Meenakshi Temple

No text can do justice to the Meenakshi temple. The gigantic temple complex, the statues exploring the entire range of human emotions, everything here is larger than life. The Meenakshi temple complex is a city temple – one of the largest and certainly one of the most ancient. According to legend Madurai is the actual site where the wedding between Shiva and Meenakshi took place. The soaring and exquisitely carved towers enclose the temple dedicated to Meenakashi. The south gateway contains the twin temples of Shiva and Meenakshi and is about nine storeys high.
The Sri Meenakshi Sundareswara temple and Madurai city originated together. According to tradition, Indra once committed sin when he killed a demon, who was then performing penance. He could find no relief from remorse in his own kingdom. He came down to earth. While passing through a forest of Kadamba trees in Pandya land, he felt relieved of his burden. His servitors told him that there was a Shivalinga under a Kadamba tree and beside a lake. Certain that it was the Linga that had helped him; he worshipped it and built a small temple around it. It is believed that it is this Linga, which is till under worship in the Madurai temple. The shrine is called the “Indra Vimana”.
Once Dhananjaya, a merchant of Manavur, where the Pandyas had arrived after the second deluge in Kumari Kandam, having been overtaken by nightfall in Kadamba forest, spent the night in the Indra Vimana. When next morning he woke up, he was surprised to see signs of worship. Thinking that it must be the work of the Devas, he told the Pandya, Kulasekhara, in Manavur, of this. Meanwhile Lord Shiva had instructed Pandya in a dream to build a temple and a city at the spot Dhananjaya would indicate. Kulasekhara did so. Thus originated the temple and city.
Paranjothi Munivar wrote the Tiruviayadal Puranam in the sixteenth century. It is regarded as the temple’s Sthalapurana. An earlier work adds a few celestial sports not included in the latter. These are, or rather were painted on the walls around the Golden Lily Tank. Some of the painted wooden panels are in the Temple Museum.
The earliest references available to any structure in this temple is a hymn of Sambhandar’s, in the seventh century, which refers to the “Kapali Madil”. The present inner walls of the Lords shrine bear this name today. In the early times the entire temple must have been confined to the area between these walls, and the structures must have been of brick and mortar.
In the 14th century an invasion by Malik Kafur damaged the temple. In the same century Madurai was under Muslim rule for nearly fifty years. The temple authorities closed the sanctum, covered up the Linga, and set up another in the Ardhamandapa. When the city was liberated, the sanctum was opened, and, tradition says the flower garlands and the sandalwood paste placed on the Linga were as fresh as on the first day, and two oil lamps were still burning.
Ashta Sakthi Mandapa is a convention in this temple, different from that followed in others, that the devotee offers worship first to Goddess Meenakshi. Therefore, while there are four other entrances into the temple, under huge Gopuras in the four cardinal directions, it is customary to enter not through any of them but through a Mandapa, with no tower above it. This entrance leads directly to the shrine of the Goddess.
This Mandapa is an impressive structure, with a hemispherical ceiling. It is 14m long and 5.5m wide. There are bas-reliefs all over the place. Over the entrance one of them depicts the marriage of Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Somasundara. The Mandapa derives its name, the “Ashta Sakthi”, from the fact it contains sculptures of the eight Sakthis (also spelt as Shakti). Those of the four principal Nyanmars were added during renovation of the temple in 1960-63.
A smaller Mandapa connects the large one with another large one with another large hall, called the “Samagam Meenakshi Naicker Mandapa”, after its builder, a minister of Vijayaranga Chokkanatha (1706-32), who erected in 1707. In former times the temple’s elephants camels and bulls used to be stabled here. A brass “Tiruvatchi” holding a thousand and eight lamps stands here, 7.6m high. Marudu Pandya, one of the early opponents of the growing British power, installed it.
The Meenakshi Naicker Mandapa is a huge hall, 42.9m long and 33.5m wide. It contains 110 stone columns, each 6.7m high. There are yalis in the capital and delicate reliefs below. Some of the carvings are unfinished.
The Mudali Pillai Mandapa follows the Chitra Gopura. Added in 1613, it is 183m long and 7.6m wide. On its wall are many puranic scenes. It used to be without any natural light, but windows were added in the last renovation.
The lovely and historic Golden Lily tank then comes into view. It is from its banks that most popular photographic views of the temple are taken, showing the gigantic south outer Gopura. The northern corridor leads directly to the shrine of the Goddess. On its pillars are the images of some of the Sangam poets, of Kulasekhara Pandya, the first builder of the temple, and of Dhananjaya, who figures in the traditional story of its origin. There is no fish in the tank.
The corridors around the tank are rightly called the “Chitra Mandapa”, for the walls carry paintings of the divine sports of the Lord, as narrated in the “Tiruvilayadal Puranam”. They have been renewed from time to time. A short while ago there were paintings on wooden panels affixed over an older series. They have since been removed to the Temple Museum in the thousand-pillared Mandapa, leaving some dilapidated murals to view. It is impossible to ascertain the date of these.
It was in the sixteenth century that the corridors and the steps leading down to the tank were constructed; the northern corridor and steps in 1562, those on the east in 1573, and those on the south five years later.
Two Mandapas, the Unjal and the Kilikatti, stand on the farther way to the shrine of the Goddess. On their ceilings are more paintings. A celebrated mural, opposite to the entrance of the shrine, depicts the marriage of Goddess Meenakshi. The Kilikatti Mandapa derives its name from the fact that there are parrots in a cage here. On its walls are carvings of the divine sports. The most ornamental of the temple’s Mandapas, it was built in 1623.
A Gopura of three tiers stands over the entrance from this Mandapa into the shrine of the Goddess. Built in 1227 by Vambathura Ananda Tandava Nambi, it is named the Vambuthurar Gopura after him. The shrine consists of a square sanctum, an Ardhamandapa and a Mukhamandapa. In the niches on the walls of the shrine are images of Iccasakthi in the south, Kriyasakthi in the west, and Jnanasakthi in the north. There are shrines of Vinayaka and Subramanya in the outer Prakara. They probably belong to the fifteenth century.
There are a number of historic shrines in the Prakaras. Opposite to an entrance into the first from the Mahamandapa there is one of Lord Sabhapathi. This is the famous Velliambalam where one of the Lord’s divine sports took place when, at the request of the sages, Patanjali and Vyagrapadha, He danced as Lord Nataraja.
In the second Prakara a shrine, now called that of the Sangam poets, contains images of many of them. In the same Prakara there is a shrine apparently dedicated to Kariyamanikka Perumal, but now empty. Also in the same Prakara there is a row of fourteen small shrines, called the “isvarams”. Many of them contain Lingas.
The famous festivals held at Madurai, include Teppam festival, the annual Float Festival, wherein the images of Sri Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswara (also spelt as Sundreshwara) are mounted on floats, and taken to Mariamman Teppakkulam Tank, where for several days they are pulled back and forth across the water in the middle of the tank, on an illuminated raft embellished with flowers, before being taken back to the main temple.
The annual solemnization of the marriage of Meenakshi with Lord Sundareshwar (Shiva) is one of the most spectacular temple festivals at Madurai’s famous Meenakshi temple in Tamil Nadu. Car processions of the goddess and the god are some of the colourful features of this festival.
Meenaskhi Kalyanam, the wedding festival of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwar is celebrated for twelve days from the second day of the lunar month (i.e. two days after the new moon). This is a spectacular festival celebrated in the month of Chaitra (April-May).
The festival is characterized with royal decorated umbrellas, fans and traditional instrumental music. Scenes from mythology are enacted and the deities of Lord Shiva, Goddess Shakti and Goddess Meenakshi are taken out in a colourful procession. Thousands of devotees from all over the country gather in the city of Madurai on this occasion.

Lingaraja Temple

Situated in the ancient capital of the Kalinga empire, Bhubaneswar’s, the Lingaraja Temple is probably one of India’s most remarkable ancient, architectural achievements, with a 54-meter tower dominating the landscape. Encapsuled by high walls on all sides, the Lingaraja temple or the Bhubaneshwar is one of the most well known temples in Orissa. It is one of the best and splendoured examples of the architectural excellence which the artists had achieved during the 11th century.
The outer walls of the temple exhibit unparalled carvings. The beautifully carved and sculpted images of various God and Goddess are unrivalled. The temple complex has three compartments and each one has a temple each. Towards south of the entrance to main temple is image of Lord Ganesha, at the back is the image of Goddess Parvati and to north is Lord Kartikya. The Lingaraja temple has got various pillars and halls which add to its beauty.
The vast Bindu Sagar lake is the center around which are located the multitude of temples of Bhubaneshwar. The Lingaraja temple is located in a spacious courtyard covering over 250000 sq feet and is bounded by fortified walls. Its tower rises up to 180 feet and is elaborately carved.

Lepakshi Temple

The Vijayanagar Empire caused a number of monuments to be built and patronized in the State of Andhra Pradesh. The ornate Lepakshi temples being one of the popular temples of that era. Lepakshi is a small village, which lies nine miles east of Hindupur in Anantapur District of Andhra and is famous for its temple of Veerabhadra, and is also a renowned place where the best specimens of the mural paintings of the Vijayanagar kings are available.
The flat stuccoed granite ceilings of the Vijayanagar Empire provided a suitable background for frescoes as seen at Lepakshi. This temple is a notable example of the Vijayanagar style of architecture, and is built on a low rocky hill, which is called Kurmasaila so called because the bill is like a tortoise, in shape. An inscription on the exit of the outer wall of the temple records that one Virupanna constructed it in the 16th century.
The beautiful sculptures on the prakaram attract the pilgrims’ attention. These include 14 forms of Siva, like Dakshinamurthi, Ardhanareeswara, Tripurantaka etc. The hall of creepers is another excellent work of art, which has provided perennial inspiration to textile designers over the years. About 500m, North-East of the temple stands India’s largest monolithic Nandhi, measuring about 8.25m long and 4,60m high.

Kornark Temple


Konark Sun Temple is located , in the state of Orissa near the sacred city of Puri. The sun Temple of Konark is dedicated to the sun God or Surya. It is a masterpiece of Orissa’s medieval architecture. Sun temple has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
The Konark temple is widely known not only for its architectural grandeur but also for the intricacy and profusion of sculptural work. The entire temple has been conceived as a chariot of the sun god with 24 wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. Seven horses drag the temple. Two lions guard the entrance, crushing elephants. A flight of steps lead to the main entrance.
The Nata Mandir in front of the Jagamohana is also intricately carved. Around the base of the temple, and up the walls and roof, are carvings in the erotic style. There are images of animals, foliage, men, warriors on horses and other interesting patterns. There are three images of the Sun God, positioned to catch the rays of the sun at dawn, noon and sunset.
The temple city of Konark is situated in the eastern state of Orissa at a distance of around 65 km from Bhubaneswar and 35 km from Puri. The city extends between longitude 86.08°E and latitude 19.53°N.

Khajuraho Temple


Once a great chandela capital, Khajuraho is now a quiet village. The town of exotic temples, Khajuraho is one of India’s major honeymoon attractions. They are India’s unique gift to the world, representing a melody to life,which encompasses all emotions ranging from love, to joy. Life, in every form and mood, has been captured in stone, testifying not only to the craftsman’s artistry but also to the extraordinary breadth of vision of the Chandela kings.
The architecture of the temples are unique, being very different from the temple prototype of their period. The erotic carvings of temples, make it a must-see. Originally there were 85 temples, but many were destroyed by the British. Today, only 22 are in fair condition.

Khajuraho temple complex site is one the most popular places both foreign and Indian tourists. Temples of Khajuraho hold the attention of a visitor with their sculptural art, which is so exquisite and intricate, that one cannot even dream of cloning it now. The artist’s creative instincts have beautifully captured various facets and moods of life in stone. The temples at Khajuraho are divided into three broad groups:
The Western Group is the largest, compact and centrally located group in Khajuraho, includes some of the most prominent monuments, built by the Chandela rulers. The Lakshmana Temple, the Matangesvara Temple and the Varaha Temple form one complex and the Visvanatha and Nandi temples are not far from this complex.
The Eastern Group comprises of five detached sub-groups in and around the present village of Khajuraho. The eastern group of monuments, situated in close proximity to the Khajuraho village, includes three Brahmanical temples known as Brahma, Vamana and Javari and three Jain temples, the Ghantai, Adinath and Parsvanath.
The Southern Group is the most distant one comprising of two main monuments near and across the Khudarnala. The southern group of monuments comprises the Duladeo and the Chaturbhuja temples. The Duladeo is about a kilometre south of the Khajuraho village and half a mile southwest of the Jain group of temples. The Chaturbhuja Temple is Dance Festivalmile further south and is close to the Khajuraho airport.
Visitors are also drawn to a dance festival, celebrated in March, which attracts some of the best classical dancers in the country – the floodlit temples provide a spectacular backdrop during the event. In a setting where the earthly and the divine create perfect harmony, it is a spectacular event that celebrates the pure magic of the rich classical dance traditions of India.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

The oldest living city in the world, Varanasi is the ultimate destination of all Hindu pilgrims searching for moksha from the cycle of birth and re-birth. The word ‘Kashi’ originated from the word ‘Kas’ which means to shine. Kashi is mentioned repeatedly in the scriptures – the Brahmanas, Upanishads and the Puranas. It is the oldest center of learning and the University here is still widely respected for its Sanskrit, Philosophy, and Arts faculties. Hyuen Tsang, the Chinese traveler visited Varanasi in the 7th century.
Stepped in tradition and mythological legacy, Kashi is the ‘original ground’ created by Lord Shiva and Parvati. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple was destroyed in the various invasions and was rebuilt in 1776 by Rani Ahilyabai of Indore. Hundreds and thousands of pilgrims flock to Varanasi to offer homage and wash away their sins.
Vishweshwara jyotirlinga has a very special and unique significance in the spiritual history of India. Deeply and intimately implanted in the Hindu mind, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been a living embodiment of our timeless cultural traditions and highest spiritual values. The Temple has been visited by all great saints- Adi Shankaracharya, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekanand, Goswami Tulsidas, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, Gurunanak and several other spiritual personalities.

Kapaleeswarar Temple

In Chennai, Mylapore, the Kapaleeswarar Temple is extremely ancient temple and is one of the visited temples. The original temple was underwater beneath the sea and the present temple construction was an afterward construction.
The Amman is karpagambal and Moolavar is kapaleeswarar. There are split sannadhis for many deities such as Murugar, Vinayagar, Saneeswara, Annamalaiyar. There are many other deities such as Chandikeswarar, Durgai, Dakshinamurthy located within the major Sannadhis of Kapaleeswarar (Shiva) and Karpagambal (Paravati).
Kapaleeswarar Temple
Kapaleeswarar (Shiva) and Karpagambal (Paravati) temple is visited one. The temple is one of the main attractions in Madras. The present construction is an about 300 years old. The deity has been vocal by poets of the past millennium. This temple is also offered with enlarge mandapams and a storage tank. The temples tank lies reverse the tower.
Kapaleeswar temple is devoted to Lord Shiva. Kapaleeswaram is offered with a Shiv Lingam which is considered as having been set up by the Brahma. The lingam is well known Kapaleeswarar. Pravati is a small shrine in the type of peacock and included in the courtyard. This temple is the bronze statue of sixty-three shaivite saints. The Dravidian culture is a well example. However, the divinities have been commonly said of well-known personalities.
The Arupath Moovar Vizha festival has a huge crowd in March to April every year. Temple festivals attract enormous crowds here. The temple gives the 10 days occasions. The temple is decorated beautifully with the road complimenting the stated occurrence. In nearby district, there are sweet sharing ceremonies, classical dance performance and processions.
Kapaleeswarar Temple
The temple has additional devoted to Muruga (called Singara Velar) and Ganesha (a dancing type called Nardana Vinayakar), with his 2 consorts Deivayani and Valli. Devote are smaller shrines other kinds of Muruga (Palani Andavar), shiva (Sundareswarar, Jagatheswarar and Annamalaiar) and others. Navagraha temple is also current. Sani Bhagavan a separate temple on Saturday will be special puja’s done.
Vahanas
At the temple, the vahanas include the parrot, elephant, goat, bandicoot, bull and peacock among additional as a golden chariot is a new addition. On the vahana the Goddess and the God is seated with brought around the shrine and the temple band playing music during this happening. Around the vahanas devotees gather and believe it a respect to lift on the vahana in the Goddess and the God.
Nowadays, the temple rectangular site complex is crowded with stalls like temple jewelers, flower sellers and silk merchants, creating it a charming place to as left a few hours.

Kailash Temple

Kailash Temple is situated at Ellora and is believed that it was constructed by excavating approx. 200,000 tones of rock and is possible the world’s largest monolithic structure. Representing Shiva’s Himalayan home, the temple is exquisitely sculpted and is considered as one of the most astonishing ‘buildings’ in the history of architecture. A crowning glory of the art, Kailash temple at Ellora is indeed unique. Instead of carving down into the face of a cliff and creating underground halls which had been the practice, the sculptors/architects set aside all convention and created a full temple, identical in every detail to a structural, ‘built-up’ example, by carving vertically down into the living rock.
The scheme of the Kailash temple is basically divided into four main parts: the body of the temple itself, the entrance gateway, an intermediate nandi shrine and the cloisters surrounding the courtyard. Much of the imposing character of the main shrine is due to its substantial plinth, which on first examination seems to be a floor by itself. Above and below this, the sub-structure is heavily molded, while the central space is occupied by a frieze of elephants and lions.
The Kailash temple is not only the single largest work of art executed in India, but as an example of rock-cut architecture it stands unrivaled. One gradually becomes aware of the stupendous labor that it involved (over a hundred years), and finally, the sculpture that adorns it. Standing within its walls, one cannot help but be aware of the spiritual energy that went into its creation – a jewel hewn out of the rock itself.

Jwalamukhi Temple


One of the 51 Shaktipiths of India, the temple of Jwalamukhi is in Jwalamukhi town which is about 70 kilometers from Dharamsala. Jwalamukhi is a famous temple of Goddess Jwalamukhi, the deity of flaming mouth, believed to be the manifestation of the Goddess Sati. The building is modern with a gilt dome and pinnacles, and possesses a beautiful folding door of silver plates. The Devi appears in the form of nine different flames. The principal one is believed to be Mahakali. The other eight flames at different places in the temple represent the following Goddesses Annapurna, Chandi, Hing Laj, Vidhya Vasini, Maha Lakshmi, Maha Sarswati, Ambika and Anjana.
In princely times, temple affairs were guided and supervised by the princely state of Nadaun. In 1809, Maharaja Ranjit Singh visited the temple and after dyeing his hand in saffron, stamped an agreement in the temple premises with Raja Sansar Chand-the local ruler. Later after tasting success in the Afghan war, Maharaja Ranjit Singh gilded the roof of the Jwalamukhi temple as a thanksgiving. His son Kharak Singh, presented to the temple a pair of silver plated folding doors.
The deity is- offered Bhog of Rabri or thickened milk, Misri or candy, seasonal fruits, milk and arti is done. The puja has different ‘phases’ and goes on practically the whole day. Arti is done five times in the day, Havan is performed once daily and portions of “Durga Saptasati” are recited.

Jagannath Temple

Situated on the eastern coast along the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, Orissa offers to magnificent temples, sunny beaches, colourful wildlife, traditional tribal culture and a rich heritage. While several temples have vanished or have declined in importance, the great temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri is still a living and vibrant temple. Over the centuries it has attracted kings, conquerers, religious teachers, devotees and pilgrims. In the minds of the millions of Indians, Orissa is the land of Jagannath. This temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri is one of the most sacred pilgrimage spots in India, one of the four abodes (dhamas) of the divine that lie on the four directions of the compass.
The temple of Jagannath Puri is a rekha dwell with curvilinear tower on a pancha ratha plan and was built by Ananta Barma Chodaganga Dev during 12th century A.D. and was completed by Ananga Bhima Dev. This temple is one of the tallest monuments in the country, height is about 214 feet from the ground level. It stands on an elevated platform of stone measuring about 10 acres, which is located in the heart of the down town and presents an imposing sight.. The temple has four gates at the eastern, southern, western northern midpoints of the Meghanad Prachir and are called Lions gate, Horse Gate, Tiger Gate and the Elephant Gate respectively.
Lord Jagannath, the symbol of universal love and is worshiped in the Temple along with Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshan, Madhaba, Sridevi and Bhudevi on the Ratnabedi or the bejewelled platform. The Deities, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Chakra Sudarshan are made of margosa wood.
Maha-prasada is pure vegetarian spiritual food offered to Lord Jagannath. Just by eating this maha-prasada one makes great spiritual advancement. Every day, fifty-six varieties of prasada are offered to Lord Jagannath. The main offering of the day becomes available anywhere from 3 to 5 pm (sometimes later). The offering times are not exact and change day by day.