Parthasarathy Temple is ancient historical Hindu Vaishnavite Temple of Supreme Lord Vishnu located in Thiruvallikeni or Triplicane, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. The word Parthsarathi is combination of two word, Parth and Sarathi. Here the word Partha means Arjuna in Sanskrit and the word Sarathy means the Charioteer. We all know very well the Lord Shree Krishna was the Charioteer of Arjun’s Chariot in the war of Mahabharata between Pandavas and Kauravavas in the land of Kurukshetra. This temple is the 61 Divya Desam of Vaishnav among 108 Divya Desams. Parthasarthy Temple is one of the oldest structures in Triplicane Chennai built more than 1000 years ago.
Mahabalipuram‘s early history is completely shrouded in mystery. Ancient mariners considered this place the land of the Seven Pagodas. There are others who think that Mahabalipuram suffered from a great flood between 10,000 and 13,000 BCE. Controversial historian Graham Hancock was one of the core members of a team of divers from Indian National Institute of Oceanography and the Scientific Exploration Society based in Dorset, UK who surveyed the ocean bed near Mahabalipuram in 2002 CE. He is more inclined to believe the flood theory. His exploration also afforded him a fair glimpse of the vast extent of submerged ruins of the city. After his underwater exploration, he reportedly commented, “I have argued for many years that the world’s flood myths deserve to be taken seriously, a view that most Western academics reject … But here in Mahabalipuram, we have proved the myths right and the academics wrong. Many opinions exist about the origin of the name of the site too. The most popular explanation is that the place is named after benevolent King Bali, also known as Mahabali. The ancient Indian text of Vishnu Puran documents his exploits. After sacrificing himself to Vaman, an incarnation of Vishnu, he attained liberation. “Puram” is a Sanskrit term for a city or urban dwelling. Mamallapuram is the Prakrit version of the original Sanskrit name.
Kanchipuram ([kaːɲdʑipuɾam]), or Kānchi or Kāncheepuram, is a famous temple city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It served as the capital city of the Pallava Kingdom. It is also known by its former names Kanchiampathi, Conjeevaram, and the nickname “The City of Thousand Temples” It is now the Administrative headquarters of Kanchipuram district. Kanchipuram is located 72 kilometers from Chennai, the capital city of the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India. Kanchipuram is considered one of the seven holiest cities to the Hindus of India. In Hinduism, a kshetra is a sacred ground, a field of active power, a place where moksha, final release can be obtained. The Garuda Purana enumerates seven cities as providers of moksha, namely Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Varanasi, Avantikā, Dvārakā, and Kanchipuram.
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Ranganatha (a form of Vishnu), located in Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India. Constructed in the Dravidian architectural style, the temple is glorified by Alvars in their Naalayira Divya Prabhandam and has the unique distinction of being the foremost among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to the god Vishnu.
It is the most illustrious Vaishnava temples in South India rich in legend and history. Beyond the ancient textual history, archaeological evidence such as inscriptions refer to this temple, and these stone inscriptions are from late 100 BCE to 100 CE. Hence, “making it one of the oldest surviving active temple complexes in South India”. The Deity finds a mention in the great Sanskrit epic Ramayana which is dated around 800 to 400 BCE which also pushes the existence of deity to the same era, which shows that the temple is minimum 2500 to 3000 years old archeologically and traditionally 30 lakh years old. The temple has played an important role in Vaishnavism history starting with the 11th-century career of Ramanuja and his predecessors Nathamuni and Yamunacharya in Srirangam. Its location, on an island between the Kollidam and Kaveri rivers, has rendered it vulnerable to flooding as well as the rampaging of invading armies which repeatedly commandeered the site for military encampment. The temple was looted and destroyed by the Delhi Sultanate armies in a broad plunder raid on various cities of the Pandyan kingdom in early 14th century. The temple was rebuilt in late 14th century, the site fortified and expanded with many more gopurams in the 16th and 17th centuries.It was one of the hubs of early Bhakti movement with a devotional singing and dance tradition, but this tradition stopped during the 14th century and was revived in a limited way much later.
The temple occupies an area of 155 acres (63 ha) with 81 shrines, 21 towers, 39 pavilions, and many water tanks integrated into the complex making it the world’s largest functioning Hindu temple.The temple town is a significant archaeological and epigraphical site, providing a historic window into the early and mid medieval South Indian society and culture. Numerous inscriptions suggest that this Hindu temple served not only as a spiritual center, but also a major economic and charitable institution that operated education and hospital facilities, ran a free kitchen, and financed regional infrastructure projects from the gifts and donations it received.
The Srirangam temple is the largest temple compound in India and one of the largest religious complexes in the world. Some of these structures have been renovated, expanded and rebuilt over the centuries as a living temple. The latest addition is the outer tower that is approximately 73 metres (240 ft) tall, completed in 1987. Srirangam temple is often listed as one of the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world, the still larger Angkor Wat being the largest existing temple. The temple is an active Hindu house of worship and follows the Tenkalai tradition of Sri Vaishnavism. The annual 21-day festival conducted during the Tamil month of Margali (December–January) attracts 1 million visitors. The temple complex has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is in UNESCO’s tentative list. In 2017 the temple won the UNESCO Asia Pacific Award of Merit 2017 for cultural heritage conservation, making it the first temple in Tamil Nadu to receive the award from the UNESCO.
Rameshwaram is a beautiful island town located at the southern tip of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. A sacred pilgrimage site for the Hindus, the town sits on a fragmented land bridge in the Gulf of Munnar that connects the Indian peninsula and Sri Lanka. Rameshwaram is a popular holiday destination for families who visit the town for its ancient temples and holy sites associated with Ramayana. It is also famous for pristine beaches that are as good as some of the best tropical getaways around the world. While it’s possible to make a day trip to the most sacred temples, it generally takes about 2-3 days to explore all of the important temples and tourist attractions on the island.
Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple was built by Pandyan Emperor Sadayavarman Kulasekaran I (1190 CE–1205 CE). He built the main Portions of the three-storeyed Gopuram at the entrance of Sundareswarar Shrine and the central portion of the Goddess Meenakshi Shrine are some of the earliest surviving parts of the temple. The traditional texts call him a poet-saint king, additionally credit him with a poem called Ambikai Malai, as well as shrines (koil) each for Natarajar and Surya near the main temple, Ayyanar in the east, Vinayagar in the south, Kariamalperumal in the west and Kali in the north. He also built a Mahamandapam. Kulasekara Pandya was also a poet and he composed a poem on Meenakshi named Ambikai Malai. Maravarman Sundara Pandyan I built a gopuram in 1231, then called Avanivendaraman, later rebuilt, expanded and named as Sundara Pandya Thirukkopuram. Chitra gopuram (W), also known as Muttalakkum Vayil, was built by Maravarman Sundara Pandyan II (1238-1251). This gopuram is named after the frescoes and reliefs that depict secular and religious themes of Hindu culture. Maravarman Sundara Pandyan II also added a pillared corridor to the Sundareswara shrine and the Sundara Pandyan Mandapam. It was rebuilt after the 14th-century damage, its granite structure was renovated by Kumara Krishnappar after 1595.
Though the temple has historic roots, most of the present campus structure was rebuilt after the 14th century CE, further repaired, renovated and expanded in the 17th century by Tirumala Nayaka. In the early 14th century, the armies of Delhi Sultanate led by Muslim Commander Malik Kafur plundered the temple, looted it of its valuables and destroyed the Madurai temple town along with many other temple towns of South India. The contemporary temple is the result of rebuilding efforts started by the Vijayanagara Empire rulers who rebuilt the core and reopened the temple. In the 16th century, the temple complex was further expanded and fortified by the Nayak ruler Vishwanatha Nayakar and later others. The restored complex now houses 14 gopurams (gateway towers), ranging from 45–50 m in height, with the southern gopura tallest at 51.9 metres (170 ft). The complex has numerous sculpted pillared halls such as Aayirankaal (1000-pillared hall), Kilikoondu-mandapam, Golu-mandapam and Pudu-mandapam. Its shrines are dedicated to Hindu deities and Shaivism scholars, with the vimanas above the garbhagrihas (sanctums) of Meenakshi and Sundaresvara gilded with gold.
The temple is a major pilgrimage destination within the Shaivism tradition, dedicated to Meenakshi Devi and Shiva. However, the temple includes Vishnu in many narratives, sculptures and rituals as he is considered to be Meenakshi’s brother. This has made this temple and Madurai as the “southern Mathura”, one included in Vaishnava texts. The Meenakshi temple also includes Lakshmi, flute playing Krishna, Rukmini, Brahma, Saraswati, and other Vedic and Puranic deities, as well as artwork showing narratives from major Hindu texts. The large temple complex is the most prominent landmark in Madurai and attracts tens of thousands of visitors a day. The temple attracts over a million pilgrims and visitors during the annual 10-day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival, celebrated with much festivities and a ratha (chariot) procession during the Tamil month of Chittirai (overlaps with April–May in the Georgian calendar, Chaitra in North India). The Temple has been adjudged the best ‘Swachh Iconic Place’ in India as on 1 October 2017 under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.