Kanchipuram is one of the great mythological cites and "Nakareshu Kanchi" is a popular saying in Sanskrit that means "Kanchipuram is the best city". It was the capital of the Cholas. Even during the Pallaval and the northern capital of the Cholas. Even during the Vijayanagar period, it was an important centre. It was also a centre of learning and a centre for Buddhists and Jains in early time. The Chinese traveler Hieun-Tsang who has visited Kanchipuram praises its glory and painfully notes the declining trend of Buddhism in his accounts. It is also a world famous centre for silk weaving. Kanchi Pattu 'the silk of Kanchi' is cherished by one and all and one can really see silk looms in action and find out how beautiful sarees are made. It is a temple city and innumerable ancient temples could be seen at every turning. A selective list of most important temples are given here. The whole city is divided into Siva Kanchi, Vishnu Kanchi and Jain Kanchi.
It is 75km away from Chennai and well connected by a network of good roads. Frequent bus services are available from Kanchipuram to Chennai, Bangalore and other places. There is a Railway Station. Nearby Airport: Chennai Tirisulam Airport. Rail Link from Chennai Via Chengalpattu upto Arakkonam. Road link to all major cities.
Since time immemorial Kancheepuram, the city of thousand temples ha been hailed as one of Hinduism's seven most sacred cities and a centre of learning, culture, and philosophy. Adi Sankaracharya established his Episcopal seat, Kamakotipeetam here. The temple town of Kancheepuram, also called Kanchi I famous for its exquisite woven silk saris with threads of gold.
Kancheepuram history can be traced back to the time of the Cholas in the 2-Century and it was the capital of the Pallava dynasty from 2ix to 8-centuries. The temples of Kanchi with their unique architectural beauty bear eloquent testimony to its glorious Dravidian heritage, which continued to flourish under successive regimes. Chinese records describe Kancheepuram as an important trading centre and evidence suggest that it was linked to the Romans through trade in the early years of the Christian era. Today its numerous shrines and silk shops attract both pilgrims and tourists.
Kancheepuram, 75km southwest of Chennai is easily accessible on road trhough the frequent bus service. Road to Trichy (270km), Vellore (70km), Tiruvannamalai (112km), and Puducherry (113km) also connect t. On train route from Egmore Station at Chennai, Chengalpattu or Chengalpet is the railhead for Kancheepuram. However, bus is a more convenient route to Kancheepuram.
Places of Interest in Kanchipuram
The 7-century, Kailasanatha Temle retaining all the 32vastupada devatas and with the third largest lingam enshrined in its sanctum has 58 smaller shrines situated around it which forms the temple perimeter. About a km from the bus stand, the Ekambareswarar Temple has a 57m high gopuram, one of the tallest in South India and a huge prithivilingam, one of the pancha lingams of South India. One of the three holiest places of Shakti, the imposing Kamakshi Amman Temple, built in 14th century is dedicated to the goddess Parvati in her guise as Kamakshi the presiding deity of Kanch, one who accedes to all requests. Dedicated to Vishnu, the 7-century Vaikunta Perumal Temple has figures of Vishnu depicted in each in sitting, standing and reclining postures enshrined in the three levels of the main temple. The hundred-pillared hall of the Varadaraja Perumal Temple or Devarajaswami Temple is renowned for its exquisite sculptures.
Other places of religious importance include the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, associated with life of Sankaracharya and the Kandakottam Sri Subramanya Swami Temple depicting some skandha posture of Lord Shiva, seated with Parvati to his left and the son, Lord Subramanya between them. The Jaina Kanchi or Thiruparukundram, just south west of the town on the banks of Palar River has two temples, of the Jain tirthankars built in 9-century, Vardhamana Temple with a grand image of Bhawan ahaveer and several fresco paintings and other, the smaller Chandraprabha Temple.
A temple built by Jayamkonda Chola, Ulagalanda Perumal Temple, 1000 year old Pardavudhootha Perumal Temple and the temples of Ashtabhuja Perumal and Yadhothakara Perumal are also noteworthy.
Also worth a visit is the Anna Memorial commemorating the political leader C.M. Annadurai, the most popular former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu who was born here. The Sakunthala Jagannathan Museum of Folk Art near Ekambareswarar Temple houses some wall paintings, sculptures, and household collections from the landowners of Damal. It is worthwhile to visit the Weavers Service Centre where you can see how the lustrous silk saris of Kanchipuram are weaved. More than five thousand families are engaged in this industry through various cooperative societies.
5km from Kanchipuram Enathur has a university for advanced learning in rustic rural setting. It houses library with ancient books and palm leaf manuscripts.
Tiruttani (42km is one of the six abode of Lord Subramanya. The hilltop temple is supposedly the place where the Lord Married Valli one of his two consorts. The Karthigai Festival in December here is celebrated with great fervor. This is also the birthplace of Dr. Radhakrishna, the former president of India and a renowned educationist.
28km from Kancheepuram is an ancient Shiva Temple at Uthirameur that contains inscriptions about village administration of those days.
Kanchipuram Tourism Information
All of Kanchipuram’s roads lead to goparums, the unmistakable temple gateways that tower over you as you prepare to enter the sacred shrines. This 2,000-year-old city of “a thousand temples”—also called Kanchi—features on many travel itineraries, and is best seen as a day trip out of Chennai. With a rich heritage, it’s famous as a seat of both Shaivaite and Vaishnavite devotion and for exquisite silk saris. It was here that the Dravidian style really had its roots, and the sheer profusion of temples makes this an ideal place to get a feel for how South Indian temple architecture has developed over the centuries. The oldest structure in town is Kailasnath Temple (Putleri St.; 1.5km/3⁄4 mile out of the town center; daily 6am–12:30pm and 4–8:30pm), entered via a small gateway. Built by the same Pallava king responsible for Mamallapuram’s Shore Temple, Kailasnath shows signs of evolution from its seaside forebear; it’s also less overwhelming than many of the more grandiose Tamil temples.
The 57m (180-ft.) white goparum marking the entrance to the 9th-century Shaivite Ekambareswara Temple (Puthupalayam St.; 6am–12:30pm and 4–8pm; non-Hindus not allowed in sanctum) was added as late as the 16th century. Through a passageway, visitors enter a courtyard and the “thousand-pillared” hall (though the number of pillars has dwindled significantly over the years). Within the temple, a mango tree believed to be 2,500 years old apparently yields four different varieties of the fruit. Legend has it that it was here Shiva and Parvati were married, and that Parvati fashioned a lingam (phallic symbol) of earth, one of the five sacred Hindu elements. As a test of her devotion, Shiva sent a flood through the town that destroyed everything in its path except the lingam, which she protected from the deluge with her body. Be on the lookout for touts who will aggressively try to get a donation out of you at this temple. Dedicated to the Shakti cult, which celebrates creation’s female aspect, the 14thcentury Kamakshi Amman Temple (Mangadu; daily 6am–12:30pm and 4–8:30pm) was built by the Cholas. Apparently, the tank there is so sacred that demons sent to bathe were cleansed of their malevolent ways. Other worthwhile temples include Vaikunta Perumal Temple and Varadaraja Temple, both of which are dedicated to Vishnu.
From time immemorial it has been hailed as one of the holy cities of India. Buddhism, Jainism, Saivism and Vaishnavism thrived here. It was the northern capital of the Cholas, the main capital of the Pallavas and even during the Vijayanagar period, it was an important centre. The Pallava architecture flourished here and the temples of this city are living monuments of them. It is at present the head-quarters of Kanchipuram district and the Collector's office is located here.
Kanchipuram silk sarees are known all over the world. Beautiful high grade pure mulberry silk of various hues are women into sarees by traditionally trained weavers reputed for texture, lustre, durability and fine finish. These sarees are exported to foreign countries. About 5000families are engaged in this industry. Sarees are available at loom prices here and through cooperative societies.
Kanchipuram Distance Guide
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