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    After an extraordinary confluence of religion and art, these famous temples in South India have become a shining example of the cultural heritage and diversity of India. Of all the existing ones, take a look at some of the finest architectural creations made over a period of thousands of years by historic dynasties for the creators and preservers of this beautiful planet.

    In India, for hundreds of years, the only form of tourism that existed was purely religious and devotional. Even to this day, millions of devotees flock to these incredible famous temples in South India every year in a quest for moksha and inner peace.

    22 Famous Temples In South India

    Many of the famous temples in South India have often been considered by historians and architects as the finest devotional constructions ever to be made. What made these temples not lose their charm with the passage of time was the strong and dedicated devotional purpose for which they were built. Here are a few:

    1. Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Trivandrum

    Padmanabhaswamy temple

    Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the most interesting famous temples in South India in terms of architectural design. It was built with an intriguing fusion of Kerala style and Dravidian style of architecture. Built in the 16th century, this temple has been home to many royal families over the centuries including the Travancore Royal Family.

    Location: West Nada, Fort, East Fort, Pazhavangadi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695023
    Timings: 3 am to 12 noon; 5 pm to 7:20 pm

    How to get there: Being a major port city in the state of Kerala, Trivandrum has direct connectivity via flight, rail, and road to all parts of India. Trains and flights to Trivandrum can be booked with relative ease from all metropolitan and tier 2 cities of India.

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    2. Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram

    temples in rameswaram

    One of the southernmost famous temples in South India, Ramanathaswamy temple was constructed during the 17th century on the Rameshwaram Island of Tamil Nadu. The temple holds a special importance for Hindus as it contains one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva around India.

    Location: Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu 623526
    Timings: 4:30 am to 1 pm; 3 pm to 8:30 pm

    How to get there: For those who are wanting to reach by air, the nearest airport to Rameshwaram is 163 km away in Madurai. The railway station in Rameshwaram is well connected with daily trains running from Chennai, Thanjavur, Trichy, and Coimbatore.

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    3. Ranganathaswamy Temple, Trichy

    ranganathaswamy temple

    Ranganathaswamy Temple was constructed in the 6th Century AD as a tribute to Lord Ranganatha (a form of Lord Vishnu). Built in traditional Dravidian architecture, this temple has been glorified in early Tamil literature scriptures as an important Divya Desam to Lord Vishnu.

    Location: Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu 620006
    Timings: 9 am to 9 pm

    How to get there: Trichy has a domestic and an international airport that is well connected to cities not only in India but across the world as well. The city is also well connected to major metropolitan cities by train in India. By road, the closest big city is Chennai at a distance of 335 km that can be covered in approx 6 hours.

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    4. Venkateshwara Temple, Tirupati

    tirupati balaji temple

    Out of all the famous temples in south India, the Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati holds the achievement of being the most visited and recognized temple. Along with receiving millions of devotees every year, the temple also receives generous donations of human hair and money by the loyal worshipers of Lord Vishnu.

    Location: S Mada St, Tirumala, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh 517504
    Timings: 9 am to 9 pm

    How to get there: After becoming an important religious tourism destination, Tirupati has developed good connectivity by flights to Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bangalore. Tirupati is also linked by rail and road to all major cities in India for smoother access for the millions of devotee that travel annually to the Tirupati shrine.

    Suggested Read: 5 Scintillating Places To Visit In South India For An Exciting Vacay In 2020

    5. Chennakeshava Temple, Belur

    chennakeshava temple

    Built in the 12th century by King Vishnuvardhana, Chennakeshava Temple was a prime attraction of Belur, an early capital of the Hoysala Empire. Along with being a major Vaishnava visiting site, this South Indian temple is also scheduled to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the upcoming 12 months.

    Location: Temple Road, Belur, Karnataka 573115
    Timings: 9 am to 5:30 pm

    How to get there: The closest airport to Belur is 114 km in Mangalore which is well connected to all major cities of India. The closest railway station to Belur is 26 km away in Sakleshpur, Karnataka. By road, there are daily buses running from Mangalore, Chennai, and Coimbatore.

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    6. Arunachaleswar Temple, Thiruvannamalai

    Arunachaleshwar Temple

    A Tamil Hindu temple built in the 9th century by the Chola dynasty, Arunachaleswar Temple is one of the most prominent Lord Shiva South Indian temples in existence. Along with being located in the Anamalai hills in Tamil Nadu, this temple holds a lot of significance to the Hindu sect of Saivism.

    Location: Pavazhakundur, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu 606601
    Timings: 5:30 am to 12:30 pm; 3:30 pm to 9:30 pm

    How to reach there: The nearest airport to Tiruvannamalai is 89 km away in Pondicherry. Tiruvannamalai railway station is a major stoppage for trains running through Tamil Nadu and as a result, is connected to almost all the major cities of India by rail and road.

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    7. Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur

    Brihadeeswarar Temple

    A temple that recently completed 1000 years of its existence in Thanjavur, Brihadeeswarar Temple is a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site also recognized one of the famous temples in South India built by the great Chola dynasty.

    Location: Membalam Rd, Balaganapathy Nagar, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 613007
    Timings: 6 am to 12:30 pm; 4 pm to 8:30 pm

    How to reach there: As there no airport in Thanjavur, the nearest airport falls in Trichy which is 48 km away from the city center. As for trains, there is good connectivity from Thanjavur Junction to other major cities in South India. There are regular buses plying from Thanjavur to Chennai that last a total duration of 6.5 hours.

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    8. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai

    meenakshi temple

    Believed to be constructed as early as the 7th century AD, Meenakshi Temple has long been the most artistic, among all the famous temples in South India. Although the legend says that the foundation of the temple was laid by the Lord Indra, the current structure was last modified in the 16th century to add color and intricate details.

    Location: Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
    Timings: 5 am to 12:30 pm ; 4 pm to 10 pm

    How to get there: The city of Madurai has a domestic airport and a railway station that is well connected to all the major metropolitan cities of India. By road, one can cover the distance of 462 km between Chennai and Madurai in 8 hours.

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    9. Guruvayur Temple, Guruvayur

    Guruvayur Temple, Guruvayur

    Image Source

    Located in the town of Guruvayur, this temple is often regarded as the most important place of worships for Hindus in Kerala who consider this South Indian temple as the “Holy Abode of Vishnu on Earth”. Known to be as one of the oldest famous temples in South India, earliest scripted records indicated the temple to be almost 5000 years old.

    Location: Guruvayur Devaswom, East Nada, Guruvayur, Kerala 680101
    Timings:
    3 am to 1:30 pm; 4:30 pm to 9 pm

    How to get there: The closest airport to Guruvayur is the Kochi International Airport merely a 90-minute drive away giving the temple a good domestic as well as international connectivity. Guruvayur also has its own railway station which is connected to major railway stations in south India like Ernakulam, Chennai, and Coimbatore.

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    10. Kailasanathar Temple, Kanchipuram

    temples in kanchipuram

    Built between the 685 – 705 AD by Rajasimha (ruler of the Pallava Dynasty), this South Indian temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located on the banks of the Vegavathi river, the temple contains 58 shrines to denote the different forms and incarnations of Lord Shiva.

    Location: Pillaiyarpalayam, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu 631501
    Timings: 4:30 am to 12 noon; 4 pm to 9 pm

    How to get there: Kanchipuram is 68 km away from Chennai, making it very easily accessible for people who wish to visit the temple of worship by flight. Apart from that, Kanchipuram has its very own bus terminal and railway station giving it access to all the major cities of India on its account of being very close to Chennai.

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    11. Ekambareswarar Temple, Kanchipuram

    Ekambareswara Temple

    Spread out in a space of more than 25 acres, Ekambareswarar Temple is the largest out of all the famous temples in south India. The temple has 12 festivities around the year, along with six players offered to the deity every day.

    Location: Ekambaranathar Sannathi St, Periya, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu 631502
    Timings: 6 am to 11 am; 5 pm to 8 pm

    How to get there: Kanchipuram is 68 km away from Chennai, making it very easily accessible for people who wish to visit the temple of worship by flight. Apart from that, Kanchipuram has its very own bus terminal and railway station giving it access to all the major cities of India on its account of being very close to Chennai.

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    12. Sarangapani Temple, Kumbakonam

    sarangapani temple

    Renowned as of one of the three key south Indian temples of Lord Vishnu, Sarangapani Temple is believed to have been constructed more than 2000 years ago as it has been regularly revered in the early scriptures of 7th century AD. Also regarded as one of 108 Divya desams, the temple is believed to contain many significant antiquities of the different dynasties like Cholas and Vijaynagar Empire.

    Location: Sarangapani North Madavilagam, Valayapettai Agraharam, Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu 612001
    Timings: 7 am to 12 noon; 5 pm to 9 pm

    How to get there: Kumbakonam does not have an airport, and the nearest one is 77 km away in Tiruchirappalli. However, Kumbakonam does have excellent rail and road connectivity as it has its own railway station and bus terminal.

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    13. Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur

    Vadakkunnathan Temple thrissur

    This temple built within the lush green surroundings of Thrissur is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Explore the classic Kerala architecture in addition to the ancient artworks including the collection of mural paintings that showcase the Mahabharata. Visit this temple during April and May when the Pooram festival is celebrated with amazing firework displays.

    Location: Swaraj Round N, Kuruppam, Thekkinkadu Maidan, Thrissur, Kerala 680001
    Timings: 4 am to 11 am; 5 pm to 8:30 pm

    How to get there: The Thrissur railway station is only 2 km away from the temple so that would be the best option. If you like flights too much, then the Kochi airport is 50 km away from Thrissur and a bus or taxi from there to the temple would be feasible.

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    14. Annapoorneshwari Temple, Horanadu

    Entry of Horanadu Annapoorneshwari Temple

    As the name suggests, the temple is dedicated to the Goddess of Food, Annapoorneshwari. It is one of the oldest temples in Karnataka and located in a serene area on the banks of Bhadra river. Legend has it that the sage Agastya built a beautiful statue of the Goddess in a standing pose which is a major attraction inside the temple.

    Location: Mudigere – Taluk, Chikmagalur – District, Hornadu, Karnataka 577181
    Timings: 6 am to 9:30 pm

    How to get there: The best way to reach the temple is via buses from various parts of Karnataka and nearby states. While the Mangalore airport is 70 km away and with no rail station, Horanadu trip is best enjoyed on a road trip. KSRTC operates several buses. 

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    15. Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram

    Best temple in 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.

    Location: Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu 603104
    Timings: 6 am to 6 pm

    How to get there: Chennai airport and Chennai railway station are the nearest connectors of the city. Plenty of buses move on a daily basis between the two cities which have a rough distance of 50 km.

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    16. Sivagiri Temple, Varkala

    a huge temple with many trees around

    The temple is dedicated to the Goddess of education, Saraswati and is multi-tiered. The pilgrimage site also headquarters the Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham. The temple is very much adorned for its design, architecture and the white terrace. The green surroundings hold an annual pilgrimage during New Year. 

    Location: Sivagiri Road, Varkala, Kerala 695145
    Timings: 5 am to noon; 4 pm to 9 pm

    How to get there: The nearest airport is in Thiruvananthapuram – 45 km away and Varkala has a railway station but majorly trains don’t stop here. So, the best option is to take a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus from Thiruvananthapuram to Varkala which will take approximately 1 hour.

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    17. Mahabaleshwar Temple, Gokarna

    How about heading to Karnataka’s Gokarna for the beaches while also exploring the spiritual side of the town with Mahabaleshwar temple. It is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and very popular for the classical Dravidian architecture. The temple has vast legendary stories related to the history of Gods so if you want some classic stories, visit here. 

    Location: Koti Teertha Rd, Kotiteertha, Dandebagh, Gokarna, Karnataka 581326
    Timings: 6 am to 12:30 pm; 5 pm to 8 pm

    How to get there: Gokarna has good road connectivity. The nearest railhead in Ankola, just 20 km away. You can deboard at this railway station and board a bus to directly reach Gokarna by road.

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    18. Parthasarathy Temple, Aranmula

    Parthasarathy Templer

    This grand temple of Lord Krishna is made to feel the immense power of the lord and attain spiritual rejuvenation. Krishna is referred to as Partha in Mahabharata from where the name of the temple has been inspired. Do adorn the temple’s architecture while attending the Valla Sadya – when a snake boat race is held in the Pampa river.

    Location: Chengannur, Kottayam – Kozhencherry Rd, Mallapuzhassery, Kerala 689533
    Timings: 5:30 am to noon; 4 pm to 9 pm

    How to get there: The Chengannur is 10 km away from Chengannur. There are plenty of taxis and buses available from the station. You can get to the temple in 30 minutes.

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    19. Bhutanatha Temple, Badami

    Crafted out of soft sandstone

    Lord VIshnu had around 10 incarnations, also called “Dashavataras” spread throughout the ages. To explore the very essence of the avatars, Bhutanatha temple has been built. The architecture is a combination of north and early south Indian architectural style. And it’s not  one temple but a group of temples in a huge complex surrounded by a pristine lake and the Badami rocky mountains. 

    Location: Badami, Karnataka 587201
    Timings: 6 am to 7 pm

    How to get there: The town has a railway station although not very popular. Hubli railway station is a major junction on the route. Belgaum which is 150 km away has an airport. The best way to reach Badami from any of these places is via bus or hired taxi with excellent road connectivity options. 

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    20. Murudeshwara Temple, Murdeshwar

    Lord Shiva's Statue

    The great temple of Murudeshwara is dedicated to Lord Shiva and located near the beaches of Bhatkal in Karnataka. The 22-storied high gopuram was and still continues to be the largest attraction of the temple while the newly built statue of Lord Shiva, which is the second highest in the world is the new thing. Seek blissful vibes from the surrounding Kanduka hill which overlooks the Arabian Sea.

    Location: Murdeshwar, Karnataka 581350
    Timings: 3 am to 1 pm; 3 pm to 8 pm

    How to get there: The nearest place to Murdeshwar is Mangalore, about 150 km away. There are taxis and buses operated by KSRTC that ply regularly which you can take.

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    21. Murugan Temple, Tiruchendur 

    Arulmigu Maruthamalai Murugan Temple Coimbatore

    Do you want to feel the serene bliss while also offering your prayers to the lord? Then visit the Murugan temple in Tiruchendur to get a glimpse of the grand ocean view. The temple has one of the largest complexes in the entirety of India. The temple is built using red sandstone rock at the foundation with an iconic Gopuram that gives it an elegant look. Another amazing offering of the temple are the 120 columns and 16 pillars of Ananda Vilas Mandap.

    Location: Thiruchendur, Tamil Nadu 628215
    Timings: 5:30 am to 7 pm

    How to get there: Tiruchendur has its own railway station and while Tuticorin is the nearest airport which is 30 km away, trains are a much viable option. Take a bus or a taxi from the station to the town and eventually, the temple.

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    22. Sabarimala Sastha Temple, Pathanamthitta

    Sabarimala Sastha Temple

    Be spiritually awakened at this major Hindu pilgrimage centre located in Pathanamthitta, Kerala. The temple is located in the vicinity of Periyar Tiger Reserve which adds to the lush green surroundings of the temple. The temple also hosts a mass pilgrimage accounting for 50 million people. 

    Location: Sannidhanam, Sabarimala, Kerala 689662
    Timings: 4 am to 11 pm

    How to get there: There is no railway station or airport in Pathanamthitta. But being a major pilgrimage, you can get here from the nearby airports at Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. The nearest railway stations are at Ernakulam, Kottayam,  and Chengannur. The nearest bus stop is at Pampa from where buses ply regularly. In short, there are plenty of options to travel. 

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    The rich history of these divine South Indian temples is motivating enough for anyone to go out explore them on their own. Every temple has its own story, and behind every story, there is an illustrious past. Plan a South Indian tour today and visit some of these incredible temples. Don’t forget to share your holy experience with us.

    Disclaimer: TravelTriangle claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on TravelTriangle, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Famous Temples In South India

    Q. What are the main temples in South India?

    A. South India is home to an extensive number of temples that reeks of essence of spirituality. The main temples of South India includes Chidambaram, Rameshwaram, Madurai, Tirupati, Kanchipuram, and Thanjavur.

    Q. Which is the largest temple in South India?

    A. South India is known as the land of temples that exhibit eye-catching architecture. The largest temple in South India is Angkor Wat that covers an area of 1,626,000 meter square approximately.

    Q. Which city is known as the Temple City of South India?

    A. Kanchipuram or Conjeevaram is also known as the City of Thousand Temples. One of the ancient cities of the southern part of India, this city reeks of history that dates back to as early as the Chola capital, the 2nd century BCE.

    Q. Which city has more temples in Tamil Nadu?

    A. The City of Thousand Temple, Sacred City, Heritage City or Temple City of India is Kanchipuram, and hence, the temple city of Tamil Nadu also happens to the same. All the cities of Tamil Nadu blankets an extensive number of major temples. There are around 165 temples dedicated to Shiva in Kanchipuram itself.

    Q. What is the best time to visit South India?

    A. If one is seeking to avoid the hot and humid weather conditions of South India, it is best to visit during the winter season. The peak season for South India usually begins around December and continues till February.

    Q. Which temple is famous in Tamil Nadu?

    A. Home to numerous temples and the Temple City, there is an extensive number of major temples that attracts flocks of believers all year long. The most famous temple in Tamil Nadu is the Brihadeeswarar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, which is located in Thanjavur. This temple is also one of the largest temples that exhibits a fine example of Hindu architecture.

    Q. Which South state is famous for temples?

    A. The whole southern part of India is known for spiritual and beautifully built temples. From Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu, all the states of South India have their floors covered with numerous places of worship.

    Q. Which part of South Indian temple is called a gopuram?

    A. A Gopuram is a Sanskrit word that refers to the monumental and ornate entrance towers of the Hindu Temples. These towers form an important part of the Dravidian architecture that can be seen in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Kerala.

    Q. Who built Rameswaram temple?

    A. The Rameswaram Temple is one of the main temples of South India and was built by King Achutha Nayak during the 1614-1640s. The King ruled Tanjore during this era and was a devotee of Lord Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu who took life of a ten-headed demon named Ravana.


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