Tamil Nadu: Kanchipuram or Kanchi


Kanchipuram, also known as Kashi of South India, was a renowned pilgrimage spot and was the landmark for the Jain and Buddha devotees earlier. The golden city of thousand temples was surrounded and shielded by a gigantic wall to protect the land of God. Shivakanchi and Vishnukanchi were the earlier names of the holy city which houses a vast array of 108 Shiva temples and 18 vishnu temples. The bright memories of the yester years of the city were destroyed when innumerable sacred Hindu temples were built in 4th century. A very old Jain temple, which belonged to the Chol Empire, is still standing tall at a distance of 5 km from the city on the southern banks of Begavati River. However, the holy temple is only open to the followers on Sunday. Kanchipuram is well known in the vicinity as one of the seven holy places of India. Ajodhya, Mathura, Kashi, Ujjain, Puri and Dwarka are the other divine places of India apart from Kanchipuram. The pilgrimage city which covers 11.6 square km of lingering territories has more than one thousands hallowed temples and ten thousands Shiva lingams.
Besides Shiva, Vishnu is another important deity of Knchipuram. More than two hundred temples around the bus stand depict the impressive Pallavas architectures. The soaring doors or Gopurams of the temple are prominently visible from the faraway places.

Kanjibharam silk is the wonderful creation of the dexterous artists of Kanchipuram. These silks and artists are respected all over the world.

The temperatures of the city vary from 21.2 to 36.6 degree Celsius in summers where as the temperature varies from 19.8 to 28.7 degree Celsius in winters.

Kailashnath, the oldest and marvelous temple of South India, looks amazing for its architectural gracefulness. The temple is bedecked with an octagonal shaped crest on a striking pyramid like peak. The wonderfully designed and decorated temple was built at a distance of 1 km towards the western side of the city in the year 700.

Lord Shiva is surrounded by Devi Durga and Vishnu in Mount Kailash. More than 58 holy deities and the idol of the deity, Nandi, are residing in the propinquity. Har- Parvati dance competition which takes place on the premise of the main temple is an imperative attraction to the devotees and holiday makers. The temple displays interesting and impressive architectures. A number of mythological tales and the stories related to the wars of Pallavas kings are majestically engraved on the granite throne of the divine Kailashnath temple.

The deity, Shiva, residing in the Akambareshwar temple, about 1 km towards the north-west side of the city, is worshipped in the form of the world. The temple was revamped and redesigned during the delightful phase of Chol and Vijayanagar kings. The 57 meters tall doorway or gopuram, located at the southern side of the temple, is a marvelous representation of the ancient fine arts. The righteous temple, covering 40 acres of lands, is well protected with a towering fortification which was built by the king Krishnadev Roy in 1509. Climb up to the top of the Gopuram to watch the panoramic vistas of the surrounding places. It is believed that the 3500 years old mango tree has a divine power to fulfill your wishes and desires. Surprisingly four different types of mangoes can be seen on four different branches of the mysterious tree.

Once upon a time when Kanchipuram was under the control of the Muslim kings then the idol of the prime deity, Akambarnathaji, was shifted to Chennai but later Clive again decided to shift the idol back to Akambarnatheshwar temple. You need to buy a ticket to get into the temple.

Sakuntala Jagannath Museum of Folk Art, located adjacent to the Akambarnatheshwar temple, built in the rooms of C P Ramswami’s home, is another attraction for the tourists who come to visit the sanctified Akambarnatheshwar temple.
Sri Kamakhi Amman temple, situated at the northwest side of the bus stand, houses the deity, Parvati. The deity is popularly known as Kamakothi Kamakhi in the vicinity. However, the chief idol is residing in Tanjor. The idol of the deity was built and established on the throne of Sri Kamakhi Amman temple later. Minakshi of Madurai, Kamakshi of Kanchi and Vishalkhi of Baranasi are the three holy and very powerful deities of India. Kamakshi is the holiest of them. The temple is adorned with various artistic crafts which are made up of gold. It shows the richness of the temple. The throne or ammai of the temple is well decorated and portrays a remarkable and amiable architectural effort. The bass relief pictures, carved on the walls to embellish the temple, look spectacular. The art gallery of the temple is an additional enticement of the temple.
The car carnival, celebrated on 9th lunar day, during February- March, is one of the most important festivals in the locale. Tamil New Year is another festival which fascinates tourists. The mausoleum of Shankaracharya should also be seen.
SriBaikunta Perumal temple, about 1 km towards the southwest corridor of the railway station, is not only marked as one of the holiest temples of India but an ancient one as well. The marvelous looking temple which speaks about the old histories was built by the Pallavas king Nandi Barman in 8th century. The residing deity, Vishnu, is the prime divine power in the mystifying temple. People who are fond of watching the wonder of the fine arts can witness some of the magical sights of the sanctified temple. The architectural grandeur and the imprinted fresco pictures are worth seeing. Histories of Pallavas, mural pictures, coronations, various tales of Ganga and Chalukya wars are carved artistically on the walls. The hall of the temple which is standing on 1000 pillars looks stunning.

Sribharadrajaperumal or Debrajaswami temple, about 3 km towards the south-east side of the city, house the deity, Perumal or Vishnu. Moolavar or the chief deity is carved out of a granite stone and resembles the structure of an elephant. Another 30 feet tall deity is residing in the water of the adjoining pond. It is believed that the deity comes out of water in every 40 years and the auspicious occasion will be observed again in 2027. The sight of the hall which stands on 1000 pillars will free you from your worries of mundane daily lives with its architectural excellences and mind blowing carvings. Even though most of the artistic creations of the temple are destroyed but the chain of granite stones connecting four different corners of the temple still looks amazing. You need to buy a ticket to watch the beautiful sight of the temple though.

Shamkaram mandapam, the math, is built around the mausoleum of Sri Chandra Shekharendra, one of the renowned saints. Spiritual people can enjoy the serenity of the meditation room of the math.

Anna memorial, the commemorative of Dr. C N Annadurai, the elder brother of the famous former chief minister of Chennai called Anna, is built on his birth place. Kanchi Kudil (museum) and Museum of Folk arts are the other coveted destinations of Kanchipuram.

The place known for its temples and woven textiles was also well known as a sought after business centre during the Chol and Vijayanagar dynasties. The artistic looks of the Kanchibharam silks and works of golden threads on the silk saris attract many. More than 20000 weavers are earning from this weaving profession. Tourists who are interested to see the art closely can watch and buy these items from Weaver’s Service centre. But, for the cheap price and impressive quality, it is wise to buy the saris from Chennai.

Apart from the fine arts and temples, Kanchipuram was also regarded as a city with had strong education systems. Names of a number of triumphant personalities like Shnakaracharya, Appar, Siruthondar, Bodhidharma and Koutilya are attached with Kanchipuram.

The University in Enathur village, about 5 km from the city, is situated on the premise of Kamakothi math and is another imperative attraction in close proximity. The library is very affluent with its collections of old books. The 60 feet tall neighboring idol of Adi Shankar is worthy of mention. Spiritual crowds can watch the 70th shankaracharya in the Math.
Ranipet: Located at a distance of 42 km towards the southern side of Kanchipuram, Ranipeth, is a historical place where the queen of Jinji had sacrificed her life when her husband was killed in the combat. To commemorate the sad incident and the queen, the king of Arcot, had decided to name the place as Ranipet.

The hospital of the missionaries is also quite popular in the locale. Slowly but surely the city is watching a phenomenal industrial development.

Ranipet can be accessed by road from Kanchipuram.

Arcot: Arcot, the old capital of Arcot kings, about 5 km from Ranipet, on the banks of Palar River, has a Delhi gate which recalls the old glory of the Arcot dynasty.
Arcot is connected to Vellore and Ranipet by road.

Chittoore: Chittoor, situated at a height of 315 meters, about 43 km from Ranipet, is a nice destination for its unmatched natural milieu. The king, Hyder Ali had lost his life in Rayanpet, located adjacent to Arcot.
Visit Chittoor from Arcot by bus or hire a car to Chittoor from Arcot.

Palmaner: Palmaner, located at a height of 700 meters, is a beautiful hillock of South India.
Kolar, located at a distance of 73 km from Palmaner, is famous for the gold mine.

Hire a car to visit the petite places like Palmaner, Chittoore, Arcot and Ranipet from Kanchipuram.

Hosur: Hosur, situated at a distance of 40 km from Bangalore towards the north-west of Krishnagiri, on NH-7, is a new industrial city of Tamilnadu.

Hotel Tamilnadu, Hotel Victoria and many more hotels are available for the tourists.

How to reach: New Kanchipuram is well connected to the Chennai beach railway station by railways. Frequent bus services are also available to Kanchipuram from Chennai. Hire a rickshaw in Kanchipuram to watch the assortments of temples in the locale.

Where to stay: Raja’s Lodge, Palava Palace, Heritage Inn, Sri Balaji Residency, Hotel Joybala International, Binayak Lodge, Sri Kusal Lodge and Town Lodge.

Check our hotel booking links below for photos, rates, options and online bookings.

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