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The Southern part of India is famous for its culture and history. But, what makes this part of the country special is its sea of temples. The numerous number of temples that have been built on their land has been devoted to various hindu gods. These temples have survived many periods of rain, war and drought. But, still have managed to bestow its devotees with its lucid powerful air that provides purity and soulfulness into the minds. The temples of South India are also famous for being ornamented with heavy kilos of gold and more. Not just on the walls and pillars, these temples receive a large amount of donations from the public, making it one of the richest and popular temples to visit.  

South India Temples

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

The richest south india temple of the world, the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is considered as one of the wealthiest holy temples to visit. The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is located in the capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram. The temple is one of the 108 Vishnu temples in Vaishnavism that consider Lord Vishnu as their supreme lord. They have been mentioned in the written scripts of the Tamil poet-saints. The temple worships Lord Padmanabha who is a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu.  The temple is the duplicate of the Ananthapuram temple. The exact age of the temple has not been figured out but since it has been featured in Biblical Epics and Puranas it has been evaluated that it has been holding great significance from centuries. The holy books mention that the temple was established on the first day of Kali Yuga that occurred over 5000 years ago. The brother of Lord Krishna, Balarama visited the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple to bathe in its holy waters. The entry to the temple is only allowed to Hindus and no other religion, this unusual criterion makes it one of the few temples who don’t allow people of a different faith. The temple suggests a strict code of conduct from its visitors. The devotees are expected to come dressed in a specific attire The temple has an excellent collection of wood carvings on the ceilings of the mandapam. There are tons of carvings and paintings inside the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple that depict the incidents that took place with ‘Dashavatharam’ (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu). The nine planets of the universe have been painted at the muktha-mandapam of the temple. The temple is located on top of a lake in Kerala.

Timings : 

Morning hours: 

3:30 AM – 4:45 AM (Nirmalya Darshanam)

6:30 AM – 7:00 AM

8:30 AM – 10:00 AM

10:30 AM – 11:00 AM

11:45 AM – 12 PM

Evening hours:

5:00 PM – 6:15 PM

6:45 PM – 7:20 PM

Entry Fee:

Special darshan: INR 150

Special darshan with prasad: INR 180

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Shree Jagannath Temple

The Shree Jagannath Temple of Puri is a prominent Hindu temple that is dedicated to a form of Lord Vishnu called Lord Jagannath. The Jagannath temple is considered to be a part of the prestigious ‘Chaar Dham Yatra’.  It has been built on a gigantic raised platform. The temple complex is enclosed by a thick wall. Located in Puri, the state of Orissa, this temple has been adjudged as one of the most significant temples of India. The Jagannath Temple in Puri is known for its annual Rath Yatra (Chariot ride festival). The yatra requires all the three idols to be presented on top of their temple cars and be pulled alongside. The idol of Jagannath is made entirely of wood and is replaced after every twelve or nineteen years. The temple is spread on a massive scale of 4,20,000 sq. ft. which is equivalent to 1400 football fields. The temple is approachable by any of the four gates. The four gates have been named the Elephant Gate, Lion Gate, Horse Gaye, and the Tiger Gate. The Aruna Stambha temple that is found in front of the Jagannath temple was actually part of the iconic Konark temple in Orissa. Similar to the Jagannath temple, the famous Konark temple has also been constructed in the form of a chariot. But, when the temple was abandoned as there was no supreme being in it, this pillar was removed from the Konark temple and was fixed in front of the Jagannatha temple.

Timings:

Temple is open on all days of the week.

Entry fee:

There is no fee

Shree Jagannath Temple yatra

 Shree Venkateswara Tirupati Balaji temple

The iconic Shree Venkateswara Tirupati Balaji temple is located in the town of Tirumala of the state of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is devoted to Lord Venkateswara who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It attracts more than fifty thousand visitors every day. It also attracts the largest amount of devotions from devotees all over the country. Not just through donations, many devotees to prove their sanctity donate their hair at the premises of the temple. So people go ahead and shave their entire head before coming for darshan at the Tirupati Balaji temple. The temple management after witnessing such devotional practices has even built facilities especially for people who wish to donate their hair. The facilities also offer accommodation halls, free meals, a queue complex to offer a non-chaotic experience. The Tirupati Balaji temple is also often called the Bhuloka Vaikuntam after Lord Vishnu. It is strongly believed that during the Kali age Lord Vishnu established himself permanently inside the parameters of the temple to save his devotees from the difficulties and cruelty of the Kali Yuga. The main idol of Lord Vishnu inside the Tirupati Balaji temple is considered as the most enchantingly powerful and riveting statues. The idol of Lord Vishnu is decorated with dainty flowers every day. A set of real gold jewels are also used to decorate the idol. The Ananda Nilayam inside the temple contains the self- manifested statue of Lord Vishnu. An idol of Bhoga Srinivasa Murthy is also present inside the Sanctum.

Timings : 

The timings to visit the Tirupati Balaji temple is from 2:30 am to 1:30 am 

On what days is the Tirupati Balaji temple open?

All days of the week

Entry Fee for Tirupati Balaji temple:

Special Entrance: Rs.20 per person

V.I.P Darshan: Rs.100 per person

Shree Venkateswara Tirupati Balaji Temple

Ramanathaswamy Temple

The Ramanathaswamy Temple is a popular Hindu temple located on the Rameswaram island of Tamil Nadu. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, making it one of the twelve Jyotirlinga (a radiant and devotional representation of Lord Shiva) temples. The  Ramanathaswamy temple is also regarded as one of the 274 Paadal Petra Sthalam, which makes it part of one of the greatest Shiva temples of Asia. The temple is famously known for having the longest corridor in the world. The prominent deity of Lord Shiva or  Ramanathaswamy is in the form of a Shiva lingam. Two lingams have been deposited inside the shrine. An extremely popular story follows behind the two lingams. It is believed that one of the lingams was built by Lord Rama from sand, residing as the main deity known as Ramalingam.  The other lingam was brought by Lord Hanuman from Mount Kailash that is called the Vishwalingam. It is further believed that Lord Rama instructed that the Vishwalingam which was brought by Lord Hanuman should be worshipped first upon entrance to the temple. Therefore, whenever devotees enter the temple they first offer their prayers to the Vishwalingam and then further move up to the Ramalingam.  The Indian epic Ramayana is associated with this temple where Lord Rama worshipped the lingam of Lord Shiva to get rid of the sins he committed when he fought with Ravana, the king of Lanka.

 Inside the Ramanathaswamy temple, separate shrines have been built for Ramanathaswamy and his partner goddess Parvathavardhini that have been separated by a long corridor. There are also separate shrines for goddess Vishalakshi, sayanagriha, Vishnu and Ganesha. There are also various halls that devotees get to visit, make their experience more enriching and powerful. The halls inside the temple are the Anuppu Mandapam, Sukravara Mandapam, Setupati Mandapam, Kalyana Mandapam, and Nandi Mandapam. Devotees can also be seen taking a dip in one of the twenty-two holy water bodies of the Ramanathaswamy Temple.

Timings for Ramanathaswamy Temple

Morning timings: 5:00 am – 1:00 pm
Evening timings: 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Open all days of the week

No entry fee for Ramanathaswamy Temple

Ramanathaswamy Temple

Shirdi Sai baba

The small rural town of Shirdi in Maharashtra follows the beliefs of one religion and one god of all. Where the power of patience and faith his spread in the hearts of everyone. This belief was spread by their god Shri Sai baba who believed in spreading the power of equality, believe in the sense of humanity and peace by chanting ‘Sabka Malik Ek’. Sai baba is known to have lived in this town spreading his holy practices and enriching the hearts of the villagers, making it one of the holy places in India. Shri Sai baba was called a saint and a fakir by both Hindu and Muslim devotees. He gave the Hindu name Dwarakamayi to the mosque in which he lived. He has been inferred as a reflection of both Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu.The footprints of Sai baba have left this place into a holy place for everyone. Today, the Sai baba temple in Shirdi is visited by around 25,000 devotees daily. The temple may also receive more than 25,000 to 1,00,000 devotees daily or on special occasions. It is managed by Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust. The idol of Sai baba inside the temple and his samadhi have been made with Italian marble. Sai baba’s statue has a gold crown on his head and has been draped in a royal golden color cloth.  Every day fresh flowers are offered to him. The interior and exterior of the temple have been covered in gold which makes it an absolutely wonderful site for visitors standing in the long queues to catch a glimpse of their god, Shri Sai Baba. The Sai Baba temple in Shirdi is managed by Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust. People of all caste and religions come to the Sai baba temple to offer their prayers at the Samadhi Mandir and have free meals at the Prasadalaya, thus uniting every human and making them forget what caste and creed they belong to. The Sai Baba temple has been known for receiving large amounts of donations from its devotees. In 2012, a devotee donated two expensive diamonds valuing ₹11.8 million at the Shirdi temple. In January 2020 the Sai baba temple saw a rush of over eight lakh visitors. During this rush period, Shirdi Sai temple earned Rs. 17.42 crore as donations. A total of 1,213.680 gm in gold and 17,223 gm silver were also donated to the temple.

Timings for Sai baba temple:

4:00 am to 11 pm

No entry fee for Sai baba temple

Open all days of the week

Shirdi Sai baba

Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi Temple is a Hindu temple that is located on the banks of the Vaigai River in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. The temple has been dedicated to goddess Meenakshi who is a form of Goddess Parvati. Goddess Parvati was the beloved and partner of Lord Siva. Both the auspicious godly pairs are worshipped together by their devotees. The temple is said to be built between the years 1623 and 1655. The temple has great significance among the followers of Lord Shiva and Parvati because it is believed that Lord Shiva especially came to Madurai to marry his beloved. Madurai is the saint place of Goddess Parvati. Hence, the temple was built to honor her presence and pay her respects for bestowing her presence for years and later marrying the powerful Lord Shiva. Since the time the temple was formed, it has gone through many changes and renovations by great rulers, kings, and invaders. The architecture of the Meenakshi temple has been inspired by the Dravidian architecture. The temple is surrounded by towers or gopurams that have been built at a great height which can be viewed from a far off view. There is a total of twelve gopurams that range up to a height of 160 feet. The Meenakshi temple is the only temple in India that has a total of four entrances from four far off directions. The temple has over thousand of carved pillars that have images of various Hindu gods and goddesses. The main shrine in the Meenakshi temple is dedicated to goddess Parvati or Meenakshi and Sundareswarar. They have been surrounded by three complexes which are further divided into four minor towers. The idol of Meenakshi is in the form of a black stone that has a hint of green in it. Sundareshwar’s shrine lies at the centre. A sculpture of Ganesh has been carved out of a single stone that is present here as well in the Vinayakar Shrine.

Timings:

Morning timings for Meenakshi Temple: 5 am to 12:30 pm
Evening timings for Meenakshi Temple: 4 pm to 9:30 pm

Open all days of the week

Entry Fee for Meenakshi Temple

Rs. 5 for Indians

Rs. 50 for Foreigners

Meenakshi Temple

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