12 Most Beautiful South Indian Temples That Every Indian Should Visit !

Southern India is a heavenly abode of magnificent monuments, standing majestically from ages. The architecture of these monuments is breathtakingly beautiful and grand. From Dravidian architecture to Vijayanagara style of architecture, from elaborate pillars of Chalukyas to minute stone carvings by Krishnadevaraya, each monument has a different tale to tell. From tall, intricately carved gopurams to majestic pillars and life-sized shrines, these beautiful temples in South India are rich in legend and stunning in their grandeur.

Considering the novelty and grandeur of these temples, we’ve compiled a list of 12 most famous temples in South India that should be visited this 2020:

1. Virupaksha Temple, Hampi

The one with many builders

Virupaksha Temple, South Indian Temples

Virupaksha Temple Source

Situated on the banks of the beautiful river, Tungabhadra, Virupaksha temple is a magnificent marvel of Vijayanagara Empire. Dedicated to Lord Shiva (Virupaksha), the temple is extensively famous for its tall gopuram, grand architecture and intricate carvings. The temple, built in the 7th century underwent a lot of additions by various rulers that ruled the kingdom, to display their power. The central pillared hall, Ranga Mandapa, is the most ornate addition by Raja Krishnadevaraya. Virupaksha temple is a centre of marriages as well as the festivities of Virupaksha-Pampa in December. This South Indian Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai

The one which is a new wonder

Meenakshi Temple, Temples of South India

Meenakshi Temple Source

Located on the southern banks of river Vaigai, Meenakshi Temple is dedicated to Parvati and her consort, Lord Shiva. Also called Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, this architectural marvel is a throbbing centre of culture and art.

The present structure, built between 1623 and 1655 CE, was on the list of top 30 nominees for the “New Seven Wonders of the World.” The halls, gopurams and the shrines of the temple are ornate and grand in their appearance. Two very distinct features in terms of iconography are the shrine of Meenakshi holding a parrot and the right raised leg of Nataraja.

Meenakshi Temple, Temples of South India

Meenakshi TempleSource

3. Venkateswara Temple, Tirupati

A South Indian temple which is a study in opulence

Situated in the hill town of Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh, Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple is one of the famous and majestic temples in South India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is also known as Tirupati Balaji temple.  The construction of the temple is believed to have started in 300 AD.

Very interestingly, Tirupati Balaji temple is one of the richest temples in the world, in terms of the donations received by the devotees. The temple has a rich history and splendid Dravidian style of architecture.

Venkateswara Temple, South Indian Temples

Venkateswara Temple (Source)

 4. Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameswaram

The one which is a Jyotirlinga

Located on Rameswaram island in Tamil Nadu, Ramanathaswamy Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is also one of the twelve sacred Jyotirlinga temples of the country.

The legend narrates the tale of Lord Rama who is believed to have prayed to Lord Shiva here. The temple has one of the longest and most ornate corridors among other temples in South India. Rameswaram is also one of the char dhams for pilgrimage.

Ramanathaswamy Temple, Temples of South India

Ramanathaswamy Temple (Source)

5. Aihole and Pattadakal

The one from the 5th century

These capital cities of Chalukyas are exclusively famous for their beautiful temples in Karnataka. These South Indian temples date back to 5th century CE, very elaborate in their architecture and grandeur. Aihole is also called the “cradle of Hindu Rock Architecture”.

Famous temples of Aihole include Durga Temple and Lad Khan Temple. Pattadakal follows the blend of Nagara and Dravidian style. Important temples include Sangameshvara Temple, Mallikarjuna Temple, Galganath Temple, Jain Temple etc.

Temples at Aihole and Pattadakal, South Indian Temples

Temples at Aihole and Pattadakal Source


6. Airavateswara Temple, Kumbakonam

The one about an elephant

Located in the town of Darasuram near Kumbakonam, Airavatesvara Temple is another awe-stricking example built in the Dravidian architecture. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this temple was built in 12th century CE.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple traces its name from Airavata, the white elephant of Indra who worshipped Lord Shiva in this temple. The temple is exclusively famous for its exquisite stone carvings.

Airavateswara Temple, Temples of South India

Airavateswara Temple Source


7. Brihadeshwara Temple, Thanjavur

The one which is 1005 years old

A splendid example of Tamil architecture under the Chola Dynasty, The Brihadeeshwar temple is located in the city of Thanjavur. One of the most famous South Indian temples, it is a part of “Great Living Chola Temples”. This majestic and grand temple is also a UNESCO World  Heritage Site. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this great India temple has turned 1005 years in 2015.

The Brihadeeshwar Temple, South Indian Temples

The Brihadeeshwar Temple

 8. Vitthala Temple, Hampi

The one with musical pillars

This spectacular masterpiece is a living legend of Hampi’s numerous monuments in terms of their architectural magnificence. Vithhala Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu stands apart in showcasing its awe-strucking architecture and grandeur.

Famous for its musical pillars, it is said that the pillars emit musical notes when played in a certain manner. Another attraction of the temple is the monolithic and giant stone-chariot.

Vitthala temple, Temples of South India

Vitthala Temple Source

 9. Suchindram Temple, Kanyakumari

The one with musical pillars + hanging pillar

Primarily known as the Thanumalayan Temple, this south Indian temple is a majestic monument and is another splendid example of architectural miracles. Built in 17th century, this temple attracts various pilgrims from across the neighbouring states. The legends of Anasuya and Ahalya are attached to the temple.

The special features of the temple include the four musical pillars, the hanging pillar and the single Linga, which represents the triumvirs, Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh.

Suchindram Temple, Temples of South India

Suchindram Temple Source


 10. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangapatna

The one on an island

Located in Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is dedicated to Ranganatha, a form of Lord Vishnu. The temple is built on an island in Kaveri river and is exclusively rich in legend and architecture.


Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, South Indian Temples

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple Source

This South Indian temple has one of the largest religious complexes in the world. Built in the Dravidian style, this temple looks magnificent in its appearance and architectural details. The temple is also one of the eight  “Swayam Vyakta Kshetras” of Lord Vishnu.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Temples of South India

Sri Ranganathaswamy TempleSource

11. Ayyappa Temple, Sabarimala

The Sabarimala Temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, is one of the most renowned and prominent temples of all the Sastha temples. This temple is significant not only for its religious elements but also because of the cultural, societal and cultural elements attached to it. This is perhaps why this is one of the largest annual pilgrimages in the world; which attracts over 100 million devotees each year.

sabarimala temple, temples in south india

12. Guruvayoor Temple, Guruvayur, Kerala

Located in the Guruvayoor town, Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple is one of the most sacred pilgrim hubs in Kerala. It is one of the most revered temples in South India where the presiding deity Lord Vishnu is worshipped in Balkrishna Avtar. Lord idol is adorned with four hands each carrying a conch, a mace, a discus and a lotus and is also known by the name of Unnikrishnan. Garlanded with the Tulasi or Basil Garland and pearl necklace, the lord appears in full radiance blessing the devotees.


The beautiful temples in South India are a study in grandeur, opulence, size and sheer magnanimity. How many of these architectural marvels have you visited?

This post was published by Shivangi Dixit

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