Ancient treasures of Tirunelveli Reviews
Ancient Hindu Treasures Jun 24, 2014
Tirunelveli, one of the well known cities in the state of Tamil Nadu-South India, located at about 650kms south of the state capital Chennai, is a city of so many ancient temples, history, culture and also one of the popular destinations for Hindu pilgrimage.
Most of the temples around Tirunelveli district has the history dating back to thousands of years and they all strictly follow Hindu mythology. One thing I was envisioning after visiting those temples is the slight similarity with Cambodia's Angkor Wat. Even though these temples don't have tourism importance as much as of Angkor Wat, the important significance behind all these temples is that they are all dedicated to Lord Vishu, one of the supreme gods of Hinduism, however, Angkor Wat later became a Buddhist temple.
Similar to Angkor complex with small wats, there are 9 temples, so called "Nava Tirupathi" (Nava meaning Nine), representing each planet in our solar system, arranged around an area of several kilometers in Tirunelveli district, each having it own vedic significance and has specific reasons behind them. The interesting things about these temples, apart from the myths, history and culture, is the wonderful temple architecture, statues and the intricate stone carvings. The most part of the architectures and carvings were prohibited for photography, which were along the inner most ring of the temples, so only words can explain the creativity and the hard work of the people behind them!
The temples surroundings were quite fascinating with paddy fields, farms, small villages, a big river and beautiful mountainous back grounds. The roads were narrow, but the drive will be mostly scenic.
All these 9 temples celebrate a big festival during the Tamil calendar month of Vaikasi(falls during May-June) and the idols from all the 9 temples gather in that region, which is a very important event for Hindus and there will be a very large numbers of people to witness this. That's the only time lots of people visit those temples, though the temples are normally functional all other times as well.
It is possible to tour all the 9 temples in a day by starting the tour as early as in the morning, and the better way is to a rent car with the driver from Tirunelveli city. Photography is strictly prohibited inside the temple's inner most complexes where idols and statues are located, however, it is allowed along outer premises.
Prepare to carry sufficient water since it's mostly a village area and hard to find any stalls. However, fresh fruits, coconut drink and some snacks will be available along the way and around the temple entrances. Entry to all the temples are free!
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