travel information, Tamilnadu
Kanchipuram is a
small, rural town about 75-km from Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu.
With the Sankara Mutt acting as the hub of Hindu activities and the temples,
Kanchipuram is one of the most highly visited pilgrimage spots in India,
and can rightfully be called the "Pilgrimage in Tamil Nadu Religious
Capital of South India".
Kanchipuram was under
the Pallavas from the 6th to 8th century AD and later became the citadel
of the Cholas, Vijayanagar Kings, the Muslim and the British. It has been
a center of Tamil learning, cultural and religious background for centuries.
Kanchipuram has magnificent temples of unique architectural beauty bearing
eloquent testimony to its glorious Dravidian heritage.
All the religious
cities in India support one of the two sects in Hinduism - Vaishnavism
and Shaivism, but Kanchipuram has blended itself equally to both the sects,
dividing itself into Vishnu Kanchi, surrounding the Varadaraja Temple,
and Shiva Kanchi, surrounding the Ekambareshwar (also spelt as Ekambareshwa)
Temple, while the Kamakshi Amman Temple stands in between as a place of
Amman Temple - India has three main cities where the Goddess Shakti
is worshipped. Kanchipuram holds the most important rank among the three.
In the same order, the three places are Kanchipuram, where the Goddess
Kamakshi is worshipped, Madurai, where the Goddess Meenakshi is worshipped,
and Kashi, where the deity is 'Visaalakshi'.
The Kamakshi Amman
temple is the hub of all religious activities in Kanchipuram. The temple
is also in closer control of the Shankara Mutt, unlike the other temples,
which are governed either by the Department of Archeology, Government
of India, or the Hindu Temples Department of the Tamil Nadu Government.
The kings of the Chola Empire built the temple in 14th century AD.
The main tower over
the sanctum (Vimanam) of the temple is gold plated. Also of significance
is the Golden Chariot in this temple. The Golden Chariot is taken in a
procession around the temple on Friday evenings around 7.00 p.m. This
temple also features an Art Gallery with pictures depicting the history
of Sri Adishankaracharya and the Shankara Mutt.
Temple - Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kailashanathar (also spelt as Kailashnatha)
is one of the earliest temples built by the Pallava ruler Rajasimha Pallava
and was completed by his son, Mahendra Varma Pallava in the 8th century
AD. It is the oldest structure in Kanchipuram and the finest example of
Pallava architecture in South India . The temple is situated among several
low-roofed houses just over 1-km west of the town center.
Of all the temples
in India, no other edifice has been so elaborately filled with all the
64 aspects of Lord Shiva. The temple is unique in its architecture and
is viewed more as an architectural wonder than as a holy place. Hence,
it is never crowded with locals. But, once in a year during Shivaratri
festival large crowds visit the temple and there could be hours of waiting
in long queues.
- Ekambareshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the largest
temples in Kanchipuram, spreading over an area of 12.14 hectares. This
ancient temple is surrounded by a huge stonewall built in the early 16th
century during the days of the Vijayanagar Empire.
is of hoary antiquity, beginning as a small fane, it has grown over the
centuries into a large one with innumerable shrines, Mandapams, Gopurams
and Tanks. It is considered to be one of the most ancient temples in India
and has been in existence even prior to 600 AD. It enshrines many traditions.
Kottam - Kumara Kottam is located in between the Kamakshi and Ekambareshwar
temples in the Somaskanda formation in the town of Kanchipuram. It is
a well-visited temple with two Prakarams and a complete pantheon of Parivara
Devatas enshrined in their respective shrines.
In the sanctum, Muruga
is in a seated pose. Valli, Deivayani are absent here, but their festival
idols are kept here. In accordance with the function of Creation he has
assumed, his right arm is in Abaya pose, the upper hand holds the rosary,
and the lower left arm is on the thigh in Katyavailambita pose with the
left arm holding the Kamandalam. The posture is also called "Brahma
Here only honey is
used for ablutions. When one comes out after worshipping the main deity,
one can see the festival idols. In the front part of the temple in the
mirror room one can see the marble figure of Ramalinga Swamigal.
- The Varadaraja temple is one of the important shrines of Sri Vaishnavites,
also known as "Hastigiri" and is one of the celebrated Vaishnava
Divya Desams, located in Vishnu Kanchi or "the Little Kanchi".
Originally it was known as "Attiyuran". The main deity here
is Varadaraja Perumal in a standing posture facing west and the Lord here
is also known as "Devaraja", "Pranatharthihara", "Deva
Perumal", "Athiyooran" and "Perarulalan".
with superb art has a magnificent history, which is associated with Sri
Ramanuja, who used to serve here. Many miracles are said to have occurred.
It was with his ministry that the temple, then already several centuries
old, began to gain fame.
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 deity Ulahalanda Perumal in
this temple represents the "Vamana Roopam", an incarnation of
Lord Vishnu taken to save the Devas from the Demon king Mahabali. The
deity Ulahalanda Perumal is depicted by a huge image of about 35 feet
In Kanchipuram :
The Brahmotsavam -Varadaraja temple in May;
Garuda Sevai- Varadaraja temple in June;
Float festival -Varadaraja temple in February and November;
Kamakshi Ammam Festival - February;
Mahashivaratri festival - Kailashanatha temple in February;
Panguni Uthiram -Ekambareshwara temple in March-April.
Hoe to reach
By Air - Chennai is the nearest airport to Kanchipuram.
By Rail - Trains
for Kanchipuram are available from Chennai, Chengalpattu, Tirupati, and
By Road - Kanchipuram
is 75-km away from Chennai and is well connected by a network of roads.
There are frequent buses from the city to Chennai, Bangalore and other
places. For local transportation bicycles can be hired from the shops
near the bus stand. Cycle Rickshaws and auto rickshaws are also available
on hire to move in and around the city.
Tamil Nadu in Details