Valluvar Kottam

Chennai (Madras)

This 1976 memorial honours the Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar and his classic work, the 133-chapter Thirukural. Its most striking element is a 31m-high stone replica of Tamil Nadu's largest temple chariot (from Thiruvarur), pulled by two stone elephants and with giant wheels. In the adjacent auditorium, the Thirukural's 1330 couplets are inscribed on granite tablets. From the auditorium's step-accessed roof, you can walk to the foot of the shrine below the chariot's dome, which holds a life-size seated Thiruvalluvar.

Thiruvalluvar is thought to have lived around 2000 years ago, possibly in present-day Chennai; his famed poem has provided a moral code for millions of followers.