India is a land known to be a place of sanctity wherein all the religions and their places of worship are just as diverse as the country itself. Each establishment has its own elaborate historical and architectural significance. It seems impossible to sum up all of them in one single blogpost. So, let us break it down.
How about we list out the temples in India?
That would still be a herculean task.
How about we list out the temples from only one part of the country? Like the south.
That would still be a tremendously long list.
So let us list out the most famous temples of South India!
TheTirumalaTirupati Devasthanams are of the most famous temples of the country. The Lord Venkateshwara temple at Tirumala is the richest temple in the world and also sees a large amount of devotees ranging from at least 50,000 devotees per day on normal days, to 500,000 devotees on special occasions and festivals. It is situated on top of the Tirumala hill. The main deity is Lord Venkateshwara (also known as Malayappa Swamy).
One needs to travel across the seven hills to reach Tirumala. The seven hills are related to the Saptarishis (Seven sages). Devotees from all over the world embark on this journey. While there are excellent roads and transportation services available, some still prefer to travel by foot. Today the management of the Tirumala temple and all its functions and activities are being carried on in a manner that has made it famous all over the world.
While the Lord resides atop the hill, the Goddess Padmavati resides in the town of Tirupati. Devotees who visit Tirumala make it a point to visit Tirupati and worship the Goddess. Both these temples are famous for the Laddus and other Prasadams that are distributed to the devotees. It is also common for devotees to donate their hair to the deities.
The pilgrimage of Sabarimala is perhaps the one of most tedious ones. Devotees from all over the country travel to visit the Ayyappa temple (also known as Dharmasasta) start this journey by adorning of a mala (chain), which marks the beginning of their vratham, which lasts over a period of 41 days. This vratham indicates a vow of the devotee and includes abstaining from consuming non-vegetarian food, alcohol or any other intoxicating substances. It also implies a vow of celibacy for the period. Devotees must stay clean and pure, respect everyone around them and must only adorn simple clothes of specific colours (such as black, blue).
This is only the beginning of their journey. The most tedious part is that travel by foot to the temple. The starting point is not fixed. Some hike from the bottom of the mountain while others walk all the way from their respective towns/cities, all the while carrying and cooking their own food. The most prominent event is the sighting of the Makara Jyoti during the Makaravilakku festival.
Yet another famous temple in Kerala is the Sri Krishna Temple at Guruvayur. The deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu, known by the name Guruvayurappan. This is one of the most ancient temples of Kerala and the rituals have been continued over the centuries. One can observe that this temple is built in traditional Kerala style architecture. Guruvayur Temple also owns and cares for one of the largest yard of elephants.
Guruvayur comes under the Thrissur district, and not far from this temple, is the sacred city of Thrissur.
The city is home to the ancient Vadakkunathan Temple which has the main deity as Lord Shiva. The temple is known for the architecture and beholds some of the most beautiful carvings and paintings. The temple is also home to the famous annual Thrissur Pooram festival.
These have only been 3 out of the countless temples of the South. Watch out on this space to learn about more such temples!
And if you’re planning your own pilgrimage, download the CoRover Connect app and make it the smoothest one!