Kanchipuram Temple Or Kanchi Temple

Vaikunthaperumal Temple

This Vishnu shrine was built between 674-850 AD by the Pallava king Parameswara Varman and Nandivarman II.  Here the Pallava history is revealed in reliefs all along the corridors.  Their dresses, costumes, jewellery and habits are captured in exquisite splendor.  The shrine has two storeys and enshrines Vishnu in them.  Such storeyed temple is called "Maadak Kovil" in Tamil.  The walls have rich puranic sculpture.  Lion pillars adorn the cloisters inside the outer wall. It is one of the most important temple in Kanchipuram.

Ekambaranathar Temple

This Siva temple is the largest and is spread over nine hectares.  Its huge gopuram or portal tower is 192 feet high and its massive outer walls were constructed by Krishna Devaraya, the great Vijayanagar king in 1509.  The original shrine dates back to the Pallava period, additions have also been made by Cholas.  Five separate enclosures and a beautiful big tak are inside the temple.  'Eka Amra'  means a single mango tree and the lord is known as Ekambaranathar.  It is one of the five element (Prithvi or earth) shrines of Siva and the Lingam is made of earth.  A single mango tree is seen behind the sanctum a very old tree indeed the age of which is fabulously said to be 35,000 years, with four branches representing the four Vedas.  It is also said that the fruit of each branch has a different taste.  Near the tank is small cell for Valiswara, erected by Mahendra Varma Pallavan.  At the back of the Lingam, Siva and Parvathi image is sculptured.  The hall of Nataraha, the cosmic dancer has some interesting frescoes in the ceiling.  The 'Mavadii Sevai' festival attracts huge crowds. Ekambaranathar Temple is also an important temple in Kanchipuram.


Kamakshi Amman Temple

This is the most important temple and the chief deity of anchipuram.  'Kanchi Kamakshi' is a popular saying and it has been sanctified by Adi Sankara and He has stationed before the goddess a Sri Chakra said to be containing the efficiency of power of the Devi.  There is no separate sanctum for Siva here.  There is a sanctum for Adi Sankara.

Varadaraja Perumal Temple

This Vishnu temple was built during the Vijayanagar period.  This is another big temple having 5 enclosures with massive outer wall and a hundred pillared hall.  One exquisite, sculptural marvel is a huge chain carved out of single piece of stone.  The sanctum on a small hillock faces west and displays murals in its ceiling.  One should not miss to see the golden lizard here. The 100 pillared hall is a perfect specimen of Vijayanagar art and architecture.

Muktiswarar and Matangeswarar Temples

Muktiswarar and Matangeswarar Temples are also pallava relics with fine specimens of art and architecture.  Ashtapujam temple is in the heart of Vishnu Kanchi where the multi handed Vishnu armed to the teeth with various weapons is seen in the act of rescuing Gajendra, the elephant devotee from the cultches of the crocodile.  There is another temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu called "Ulagalantha Perumal" which depicts the Viswaroopa taken by Vishnu to defeat Mahabali, the demon king.  The deity raising one of its legs measuring the space (sky) is featured here an awe inspiring and thrilling sight.  The famous commentator of Thirukkural, Parimel Azhar was once the Poojari of this temple.

Jain Kanchi

In the south-west beyond the river Vegavadhi one of the tributaries of Palar stands a group of Jain temples.  This place is known as 'Tiruparuthi Kundram'.  This belongs to the early Chola period. There is a sangeetha mandapam (music hall) in this temple dedicated to Vardhamana Mahavira the roof of which is adorned with paintings, illustrating the lives of Tiruthankaras.  Rare Jain manuscripts are also preserved in this temple.
There are a few of the most important temples in Kancipuram and there are many of them old and new.  The most important of the recent ones is the Kumarakkottam a temple dedicated to Lord Muruga.  The divine abode of the holy Sankaracharyas called Jagadgurus who reside in Kanchi at Their head quarters and give darshan to devotees is popular as 'Kanchi Kamokoti Peetam'.  Tourists can reach Kanchipuram by rail or by bus and hiring a taxi or autorickshaw will do to cover the temples mentioned, in a single day.

Maduranthagam Erikatha Perumal Koil

Maduranthagam is about 80km south of Chennai on the trunk road ot Truchy.  The biggest lake of the district is here, with a bund of about 13,000 ft in length and a depth of about 100 ft when full. It irrigates about 3000 acres of surrounding villges. This lake was out by the Cholas.  In the close of the 18th century when Colonel Lionel Place was the collector, furious monsoon brought unprecedented rains and the lake was full and there was danger of the bund giving way at any moment.  When the collector encamped here and was examining the bunds he saw the huge figure of Rama with his bow in his hand on the bund.  The rain stopped and the breach was averted by divine grace.  The collector, in token of his respect and gratitude built a sanctum or Sita the consort of Rama in the temple that stands near the bunds of the lake.  Lord Rama here, is hence known as 'Eri Katha Rama' or Rama, the one who guarded the lake.
There is also a Siva temple and the Bairava statue here which are of exquisite splendor.  there once flourished a vedic centre in this place.