Tamil Nadu’s proud of its heritage
The state not only houses a great collection of artefacts in its various mesuems, but UNESCO has recognized some of the sites here as having cultural and heritage importance. As of last year, five more sites including Sri Ranganathar temple in Srirangam, Fort St George in Chennai, Chettinad, Kazhugumalai rock sculptures and Pulikat Lake were included in the tentative list by the ministry for UNESCO’s world heritage status. As we celebrate World Heritage Week, Chennai Times lists out some destination that you can visit in the state…
Kanyakumari, at the southernmost tip of the country, is one of those few towns that were ruled by Cheras, Cholas, Pandyas and even the Nayaks. Apart from being a historically important place, it also generates several mythological interest. Right from the multicoloured sand on the sea shore to the ancient Kumari Amman temple, from Vivekananda rock memorial and the Gandhi memorial to the more recent 133 ft statue of saint poet Thiruvalluvar, Kanyakumari offers a lot to those who dig history!
Located a few kilometres from Kumbakonam, the Airawateshwar temple at Darasuram is a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Monument. The temple is said to be built by Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th century, and was restored by the ASI.
The rock-carved Ratha temples and cave sancturies and sculptures at Mahabalipuram, built by Pallavas in the 7th and 8th centuries, found a place in UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1984. Apart from the 40-plus monuments, and the largest open-air bas-relief in the world, one can also get a taste of rockcarving and sculpture-making first hand there.
Tanjore is a treasure trove for art lovers and history fanatics. The Brihadisvara temple at Tanjore and Gangaikonda Cholapuram, built by the Cholas between the 11th and 12th century, attract hordes of people every day. The inscriptions on the temple walls, the ancient paintings and bronze sculptures provide a window into the past. The Saraswati Mahal library, the Sivaganga park, Thanjavur Maratha palace, Schwartz Church, and the museums are among the other attractions in Tanjore.
As much as Madurai is known for its religious destinations, it’s known for it’s architectural brilliance as well. While the 1000-pillared halls and porthamarai kulam in Meenaskshi temple, the Nayak Palace and the Rani Mangamma palace are awe-inspiring, the annual car festival, the Santhanakoodu and the Jallikattu remind you of festivals that have been celebrated from time immemorial.