India’s geographical, religious, and cultural history is one of the jaw-dropping, detailed, and extremely nuanced in the whole world. The southern part of India is studded with temples that have both historical and religious value and help take us back in the time when the temple was built. South Indian temples speak of much more than their religiosity and are open text books for those who wish to know about Indian history to its core. We found and shortlisted five of the most legendary temples of South India that we think are a treasure to the whole country. By Shubhanjana Das

1. Meenakshi Amman Temple

To term Meenakshi Amman Temple or Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple as just one of India’s most significant religious spots is to exclude its significance as a thriving cultural and architectural marvel. The temple is located to the south of river Vaigai in the city of temples, Madurai. If you’re wondering what sets Meenakshi Aman Temple apart from every other temple in South India, perhaps the fact that this temple, built way back in 1623-1655 CE, was nominated among the top 30 contenders for being one of the seven wonders of the world. The temple is dedicated to Parvati and Lord Shiva.

2. Venkateshwara Temple

A small hill town in Andhra Pradesh called Tirumala is home to one of the most captivating temples of South India, the Venkateshwara Temple. If we were to go by the local belief, the construction of this temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu commenced in 300 AD. The backdrop of the temple combined with the stunning Dravidian architecture is worth a visit by everyone travelling to Andhra Pradesh, religious or not. Devotees have always donated to temple but Venkateshwara has a different and a rather unusual market — selling human hair, since Lord Vishnu accepts human hair as sacrifice and hence, the ritual.

3. Virupaksha Temple

Perhaps one of the most famous temples of South India is the Virupaksha Temple located on the banks of the Tungabhadra in the much-acclaimed tourist destination of Hampi. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Virupaksha temple is one of the few but albeit one of the most brilliant examples of the architectural prowess exercised during the Vijaynagara empire. Dating back to the 7th century, it takes a patient and willing person to look through the intricate carvings on the walls of the temple. And hey, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

4. Brihadeshwara Temple

The much-acclaimed Chola Dynasy, during its years of absolute glory, had built architectural wonders such as the Brihadeshwara Temple in stunning Tamil architecture. Despite being 1009 years old, this temple holds on to its magnificence tightly and has claimed for itself the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in dedication to Lord Shiva.

5. Suchindram Temple

You may know this temple by its former name of Thanumalaym as well for it is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu. If we talk about architectural wonders, this temple can give the others serious competition with its musical and hanging pillars! No, it’s not witchcraft. Built way back in the 17th century, this temple is linked to the legends of the Anasuya and Ahalya and a single linga, which represents Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh.

Related:Kedarnath Temple To Open Gates For Visitors On May 9 This Year!