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Tamil Nadu Monuments

Belonging to the tourism in India Tamilnadu is a great tradition for history and culture. In early medieval and medieval period, a number of reigns ruled over the Tamil land. Many of those rulers were very fond of art and architecture and gave generous benefaction to men of letters, sculptors, architects and artists. This saw the Tamil land becoming a hub of many beautiful and amazing monuments, which attract tourists from all over the world to this day. These monuments speak volumes about the artistic skills and excellence of the sculptors and architects of that period. The temples with their towering Gopurams and the rock cut temples leave the enthusiast speechless.

The monuments of Tamil Nadu are architectural gems in themselves. The Dravidian architecture at its zenith can be seen here while the delicate and elaborate sculptures adorning the walls and ceilings of these monuments lend their own unique charm to them. Many towns and cities of Tamilnadu are associated with beautiful monuments. Mahabalipuram is one of those places, which boast of numerous architectural wonders. The famous Arjuna's Penance is one such monument at Mahabalipuram. Chennai, the capital city, is home to many monuments such as the Caves in Tamilnadu, Thanjavur palace , Padmanapuram Palace, Sivaganga palace, Meenakshi Aamman Tample, Kamaraj Memorial House, Bharathiyar Illam, Madras War Cemetery, Rippon Building, Vivekananda Illam and the Valluvar Kottam while Madurai boasts of Thirumalai Nayak Mahal, a classic example of Indo-Saracen style. The Rock Fort temple is a prominent landmark in Tiruchirappalli.

About Arjuna's Penance

Arjuna's Penance is a story from the Mahabharata of how Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers, performed severe austerities in order to obtain Shiva's weapon. Mahabalipuram Arjuna's Penance is 31 m long and 9 m high and its surface has detailed carvings depicting animals, as they would appear in their natural surroundings. The idea, which pervades Hindu philosophy, is that one could obtain, by self-mortification, enough power even to overcome the gods. In order to protect themselves, the gods would grant the petition of any ascetic who threatened their supremacy in this way a kind of spiritual blackmail, or give to get. The Ganges story is of the same kind, in which the sage Bhagiratha performs austerities in order to bring the Ganges down to earth. Shiva had to consent to break her fall in his hair, because otherwise its force would be too great for the earth to contain. The symbolism of the relief supports either story. Furthermore, both stories were interpreted in a manner flattering to the Pallavas; the heroic Arjuna as a symbol of the rulers, and the Ganges as a symbol of their purifying power.

Caves in Tamil Nadu

Tamilnadu monuments are intense in and around Madurai. There are about 26 caves in Anaimalai, Alagarmalai,Muttupatti,Tiruparankundram,Vikramangalam, Karungalakkudi, Mankulam Kongarpuliyankulam, Tiruvatavur, and Varichiyur. The caves belong to the 2nd and Ist centuries B.C. The names of the monks who lived in these cave-dwellings and the men who carved them are engraved on these monuments. The stone beds in these caves prove that they were abodes of the monks. There are several flat stones in theses caves. One end of these horizontal rocks is slightly raised as headrest. The upper portions of the caves are shaped in such a way as to prevent rainwater from entering them. These residences were located near water sources to meet the basic need of the ascetics. They also contain epigraphic records written in the Brahmi script. It is even said that the Hindu temples in and around Madurai were fashioned after these caves. Thirunarankondrai, a village near Ulundurpet, was a famous Jain pilgrim centre. It was also a seat of learning where monks and scholars from all over India gathered. The carved images of Paraswanathar, the 23rd Jain Tirthankara, are found on the top of a hill here. He is portrayed in a standing position, with a serpent's hood spread above his head. The people in this area refer to Paraswanathar as Appandainathar.

Rock Fort Temple

One of the Famous Monuments in Tamilnadu is the Rock Fort temple in Tiruchirappalli. Trichy is a collection of three temples - the Manikka Vinayaka temple at the foot of the hill, the Uchhi Pillayar Koyil at the top of the hill and the Taayumaanava Koyil (Shivastalam) on the hill. This Shivastalam is a rock cut temple on a hill in the most prominent landmark in Tiruchirappalli (Trichy); reached by a flight of steps on the way to the famous Ucchi Pillaya temple. This temple crowns a massive outcrop of rock that soars 83 meters upwards, from the surrounding plains. It is reached by a steep flight of 437 steps, cut into the rock. Halfway up is the Sri Thayumanaswamy Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has a 100-pillared hall, and a Vimana, covered with gold. On the southern face of the rock, are several beautifully carved, rock-cut cave temples, of the Pallava period. Non - Hindus are not allowed into the sanctum sanctorum, at the summit. Built by the Nayaks, who were the founders of the city, it was one of the main centers, around which, the wars of the Carnatic were fought in the 18th century, during the British - French struggle for supremacy in India. Six worship services are offered each day here. This well endowed temple celebrates the annual Brahmotsavam in Chithirai. Aadi Pooram and the float festival in Panguni are also of significance here.

About Thanjavur Palace

Thanjavur Palace a part of the famous three kings ruled Tamilnadu. It is also called as the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu. Tanjavur is a bustling country town situated 55 kms east of Trichy. Tanjore, also known as Thanjavur, was the ancient capital of the Chola kings and later of the Tanjavur Nayaka and Maratha rulers. Tanjavur rose to glory, during the later Chola reign, between the 10th and 14th centuries, and became a centre of learning and culture. The Cholas, who were great patrons of art, built most of the 93 temples. It was the practice of the kings to donate part of their wealth to the temples, for spiritual gain, and the Chola kings lavished their wealth to build these as well as other temples nearby. Tanjore's crowning glory is the Brihadishwara temple built by Raja Raja. This is listed as a World Heritage site and is worth a visit. A huge masonry structure which were partly built by the Nayaks in 1550 and partly by the Marathas. The Tanjavur Palace, as it is known, has huge halls, spacious corridors, observation & arsenal towers and a shady courtyard. Though many sections of the palace are in ruins restoration work has been taken up. The palace houses a library, a museum and an art gallery. The Royal museum displays many items from the kings who ruled the place in past. The eclectic collection of royal memorabilia can fascinate any visitor. The Royal cloths, hunting weapons, the head gears and many more such items are enough to catch the attention of any one.

About Padmanabhapuram Palace

One of the Great palace in South of Tamilnadu is the Padmanabhapuram Palace in Kanyakumari district, located about 15 km from Nagercoil has the rare distinction of being one of the most ancient monuments in South India. Known for its strategic planning and military architecture, the palace was the seat of power for the Travancore emperors till 1790, when the capital was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram by Karthika Thirunal Maharaja, popularly known as Dharma Raja. Its main attraction is its sheer aesthetic beauty, innovative designs and time tested wooden carvings. A brass lamp fashioned as a man riding a horse and hanging from the magnificently carved wooden ceiling greets the visitors to the poomukham or entrance hall. The ceiling interestingly has 90 varieties of flowers in full bloom. A black bed made of seven granite stones and a 17th century chair gifted by a Chinese official is found in the hall. On the wall are displayed ellipsoidal coloured wooden planks depicting Anantasyana the reclining posture of Lord Vishnu, also known as Lord Padmanabha.

About Sivaganga Palace

The palace located in the heart of Sivaganga about 40 km from Madurai, was the seat of many Marava kings. Now, only the dilapidated portions of the palace remain. Built in the architectural style of Thirumalai Nayak's period and infused with Rajputana arts, which the remains are mute witness to, the palace is said to have been ignored during the period of Rajah Doraisingh Thevar (1898-1941). This led to the neglect of the palace and its plundering, mainly by the British. The worst damage is said to have been done during the period of late Vijayaraja Karthik, who sold most of the properties, antiques and wooden carving. The portion intact is the temple of Sri Raja Rajeshwari, the family deity of the royalty. The temple is open for the public in the evenings and on auspicious days. Otherwise, public are not allowed within the palace limits. South of the temple is a huge hall supported with numerous pillars? All the functions of the royal household are said to have taken place there. But now the hall remains locked. In the front fa├žade of the palace lies a palanquin in a dilapidated condition. Another interesting feature in the palace is a miniature swimming pool called "Nadai Kinaru". The tank is said to have direct connections to provide it with fresh water and provisions to fill two huge tanks beside the tank. This was meant mainly for the women of the royal family. In front of it is an architectural splendor, in a shambles. Paintings on the dome and sides in natural colors are still intact.

Meenakshi Amman temple

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple located in the holy city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva (in the form of Sundareswarar or Beautiful Lord) and his consort, Goddess Parvati The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai. The complex houses 14 magnificent Gopurams or towers including two golden Gopurams for the main deities that are elaborately sculptured and painted. The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and has been mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature, though the present structure is believed to have been built in 1600. The tallest temple tower is 51.9 metres (170 ft) high. More info..

The Valluvar Kottam

The Valluvar Kottam, on the corner of Kodambakkam High Rd and Village Rd, honours the acclaimed Tamil Poet, Thiruvalluvar, whose classic work one thousand three hundred and thirty kurals (couplets) - are reputed to be about 2000 years old. Established in 1976, Valluvar Kottam replicates ancient Tamil architecture with the 1330 verse Kural inscribed on panels. The outer structure in stone is a replica of the temple car of Thiruvarur in Tamilnadu.

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