Visit These 15 Temples in Tamil Nadu for Spiritual Awakening

Tamil Nadu is known as the ‘Land of Temples’. The famous temples in Tamil Nadu have been a source of reverence for believers all over the world. Blessed with more than 33, 000 temples, Tamil Nadu has some noteworthy names in the grandest and revered temples in India. Besides being timeless architectural wonders, these spots reverberate with the divine energy that draws thousands of pilgrims throughout the year. The temples in the coastal state are a source of historical legends, cultural festivals, and tourist routes.

Here are the Top 15famous Temples in Tamil Nadu:

1. Kapaleeswarar Temple, Chennai

Kapaleeswarar Temple

The Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Chennai is one of the popular temples in Tamil Nadu. The 7th century Amrirulgu Kapaleeswarar temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvati in the form of Karpagambal or the ‘Goddess of the Wish-Yielding Tree’ and Lord Shiva.

For a visitor in the temple, divine bliss is all-enveloping. The Gopuram, the main sanctuary in the temple is a unique example of Dravidian architectural style. The inscriptions in the premises of the temple date back to the 12th century.  The Temple hosts six different kinds of puja’s namely Ko pooja, Vaikarai Pooja, Kaala sandhi Puja, Uchi Kala Pooja, Evening Puja, Kala Puja and Ardhajama Pooja.

Kapaleeswarar temple is thronged by devotees throughout the year. Major festivals like Brahmotsavam or ‘Arupathumoovar’ Festival, Theppa Thiruvizha Float Festival, Navaratri Festival, and Vasanta Utsavam are celebrated at the Temple premises.

  • Closed: Monday
  • Timing: 06:00 to 13:00 Hours and 16:00 to 20:00 Hours
  • Charge: None

2. Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadeeswarar Temple

Brihadeeswarar temple of Thanjavur is one of the best places to visit in Tamil Nadu. Popularly known as “Thanjavur Periya Kovil”, this is the largest temple in India. The outstanding architecture makes it one of the best temples in India.

The 1002-year old temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was built in 1010 AD by the Chola Emperor, Rajaraja Chola I. The temple represents the brilliancy and excellence of the architectural skills of Cholas. About 130,000 tons of granite were used to build the temple. The 216 ft high Vimana (tower) is the tallest in the world. The statue of Nandi (Lord Shiva’s sacred bull) 16 feet in length and 13 feet in height carved out of a single stone is one of the largest carvings of its kind.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Brihadeeshwarar has hundreds of sculptures of the lord. The huge idol of Lord Shiva with three eyes is divine to look at. There are 250 lingams (representative of Lord Shiva) and sculptures of his 108 dance pose in the temple premises.

One of the ‘Great Chola Living Temples’, Brihadeeswarar temple has survived the ravages of climatic changes, six recorded earthquakes and a major fire. Recognizing its unique architectural excellence, UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Monument. Marvel at the architecture and the divine magnificence of Lord Shiva.

  • Timing: 06:00 to 12:30 Hours 16:00 to 20:30 HRS
  • Charge: None, INR 5 for special Darshan

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3. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai

Meenakshi Temple

Madurai’s Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple is one of the best temples in Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of Sundareswarar and his consort, Goddess Parvati in the form of Meenakshi. The complex houses 14 magnificent Gopurams including two golden Gopurams for the main deities elaborately sculptured and painted.

The exact time of the temple’s origin is not confirmed but the structures that are standing today date mostly from the 12th to the 18th century. The present temple standing today was built in the 17th century A.D. by the Nayak rulers. The temple is a superb example of sculpture and magnificent architecture.

The Meenakshi temple is a majestic beauty with exquisite architecture. The image of Goddess Meenakshi is said to be carved out of a single emerald. This exotic temple was renovated by various kings, adding coiled corridors and larger-than-life sculptures. According to the legend of this temple, the marriage of the goddess Meenakshi to Shiva actually took place in Madurai and is still celebrated every summer with great excitement.

  • Timing: 05:00 to 12:30 Hours and 16:00 to 22:00 Hours
  • Charge: None

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4. Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram

Ramanathaswamy Temple

Located in Pamban Island, the Ramanathaswamy temple of Rameshwaram is one of the holiest temples in Tamil Nadu. The temple houses one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and is among the Char Dham pilgrimages.

Legend has it that at Rameshwaram, Lord Rama prayed to Lord Shiva in order to seek his blessings and ask forgiveness to kill his biggest devotee.   The temple has a sand linga made by Lady Sita, Lord Ram’s wife referred to as Ramalingam and one Lord Hanuman brought from the Himalayas called Vishwalingam. The Ramanathaswamy temple has the longest corridor in the world, about 3000 feet long.

The temple complex is also home to 22 teerthams, or holy water bodies in the form of tanks and wells. These teerthams represent the 22 arrows in Rama’s quiver. It is considered essential for every devotee to bathe before entering the sanctum sanctorum.

The beautiful location and the divine ambiance of Rameshwaram inspire visitors from all over the world throughout the year.

  • Timing: 05:00 to 12:30 Hours and 16:00 to 21:00 Hours
  • Charge: None

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5. Kumari Amman temple, Kanyakumari

Kumari Amman temple, Kanyakumari

Kumari Amman Temple is located on the shore of Kanyakumari which is the confluence of the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. The temple is devoted to an incarnation of Parvati, in the form of Kanyakumari, the Virgin Goddess. The Temple was built by the Pandya kings in the 8th century and later renovated by the Vijayanagar, Nayaka and Chola rulers.

According to legend the temple of Goddess Kanyakumari is dedicated to the extinguisher of evil in the form of Banasura, the demon king. The goddesses performed severe penance to win the hand of Lord Shiva for marriage.

The bluestone idol of Devi Kanya is believed to have been installed by Sage Parashuram. The Devi is seen in penance with a garland in her right hand, and a sparkling nose jewel. It is believed that the nose ring is so bright that it has been mistaken as light from the Lighthouse. The radiance has confused ships sailing in the sea and they got wrecked in the sharp rocks.

The temple of Kanyakumari is not just one of the most beautiful temples in India but is crowded by visitors from all over the world. The temple complex is not just a marvel to look at but blissful for your soul.

  • Timing: 05:00 to 12:30 Hours and 16:00 to 22:00 Hours
  • Charge: None

[Read more about top 51 things to do in Tamil Nadu.]

6. Naganathaswamy Temple, Thanjavur

Naganathaswamy Temple

One of the famous temples in Tamil Nadu, Naganathaswamy Temple is one of the Navagraha Temples. People from different parts of the country visit the temple to rid themselves of Rahu Doshas. Dedicated to Sri Naganathaswamy and His consort is Giri Gujambika, this is the only temple where Lord Rahu is enshrined in human form whereas other of his temple have his serpent form. According to legends Lord Rahu worshiped here in this temple on Shivaratri to redeem himself from the curse of a rishi.

Devotees in the temple say that the milk abhishekam to Rahu turns the milk blue. There are twelve sacred water heads in this place, namely, Suriya Pushkarani, Gowthama Theertham, Parasara Theertham, Indira Theertham, Prugu Theertham, Kannuva Theertham and Vasishta Theertham. A dip in the holy waters is said to cure one of the diseases and give prosperity. It also rids of bad karma and ultimately grants salvation

The temple conducts six pujas daily. The Ushakkala, Kalasandhi, Uchikkala, Sayaratchai, Irandam Kala and Arthajama Pooja are marvelous rituals where visitors are spellbound by the divine bliss.

  • Timing: 05:00 to 12:30 Hours and 16:00 to 22:00 Hours
  • Charge: None

7. Ramaswamy Temple, Kumbakonam

Ramaswamy Temple

One of the holiest temples of Lord Ram in India, the Ramaswamy Temple in Kumbakonam is one of the most popular temples in Tamil Nadu. Achutha Nayaka of Thanjavur constructed the Ramaswamy temple during the 16th century. The ardent follower of the Lord has lovingly enshrined his revered.

Ramaswamy temple worships Lord Ram, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This temple is different from other Ram temples in India as here, Lord Ram is seen with all his brothers, his wife Devi Sita, beloved devotee Lord Hanuman with the musical instrument, Veena in a scene taken from his coronation.

The Maha Mandapam is enriched with intricate stone carving works of Rama-Katha. Vamana Avatharam, Meenakshi Kalyanam, Sukreeva Pattabisegam are some of the famous carving works of this temple. There are also 219 wall paintings, which explain the series of incidents from the great Epic “Ramayanam” drawn in herbal colors. Pay homage to Lord Ram and his inspirational life.

  • Timing: 05:00 to 12:30 Hours and 16:00 to 22:00 Hours
  • Charge: None

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8. Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram

Nataraja Temple

One of the most famous temples in Tamil Nadu, the Nataraja temple is located in the heart of the temple town of Chidambaram. This temple is one of the Panch Bhootha Sthalas representing one of the five natural elements akasha (aether).

The temple complex is spread over 50 acres built during the days of Pallava/Chola emperors. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva in form of Nataraja and Lord Govindaraja Perumal. It is one of the few temples where both the Shaivite and Vaishnavite deities are enshrined in one place.

The Ananda Tandava posture of Lord Shiva is the most noteworthy attraction. This celestial dancing posture is one of the sources of Bharathanatyam. The demon under Nataraja’s feet signifies ignorance. The Fire in this hand means destroyer of evil. The raised hand signifies that he is the savior of all life. The Ring at the back signifies the cosmos. The drum in his hand signifies the origin of Life. There are also stucco images of 108 Bharatha Natyam Dance poses are depicted in the temple complex.

The celestial ambiance of the temple and the rich heritage of sculptures inspire every visitor.

  • Timing: 06:00 to 12:00 Hours and 17:00 to 22:00 Hours
  • Charge: None

9. Ekambareswarar Temple, Kanchipuram

Ekambareswarar Temple

The Ekambareswarar Temple in Kanchipuram is one of holiest Shiva temples. The temple town of Kanchipuram is considered to be the foremost among the seven prime pilgrimage centers in India. The Ekambareswarar Temple is one of the five major Shiva temples or Pancha Bootha Sthalams each representing a natural element. This temple represents the element of Earth as the worshipped deity is the Prithvi Lingam.

The legend associated with the temple is that Devi Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva worshiped a Prithivi Lingam built out of sand, under a mango tree. The 3500 years old mango tree is said to be the embodiment of the four Vedas. The tree bears fruits of four different tastes each season here. Six worship services are offered each day in this temple namely, UshadKalam, Kaalasanthi, Uchi Kaalam, Pradosham and Sayarakshai and Ardhajamam.

The divine ambiance of the temple is worth your time. Marvel at the mythological stories, the architecture and the divinely blissful setting. Visit the temple and know why it is counted among the most visited temples in Tamil Nadu.

  • Timing: 06:00 to 12:00 Hours and 17:00 to 22:00 Hours
  • Charge: None

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10. Mahabalipuram Shore Temple

Shore Temple

Mahabalipuram Shore Temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Tamil Nadu. Built on the shores of Mahabalipuram on the Coromandel Coast along the Bay of Bengal, this temple is magnificent. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its extraordinary architecture.

Built-in the 7th century, Shore Temple depicts the rich legacy of the Pallava dynasty. Ravaged by wind and sea, the temple has witnessed the historical events of India.

Shore Temple comprises three shrines, where the prominent ones are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The temple is covered in incredibly real and artistic sculpted images from everyday life.

Shore Temple is no more a living temple. It is revered as a living testimony to Pallava Dynasty and its prowess in art. In the present day, Shore Temple makes the background of Mahabalipuram Dance Festival that is held in January /February every year. The festival was organized to promote traditional dance as well as tourism in Mahabalipuram.

  • Timings: 06:00 to 18:00 Hours
  • Charge: INR 10 for Indians, INR 250 for Foreigners

 

11. Sri Rajagopalaswamy Temple, Mannargudi

One of the famous shrines in Tamil Nadu of Lord Krishna, Sri Rajagopala Swamy Temple is located in Mannargudi. Hindus visit here in large numbers to worship Krishna. This temple is also regarded as Guruvayoor by Hindus and thus, it has become a popular vaishnavite temple in India. On your visit to this Tamil Nadu temple, you will get stunned by the stunning stone inscriptions, the 154 feet gateway tower called Rajagopuram. Haridra Nadhi is the largest temple tank, which is quite relaxing to see and also has great views.

To get the full experience, visit Sri Rajagopala Swamy Temple during the Chariot Festival celebrated between June and July. Not just this, the temple also has legends that are talked about a lot and are a major attraction for tourists as well as devotees.

The fable says that Lord Krishna once killed a wild elephant who was Kansa, his maternal uncle. Kansa wanted to kill Balarama, Krishna’s elder brother as an elephant but Lord Krishna killed the elephant first instead. Another legend says that the main sannidhi of this temple has 32 forms of Lord Krishna, who gave darshan to two sages in 32 forms.

  • Timings: 06:300 AM to 12:00 PM and 4:30 PM to 9:00 PM
  • Charge: None

12. Jambukeswarar Temple, Thiruvanaikaval

Lord Shiva is worshipped in Jambukeswarar Temple. Many devotees visit here to seek blessings from the supreme being. Located in the Srirangam Island of Tamil Nadu, Jambukeswarar Temple is a temple of the Chola period and thus, displays an excellent work of the Dravidian style of architecture. You can see 7 tiered Gopuram ornamented with fine carvings, which is evidence of the artistic value of the Chola Kingdom.

As per mythological folklore, it is said that Goddess Parvati took the form of Akilandeswari and performed penance under the ‘Jambu’ tree. The tree is said to have grown from a meditation saint’s head. To perform the rituals, the goddess made a lingam from Cauvery river water flowing by, which impressed Shiva and he gave darshan and also taught her Shiva Gnana.

Following this legend, the priests at Jambukeswarar Temple wear saree and offer prayer to Lord Jambukeswarar at noon. How interesting is that? You can get a few insights into the South Indian culture and traditions, which will make your trip worth it.

[ Know more about Tamil Nadu Culture ]

  • Timings: 6:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 9:30 PM
  • Charge: None

13. Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple, Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram, best known for its sarees is also famous for Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple. If you are an architecture lover, the artistic talent of the Pallava Dynasty can be seen here. The Dravidian style of architecture is something worth seeing here. It is one of the prominent Tamil Nadu temples that date back to the late 7th and early 8th centuries.

Sandstone carvings can be seen all around the temple. Also, it is one of the oldest temples in Tamil Nadu dedicated to Lord Shiva having 16 sided Shivling made of black granite. Something not to miss seeing here is the 58 small Shiva shrines inside the temple complex.

You must see the beautifully sculpted statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in different dance postures. It is evidence of the Pallava Dynasty that did not fail to attract thousands of pilgrims, especially on Maha Shivratri.

  • Timings: 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
  • Charge: None

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14. Papanasam Temple, Tirunelveli

Another major temple in Tamil Nadu is the Papanasam Temple located in Tirunelveli. It is dedicated to Hindu God Shiva. The interesting thing is that there is no evidence of when this temple was built. Moreover, there is a legend associated with it. It is said that once Lord Shiva was standing between the horns of Nandi and presented himself to sage Patanjali and Vyaghrapada. The place where he appeared is where this temple is situated today.

Another one says that Lord Indra executed his son Venus who was at the time performing fire ritual, yagna for the demons. Lord Indra attracted the sin of Brahma Hatya Dosha and to get rid of it, he worshipped Lord Shiva. During this time, Papanasam Indra came to pray and got rid of his sin by entering his body. Thus, people visit this temple to get rid away of their sins.

Visit during Brahmotsavam Festival (April to May) and Thaipoosam (Jan to Feb) for the full experience.

  • Timings: 6:30 AM to 1:00 PM and 4:30 PM to 8:00 PM
  • Charge: None

15. Monolithic Rock Temples, Mahabalipuram

These unique temples are located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mahabalipuram. Dating back to the 7th century, they are one of the best temples in Tamil Nadu that must not be missed. History lovers and architecture admirers visit to see the Monolithic Rock Temples known for their architectural and sculptural achievements.

The highlight of these Mahabalipuram temples is the five monolithic rock-cut temples looking like ‘Pancha Rathas’ or five chariots. It is believed that each of the temples is dedicated to the five Pandava brothers from the Hindu epic Mahabharata. You can see every sculpture with carvings of animals, humans, and gods. If you look closely at the architecture, it will surely give knowledge about the talent that Pallava Dynasty artisans possessed.

If you want to see the architectural brilliance and take a peep into the rich history behind the temple, make sure to pay a visit to this beautiful Tamil Nadu temple.

  • Timings: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Charge: None

 

Are you ready to explore the most beautiful temples in Tamil Nadu? If you are a history buff, an architecture admirer, or just want to explore the rich Indian heritage, the temples of Tamil Nadu are the best places to go. They are not just known in India but also attract tourists from around the globe. Their beauty and fine architectural work show the skilled artisans that created the masterpieces for us to see and admire. Which temple will you visit first?

Read More: Best Tourist Attraction in Tamil Nadu

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Debashree Chakraborty

A travel writer by profession and self-professed addict to literature and travelling. Go through her penned down travel experiences on indianholiday.com

Comments ( 2 )
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  • arun

    Thank you for your Great article.

    • Diksha Khiatani

      Hi Arun

      Thank you for your kind words! Keep on following our blogs for more such informative posts in the future.