Architecture of the Monuments of Tamil Nadu
The monuments of Tamil Nadu are architectural gems in themselves. The temples and monuments of Tamil Nadu reflect the typical South Indian culture and are built in the Dravidian style of architecture. Most of the temples and monuments of Tamil Nadu have lofty towers and are known to be the torch bearers of the glorious heritage of the southern state. In Mahabalipuram there are many small stone temples and cave temples. This concept of rock-cut architecture was gradually replaced by structural monuments which were built with bricks and stones. The Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram is the best example of structural architecture. The evolution of the architecture of Tamil Nadu can be seen in the step like towers. The formation of the gopura can be seen in Ganesha Ratha, a stone sculpture, the mature style of this temple can be seen in the Vaikuntha Perumal Temple of Kanchipuram. Other than this, colonial architecture is also an imperative part of Tamil Nadu and is perceived in the city of Chennai.
Listed below are some of the important monuments of Tamil Nadu.
Brihadeshwara Temple: The Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur is one of the most beautiful architectural splendours of the state and is a perfect illustration of the craftsmanship of the Chola rulers. The temple was built by Rajaraja I in the 11th century to celebrate a military victory. The Brihadeshwara Temple also known as the Big Temple was built to pay homage to Lord Shiva. There is also located a figurine of a consecrated bull or Nandi at the entry of this temple, which is approximately 13 ft in height and 16 ft in length. Remarkably, this idol is made by a single rock carving.
Cave Temples of Tamil Nadu: The Pallava Kings were prolific builders of rock cut temples, cave temples and several monuments in Tamil Nadu which are scattered all over the state. The most popular of the lot is the cave temples of Mahabalipuram built between the 7th and 9th centuries. The main structures include the Varaha Temple, Arjuna’s Penance, and Descent of the Ganges, the Shore Temple and the Panch Rathas, which was named after the Pandavas. Then there is the cave temple of Mandagapattu, which is known to be one of the oldest cave temples in the state. An interesting aspect about the temple is the inscription found on the front pillar of the cave in Pallava Grandha script, which states that the temple was built by the Hindu Trinity- Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The other cave temples of the state are Pillayarpatti, Thiruchirapalli, Satyagirinathan, Mahendravadi, Shervaroyan, Thirunandikkara and lastly there is the Jain cave temples.
Valluvar Kottam: Out of the several other monuments of Tamil Nadu, Valluvar Kottam is a famous memorial dedicated to the poet-saint Tiruvalluvar. It is the exact replica of the temple chariot in Thiruvarur and has a statue of the saint, which stands at an elevation of 33 m, and is installed inside the chariot.
Padmanabhapuram Palace: Located in the Kanyakumari district, the Padmanabhapuram Palace is one of those monuments of Tamil Nadu, which is known for its strategic planning and military architecture. Till 1790, the palace used to be the seat of power for the Travancore emperors. It is now a popular tourist attraction and is famous for its sheer aesthetic beauty, innovative designs and time tested wooden carvings.
St. George’s Fort: Located on the banks of the Bay of Bengal, the St. George’s Fort is that monument of Tamil Nadu, which was the first bastion of the British within Indian territories. In the pre-independence era, the fort used to be the trading post of the East India Company, and currently it enjoys the status of being the seat of the Government of Tamil Nadu and embraces the Legislative Council Chambers.
Thirumalai Nayak Mahal: Constructed in 1523 BC, the Thirumalai Nayak Mahal is the finest specimen of the Indo-Saracenic form of architecture among all the other monuments of Tamil Nadu. This wonderful tourist attraction is a famous monument of Madurai.
The other most popular monument in Tamil Nadu is the Meenakshi Temple, which is also located in Madurai. This temple structure is known to be one of the largest complexes in the entire state. All the major festivals of Tamil Nadu are celebrated here with gaiety, most important being the Cittirai festival that is held between April and May, when the celestial marriage of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar is celebrated, drawing a huge crowd of people from all over the state.
Rock Fort Temple: Located in Tiruchirappalli, the Rock Fort Temple is built on a prehistoric rock. It is a conglomeration 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 Thayumanavar Kovil also known as the Shivastalam, on the hill.
There are several more monuments of Tamil Nadu like the Vivekananda House along with the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Tanjavur Palace, Victory War Memorial, Ripon Building, etc.