Southern sojourn

Omkar Paranjape
Sunday, 3 September 2017

A peek into the three famous temples of South India

Step into Tamil Nadu and you will find thousands of temples with lofty towers dotting the skyline of most of the towns and cities. These temples are torchbearers of the glorious heritage of the Tamil-speaking region. 

The elaborate architecture, brilliant sculpture and the sheer presence of the temples, built in honour of Shiva and Vishnu leave you spellbound.  
We bring to you three famous temples of Tamil Nadu that will give you a chance to revel in their mesmerising designs and architecture. 

MAHABALIPURAM
Known as the ancient temple town, Mahabalipuram is a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back to 7th century. The intricate Shiva and Vishnu sculptures are a sight to behold. Built on a picturesque backdrop of the Bay of Bengal, the Mahabalipuram temple complex is a photographer’s delight. Although it is not as gigantic as other temples in Tamil Nadu, yet it leaves a lasting impression on one’s mind.

CONNECTIVITY: Mahabalipuram is 45 km away from Chennai.
SPECIALITY: Home to the unique Chettinad cuisine, over here you’ll be served spicy curries with rice-based preparations like Appams, Idlis, Idiyappams, Adais and Dosais. Believed to be one the spiciest cuisines in India, the Chettinad Fried Fish and Chettinad Chicken are not to be missed.

BRIHADESHWARA TEMPLE
Situated in the historic city of Thanjavur in southern Tamil Nadu, Brihadeshwara is one of the most ancient temples. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple was built by King Rajaraja I in the 11th century to celebrate a military victory. 

This temple  stood out for me as I saw devotees playing traditional South Indian classical instruments like the thavil and nadaswaram. 

While we always remember that dance traditions were born in the temples, we forget that music lived and thrived there too. 

CONNECTIVITY: Based in the heart of Thanjavur, Brihadeswara temple is hardly an hour’s drive from a big city centre in Thiruchirapalli (Trichy).
SPECIALITY: Known as the ‘rice bowl’ of Tamil Nadu, here you’ll get the authentic South Indian rice plate comprising Sambhar, Rassam, Payasam and rice!

KUMBAKONAM
Kumbakonam dates back to the Sangam period and was ruled by the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas and the Thanjavur Marathas. 

If you wish to see the grandeur of South Indian temples, look no further than Kumbakonam. 

The beautifully crafted  pillars of this gigantic Shiva temple left me awestruck. 

This temple holds the reputation of hosting the maximum number of weddings and annaprashan (rice-feeding ceremonies) for infants in Tamil Nadu. 

CONNECTIVITY: Kumbakonam is 40 km away from Thanjavur.
SPECIALITY: This place is famous for one of the defining characteristics of South India — a good Filter Kaapi. Known for its aroma, body and a delectable pure flavour, Kumbakonam serves you the purest filter coffee in Tamil Nadu.

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