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Religious Tourism in Tamil Nadu

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Religious Tourism in Tamil Nadu

The southern state of Tamil Nadu is keyed for its far-famed religious spots that are scattered across the length and breadth of the Tamil region. The innumerable religious sites of Tamil Nadu are the substantial torchbearers of the magnificent heritage of the state, and are nothing short of forever-living-testimonials of the celebrated art forms that evolved in the region over several centuries. Several religious sites that are situated in the state have been spiritualized and glorified in the verses of Vaishnava Alvars and Saiva Nayanars.

Religious Tourism in Tamil Nadu

The glorious religious sites that are dotted across the southern state of Tamil Nadu evidences the architectural grandeur of the bygone centuries. Lavishly elegant, refined, delicately beautiful and intricate style of architecture of the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Pallavas and the Nayakas have left their distinctive influence in the numerous religious structures that acts as a face of the promised land of Tamil Nadu.

From the prehistoric ages to the recent times, the land of Tamils boasts both period and modern-day style of temple architecture. Instigated by the artistry, culture and mythologic sagas of the ancient empires, the temples, churches and mosques in Tamil Nadu are nothing short of a cultural extravaganza. The Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu are primarily characterized by sky reaching temple towers (gopurams), the temples in the state are principally constructed with the raw materials of bricks, rocks and mortar, and these consecrated houses of worship are revered all over the world for their raja gopurams, roomy prakarams, beautified interiors, majestic pillar, adorned entrances and so on.

Aarupadai Veedugal of Lord Muruga

Tamil Kadavul Muruganin Aarupadai Veedugal, translated as 'Six Most Sacred Abodes of Lord Muruga' is a set of six illustrious temples devoted to Hindu god Lord Murugan located in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, South India.

Murugan Mantra

Lord Muruga is the generalissimo of the ground forces of any benevolent spiritual being and the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Murugan is often called by different names like Skanda, Kadamaba, Karthikeya, Kumara, Shanmuga, Subramaniya, Senthilnatha and so on.

Lord Muruga

The six most sanctified homes of Lord Muruga were named in 'Thirumurugatrupadai' - a Tamil Sangam Literature written by the medieval Tamil poet Nakkeerar and in 'Thiruppugazh' - a 15th century work written by Saint Arunagirinathar.

Six Most Sacred Abodes of Lord Muruga

  • Thirupparankundram
  • Thiruchendur
  • Palani
  • Swamimalai
  • Thiruthani
  • Pazhamudircholai
The classical Tamil Literature explains five different geographical features and they are mountain, forest, coastal region, desert region and fertile region. Among the five types of lands, Lord Muruga is regarded as the supreme deity of mountainous region that is Kurinji. A notable saying in Tamil Nadu states that,

"Wherever there is a mountain, there is a temple for Lord Muruga"

Let's get to more about the Six Most Sacred Abodes of omnipotent Lord Muruga in detail.

Thirupparankundram

Located in Madurai district, Thirupparankundram Murugan Temple is the first and foremost holy abode of Lord Muruga. The temple is carved out of a hill and is notable for its architectural grandeur.
Thirupparankundram Temple

Legend has it that Thirupparankundram is where Lord Shanmuga wedded Devayanai or Devasena - the daughter of the leader of the Devas/king of heaven, rain and thunderstorms Indra, and he is believed to have worshipped Lord Shiva in this temple as Parangirinathar. The temple also houses five important deities that include Karpaga Vinayakar, Lord Shiva, Pavalakanivai Perumal, Lord Subramaniya and Goddess Durga.

Tidbits:

Location: Sri Subramaniaswami Temple, Thirupparankundram, Madurai - 625005
Timings:
5:30 AM to 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Moolavar (Presiding Deity): Subramaniaswami
Urchavar (Festive God): Shanmugha
Thayar/Amman (Goddess): Devayanai
Temple Tree (Thala Virutcham): Kallathi
Theertham (Temple Tank): Lakshmi theertham, Saravana poigai and 09 other theerthas
Historical Name: Then Parankkundram
Important Festivals: Aadi krithikai, Skanda sashti, Thai poosam, Panguni uthiram and so on

Thiruchendur

Located in Thoothukudi district, Tamil Nadu, Arulmigu Subrahmanya Swami Thirukoil comes second in the six camps of Lord Muruga. This temple is located just 40 km away from Thoothukudi, 60 km from Tirunelveli and 75 km from Kanyakumari. Among the six most sacred abodes of Lord Murugan, Thiruchendur Murugan Temple is the only temple that is situated on seashore.

Thiruchendur Temple

Legend has it that Thiruchendur was the host of intense battle between Lord Muruga and Surapadman (a demon of Viramahendra Puri). The battle resulted in the destruction of the demon and the lord wanted to worship his father Lord Shiva at this place. Thus, Lord Muruga offers his blessing to his devotees in a unique posture where he worships Lord Shiva in this temple.

Tidbits:

Location: Arulmigu Subrahmanya Swami Thirukoil, Tiruchendur, Tuticorin District
Timings: 5:30 AM to 9:00 PM
Moolavar (Presiding Deity): Senthilandavan/Subrahmanya Swami
Urchavar (Festive God): Shanmukar, Jeyanthinaathar, Kumaara Vitankar, Alaivaay Perumaal
Thayar/Amman (Goddess): Valli, Deivaanai
Important Festivals: Skanda sasti festival, Vaikasi visakam, Pankuni uthiram and so on

Thiruvaivanankudi (Pazhani)

Popularly called as Palani temple, Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple in Palani is located in Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu in South India. The third most sacred abode of Lord Muruga, Palani temple is just 111 km away from the industrial city of Coimbatore and 120 km away from Madurai.

Palalni Murugan Temple

Legend has it that Palani is the sacred place where Lord Muruga (Dhandayuthapani Swamy) arrived at after having a disagreement with Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati for a Gnanapazham (divine fruit) that was given to his brother Lord Ganesha after a contest of circling the globe.

Tidbits:

Location: Sri Dandayuthapani Temple, Palani, Dindigul - 624601
Timings: 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Moolavar (Presiding Deity): Arulmigu Aavinankudi Kuzhandai Velayuthar
Temple Tree (Thala Virutcham): Gooseberry tree
Theertham (Temple Tank): Shanmugha River
Historical Name: Thiruvaivanankudi
Important Festivals: Vaikasi visakam, Aipasi skanda sashti, Thirukarthigai, Thaipoosam, Panguni uthiram

Thiruverakam (Swamimalai)

The fourth most sacred abode of Lord Muruga, Swamimalai Sri Swaminathaswami Temple is located in Thanjavur (Tanjore) district. The temple is just 36 km away from the city center of Thanjavur and 7.4 km from Kumbakonam.

Swamimalai Temple

Historically known as Tiruverakam, Swamimalai Murugan Temple is a singular temple where Lord Muruga explained the actual meaning of the Pranava Mantra 'OM/AUM' to Lord Shiva and thus called by the name Sri Swaminathaswamy. Furthermore, Saint Arunagirinathar had almighty's darshan of the divine feet of Skanda in this place. The temple tale has it that that the 60 footsteps that lead to the moolavar sannidhi in this temple symbolizes the 60 ancient Tamil months.

Tidbits:

Location: Sri Swaminathaswami Temple, Swamimalai, Thanjavur Dist.
Timings: 5:00 AM to 11:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Moolavar (Presiding Deity): Swaminathar, Subbiah
Thayar (Goddess): Valli, Deivanai
Temple Tree (Thala Virutcham): Gooseberry tree
Theertham (Temple Tank): SaravanaTheertham, Vajra theertham, Nethra Kulam, Kumaradarai, Brahmma Theertham
Historical Name: Thiruverakam
Important Festivals: Thirukarthigai, Chithirai brahammotsavam, Vaikasi visakam, Aipasi skanda sashti, Thirukarthigai, Thirupadi festival, Thaipoosam and so on

Thiruthani

Historically called as Kundruthoraadal, Thiruthani Sri Subramaniaswami Temple is regarded as the fifth most sacred abode of Lord Muruga.
Thiruthani Temple

Located in Thiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu in South India, Thiruthani Sri Subramaniaswami Temple is just 87.5 km away from the southern metropolis of Chennai and 43.2 km from Kanchipuram. Thiruthani is the place where Lord Muruga arrived to calm himself after the demolition of demon Surapadman. The temple features 356 stairs, each representing a day of the year.

Tidbits:

Location: Sri Subramaniaswami Temple, Tiruthanigai, Tiruvallur district
Timings: 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Moolavar (Presiding Deity): Sri Subramaniaswami
Urchavar (Festive God): Shanmughar
Thayar (Goddess): Valli, Deivanai
Temple Tree (Thala Virutcham): Maguda tree
Theertham (Temple Tank): Madachettikulam, Poigai, Saraswathi theertham, Nallankulam
Historical Name: Siruthani
Important Festivals: Masi peruvizha, Deivanai festival, Chithirai festival and so on

Pazhamudircholai

Pazhamudhircholai murugan temple also known as Sri Solaimalai Murugan Temple is located in Madurai district in Tamil Nadu. Pazhamudhircholai murugan temple is just 23.9 km away from the city center of Madurai.
Murugan Temple Pazhamudhircholai

The sixth and last among the most sacred abode of Lord Muruga, Pazhamudhircholai is a dense woods and a hilly area dotted with small streams, herbaceous plants, fruits and blossoms where almighty's second wife Valli resided. A Sangam period Tamil poet Auvaiyar was tested here by Lord Shanmugha over Naaval Pazham. Pazhamudhircholai murugan temple is the only temple in all of South India, where Lord Muruga offers his blessings along with his consorts together.

Tidbits:

Location: Sri Solai Malai Murugan Temple, Pazhamudhircholai, Azhagarkoil, Madurai district
Timings: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Moolavar (Presiding Deity): Lord Skanda with Valli and Deivanai
Temple Tree (Thala Virutcham): Naaval tree
Theertham (Temple Tank): Madachettikulam, Poigai, Saraswathi theertham, Nallankulam
Historical Name: Solaimalai
Important Festivals: Tamil New Year, Vaikasi visakkam, Aadi kiruthigai, Skanda sashti, Thirukarthigai, Panguni uthirram and so on

Also Read:

Kunnakudi Murugan Temple | Marudamalai Murugan Temple

Pancha Bhoota Sthalams

Pancha Bhoota Sthalams or Panchabhuta Linga Kshetras denotes to a group of five Saivite temples located across South India. The set of these Shiva temples represents five basic elements of nature, that is to say, land, water, air, sky and fire. The five elements are considered to be enshrined in the form of lingams and Lord Shiva is worshipped as the incarnation of each of the five factors of nature. Among the five Pancha Bhoota Sthalam temples, four of them are located in Tamil Nadu and one in Andhra Pradesh.

Ekambaranathar Temple, Kanchipuram

Kanchi Temple

Regarded as the largest temple of Kanchipuram, Ekambareswarar Temple is one among the most celebrated Pancha Bhoota Stalams in Tamil Nadu. Located on the northern side of Kanchipuram, this Shiva temple represents the element - Earth. The Kanchipuram Ekambaranathar Temple is where Lord Shiva is stated to have manifested himself in the singular form of Prithvi Lingam. This notable temple is one among the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams that are worshiped in the hymns of Saiva Nayanars and all the four Nayanmars (Appar, Sundarar, Sambandar, Manikkavacakar) have sung the glories of this Shiva abode.

Location: Car Street, Kanchipuram - 631502
Timings: 6:00 AM to 11:00 AM & 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM (all days of the week)
Nearest Airport: Chennai International Airport - 54 km
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram Railway Station - 1 km
Nearest Bus Stand: Kancheepuram Bus Stand

Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswarar Temple, Trichy

TV Koil Trichy

Established by Kochenga Chola (one of the early Cholas) around 1,800 years ago, Thiruvanaikaval temple is the largest Shiva temple in Trichy. One among the Pancha Bhoota Stalams in Tamil Nadu, Jambukeswarar Temple is located very close to the Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple (2.2 km). The presiding deity of this temple, Lord Jambukeshwara represents the element of nature - Water and Shivalingam here is called as 'Appu Lingam'. The sanctum sanctorum of Lord Shiva features a belowground watercourse and notwithstanding of pumping water out, the sacred place is forever filled with water.

Location: Thiruvanaikkaval, Tiruchirappalli - 620005
Timings: 5:30 AM to 1:00 PM & 3:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Nearest Airport: Tiruchirappalli International Airport - 9 km
Nearest Railway Station: Srirangam Railway Station - 2.8 km
Nearest Bus Stand: Chatram Bus Stand - 4.1 km

Annamalaiyar Temple, Thiruvannamalai

Thiruvannamalai Temple

The marvellous temple is located at the base of Annamalai hills in Thiruvannamalai. One of the largest Shiva temples in the country, the presiding deity Annamalaiyar is revered as Arunachaleswarar. Lord Shiva is supposed to have manifested himself as a monumental tower of fire and the primary lingam in the temple is mentioned as Agni Lingam. One of the most important time to visit the temple is during Karthigai Deepam festival. An immense beacon fire is lit during this festival and it looks like Shiva lingam of fire, touching the sky. The pilgrims usually circumnavigate the entire temple by walk which is popularly known as "Girivalam".

Location: Car Street, Pavazhakundur, Thiruvannamalai
Timings: 5:30 AM to 12:30 PM & 3:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Nearest Airport: Neyveli Airport - 79 km
Nearest Railway Station: Villupuram Junction Railway Station - 44 km

Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram

Chidambaram Temple

Far-famed to be the Akasha lingam (Sky form), Thillai Nataraja temple is the foremost temple of all for saivites. The temple is revered as "Thillai ambalam" which means Thillai open stage. In this shrine, the devotees are believed to attain liberation from worldly life or consciousness of the sky. The Shiva in this temple is called as "Nataraja", the lord of dance. The most important aspect of this temple is the "Chidambara Ragasiyam" which remains a thrilling moment for the devotees. It is hidden behind a curtain, a symbolic representation of Maya. Behind the curtain, one can see golden leaves, from the Aegle Marmelos tree, signifying the presence of lord Shiva and Parvati.

Location: East Car Street, East Sannidhi, Chidambaram, Cuddalore
Timings: 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM & 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Nearest Airport: Neyveli Airport - 36 km
Nearest Railway Station: Chidambaram Railway Station

Srikalahasti Temple, Andhra Pradesh

AP Srikalahasti Temple

Located in the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh, Srikalahasti Temple is an important name in the list of Pancha Bhoota Stalams in South India. Srikalahasti is the very location where Kannappa Nayanar (one of the 63 Nayanmars) was quick to provide both his eyes to cover up blood running from the Shiva lingam before the almighty barred him and ceded him Moksha. The temple is the holy abode of Srikalahasthiswara swamy who represent the element of nature - Wind and the Shiva lingam here is mentioned as Vayu Lingam.

Location: Rajampet, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh
Timings: 5:00 AM to 12:00 PM & 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Nearest Airport: Tirupati Airport - 13 km
Nearest Railway Station: Renigunta Junction Railway Station -  9 km

Therapeutic Temples in Tamil Nadu

The land of Tamils, Tamil Nadu the southern state is one among the important states of the Republic of India. The name Tamil Nadu reminds of massive temples, monumental temple towers, age-old temple architecture to many as the state is the proud home of more than 30,000 temples.  The temples of Tamil Nadu are enduring as evidence to the Tamil tradition, culture and Dravidian architecture.
TN Therapeutic Shrines

Every temple in the state is unique in its own way, constructed by various Tamil rulers and other dynasties who dominated the region. The Tamil population is considered to be very spiritual and eminent believers in the therapeutic abilities of the deities found in a lot of temples and shrines dotted across the length and breadth of the state. Let's have a look at some of the illustrious Therapeutic Shrines of Tamil Nadu.

Samayapuram Arulmigu Mariamman Temple - Trichy

Samayapuram Temple

Popularly called as Samayapuram Temple, the Mariamman temple is located in Tiruchirappalli district. The temple is just 16.8 km away from the city center of Trichy. It is believed that the presiding deity of this temple, Arulmigu Samayapurathal (mariamman) possess tremendous powers in healing sickness. A popular daily ritual of devotees buying small metal replicas of ailing body parts and donating it to the almighty is an usual sight here.

Therapeutic shrines in Tamil Nadu

Furthermore, people who are out of chickenpox (varicella) and measles, visit this temple and offer prayers to the goddess. It is significant to mention that being a rural deity, the Samayapuram Mariamman is made of sand and clay, and thus contrary to other major Hindu gods, abhishekams are not performed to the presiding deity. Alternatively, the sacred washing ritual is performed to the small statue made of stone kept just in front of the main deity. 

Tidbits:

Location: Arulmigu Maariamman Temple, Samayapuram, Trichy - 621112
Temple Timings: 5:00 AM to 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Presiding Deity (Moolavar): Arulmigu Samayapurathal (mariamman)
Temple Tree (Thala Virutcham): Neem tree
Historical Name: Kannapuram
Important Festivals: Chithirai ther, Poo choridhal, Vaikasi panchaprakaram, Thaipoosam and so on

Vaitheeswaran Koil Sri Vaidyanathar Temple - Nagapattinam

Vaitheeswaran Koil Temple

Vaitheeswaran Temple also called as Pullirukkuvelur is a notable Shiva temple located in Nagapttinam district, Tamil Nadu. The temple is just 61.1 km away from the city center of Nagapattinam, 110 km from Thanjavur and 27 km from Chidambaram. This temple is one among the nine Navagraha temples located in Tamil Nadu, representing planet Mars.

Temple Tank Vaitheeswarean Koil

In this temple, Lord Shiva offers his blessings as Sri Aidyanathar meaning the 'God of Healing' and it is considered that devotional appeals to the deity here can cure unwellness. The temple houses a holy tank called Siddhamirtham theertha and it is said that a holy dip in this tank can cure all diseases.

Tidbits:

Location: Sri Vaidyanatha Swami Temple, Vaitheeswaran Koil, Nagapattinam - 609117
Temple Timings: 6:00 AM to 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Presiding Deity (Moolavar): Sri Vaidyanathar
Goddess (Thayar): Thaiyal Nayaki
Temple Tree: Neem tree
Temple Tank (Theertham): Siddhamirtham
Historical Name: Pullirukkuvelur

Sholinghur Arulmigu Lakshmi Narashimar Temple - Vellore

Sholinghur Temple

Popularly called as Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy koil, the temple is a landmark of Walajapet, Vellore district in Tamil Nadu. Located just 110 km away from the city center of Chennai, 50 km from Vellore, 27 km from Arakonam and 31 km from Arcot. The temple is located on a massive rock (750 feet tall) and houses Lord Yoga Narasimha Swami. Visitors have to climb almost 1305 steps to reach the temple.

Arulmigu Lakshmi Narashimar Temple, Sholinghur Tank

The temple also houses Yoga Anjeneyar, Amirthavalli Thayar, Lord Aranganathar, Ramar, Lakshman and Sita, Chakrathalvar and Navaneetha Krishnan and so on.  Before climbing the hill, devotees take a holy dip in the Brahma Theertham (temple tank). It is believed that the theertham of this temple heals mental issues and chronic diseases and a sincere prayer will offer gratification.

Tidbits:

Location: Arulmigu Lakshmi Narashimar Temple, Sholinghur, Vellore - 631102
Big Hill Temple: Yoga Narasimha Swamy Shrine, Amirthavalli Thayar Shrine
Small Hill Temple: Yoga Anjeneyar Shrine, Aranganathar Shrine, Ramar Shrine 
Poojas: Thirumanjanam, Abhishekam, Prathana utsavam
Important Festivals: Bramothsavam, Vasantha uthsavam, Andal thiruadipora festival, Thirupavithrothsavam, Vaikunta ekadasi, Float festival and so on

Nagore Dargah - Nagapattinam

Nagore Dargah

Hazrat Syed Shahul Hameed Dargah, popularly called as Nagore Dargah is located in the coastal district of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu. The celebrated Islamic shrine is constructed over the grave of the Hajrath Shahul Hamid, an Islamic preacher and mystic saint. The Islamic preacher is the 13th generation descendant of the notable Sufi saint, Hajrath Muhiyudin Abd al-Qadir al-Jalani. Fondly referred as the 'Nagore Andavar' by the Tamil people, the Sufi saint is believed to have executed a lot of miracles and healed the physical ailment of Achyuta Deva Raya, a 16th-century Hindu king of Tanjore.

Nagore Dargah is one of the most important Islamic shrines in Tamil Nadu as it is a common  place of worship for people of diverse religions. Shifa Gunta also known as Peer Kulam, the holy tank of the Dargah, is regarded sanctified. It is considered that a holy dip in the Peer Kulam heals several health problems.

Tidbits:

Location: Nagore, Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu
Important Festival: Kanduri festival
Nearest Airport: Tiruchurappalli International Airport - 125 km
Nearest Railway Station: Nagore Railway Station (NCR)

Velankanni Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health - Nagapattinam

Velankanni church in Tamil Nadu

Velankanni is the proud home of one of the biggest Catholic pilgrimage sites in India. The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health in Velankanni is widely called as the 'Lourdes of the East'. During the year 1962, the Velankanni Basilica was upgraded to the status of Basilica (on the occasion of the pope’s visit).
Velankanni Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health

The church is frequented by people of all religious beliefs and many people donate tiny metallic replicas of ailed body parts to the church. 

Tidbits:

Location: Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health, Vailankanni, Nagapattinam - 611111
Church Timings: 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Status: Minor Basilica
Architectural Type: Gothic

Paadal Petra Sthalams in Tamil Nadu

Saiva Nalvars

Paadal Petra Sthalams in Tamil Nadu are a set of 275 temples that are glorified in the holy verses of Saiva Nayanmars (a group of 63 saints) in the 6th-9th century CE and are among the most distinguished Shiva temples of the continent.

The Paadal Petra Sthalams in Tamil Nadu are generally classified according to the following divisions:
  • Paadal Petra Sthalams in Chola Naadu (North of Kaveri)
  • Paadal Petra Sthalams in Chola Naadu (South of Kaveri)
  • Paadal Petra Sthalams in Eezha Naadu (Sri Lanka)
  • Paadal Petra Sthalams in Pandya Naadu
  • Paadal Petra Sthalam in Malai Naadu (Kerala)
Some of the important Paadal Petra Sthalams in Tamil Nadu include
  • Thirupparaitturai Tharugavaneshwarar Temple, Tiruchirappalli
  • Panchavarnaswamy Temple, Tiruchirappalli
  • Theeyadiappar Temple, Sirkali
  • Vazhaimadunathar Temple, Thiruvedhikudi
  • Thirukutralam Temple, Tirunelveli
  • Aapudayar Temple, Madurai
  • Thillai Natarajah Temple, Chidambaram
  • Velladainatha Swami Temple, Nagapattinam
  • Prananadeswarar Temple, Thanjavur
  • Mayuranathaswami Temple, Mayiladuthurai

Vaippu Sthalangal in Tamil Nadu

Tevara Vaippu Sthalangal, often called as Vaippu Sthalangal in the southern state of Tamil Nadu denotes the holy places situated in the South India that were named nonchalantly in the Tevaram hymns wrote as a glorification of Lord Shiva during 7th-8th century. Some of the important Vaippu Sthalam found in every verse of Tevaram (refers the first seven volumes of the Tirumurai, the twelve-volume collection of Tamil Saiva devotional verse) include:

Sthalam: AgaththiccuramTamil Nadu Temples
Poet and Verse: Appar 6-71-8

Sthalam: Athangudi
Poet and Verse: Sambandar 2-39-10

Sthalam: Amudhanur
Poet and Verse: Sundarar 7-12-1

Sthalam: Alappur
Poet and Verse: Appar 6-51-3, 6-70-4, 6-71-4; Sundarar 7-47-4

Sthalam: Anpatti / perur
Poet and Verse: Sambandar 2-39-1; Appar 6-7-10, 6-51-8, 6-70-2; Sundarar 7-47-4, 7-90-10

Sthalam: Thenur
Poet and Verse: Campantar 1-61-9; Appar 6-41-9

Sthalam: Verriyur
Poet and Verse: Sambandar 2-39-6; Appar 6-70-8; Sundarar 7-12-3

Divya Desams in Tamil Nadu

The words Divya Desams denotes 'Premium Places' that are mentioned in the works of the Tamil Azhwars (poet-saints of South India who embraced ‘emotional devotion’ to Lord Vishnu in their songs of yearning, exaltation and service). Divya Desams refers to the set of 108 Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Out of the 108 Divya Desam temples, 105 Vishnu temples are located in India, two are located in Nepal and two more are believed to be away from the Earthly lands.

Divya Desams of Lord Vishnu

The 108 Divya Desam temples are worshiped by the 12 Tamil Azhwars in the illustrious Nalayira Divya Prabandham - a sacred collection of 4,000 Tamil verses, composed before 8th century AD. It is important to note that most of the Divya Desam temples follow Thenkalai (a subsect of the Vaishnavite Iyengar community of Hindu Brahmins) manner of reverence. Find below the detailed guide of Divya Desams in Tamil Nadu.

Divya Desams in Tiruchirappalli: Sri Rangam, Thirukkozhi, Thirukkarambanoor, Thiruvellarai, Thiru Anbil, Thirupper Nagar, Thiruvanthipuram

Divya Desams in Thanjavur: Thiruccithra kootam, Thirukkannangudi, Thirunagai, Thiru Thanjai, Tirukkoilur, Thirukkoodaloor, Thiru Kavith Thalam, Thiru Adhanoor, Thirupullabhoothangudi, Thirukkudandhai, Thiruccherai, Thirunandipura Vinnagaram, ThiruNaraiyoor, Thiruvinnagar,  Thiruvelliyangudi, Thirukkanamangai, Thirukkkannapuram, Thirukkandiyur

Divya Desams in Madurai: Thirumeyyam, Thirukoshtiyur, Koodal Azhagar Temple, Azhagar Kovil, Tirumogoor, Srivilliputhur, Tiruththangal, Thiruppullani

Divya Desams in Kanchipuram: Thiruvengadam, Tirukkacchi, Ashtabujakaram, Tiruvekkaa, Tiruththanka, Tiruvelukkai, , Tirukalvanoor, Tiru oorakam, Tiru neeragam, Tiru kaaragam, Tirukaarvaanam, Tiru parameswara vinnagaram, Tiru pavala vannam, Tiru paadagam, Tiru nilaaththingal thundam, Thiruputkuzhi

Divya Desams in Chennai: Thiruvallikeni, Thiruneermalai, Thiruvidandai, Thirukadalmallai, Thiruninravur, Thiruvallur, Thirukkadigai

Divya Desams in Mayiladuthurai and Sirkazhi: Thiruvazhunthoor, Thiruindaloor, Kazheesirama Vinnagaram, Thirukkavalampadi, Thiruchsemponsey, Thiruarimeya Vinnagaram, Thiru Vanpurushothamam, Thiruvaikunda vinnagaram, Thirumanimadam, Thiruthevanartthogai, Thiruthetriyambalam, Thirumanikkoodam, Thiruvellakkulam, Thiruppaarththanpalli, Thalai Sanga Nanmathiyam,  Thiruchsirupuliyoor, Thiruvali-Thirunagari

Divya Desams in Tirunelveli: Thiruvaramangai, Thirukkurungudi, Srivaikundam, Thiruvaragunamangai, Thiruppulingudi,  Thirukkurugoor, Thirutthulaivillimangalam, Thirukkoloor, Thirukkulandhai, Thentirupperai

Divya Desams in Kanyakumari: Thiruvattaru, Thiruvanparisaram

Pancha Sabhai Sthalangal in Tamil Nadu

Natrajar at Madurai Temple

Pancha Sabhai Sthalangal are the set of five temples where Lord Shiva is believed to have performed the cosmic dance. The cosmic dance of Lord Shiva represents the reciprocal action and reaction of active and inactive holy energy course, comprising the five precepts of eternal energy which include creation, preservation, destruction, illusion and emancipation. Find below the detailed guide of Pancha Sabhai Sthalangal in Tamil Nadu.

Hall: Rathna Sabhai
Name of the Temple: Sri Vadaranyeswarar Temple
Location: Thiruvalangadu, Chennai
Primary Deity/Moolavar: Sri Vadavaraneshwarar
Goddess/Thayar: Vandar Kuzhalai
Dance (Thandavam): Kali Thandavam
Representing Element: Emerald

Hall: Pon Sabhai
Name of the Temple: Thillai Natarajah Temple
Location: Chidambaram, Cuddalore
Primary Deity/Moolavar: Thillai Koothan
Dance (Thandavam): Ananda Thandavam
Representing Element: Gold

Hall: Velli Sabhai
Name of the Temple: Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple
Location: Madurai
Primary Deity/Moolavar: Meenakshi
Consort: Sundareswarar
Dance (Thandavam): Sandhya Thandavam
Representing Element: Silver

Hall: Thamira Sabhai
Name of the Temple: Nellaiappar Temple
Location: Tirunelveli
Primary Deity/Moolavar: Nellaiappar
Consort: Kanthimathi Amman
Dance (Thandavam): Muni Thandavam
Representing Element: Copper

Hall: Chithira Sabhai
Name of the Temple: Kutralanathar Temple
Location: Courtallam
Primary Deity/Moolavar: Kutralanathar
Dance (Thandavam): Tirupura Thandavam
Representing Element: Art

Ashta Veerattam Sthalangal in Tamil Nadu

Amritaghateswarar Abhirami Temple
Ashta Veerattam Sthalangal, sometimes called as Veeratta Stalams or Atta Veeratta Sthalangal are a set of eight temples in Tamil Nadu dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Ashta Veerattam Sthalangal celebrate the destruction of evilness by Lord Shiva. The Ashta Veerattam Sthalangal are the locations where Lord Shiva came out with fury (Marakkarunai). Find below the detailed guide of Ashta Veerattam Sthalangal in Tamil Nadu.

Location: Thirukkandiyur
Name of the Temple: Brahma Sira Kandeeswarar Temple
Primary Deity: Brahma Sira Kandeeswarar
Great Deed of Lord Shiva: Brahmasiram Kandithal
Significance: Lord Shiva cut off one out of five heads of Lord Brahma

Location: Tirukkoyilur
Name of the Temple: Tirukkovilur Veerateshwarar Temple
Great Deed of Lord Shiva: Andhagasuran Vadham
Significance: Lord Shiva defeated Andhakasuran, a malevolent demon

Location: Thiruvathigai
Name of the Temple: Thiruvathigai Arulmigu Veerattaaneswarar Temple
Primary Deity: Sri Veerateswarar
Great Deed of Lord Shiva: Thiripura Samharam
Significance: Lord Shiva destructed three demons and the three cities made by them

Location: Thirukadaiyur
Name of the Temple: Amritaghateswarar Abhirami Temple
Primary Deity: Amritaghateswarar
Great Deed of Lord Shiva: Kaala Samharam
Significance: Lord Shiva punished Yama (the deity of death) to save Markandeya

Location: Vazhuvoor, Mayiladuthurai
Name of the Temple: Vazhuvur Veerateswarar Temple
Primary Deity:  Gajasamhara or Kirthivasa
Great Deed of Lord Shiva: Gaja Samharam
Significance: Lord Shiva killed an elephant and donned its skin as a garment

Location: Tirupariyalur
Name of the Temple: Tirupariyalur Veerateswarar Temple
Great Deed of Lord Shiva: Dhakshayanyya Nasam
Significance: Lord Shiva put Thakkan to death

Location: Thiruvirkudi
Name of the Temple: Sri Veerataneswarar Temple
Great Deed of Lord Shiva: Salandharan Vadham
Significance: Lord Shiva cut off the head of Salandharan using his leg thumb finger

Location: Thirukkurukkai
Name of the Temple: Sri Veerataneswarar Temple
Great Deed of Lord Shiva: Kaman Dhaganam
Significance: Lord Shiva burnt Manmatha by opening his third eye

Saptha Vidangam Temples in Tamil Nadu

Saptha Vidangam Temples are a set of seven temples where Vidanga Murtis are revered. Legend has it that a Chola ruler by name Mucukunta received a boon from Lord Indra and desired to obtain an image of Thyagarajaswamy. The celestial deity of Lord Indra attempted to mislead the Chola ruler and made six other images created, but with godly help Mucukunta opted the correct image at Tiruvarur. Lord Indra, delighted with the reverence of Mucukunta, gifted him all the seven Thyagaraja idols.

Tiruvarur Temple

Subsequently, the Chola king installed those idols in six places which include Tirumaraikadu, Tirukarayil, Nagapattinam, Thiruvaaimur, ThiruNallaaru and Tirukolili. These seven temples are together called as Saptha Vidangam Temples or Saptha Vidanga Sthalams. It is important to know that as brought by the king from Indra, these seven murthis are not carved idols. All the seven Thyagaraja images are supposed to dance during festivities. Thus, the temples with dance styles are esteemed as Saptha Vidangam(seven dance moves) Temples in Tamil Nadu. Find below the list of Saptha Vidangam Temples in Tamil Nadu.

Name of the Temple: Thyagarajar Temple
Name of Thyagaraja: Vidhividangar
Dance/Nadanam: Ajaba Natanam

Name of the Temple: Dharbaranyeswarar Temple
Name of Thyagaraja: Nagaravidangar
Dance/Nadanam: Unmatha Natanam

Name of the Temple: Kayarohanaswamy Temple
Name of Thyagaraja: Sundaravidangar
Dance/Nadanam: Vilathi Natanam

Name of the Temple: Kannayariamudayar Temple
Name of Thyagaraja: Adhividangar   
Dance/Nadanam: Vilathi Natanam

Name of the Temple: Brahmapureeswarar Temple
Name of Thyagaraja: Avanividangar
Dance/Nadanam: Brunga Natanam

Name of the Temple: Vaimoornaathar Temple
Name of Thyagaraja: Nallavidangar
Dance/Nadanam: Kamala Natanam

Name of the Temple: Vedaranyeswarar Temple
Name of Thyagaraja: Bhuvanivividangar
Dance/Nadanam: Hamsapatha Natanam

Aathara Sthalangals in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Aathara Sthalangals
Aathara Sthalangals suggests the temples which are regarded to be an impersonification of Tantric chakras related with human anatomy. Find below the list of Aathara Sthalangals in Tamil Nadu.

Location: Chidambaram
Name of the Temple: Thillai Natarajah Temple
Tantric Chakra: Anthagam
Description: Brain straight behind eyebrow

Location: Thiruvannamalai
Name of the Temple: Annamalaiyar Temple
Tantric Chakra: Manipooragam
Description: Spine straight behind the navel point

Location: Tiruchirappalli
Name of the Temple: Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswarar Temple
Tantric Chakra: Swathistanam
Description: One's own abode

Location: Tiruvarur
Name of the Temple: Thyagaraja Swamy Temple
Tantric Chakra: Moolatharam
Description: Basal end of the spinal cord

Some of the other important Thematic temples of Tamil Nadu include

  • Pancha Aranya Sthalams: Thirukkarugavur, Alangudi, Avalivanallur, Haridwaramangalam and Thirukollambudhoor
  • Saptha Mangai Stalangals: Chakravageshwarar Temple, Arimutheeswarar Temple, Krithivageswarar Temple, Jambugeswarar Temple, Kandeeswarar Temple, Chandramouleeswarar Temple and Tirupullamangai Temple
  • Navagraha Temples: Sooriyanar Kovil, Vaitheeswaran Kovil, Alangudi, Thirunallar, Keezhperumpallam, Thingaloor, Thiruvenkadu, Kanjanur and Thirunageswaram
  • Nava Tirupathi Temples: Sri Vaikuntam, Thiruvaraguna Mangai, Thirupuliangudi, Irattai Thirupathigal, Thirukuzhandai, Then Thiruperai, Thirukkolur and Alwar Thirunagari (Thiru Kurugoor)

Also Read:

Temples in Chennai | Temples in Coimbatore | Temples in Madurai | Temples in Tiruchirappalli | Temples in Vellore | Temples in Ooty | Temples in Kanyakumari | Temples in Kancheepuram | Temples in Tirunelveli | Temples in Rameswaram

Churches in Tamil Nadu

Christian religion in the southern state of Tamil Nadu is considered to be 2000 years old. The Roman Catholic Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, the Church of South India, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and other evangelistic denominations comprise the population of Christians living in Tamil Nadu.

Tamilnadu Churches

The Catholic Church (Latin Rite) is the oldest and the most prominent among all the places of worship for Christians in Tamil Nadu. With 15 bishoprics that include the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madurai and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madras and Mylapore, the Latin Rite has a homogenous front all over the southern state. The 2nd most prominent Christian church by figure of devotees is the Church of South India or CSI (the successor of the Anglican Church in the Republic of India after Indian Independence) with eight bishoprics in the state.

They are Diocese of Coimbatore, Diocese of Kanyakumari, Diocese of Madras, and Madurai-Ramnad Diocese of the Church of South India, Thoothukudi - Nazareth Diocese of the Church of South India, Diocese of Tirunelveli of the Church of South India, CSI Tiruchirappalli Thanjavur Diocese and the Diocese of Vellore of the Church of South India. Church of South India Synod (CSI Synod), the most eminent administrative unit of the Church of South India, is located in the southern metropolis of Chennai.

The major shares of Tamil Christians are either members of the Church of South India (CSI) or the Roman Catholic Church (Latin Rite). The international headquarters of the Pentecostal Mission (TPM) is located in Chennai.

Most Important Pilgrim Sites of Christians and Churches in Tamil Nadu

Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health

Popularly known as Velankanni church, the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is located in the town of Velankanni in Nagapattinam district. The celebrated church is dedicated to Our Lady of Good Health

Basilica of the National Shrine of St.Thomas

Often called as the San Thome Basilica, the Basilica of the National Shrine of St.Thomas
is an iconic landmark of Chennai. During the year 1956, Pope Pius XII raised the church to the status of a Minor Basilica

Our Lady of Lourdes Basilica, Poondi

One of the most visited churches; Our Lady of Lourdes Basilica in Poondi is popularly called as Poondi Matha Basilica that receives devotees from all over the country

Some of the other important churches in Tamil Nadu include
  • Peace Assembly of God Church, Tirunelveli
  • C.S.I. Holy Cross Church, Chennai
  • Schwartz Church, Thanjavur
  • St.Anthony's Church, Puliyampatty, Tuticorin
  • St.Catherine's Church, Kanyakumari
  • Infant Jesus Church, Coimbatore
  • Lutheran Church, Kodaikanal
  • St Mary s Cathedral, Madurai

Also Read:

Churches in Chennai | Churches in Coimbatore | Churches in Madurai | Churches in Tiruchirappalli | Churches in Ooty | Churches in Thoothukudi | Churches in Tirunelveli | Thoothukudi Paniya Matha Church | Chennai Waterbury Memorial Telugu Baptist Church | Trichy Our Lady of Lourdes Church | Churches in Rameswaram

Mosques of Tamil Nadu

Tamilnadu Mosques
Tamil Nadu is known for its multi-religious population has a number of religious sites of various communities. Apart from the numerous churches and temples, Mosques, the places of worship of Muslim community can be found in large numbers across the state of Tamil Nadu. Let us have a brief look at some of the important mosques of Tamil Nadu.

Makka Masjid

Makka Masjid is one of the most important pilgrimage spots of Muslims located in the capital of the state, Chennai. Large number of people visits the mosque throughout the year.

Thousand Lights Mosque

Thousand Lights mosque located in Anna Salai, Chennai is famous for its multi-dome structure and is a primary landmark in the area. Thousand Lights mosque was built by Nawab Umdat-ul-Umrah is considered as one of the most prominent mosques in India.

It is a preferred house of worship for Islam’s and a primary house of God for Shias (largest schismatic sect in Islam). This mosque is the home of Chief Shia Ghazi Moulana Ghulam Mahadi Khan of the state.

Nagore Dargah

Nagore Dargah, widely acknowledged as Hazrat Syed Shahul Hameed Dargah is a famous house of worship constructed over the tomb of the Hazrath Syed Shahul Hameed Qadir Wali. The two week-long festival of Kandhuri Urs (Kandoori or Kandhoori in the local language), devoted to the holy man, is celebrated every year.

Some of the other important mosques of Tamil Nadu include Bahram Jung Mosque, Makkah Masjid, Chennai, Thousand Lights Mosque, Masjid Mamoor, Masjid-o-Anwari, Triplicane Labbai Jamaath Masjid, Dharma Kidangu Mosque, Periamet Mosque, Nagore Dargah, Mohaideen Andavar Mosque, Big Mosque, Poonamallee, Kazimar Big Mosque, Thiruparankundram Dargah, Butt Road Jumma Masjid, Jama Masjid, Kanchipuram, Malik ibn Dinar Mosque, Nawab Jamia Mosque, etc.

Also Read:

Mosques in Chennai | Mosques in Coimbatore | Mosques in Madurai | Mosques in TiruchirappalliMosques in Tirunelveli

Ashrams and Mutts in Tamil Nadu

Apart from primary religious spots like temples, churches and mosques, the southern state of Tamil Nadu is the home of several ashrams and mutts which are mostly spiritual hermitage or monastery. Ashrams and mutts in Tamil Nadu are all about yoga, music, religious learning and various other Hindu cultural activities. Find below the list of most important ashrams and mutts in Tamil Nadu.

Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham: The notable institution is categorized as one of the most important Advaita Mathas in the country. Established by the Adi Sankara, Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham is located in the temple town of Kanchipuram. The Hindu monastic institution is one of the most important religious institutions in the state

Srirangam Srimadh Andavan Ashramam: One of the oldest hermitage in the state, Srirangam Srimadh Andavan Ashramam follow Swami Vedanta Desikan or Thoopul Nigamaantha Desikan ( Sri Vaishnava Guru) as the torch bearer of Sri Ramanuja's (a philosopher, Hindu theologist and scriptural exegete) precepts

Adheenams in Tamil Nadu: Madurai Adheenam, Dharmapuram Adheenam, Thiruppanandal Adheenam, Thiruvaduthurai Adheenam, Pollachi Adheenam, Velakurichi Adheenam, Thiruvannamalai-Kundrakudi Adheenam and so on

Some of the other important ashrams and mutts in Tamil Nadu include Sri Ahobila Mutt, Sri Ramana Ashram, Yogi Ramsuratkumar Ashram, Srirangam Sri Uttaradi Mutt, Arahanthgiri Jain Math, Srirangam Sri Mulbagal Mutt, Melsithamoor Jain Math, Ramakrishna Math, Srirangam Sankara Mutt, Rameswaram Uttaradi Mutt, Srirangam Sri Palimaru Mutt, Sri Vijayendra Swamy Brindavana, Sri Raghavendra Mutt and so on.

Role of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department

The religious sites in Tamil Nadu receive hundreds of thousands of devotees from all over the globe, irrespective of times of year. Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation, popularly called as TTDC, a wing of the Government of Tamil Nadu is the official body that supports and encourages spiritual tourism in the state.

TNHRCE

Furthermore, the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (TNHRCE), that comes under the administrative ambit of the Government of Tamil Nadu oversees and operates the temple governance within the state. Some of the most important Hindu temples that are maintained by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department include
Tamil Nadu, being a land that is the home of more than 34,000 Hindu temples, the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu has taken numerous novel initiatives and implemented several noble schemes for the welfare of the temples and devotees. Some of the most popular initiatives and schemes implemented by the TNHRCE include
  • Annadhanam Scheme: Implemented across 518 temples in the state, the annadhanam scheme (free meal for devotees) receives high praises from devotees, visitors and scholarly people
  • Spiritual and Moral Classes: Implemented across 485 temples in the state, the spiritual and moral instruction classes were conducted by scholarly people (every Saturday and Sunday)  to instruct religious, ethical and moral discipline to youngsters
  • Marriages for the Poor: A noble mass-marriage scheme that was implemented for the benefit of the poor and downtrodden people belonging to Hindu Religion. For every single marriage under this scheme a sum of Rs. 5,500 is being expended by the government. The people from Backward and Most Backward Classes, Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Caste are being benefited by the Marriages for the Poor scheme
  • Special Rejuvenation Camp for Temple Elephants: Yet another impressive initiative by the TNHRCE launched Special Rejuvenation Camp for Temple Elephants (yearly camp) at a common venue
  • Revival of Kala Pooja: Under this scheme, 22 financially weak temples across the state were identified and provided with financial aid for performing Kalapoojas appropriately
Some of the other most significant initiatives and schemes implemented by the TNHRCE include
  • Village Temple Poosarigal Welfare Board
  • Oru Kala Pooja Scheme
  • Distribution of Sarees/Dhoties
  • Refresher Training Course
  • Appointment of Nathaswara Artists
  • Welfare Schemes for Temple Employees

Quick Facts - Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (TNHRCE)

Hon'ble Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department
Shri. P. Chendur Pandian

Additional Chief Secretary to Government
Tourism, Culture and Religious Endowments Department
Dr. R. Kannan IAS

Commissioner
Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department
Shri P. Dhanapal

Location
The Hindu Religious Charitable Endowments Department
119, Uthamar Gandhi Salai, Nungambakkam,
Chennai - 34
Phone Number: 044-28334822, 28334811,12,13
Fax: 044-28334816
Email: info@tnhrce.org

Altogether, the religious spots in Tamil Nadu are sacred sites that preserve heritage while demonstrating cultural conflux and artistic grandeur.

Come and visit Tamil Nadu for a blissful spiritual experience!

Official website of Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) and Department Of Tourism in Tamil Nadu:
http://www.ttdconline.com/

Popular Religious Tour Packages offered by TTDC:

  • One Day Tirupathi Tour
  • One Day Thiruvannamalai Girivalam Tour
  • One Day Swathi Perumal Tour
  • One Day Sripuram Golden Temple Tour
  • Kancheepuram Divya Desam Tour
  • 7 Days Mookambika Tour
  • 5 Days Pandiya Nattu Thirupathigal Tour
  • 5 Days Malai Nadu Thirupathigal Tour
  • 4 Day Arupadai Veedu Tour
  • 3 Days Navagragha Tour

Tamil Nadu Tourism Complex

Address: No.2 Wallajah Road, Chennai 600002
Phone Number: 91-44-2536 7850 (5 lines)
Email: ttdc@vsnl.com
Website: www.tamilnadutourism.org
Online booking: www.ttdc.online.com
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