There is more to a temple than religious beliefs, mythological significance, deities and blessings. There is art, culture and history revolving around every temple. The book, 'A historian's guide to lesser known temples in Tamil Nadu' by Pradeep Chakravarthy talks about the less popular temples in Tamil Nadu and focuses on the stories behind those lovely places of worship.
For the tourist who looks at a temple beyond its religious importance, the book is a guide which helps explore the temple paths which are rarely trod on. It features temples from the Pallava, Chola and Nayak period which spreads over Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tanjavur, Kumbakonam, Madurai and Tirunelveli. The focus is on the numerous unknown temples that got lost amidst the more famous, wealthy and frequently visited ones in Tamil Nadu. Pradeep has gone in depth describing the architectural exuberance, delicate carvings, intriguing inscriptions and rich heritage behind these magnificent creations from the bygone era. In Pradeep's words, "Temples are social institutions which help us understand history, not from a textbook point of view but from a traveller's perspective of how our ancestors tackled problems which we face even today."
The book is aptly dedicated to the numerous anonymous craftsmen who played significant roles in the creation of these lesser known temples in Tamilnadu. Definitely an interesting read for temple buffs, heritage enthusiasts and culture vultures. It is time travellers and tourists explored temples from a heritage and cultural perspective than from a purely religious one.
You can download the soft copy here- http://goo.gl/ZeEPdy
Link to review of the book by The Hindu is here- http://www.thehindu.com/books/temples-and-a-travelogue/article3331862.ece