Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit Srirangam and Tiruvanaikaval, the two famous temples near Trichy. It was a very good experience.
The gopuram in the tiruvanaikaval temple. This temple has an interesting legend.
"According to Hindu mythology, there was a spider and an elephant both being extreme devotees of God, in spite of their being animals. The elephant used to clean the shiva deity and pray him, while the Spider tries to protect the deity from external damage. One day, the spider had built a very big web around the deity to protect it from dust and rust. The elephant, not knowing this, pours water on it and cleans it up. This causes a war between the two, and the spider punishes the elephant by entering its trunk and in the process kills itself. Both the animals die, and the Spider takes birth as a great king, while the elephant reaches heaven for satisfying all its karma. The king continues his good work from the previous age and builds a variety of temples that seeks to protect the underlying deity with tons of stones. The greatest of his works include Tiruvanaikaval and Kilvelur Akshyalingaswamy temple. It is interesting to note that all his temples, keep the deity beyond the access of an elephant. In this temple, the access to the deity is through a narrow passage in the side that prevents an elephant from extending its trunk over the lord from any side"
Do read more about the temples by clicking on the links. Both of them are centuries only and really a charm to watch.
Courtesy : Wikipedia