Kapaleeshwarar temple is world-renowned, and yet few are aware of an inscription beside the main door which has references to Chinese and Greek travellers having visited the temple.

The idol of the presiding deity at Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane, has a moustache, but does not bear any weapons, a distinguishing feature from other Vaishnavite temples.

Such details, often not spotted by the casual visitor, are among the many interesting facts brought out in Temple Trips, South India, a travel guide launched by Lonely Planet on Friday. It is the culmination of several months of temple visits and meticulous research by authors Janaki Venkataraman and Supriya Sehgal.

Launching the book, N. Ravi, editor-in-chief, The Hindu, said south Indian temples were a treasure house of “Indian religious, artistic and cultural heritage.” Stating the book was rich in content and offered information to those not familiar with the religion and its traditions, Mr. Ravi added that with the launch of the book, a new sphere of temple tourism of south India was opened up by Lonely Planet.

Sesh Seshadri, director and general manager, Lonely Planet India, said the book offered specific information on hotels, transport, accommodation and the region’s cuisine. It also has special features by Carnatic musician T.M. Krishna, Bharatanatyam exponent Alarmel Valli, temple historian Pradeep Chakravarthy, architectural expert Chitra Madhavan and journalist Nalini Rajan.

Prior to the book launch, there was a rendition of songs associated with temples of the four southern States by Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam.

More In: Events | Chennai