chariot like monolithic structures named after the Pandavas of the Mahabharata) and the laidback sea side location.


Vittala Temple, Hampi

Ruins of Hampi and the rocky landscape

One of South India’s most intricately carved temples, Hampi’s Vittala temple that is located on the banks of the Tungabhadra river in northern Karnataka is a class apart. It’s musical pillars (that make sounds of everything from oceans to rivers to ragas and instruments) and its horse chariot (only 4 such chariots exist in India – Konark Sun Temple, Modhera Sun Temple, Airavateeswara Temple and Vittala Temple) are the main attractions. But, its main attraction according to me is its rocky landscape that surrounds the temple and through which the Tungabhadra river flows. This medieval wonder, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site was built by the kings of the Vijayanagara empire when Hampi used to be their capital.

Mahabaleshwar Temple, Gokarna

Om beach, Gokarna

Sandwiched between the mountains of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, lies the temple town of Gokarna that is shaped like a cow’s ear (land that lies between the Aghnashini and Gangavali rivers). Amidst its rustic setting, lies the Mahabaleswar temple and inside it is the Atmalinga that is believed to have gifted to demon king Ravana by Lord Shiva himself. One of the seven important Hindu pilgrimage centers, Gokarna’s Mahalabaleswar is as popular for its spiritual significance as it is for its natural surroundings. Pristine white sandy beaches, cliff walks, beautiful waterfalls and a green setting completes its ensemble.

Bhutanatha Group of Temples, Badami

Bhutanatha Temple, Badami

A 7th Chalukyan wonder, the Bhutanatha group of temples were built right after the famous cave temples of Badami. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this cluster of sandstone shrines contains architectural forms from different periods due to every Chalukyan king leaving a bit of their mark behind for close to 400 years. Located next to a large temple pond, the Bhutanatha group of temples is surrounded by the rugged sandstone mountain landscape of Badami and during the rains, even waterfalls seem to adorn this view.

A N D H R A    P R A D E S H

Kailashagiri Temple, Visakhapatnam

Beach line view from atop Kailashgiri, Vizag

One of the best coastal views of Andhra Pradesh is visible from this mountain temple. It is a modern temple, but it offers some legendary views of the beautiful Coromandel coast near Vishakapatnam. A large statue of Shiva Parvati and a simple temple premises make Kailashagiri. A plastic free environment, a hilltop park and a cable car service completes this temple experience.


Thirunelli Temple, Wayanad

Brahmagiri wildlife sanctuary near Thirunelli temple

This Vishnu temple built by Lord Brahma himself is located on one side of the Brahmagiri hill in Kerala. Located at an elevation of 3000 feet, this valley in northern Wayanad is surrounded by mountains, streams, waterfalls and beautiful forests of the Western Ghats. The place is so pretty that even Lord Brahma was enamoured by it and how this temple came along. There is a nearby mountain stream called Papanasini that is believed to carry medicinal water and that locals consider very sacred. Go to this temple for a full on forest, mountain and nature experience.


Mahadev Temple, Tambdi Surla

Mahadev Temple, Tamdi Surla, Goa

This 12th century Shaivite temple is the only structural temple of the Kadamba dynasty to have survived the Muslim and Goan occupations of the Goan territory. Set deep inside Mollem National Park, this Shiva temple enjoys as much nature, wildlife and greenery as any of the other popular forest zones of Goa. A forest trek and temple waterfall are some of the perks of being located in the Western Ghats of Goa.

Photo courtesy: The photographs that do not have the beontheroad logo has been borrowed from wikipedia.org under the Creative Commons license. Each photograph has been linked to its host page on wikipedia.

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