Temples and shrines in South India vary tremendously, ranging from single shrines under the shade of a tree to large temple complexes with hundreds of shrines, an inner temple to the main god and many priests in attendance. There are no set services, although the temple is often busiest at sunrise. Friday is the usual day for visiting the temple and houses are cleaned, hair washed and clothes changed before the visit. Sandals are removed on entering the temple and it is important to be clean, so if you cannot wash in a nearby river there are water pots or a pool just inside the temple. People take offerings of flowers, food or money, over which the priest performs complex rituals. Temples are always busy at Festival times.
Colourful Gopurams like this one at Madurai are famous throughout Tamil Nadu.
The largest temple in the area is being renovated.
The temple hermit washes an image of one of the gods with milk.
The hermit offers ‘arti’ each day followed by a free meal for all.
The temple elephants at Kanchipuram Temple.
Young couples wanting a family make offerings at this tree shrine.
A newly renovated temple in the village of Tutithangel.
A priest makes an offering to the gods in a local temple.
Selvi and Lakshmi make an offering at the village temple.
This beautiful shrine is in the centre of K.V.Kuppam village.
A village shrine to Lord Ganesha.
A roadside shrine to Hannuman.
A simple shrine under a tree shows the vibhuti symbol of Lord Shiva.
Cows are sacred in India. When a cow gives birth the ‘afterbirth’ is tied in cloth and hung in a particular tree to stop dogs eating them.
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