Tamilnadu temples

History of tamilnadu temples.

Thousands of temples with lofty towers dot the skyline of the entire state of Tamilnadu. The Tamils have been the greatest of temple builders. Temples from the pre Christian era as well as those from the 20th century exist in this state, where the ancient rulers have made outstanding contributions to the growth of these monuments of great artistic value.

The most ancient temples were built of brick and mortar. Upto about 700 CE temples were scooped out of rocks. ThePallava Kings (upto 900) were great builders of temples in stone.


The Cholas (900-1250 AD) have a number of monuments to their credit. Mention must be made of the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Tanjavur. The Cholas added many ornate mandpams or halls to temples and constructed large gopurams – towers.


The Pandya Style (Upto 1350 AD) saw the emergence of huge towers, high wall enclosures and enormous towered gateways. The Vijayanagar Style (1350 – 1560 AD) is noted for the intricacy and beauty especially for the decorated monolithic pillars. The Naik style (1600 – 1750 AD) is noted for the addition of large prakarams (circumambulatory paths) and pillared halls.


The above is a rather terse description of the Dravidiantemple styles found in Tamilnadu. The age of a temple could be determined from the architectural features exhibitied by it, as well as from references to it in ancient literature.

The Sangam period literature of the pre Christian era refers to some temples. The songs of the revered Saivite Saints (Nayanmars) and the Vaishnavite Alwar Saints that date back to the period 7th to the 9th century CE provide ample references to the temples of those days, and these are a valued source of reference in estimating the age of temples.

In addition, stone inscriptions found in most temples throw a lot of light on the history , and on the patronage extended by various rulers.


Indian Temple Architecture

Indian Temple Styles: The North Indian temples (Nagara) differ widely from their South Indian counterparts (Dravidian). In this article, Cincinnati based art historian Tony Batchelor  provides an overview of the various temple architectural styles in India. A gallery of South Indian temple vimanams: Avimanam is the tower that crowns the innermost sanctum of a South Indian temple (Dravidian style of architecture). This photographic feature displays vimanams from some of the important temples of South India.
Imperial Chola Monuments I :The Brihadeeswara temple in Thanjavur in Tamilnadu (11th century CE)   is a collossal structure with a towering vimanam, and is considered to be a masterpiece of Chola architecture. Imperial Chola Monuments II: The Darasuramtemple described as a sculptor’s dream lived in stone, is built in the form of a chariot and is a grand specimen of Chola architecture, as are the Gangaikonda Choleeswaram and the Tribhuvanam temples.
Hoysala Architecture: The Hoysala temples of the earlier part of the 2nd millennium CE, display a unique architectural style, distinct from the Dravidian style that prevailed during this period in the neighboring state of Tamilnadu. Art historian Gerard Foekema describes the Chennakesava temple at  Belur, a grand specimen of Hoysala art. The Nagara Style: This is the prevalent style oftemple architecture in North India. The well developed temples of Khajuraho, and the majestic temples of Orissa, all fall under this classification.
Kerala Temple Architecture:What is it that sets the temples of Kerala apart from those elsewhere in the Indian subcontinent? Study Keralite temple architecture.. Kerala Temple History: Experience the old worldcharm of Kerala temples. Study the origin and evolution of the Keralite temple architecture.
About the Temples of Karnataka: The Chalukyas, the Gangas, the Hoysalas, the Vijayanagar rulers and others contributed to diverse temple styles seen in Karnataka. About the Temples of Andhra Pradesh Thehistory of Andhra Desaprovides an insight into the various temple architecture styles seen in the state.






Festivals and Fairs

Skanda Sashti, the sixth day in the bright half of the month of Aippasi (Oct 15 – Nov 15), is celebrated in Saivite temples all over Tamilnadu, and with an extra measure of grandeur in temples dedicated to Subramanya. Skanda Sashti commemorates the destruction of evil by the Supreme General Kartikeya, son of Shiva. Bhramotsavam – a Sri Vaishnava perspective:Most South Indian temples celebrate Bhramotsavam, a ten day long festival involving the procession of festival images on gaily decorated mounts. The significance of Bhramotsavam in SriVaishnava temples, and  the daily events in the 9 day  Bhramotsavam atTirumala (Tirupati) are presented here.
Arudra Darisanam The pre-dawn hours of the full moon night, in the tamil month of Margazhi coinciding with the asterism of Tiruvadirai  marks the auspicious time for Arudra Darisanam – of Nataraja in Saivite temples all over Tamilnadu. The 10 day festival (Margazhi Peruvizhaa) is described in detail in this feature. Kartikai Peruvizha 
The Arunachaleswarar Temple at Tiruvannamalai is one of the grandest in India. The Grand Kartikai Peruvizha,a complex festival involving a multitude of festivites and hundreds of thousands of participants happens with amazing regularity, each year – and can be described as a case study in  operations management.
Kartikai Deepam  – An image gallery 
Experience the grandeur of the finale of the Kartikai Deepam festival at    Tiruvannamalai, Tamilnadu.
Festivals at Tiruvannamalai: Experience the drama of the Tiruvoodal festival, Margazhi Tiruvadirai and yet another account of the Kartikai Peruvizha.
The Chittirai Tiruvizha at the Madurai temple attracts hundreds of thousands. It features spectacular processions and an enactment of MeenakshiKalyanam. Several festivals are celebrated throughout the year at Madurai, and many of them involve the enactment of legends surrounding the Madurai temple.

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