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Tamil Nadu Temples

Kailasanatha
Dedicated to SiA Temple in Tamil Naduva, Kailasanatha is one of the earliest temples. It was built by the Pallava king, Rayasimha, in the late 7th century, though its front was added later by his son, King Varman III. It is the only temple at Kanchi which isn't cluttered with the more recent additions of the Cholas and Vijayanagar rulers, and so reflects the freshness and simplicity of early Dravidian architecture. Fragments of the 8-th century murals which once graced the alcoves are a visible reminder of how magnificent the temple must have looked when it was first built. The temple is run by the Archaeology Department and is very interesting, Quite unusually, non-Hindus are allowed into the inner sanctrum.

The Sri Ekambarnathar
Temple is dedicated to Siva and is one of the largest temples in Kanchipuram, covering nine hectares. Its 59 m high gopuram and massive outer stone wall were constructed in 1509 by Krishna Devaraja of the Vijayananagar Empire, though construction was originally started by the Pallavas and the temple was later extended by the Cholas. Inside are five separates enclosures and a 1000- pillared hall. The temple's name is said to be a modified form of Eka Amra Nathar -- the Lord of the Mango tree. and in one of the enclosure is a very old mango tree with four branches representing the four Vedas. The fruit of each of the four branches is said to have a different taste, and a plaque nearby claims that the tree is 3500 years old.

Kamaskhi Amman
Temple is dedicated to the goddess Paravati, this important temple is the site of the annual Car Festival, held on the 9th lunar day in February -March. When not in use, the ornately carved wooden car is kept partially covered in corrugated iron halfway up Gandhi Rd. The temple has a golden gopuram in the centre.

Rock Fort Temple
The temple tops an 83 m high outcrop. This smooth rock was first hewn by the Pallavas who cut small cave temples into the southern face, but it was the Nayakas who made use of its naturally fortified position. It's a stiff climb up the 437 steps cut into the stone to the top but well worth it for the views. Non-Hindus are not allowed into the Vinayaka Temple at the summit nor the bigger Sri Thayumanaswamy Temple dedicated to Siva, halfway up. Occasionally temple priest waive this regulation.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
This superb temple complex at Srirangam, about three km from the Rock Fort, is surrounded by seven concentric walls with 21 gopurams and is probably the largest in India. Most of it dates from the 14th to 17th centuries, and many people have had a hand in its construction, including the Cheras, Pandyas, Cholas, Hoysalas and Vijayanagars. The largest gopuram in the first wall on the southern side was completed as recently as 1987 and now measures an astounding 73m. The temple complex is very well preserved, with excellent carvings throughout and numerous shrines to various gods, though the main temple is dedicated to Vishnu. Even the muslims are said to have prayed here after the fall of Vijayanagar Empire.

St. John's Church
Trichy also has some interesting Raj-era monuments. Built in1812, St. John's Church has louved side doors which can be opened to turn the church into an airy pavilion. Rouse the doorkeeper to let you in. The surrounding cemetery is also interesting.

Kapaleeswarar
An ancient Shiva temple, is the biggest temple in Chennai. A masterpiece of Dravidian style and displays the architectural elements - gopurams, mandapams and a tank. There are some fragmentary inscriptions dating back to 1250 AD.

Sri Parthasarathy Temple
Devoted to Lord Krishna, was originally built by the Pallavas in the 8th century and renovated in the 16th century bt the Vijayanagars. It houses the five 'avatars' of Lord Vishnu, and has a small temple shrine dedicated to Vishnu's consort, Vedavalli Ammai. It's one of the oldest surviving temple in Chennai.

The Santhome Cathedral
Church built in 1504, then rebuilt in neo-Gothic style in 1893, this Roman Catholic Church near Kapaleeshwarar temple is said to house the remains of St. Thomas the Apostle.

Little Mount Shrine
St. Thomas is believed to have lived in Little Mount Shrine (a tiny cave) when he came to India around 58 A.D. Known locally as Chinnamalai, the cave is entered via the Portuguese Church that was built in 1551.

St. Mary's Church
Built in 1678-80, was the first English Church in Chennai, and is the oldest surviving British Church in India. There are reminders in the Church of Clive, who was married here in 1753, and of Elihu Yale, the early Governor of Chennai who later founded the famous American University bearing his name.


 

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