Top Religious Places in South India

The southern tip of the Indian subcontinent, with its pristine shores touching the Indian Ocean, is not just a convergence of land and water but also of timeless traditions and diverse cultures. Sout (Read More)h India, an area steeped in history, is home to a multitude of religious places, each narrating tales of ancient wonders, profound spirituality, and architectural marvels. From towering Dravidian temples and serene monasteries to bustling pilgrimage centers, the religious tapestry of South India offers an unparalleled journey of faith, devotion, and discovery. Whether one seeks spiritual solace, historical insights, or architectural admiration, these sacred sanctuaries have something unique to offer. Join us as we embark on a pilgrimage to the most revered religious places in South India, a journey that promises to transcend beyond the physical and touch the very soul.

Here is the list of 30 Top Religious Places in South India

1. Madurai, Tamil Nadu - The Lotus City

Madurai, Tamil Nadu - The Lotus City
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Known For : Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal Vaigai Dam

Madurai, often termed the "Athens of the East," is renowned for the historic Meenakshi Amman Temple, a pinnacle of Dravidian architecture dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar. This ancient city's rich spiritual tapestry and vibrant religious festivals position Madurai as a central spiritual hub in South India.

Best Time: October to March

20 Madurai Attractions

2. Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh - Andhra's temple town

Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh - Andhra's temple town
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Known For : Sri Venkateswara Temple Akasaganga Teertham Silathoranam

Tirupati, in Andhra Pradesh, is home to the illustrious Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple, dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, making it one of the most visited pilgrimage sites globally. Its deep spiritual significance and the tradition of devotees offering their hair in gratitude mark Tirupati as a paramount religious destination in South India.

Best Time: September to March

40 Tirupati Attractions

3. Samalkot, Andhra Pradesh - One of the five Pancharama Kshetras

Samalkot, Andhra Pradesh - One of the five Pancharama Kshetras
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Known For : Kumararama Bheemeshwara Swamy Temple Thalupulamma Thalli Kakinada

Samalkot, in Andhra Pradesh, is revered for the Kumararama Bhimeswara Swamy Temple, one of the five Pancharama Kshetras dedicated to Lord Shiva. Its architectural significance and the legends associated with it establish Samalkot as a vital religious landmark in South India.

Best Time: October to March

7 Samalkot Attractions

4. Guruvayur, Kerala - Lord Krishna's home in God's own country

Guruvayur, Kerala - Lord Krishna's home in God's own country
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Known For : Punnathurkotta Elephant Palace Mammiyoor Shiva Temple Guruvayur Temple

Guruvayur, in Kerala, is famed for the Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple, one of South India's most revered and frequented temples dedicated to Lord Krishna. The town's rich spiritual traditions, including rituals like Annaprasana, position Guruvayur as a paramount center of devotion and pilgrimage in the region.

Best Time: October to February

12 Guruvayur Attractions

5. Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu - Golden City of a Thousand Temples

Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu - Golden City of a Thousand Temples
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Known For : Kamakshi Amman Temple Varadharaja Perumal Temple Devarajaswami Temple

Kanchipuram, in Tamil Nadu, is often termed the "City of a Thousand Temples" and boasts an array of ancient Dravidian architectural marvels like the Kailasanathar and Ekambareswarar temples. Its deep-rooted spiritual legacy and pivotal role in South Indian temple architecture make Kanchipuram a significant religious hub in the region.

Best Time: October to May

16 Kanchipuram Attractions

6. Sabarimala, Kerala - India's own Mecca

Sabarimala, Kerala - India's own Mecca
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Known For : Ayyappa Temple Makaravilakku Malikkappuram Devi Temple

Sabarimala, nestled in Kerala's forests, is home to the Ayyappa Temple, attracting millions of pilgrims annually for its unique mandala vratham tradition and arduous pilgrimage journey. Its profound spiritual significance and the iconic 18 sacred steps leading to the temple make Sabarimala a premier religious destination in South India.

Best Time: September to Apr

6 Sabarimala Attractions

7. Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh - The abode of Saythya Sai Baba

Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh - The abode of Saythya Sai Baba
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Known For : Chaitanya Jyoti Museum Sathya Sai Ashram Wish Fullfilling Tree

Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh is globally recognized as the birthplace of the spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba, with his ashram, Prasanthi Nilayam, serving as a beacon of spirituality and service. Drawing devotees from around the world, Puttaparthi epitomizes a blend of humanitarian efforts and spiritual teachings, marking its importance in South India's religious landscape.

Best Time: September to February

13 Puttaparthi Attractions

8. Bhadrachalam, Andhra Pradesh - An excerpt of the Ramayana

Bhadrachalam, Andhra Pradesh - An excerpt of the Ramayana
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Known For : Papi kondalu Hills Sri Sitaramachandra Swamy Temple Parnasala

Bhadrachalam, on the banks of the River Godavari in Telangana, is revered for the Sri Sita Ramachandraswamy Temple, symbolizing the divine presence of Lord Rama and Sita. The town's legends and the annual "Sri Rama Navami" festival celebrating their celestial union solidify Bhadrachalam's significance as a major religious center in South India.

Best Time: September to Apr

6 Bhadrachalam Attractions

9. Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu - Varanasi of the South

Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu - Varanasi of the South
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Known For : Rameshwaram Temple Dhanushkodi Temple and Beach Jatayu Tirtham

Rameswaram, located in Tamil Nadu, is revered as the site where Lord Rama built a bridge to Lanka in the Ramayana and is home to the magnificent Ramanathaswamy Temple, which houses a sacred Jyotirlinga. Its profound spiritual significance and architectural splendor position Rameswaram as a primary pilgrimage destination in South India.

Best Time: Throughout the year

22 Rameswaram Attractions

10. Dharmasthala, Karnataka - The land of Charity

Dharmasthala, Karnataka - The land of Charity
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Known For : Dharmasthala Temple Bahubali Statue Netravathi River Barrage

Dharmasthala, situated in Karnataka, is renowned for its Manjunatha Temple and symbolizes unique religious harmony, with a Shaiva deity, Vaishnavite priests, and a Jain-administered temple. This convergence of faiths, amplified by philanthropic endeavors and the annual Lakshadeepa festival, marks Dharmasthala as a pivotal religious center in South India.

Best Time: October to March

8 Dharmasthala Attractions

11. Sringeri, Karnataka - A natural and spiritual paradise

Sringeri, Karnataka - A natural and spiritual paradise
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Known For : Sringeri Mutt Kigga Sharadamba Temple

Sringeri, nestled on the banks of the Tunga River in Karnataka, is the site of the first matha (monastic center) established by the revered sage Adi Shankaracharya. The Sringeri Sharada Peetham, with its historic temple dedicated to Goddess Sharadamba, stands as a beacon of Advaita Vedanta philosophy and is a pivotal center of learning and spiritual practices in South India.

Best Time: Throughout the year

9 Sringeri Attractions

12. Horanadu, Karnataka - The land of Goddess Annapoorna

Horanadu, Karnataka - The land of Goddess Annapoorna
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Known For : Annapoorneshwari Temple Kalaseshwara Temple

Horanadu, located amidst the picturesque Western Ghats in Karnataka, is renowned for the ancient Annapoorneshwari Temple dedicated to Goddess Annapoorna, the deity of food and nourishment. Pilgrims visiting the temple are especially drawn by the belief that anyone who worships here will never face a scarcity of food in their life, making Horanadu a significant religious destination in South India.

Best Time: Throughout the year

2 Horanadu Attractions

13. Thanjevur, Tamil Nadu - Ancient city of Tanjore

Thanjevur, Tamil Nadu - Ancient city of Tanjore
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Known For : Brihadeeswara Temple Saraswathi Mahal Library Shiva Ganga Garden

Thanjavur (often referred to as Tanjore), in Tamil Nadu, is renowned for the Brihadeeswarar Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a brilliant exemplar of Chola architecture, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This ancient city's rich artistic and religious legacy, combined with its pivotal role in South Indian temple architecture and classical art forms, makes Thanjavur a key religious and cultural destination in South India.

Best Time: October to March

15 Thanjevur Attractions

14. Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu - Cultural Nexus in South India

Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu - Cultural Nexus in South India
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Known For : Kallanai Dam Rockfort Ganpathi Temple Tiruchirappalli Rock Fort Samayapuram Amman Temple

Tiruchi, also known as Tiruchirapalli, in Tamil Nadu, is renowned for the Rockfort Temple, a historic fortress and temple complex perched atop a massive rock formation. The city's spiritual ambiance, complemented by its many other temples and its proximity to the Cauvery River, positions Tiruchi as an important religious and cultural nexus in South India.

Best Time: October to March

15 Tiruchi Attractions

15. Srikalahasti, Andhra Pradesh - Kailash of the South

Srikalahasti, Andhra Pradesh - Kailash of the South
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Known For : Srikalahasteeswara Temple Veyilingala Kona Waterfall Sri Subrahmanya Swamy Temple

Srikalahasti, located in Andhra Pradesh, is home to the famed Srikalahasteeswara Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and is renowned as the 'Kailash of the South'. Revered for representing the element of air (Vayu linga), the temple's unique architecture and its significance in the Pancha Bhoota Sthalams make Srikalahasti a pivotal religious destination in South India.

Best Time: July to March

9 Srikalahasti Attractions

16. Mantralayam, Andhra Pradesh - Resting Place of Sri Raghavendra Swami

Mantralayam, Andhra Pradesh - Resting Place of Sri Raghavendra Swami
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Known For : Raghavendra Swami Temple Panchamukhi Anjaneya Temple

Mantralayam in Andhra Pradesh is revered as the final resting place of the prominent Hindu saint, Sri Raghavendra Swami. The Raghavendra Matha here stands as a focal point of devotion, attracting thousands of devotees seeking blessings and spiritual solace, making Mantralayam a significant religious and spiritual hub in South India.

Best Time: October to March

2 Mantralayam Attractions

17. Auroville, Pondicherry - The City of Dawn

Auroville, Pondicherry - The City of Dawn
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Known For : Matrimandir Marc's Cafe Arka

Auroville, near Puducherry, is not strictly a traditional "religious" place, but rather an experimental township envisioned as a universal town where people from all over the world could live in harmony, transcending religion, politics, and nationality. The central Matrimandir, a place for silent concentration, embodies the spiritual essence of Auroville, drawing seekers of inner peace and global unity, thus making it a significant spiritual landmark in South India.

Best Time: November to March

21 Auroville Attractions

18. Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu - Home to the Arunachala Temple

Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu - Home to the Arunachala Temple
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Known For : Gingee Fort Sathanur Dam Annamalaiyar Temple

Thiruvannamalai, in Tamil Nadu, is celebrated for the Arunachaleswarar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and is recognized as one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalams representing the element of fire (Agni). The sacred hill of Arunachala and the annual Karthigai Deepam festival, where a massive beacon is lit atop the hill, further solidify Thiruvannamalai's stature as a major spiritual and religious center in South India.

Best Time: October to March

9 Thiruvannamalai Attractions

19. Velankanni, Tamil Nadu - Lourdes of the East

Velankanni, Tamil Nadu - Lourdes of the East
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Known For : Velankanni Church Velankanni Beach Velankanni Church Museum

Vellankani, located in Tamil Nadu, is renowned for the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health, a significant Marian shrine that draws millions of Christian pilgrims and devotees from across the globe. With its miraculous legends and annual festivities, Vellankani stands as an epitome of Christian faith and devotion in South India.

Best Time: October to March

6 Velankanni Attractions

20. Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh - The Heritage Haven of Andhra

Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh - The Heritage Haven of Andhra
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Known For : Ahobilam Temple ISKCON Temple, Anantapur Bugga Ramalingeswara Swami Temple

Anantapur, situated in Andhra Pradesh, houses the historic Lepakshi Temple, an architectural marvel dedicated to Lord Veerabhadra, boasting intricate sculptures and the renowned floating pillar. The district, with its myriad temples and spiritual landmarks, contributes to the rich tapestry of religious heritage in South India.

Best Time: November to February

12 Anantapur Attractions

21. Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh - Spiritual Epicenter of the South

Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh - Spiritual Epicenter of the South
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Known For : Sri Venkateshwara National Park Srikalahasti Temple Nagalapuram

Chittoor, in Andhra Pradesh, is revered primarily for the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in nearby Tirupati, one of the world's most-visited pilgrimage sites dedicated to Lord Venkateswara. Additionally, the district hosts several other temples and religious landmarks, making Chittoor a significant spiritual epicenter in South India.

Best Time: September to February

11 Chittoor Attractions

22. Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh - The Abode of Jyotirlinga of Andhra Pradesh

Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh - The Abode of Jyotirlinga of Andhra Pradesh
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Known For : Pathala Ganga Srisailam Tiger Reserve Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple

Srisailam, located in Andhra Pradesh, is renowned for the Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, one of the twelve sacred Jyotirlingas and one of the 18 Shakti Peethas, dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Bhramaramba. Set against the backdrop of the scenic Nallamala hills and the Krishna River, Srisailam stands as a potent blend of spirituality and natural beauty, making it a pivotal pilgrimage center in South India.

Best Time: October to February

16 Srisailam Attractions

23. Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu - The Cambridge of India

Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu - The Cambridge of India
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Known For : Adi Kumbeshwara Temple Nageswaran Temple Shopping in Kumbakonam

Kumbakonam, nestled in Tamil Nadu, is often dubbed the "Temple Town" due to its plethora of ancient temples, most notably the Sarangapani, Kumbeswarar, and Mahamaham temples. The town's rich spiritual heritage and the iconic Mahamaham festival, celebrated once every 12 years, solidify Kumbakonam's status as a major religious and cultural hub in South India.

Best Time: November to February

25 Kumbakonam Attractions

24. Madikeri, Karnataka - A picturesque getaway down south

Madikeri, Karnataka - A picturesque getaway down south
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Known For : Abbey Falls Talacauvery Namdroling Monastery

Madikeri, the picturesque hill station in Karnataka's Coorg district, is home to several sacred sites, including the ancient Omkareshwara Temple that beautifully blends Islamic and Gothic architectural styles. The town's vibrant festivals, such as Kailpodh celebrating the harvest and weapons, and its array of sacred groves and temples, position Madikeri as a significant religious and cultural destination in South India.

Best Time: February to September

18 Madikeri Attractions

25. Chettinad, Tamil Nadu - Palaces, Places of Worship and Palates

Chettinad, Tamil Nadu - Palaces, Places of Worship and Palates
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Known For : Chettinad Palace Chettinad Museum Chettinadu Mansion

Chettinad, located in Tamil Nadu, is emblematic of the rich cultural and architectural heritage of the Chettiar community, with their ornate mansions and intricately designed temples such as the Vairavan Kovil and Karpaga Vinayakar temples. While it's more renowned for its distinctive cuisine and palatial homes, the region's temples and traditional practices make Chettinad a notable religious destination in the tapestry of South Indian spirituality.

Best Time: November to March

13 Chettinad Attractions

26. Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu

Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu
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Known For : Kalakkadu Wildlife Sanctuary Papanasam Agasthiyar falls

Tirunelveli, in Tamil Nadu, is revered for the Nellaiappar Temple, a sprawling complex dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, showcasing the pinnacle of Dravidian architecture with its intricate sculptures and towering gopurams. The temple, combined with the region's rich spiritual history and the Thamirabarani River's sanctity, positions Tirunelveli as a significant religious hub in South India.

Best Time: October to February

32 Tirunelveli Attractions

27. Murudeshwar, Karnataka - Seashore, Scuba Diving and the Shiva

Murudeshwar, Karnataka - Seashore, Scuba Diving and the Shiva
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Known For : Murudeshwar Temple Netrani Island Murudeshwar Beach

Murudeshwar, located in Karnataka, is renowned for its colossal statue of Lord Shiva, the second-largest of its kind in the world, and the Murudeshwar Temple, which boasts a towering 20-storied gopuram offering panoramic views of the Arabian Sea. The combination of its spiritual significance, coupled with its scenic coastal setting, cements Murudeshwar's place as a prominent religious destination in South India.

Best Time: October to May

8 Murudeshwar Attractions

28. Shivagange, Karnataka - Kashi of the South

Shivagange, Karnataka - Kashi of the South
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Known For : Trekking in Shivagange Temples in Shivagange

Shivagange, situated near Bangalore in Karnataka, is a revered hill with a series of temples and a sculpted spring shaped in the form of a Shiva linga, known as "Gange", from which the place derives its name. Often termed as 'Dakshina Kashi' or the 'Kashi of the South', its spiritual ambiance and natural beauty, punctuated by myths of its holy waters and the revered Gangadhareshwara temple, make Shivagange an essential pilgrimage spot in South India.

Best Time: October to March

2 Shivagange Attractions

29. Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh - Home to One of the largest Granite Sculptures in India

Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh - Home to One of the largest Granite Sculptures in India
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Known For : Veerabhadra Temple Lepakshi Temple Nandi Bull and Paintings

Lepakshi, in Andhra Pradesh, is renowned for its historic Veerabhadra Temple, an epitome of Vijayanagara architectural style, adorned with intricate sculptures, mural paintings, and the mysterious hanging pillar. The temple's legends, coupled with the colossal Nandi statue nearby—one of the largest granite sculptures in India—establish Lepakshi as a significant religious and cultural site in South India.

Best Time: September to February

4 Lepakshi Attractions

30. Aihole, Karnataka - The Temple Complex of Karnataka

Aihole, Karnataka - The Temple Complex of Karnataka
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Known For : Durga Temple, Aihole Lad Khan Temple Ravanaphadi Cave Temples

Aihole, situated in Karnataka, is often dubbed the "cradle of Indian temple architecture" for its congregation of over 120 stone and cave temples from the early Chalukyan dynasty. This ancient complex, with its myriad structures like the Durga and Lad Khan temples, serves as both an architectural marvel and a testament to the region's rich religious history, making Aihole a crucial religious and historical landmark in South India.

Best Time: October to March

23 Aihole Attractions

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FAQs on Top Religious Places in South India

Which temple is famous in South India?

Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati

What is the sacred place for Hindus in South India?

Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu

What are Indian famous religious places?

Amarnath, Pushkar, Sabarimala, Madurai, Varanasi, Rishikesh, Vrindavan, Vaishnodevi Devi, Haridwar, Rameshwaram, Puri, Ranakpur, Tirupati, Amritsar, Ayodhya, Kedarnath, Bodh Gaya, Shirdi, Mathura, Badrinath.

Which god is famous in south India?

Karthikeyan

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