KANCHIPURAM FACTS & FIGURES
- Location: Situated around 70 km from Chennai in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
- Best time to Visit: Throughout the year
- Significance: Kamakshi Amman Temple, Varadaraja Temple, Kailashanathar Temple, Ekambareshwar Temple, Kumara Kottam, Ulahalanda Perumal Temple.
It is situated 76 Kms southwest of Madras. It was successively the former capital of the ancient Pallavas, Cholas and Vijayanagar empire. This old city is known as ‘the Golden city of 1,000 temples’. It is one of the seven sacred cities of India and is famous for hand-woven silk fabrics.
The kings from Pallava and Vijayanagar period built various temples. They also patronised all the arts making Kanchipuram, a great center of learning not only for Hindus but also for Jains and Buddhists. The Tamil religious and literary works flourished during this period. The teachings of Sankaracharya (spiritual teacher) is carried at the Sankaracharya Matt. The Headquarters of the ‘Math’ is situated at Kanchipuram.
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.
Festivals Celebrated In Kanchipuram
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.
Prominent Pilgrimage Attractions of Kanchipuram
The Ekambareswara Temples
Situated at north western part of the town. It was constructed in the mid of 9th century by the Pallavas. It has a 200 ft gopuram with more than 10 stories of intricate sculpture. The temple is dedicated to Shiva. There is a mango tree, thought to be 3,500 years old, inside the courtyard. The four main branches is said to bear fruit with a different taste depicting the four Hindu Vedas (oldest known Hindu religious text).
The Kailasanatha (Shiva) Temple
The temple is situated at Putleri street, 1.5 Km west of town centre. It was build by Pallava king Rayasimha in late 7th century. The foundation of this temple is made of granite, the superstructure was built from carved sandstones. There are sculptures of Shiva in various poses, to give a picture of different aspects of mythology.
The Vaikunthaperumal Temple (Vishnu’s Paradise). This temple was built in the 8th century. It has 4-storey vimana in square with three shrines, each with a different pose of Vishnu. Its colonnade lion pillars and extensive sculptures bears historical pallava inscriptions.
The Varadaraja Temple (bestower of boons), also known as Devarajaswamy Temple is 3 Km south east of town. This temple is a place of pilgrim and is dedicated to Vishnu. Its beautifully carved 100 pillar mandapam is one of the attractions. The 100 ft high gopuram was originally built in 11th century. It was renovated by the Vijyanagar Kings after 500 years.
How to Reach Kanchipuram
- 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.