Kanchipuram is known as one of India's Seven Sacred cities. Kanchipuram was, one of India's seven sacred cities. Kanchipuram was the historical capital of the Pallavas. It was under the Pallavas from 6th to 8th century A.D and later became the citadel of Cholas, Vijayanagar Kings, the Muslim and the British. It has been a centre of Tamil learning, cultural and religious background for centuries.
Kanchi is also known centre of the finest silk sarees made in the country. Kanchi has magnificent temples of unique architectural beauty bearing eloquent testimony to its glorious Dravidian heritage. Adi Sankara established his episcopal seat (Kamakotipeetam). Kanchipuram is the birth place of C.N. Annadurai, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu affectionately called as "Anna" by the people of Tamil Nadu.
Kanchipuram, the Golden City of a thousand temples, is the capital of the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Rayas of Vijayanagar. During the 6th and 7th centuries, some of the best temples in the city were built by the Pallavas. The city was also a great seat of learning. Sri Sankaracharya, Appar, Siruthonder and the great Budddhist Bhikku lived, and worked here. Today, it is known not only for its temples, but also for its handwoven silk fabrics.
Kanchipuram is one of the most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites in India and the seat of the Shankaracharya. The temple city of Kanchipuram extends from latitude 12° 50' in the north to longitude 79° 45' in the east. The city is situated around 70 km from Chennai in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
The climate of Kanchipuram is tropical with an almost uniform temperature throughout the year. During summers, the temperature ranges between 36.6°C and 21.1°C. Winter months are slightly colder and the temperatures remain between 28.7°C and 19.8°C. The average annual rainfall in the city is 87 cm.
Kanchipuram or the Golden City of Temples is one of the most important centers of Hindu religion and also one of the most picturesque. The place is one of India's seven sacred cities and the second holiest after Varanasi.
The city was once the capital of the Pallavas, Cholas, and the Vijayanagar rulers. It was under the Pallavas from 6th to 8th century AD but, during that period, was also briefly occupied by the Chalukyas, and the Rashtrakutas. Many of the temples situated here are the work of the Pallavas and later Cholas.
Kamakshi 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 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.
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.
Ekambareshwar temple 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.
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 Chattam".
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".
Varadaraja temple 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.
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 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 high.
Some of the important festivals celebrated in Kanchipuram are 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.
Air: Chennai is the nearest airport to Kanchipuram.
Rail: Trains for Kanchipuram are available from Chennai, Chengalpattu, Tirupati, and Bangalore.
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.