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South Indian - Temples

Thanumalayan Temple - Kanniyakumari - Tamil Nadu

This is an important pilgrimage place, situated at the very southernmost town in India, Kanyakumari. It is a Shiva temple representing some of the prevalently worshipped gods in Hinduism and is thus visited year-round by devotees.

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The Thanumalayan temple is renowned for its architectural grandeur. The huge facade covered with wonderful sculptures and figurines and the seven-storeyed white gateway tower are the main features of this temple.

The mythological details connected to this temple relate to the incident of Anasuya, wife of Saint Atri, serving food to the Trinity Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, who had disguised as beggars. There is an ancient Cassia tree here, purported to be 2500 years old, under which this incident is said to have happened.

Though the temple became popular from the 17th century CE onwards, but inscriptions and some parts of the construction of the temple premises reveal that elements of the structure date back as far as the 6th century CE. The temple has seen vast expansions by different dynasties over the centuries.

Another significant aspect of this temple is the huge statue of Hanuman, the monkey god, which is one of the largest monolithic statues in India, and a very large Nandi statue also. Of the two, the Hanuman statue was buried so as to protect it from marauders for the north and was only reinstalled 1930.

Kanyakumari has a special power and resonance, probably due to its significance as the ‘land’s end’ of India and the confluence of 3 major bodies of water here is of note. While not on most visitors must-see list for Tamil Nadu, Kanyakumari definitely worth visiting if you have the time.

Other Temples in Tamilnadu

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