Famous Monuments of South India

Famous Monuments of South India :

In south India, temples are much more known as monuments than any other structure constructed in the region. Tamil Nadu is a bastion of Hinduism, whose past endures into the present Temples with towering spires called "Gopurams" are a common feature of Tamil Nadu state, seldom seen anywhere else in the India. Quite a contrast to the temple heritage is provided at Pondicherry, where the seaside villas and cobbled streets are more reminiscent of the south of France than the south of India! Karnataka is home to a fascinating legacy of richly carved temples of South India, imposing mosques and trappings of a royal past.
Madurai Meenakshi Temple
Indian Monuments - Meenakshi Temple, Madurai :
The ancient city of Madurai, more than 2,500 years old, was built by the Pandyan king, Kulashekarar, in the 6th century BC. But the reign of the Nayaks marks the golden period of Madurai when art, architecture and learning flourished expansively. The most beautiful Indian buildings in the city including its most famous landmark, the Meenakshi temple, were built during the Nayak rule.

Located in the heart of the city of Madurai, the Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar temple is dedicated to goddess Meenakshi, the consort of lord Shiva. It has long been the focus of both Indian and international tourist attraction as well as one of the most important places of Hindu pilgrimage. For the people of Madurai, the temple is the very center of their cultural and religious life.

It is said that the people of the city wake up, not by the call of nature but by the chant of hymns at the temple. All the major festivals of Tamil Nadu are celebrated here with gaiety, most important being the Chitrai festival that is held in April / May, when the celestial marriage of Meenakshi and Sundareshwarar is celebrated, drawing a huge crowd of people from all over the state.
Indian Monuments - Charminar :

The city of Hyderabad, with its delightful blend of the ancient and the modern, presents to the onlooker an interesting skyline with modern buildings standing shoulder to shoulder with fascinating 400 year old edifices. It boasts of some fine examples of Qutab Shahi architecture - the Jami Masjid, the Mecca Masjid, Toli Masjid, and of course, the impressive symbol of Hyderabad, the Charminar.

The Charminar is a massive arch built by Mohammed Quli Qutab Shah, in 1591 to commemorate the end of the plague in the city. The symbol of the city, the Charminar, is an impressive square monument with four minarets. The arch is illuminated daily in the evening, an unforgettable sight indeed.
Indian Monuments - Mysore Palace :

Mysore is one of the major cities in the South Indian state of Karnataka. Till independence it was the capital city of Wodeyars, the erstwhile Maharajas of Mysore. At a distance of 140 kms from Bangalore, Mysore has always enchanted tourists and visitors with its magnificent palaces, beautiful gardens and rich cultural heritage. The city is famous for its silk and is also a thriving sandalwood and incense center.

Today, Mysore has become a major tourist destination because of its convenient size and good climate, moreover the city has chosen to retain and promote its heritage rather than replace it.The Mysore Palace, once the residence of the Wodeyars, is one of the largest palaces of its kind in India, and one of the most splendid.

Built in Indo-Saracenic style with domes, turrets, arches and colonnades, the Palace is often compared with the Buckingham Palace of Britain because of its grandeur. Henry Irwin, the British consultant architect of Madras state, designed it. The palace was built by the twenty-fourth Wodeyar Raja in 1912 on the site of the old wooden palace that was gutted in the year 1897. Built in Indo-Saracenic style with domes turrets, arches and colonnades, the Mysore palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world.
Chola Temple
Indian Monuments - Chola Temples :
Situated in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, this World Heritage site comprises the three great 11th and 12th century Chola Temples : the Brihadisvara temples of Thanjavur and Gangaikondacholisvaram, and the Airatesvara temple at Darasuram. The great Temple of Tanjore ( Thanjavur ) was built between 1003 and 1010 in the reign of the great King Rajaraja, of the Chola Empire which stretched over all of South India and the neighbouring islands.

The three Chola temples represent an outstanding creative achievement in the architectural conception of the pure form of the dravida type of temple. Built by King Rajaraja, the Brihadisvara temple is crowned by a pyramidal 65-m vimana, a sanctum tower. Its walls are covered with rich sculptural decoration.

The second Brihadisvara temple complex built by Rajendra I, was completed in 1035. Its 53-m vimana has recessed corners and a graceful upward curving movement, contrasting with the straight and severe tower at Thanjavur. It has six pairs of massive, monolithic dvarapalas statues guarding the entrances and bronzes of remarkable beauty inside. The Airavatesvara temple complex, built by Rajaraja II, at Darasuram features a 24-m vimana and a stone image of Shiva. The Indian temples testify to the Cholas brilliant achievements in architecture, sculpture, painting, and bronze casting.
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