Indian Architecture has been one of the many reasons that India is a favourite among travellers from all around the world. While Rajasthan and North India, in general, is known for the magnificent royal palaces, forts and other incredible architecture; South India is known for incredible masterpieces of temple architecture.
An extraordinary confluence of art, craftsmanship and religion, temples in South India are a testament of cultural heritage and diversity of India. While there are millions of temples in India, some of the finest architectural creations are a must-visit highlight of tours in India. Dating back to thousands of years, the pride of many rulers and their dynasties, the temples of South India are some glorious creations that to date fascinate visitors with the beauty, devotion and their impressive architecture. Many of the temples in South India are on the elite list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
So, for the incredible craftsmanship or the spiritual bliss or just to awe at masterpieces of cultural heritage, here are a some of the must-visit temples with South India tour packages:
Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram
One of the oldest temples in Tamil Nadu, built in the 7th century is the astounding seaside pilgrimage site in Mahabalipuram. The temple has been noted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 3 major shrines in the temple are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. The best time to visit the temple would be during the Mahabalipuram Dance Festival held on the exterior of the temple complex.
Our tours to visit Mahabalipuram - Glimpses of the South
Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai
Our tours to visit Madurai - Glimpses of the South
Hoysala Temple Architecture – Belur and Halebidu
Belur and Halebidu towns are home to treasures of Hoysala architecture. The ancient temples that date back to the days of the ruling Hoysala Empire.
Halebid is the local language translates to the meaning of the ruined city. Tough ravaged by the Bahmani Sultanate, the city was the regal capital of the Hoysala Empire in the 12th century. Here lie the finest examples of Hoysala's workmanship. The beautiful Kedareswara and Hoysaleswara temples are adorned in beautiful carvings that are tales of Indian mythology as well as regular incidents. Walk through history as you walk past these exquisitely-carved temples.
Belur is a small town in Karnataka and a former charming city of the Hoysala Empire. Though small in proportion, the city has a tall reputation worldwide for its Chennakeshava temple. The temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala style architecture along with splendid craftsmanship adorning the exteriors.
Ranganathswamy Temple, Trichy
The Ranganathswamy Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and was well known as the religious seat of learning as far back as the 11th century. Presently the temple includes a series of walled courts with 21 towers, and the tallest of these towers reaches up to 72 meters. The temple is surrounded by busy streets with some street vendors selling sweets, garlands and holy images to the worshippers and the tourists.
Rock Fort Temple, Trichy
The Rock Fort Temple stands on an 84 m tall rock in the center of the town. In the 18th century, for the possession of the Fort the British fought and defeated the French at Trichy. The cave-shrines and temples are constructed on the rock. The Hall of a Thousand Pillars and the shrine of Shiva are something worth seeing. One can relax and enjoy the panoramic views of Trichy from the top of the temple.
Shravanabelagola is a historic destination of Karnataka famous for its collection of Jain temples. The highlight of the town is the statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali as well as many attractive Jain temples, each exquisitely carved and adorned.
Famous for the two beautiful Hoysala temples, the town of Kaidala include the Chennakeshava Temple and Gangadareshwara Shrine. Master sculptor Jakanachari who sculptured the famous Hoysala temples of Somnathpura, Belur and Halebedu is said to have was born and brought up at Kaidala. Chenna Keshava temple is said to be a fusion of the Hoysala, Dravidian and Vijayanagara styles of architecture. The complete temple complex has a tall fort-like wall or Prakara around it. The Mahadwara or the Gateway Gopuram is a three-tiered massive structure with beautiful carvings and the large doorway is flanked by pillars with beautifully carved relief works of nubile dancing girls, sages, gods and goddesses.
Kanchipuram, in the state of Tamil Nadu, is one of the most sacred cities in southern India and the second holiest after Varanasi. Also known as “The City of Thousand Temples”, Kanchipuram is an important holy pilgrimage for Hindus. People travel from far and wide to admire the magnificent stone cravings, chariot processions and shrines.
The Bull Temple, Bangalore
The Bull temple is located in the South of Bangalore. The deity is a huge 15-foot Basava or bull, which is the vehicle of Lord Shiva. The reason for curiosity about this huge Bull is that it has been carved from a single stone.