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Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram is known as ‘Varanasi of the South’,, and highly revered as the holy seat (Kamakotipeetam) of Adi Sankaracharya. The stunning temples here showcase some of the best Dravidian architecture introduced by the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Vijayanagara rulers. The town is also well-known for its beautiful Kannjeevaram saris.

The tall "Gopurams" (towers over the temple gateways) of various temples speckle the skyline of the town to greet visitors entering Kanchipuram, - the city of 1000 temples  (of which only 200 remain now).

The glorious temples display the city’s splendid Dravidian heritage. Kanchipuram was the capital of the Pallavas from the 6th - 8th century A.D.; it It was also important during the Chola, Vijayanagar, and Nayaka periods..
The city is located on the north bank of the Vegavati River.  The two main parts — Siva-kanchi, on the northern, and Vishnu-kanchi, on the eastern side – are home to the main temples. The Kailasanatha and Vaikuntha Perumal temples are the most important temples built by the Pallavas. Varadaraja, Kamakshi, and Ekambareswara temples were originally built by the Cholas, but were enhanced by the Vijayanagar and Nayaka rulers.

There are over 108 temples devoted to Lord Shiva and 18 to Lord Vishnu. Kanchipuram is one of the few places in India where both Vaishnavite (followers of Lord Vishnu) and Shaivite (followers of Lord Shiva) temples are to be found side by side - two of the four sects of Hinduism

The city was a great centre of learning during medieval times, and was associated with the great Hindu revivalist, Adi Sankaracharya, as well as the great medieval Saiva Saint Appar. The Kanchi Kamakotti Peetam, one of the Acharya Peetas of Sri Adi Sankaracharya, is located here. Ruins of some Buddhist Stupas  are clear signs that Buddhism was also prevalent here.

Kanjeevaram Sarees:
Apart from its temples, Kanchipuram is also well-known all over the world for its flourishing handloom industry, making some of the finest silk saris in the country. The city is sometimes referred to as ‘silk city’ since the main source of revenue of the residents comes from weaving these gorgeous, long-lasting silk saris.

Vaikunda Perumal Temple
The Vaikunta Perumal Temple, is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was built soon after the construction of the Kailasanatha Temple, in the mid-eighth century, by Pallava King Nandivaranam. The covered passages and the outer walls of this temple are supported by lion pillars, which initiated the tradition of the grand thousand pillared mandapams built later in many of the south Indian temples.
Ekambaranatha Temple
The Pallava kings built the main temple in the 16th century. It has a towering 60m high Raja Gopuram, built in 1509 by Krishna Deva Raya of the Vijayanagar Empire. No two towers of the temple are opposite each other, nor are the walls of the temple parallel to each other. There are almost no right angles in the temple. It has a 540-pillar hall where most of the pillars are intricately and beautifully carved. Sri Ekambareswara takes the form of "Prithvi Lingam" and Kanchipuram is known as one of the Pancha Bhutha Sthalas. According to legend, Kailash Parvathi closed the eyes of Lord Shiva while playing, bringing darkness to the whole world. Angered by this, Lord Shiva cursed Parvathi to become black like Kali. Unable to bear the punishment, the Goddess descended and did penance under a mango tree here, making a Lingam out of earth. Hence much significance is attached to this shrine and the mango tree, situated within this temple.
Varadaraja Temple
Positioned atop Hastigiri Hill, this temple main temple of Vishnu Kanchi. This temple was constructed by the Vijayanagar Kings, and the grand Gopurams (= gate towers) are architectural marvels. The temple boasts a spectacular ‘Hall of Hundred Pillars’, containing many beautiful sculptures. The temple also includes statues representing Sri Perundevi Thayar, the divine consort, and Yoga Narasimha in a cave under Hastigiri Hill. In Anantha Theertham, the image of Lord Attigiri Varadaraja lies under water, and is taken out only once in a generation for worship by devotees.
Kanchi Kamakshi Amman Temple
This temple has a golden gopuram and fine carvings. It was built by the Cholas in the 14th century and the gopurams were built during the Vijayanagar period. One of the three famous Shakti temples, Kanchi Kamakshi Temple is well-known for its striking sculptures, and is a center of Shakti worship. The grand Kamakshi statue is larger than life, and is one of the main attractions of the temple. The walls are carved with images representing several legends in glowing colors that make them appear almost alive.
Ulahalanda Perumal Temple
Ulahalanda Perumal Temple, situated about half a kilometre from the centre of the town near Kamakshi Amman Temple, is one of the oldest temples in Kanchipuram. The divinity Ulahalanda Perumal in this temple stands for the "Vamana Roopam", a personification of Lord Vishnu taken to save the Devas from the demon king Mahabali. The holy being Ulahalanda Perumal is portrayed by a huge figure 12 meters tall.
Devarajaswami Temple
The beautiful Devarajaswami Temple was constructed by the Vijayanagara rulers and is known for its excellent architecture. The temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu, and a marriage hall within the compound honours the marriage of Goddess Parvati and Lord Vishnu. There is a huge water pool with a large idol of God Vishnu. The water of the pool is drained after a 40-year-long cycle. Every 40 years, when the water is drained, the gigantic idol is worshipped for 48 days before the water pool is re-filled.
Chitragupta Temple
This temple dedicated to Lord Chitragupta. Chitragupta is considered the chief accountant and the minister of Lord Yama, or the God of Death. There is no other separate shrine or temple in India that has been built devoted to Chitragupta, other than this. The presiding deity at the Temple, is in a sitting posture holding a pen in the right hand. The left hand holds a palm leaf, both symbols of his work. There is also the Utsava Panchaloka idol of Chitragupta whioch is seen along with his consort Karnikambal. According to archaeologists, the Chitragupta temple was built in Kanchipuram during the Chola period (Ninth Century) and is being maintained by a particular community of Kanchipuram from time immemorial.
Kanchi Kudhil
This is a 90-year-old house, authentic in old-style architecture and functionality. It offers a glimpse of the life of an agricultural family in a village - the master's room, room for the women and children, room for the gods, open-to-sky courtyards,Verandahs, the backyard with agricultural implements. Added features are descriptions on the history of Kanchipuram and its temples, traditional music as backdrop and a stock of exquisite handicrafts for the tourist to buy.
Sri Sankara Mutt
This is one of the Sankara Peetams, established by the Sri Adi Sankara; Kanchipuram and the Mutt are often identified as the home of Hinduism. The Brindavanam of Paramacharya Sri Chandrashekharendra Saraswathi is worshipped here.
Kailasanathar Temple and Sri Alagiyasingar Temple
Kailasanathar Temple This temple was constructed by Kind Rajasimha, the Pallava king, and is known for its beautiful sculptures. The figure of Ardhanareeswara, seated on a bull with the feminine side carrying a veena, is remarkable. Sri Alagiyasingar Temple Lord Vishnu is acknowledged here as Mukunda Nayaka. It is said that Lord Vishnu took the form of Narasimha and fought with the demon Kapalika to set aside Brahma’s yajna. This temple is about ½ km from the Deepa Prakasa Temple.
Kanchipuram is famous for its silk products. The silk saris are hand-woven, and may take up to two weeks to complete. Some have borders made of pure gold or silver. There are several speciality sari shops on the road to the Sri Varadaraja Temple. Even though silk saris are produced here, prices are frequently higher than in Chennai, as there is so much demand for them from tourists. To get a decent price, visitors should take their time, and negotiate hard.
Some of the important festivals celebrated in Kanchipuram are:
The Brahmotsavam at the Varadaraja Temple takes place in May.
Garuda Sevai at the Varadaraja Temple in June. Float festival at the Varadaraja Temple in February and November.
Kamakshi Ammam Festival in February;
Mahashivaratri festival at the Kailashanatha Temple in February.
Panguni Uthiram at the Ekambareshwara Temple in March-April.
Nearby places Train stations Airports
CHENNAI AIRPORT 15 Km 00H 21m
Chennai Central 5 Km 00H 09m
Vellore Town
Nearby major cities
Name Distance Duration
67 Km 01H 06m
67 Km 01H 06m
Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) a UNESCO world heritage, is an ancient city along the Coromandel coast on the shores of the Bay of Bengal is famous for its shore temples. These monolithic rock structures are renowned for their distinctive architecture style and extraordinary carvings.
79 Km 01H 45m
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Weather
Season Min. Temp. Max. Temp.
Summer 21 °C 37 °C
Winter 18 °C 28 °C
Kanchipuram has warm summers( March - May ) and pleasant winters( Nove - January ). The best time to visit is November - February when the weather is most comfortable.
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