A 65-kilometre stretch of sun-scorched road connects Mahabalipuram to the fabled city of a thousand temples, Kanchipuram. There are 650 stone inscriptions in Kanchipuram belonging to different dynasties. The temples here reflect the maturity and efflorescence of Pallava art and the ornate and often imposing embellishments were produced later by the Chola, Vijayanagara and Chalukyan kings. There is a solemn grandeur, a grandiosity of vision and ornamental excess in the temples here. A disembodied otherworldly stillness impregnates their vast inner domains where time is a captive fugitive. The Ekambaranathar temple, the Kailasanatha temple, Sri Varadaraja temple, Sri Vaikuntaperumal temple? the names stretch endlessly. The city itself is dedicated to the presiding deity, Sri Kamakshi (one with eyes of love) at the Kamakshi temple. In Sanskrit, the word Kanchi denotes girdle, and poets have allegorically characterized the city as a girdle to the earth.
SHOPPING: 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.
Tiruparuthi Kundram (5 kms): This is a suburb of Kanchi on the southern bank of the Vegavathi river. It was a centre of Jainism.
Thiruthani (42 kms): Thiruthani is one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya. Situated on a hilltop, the temple is accessible by a flight of 365 steps and also by a ghat road. The steps represent the days of a year. Thiruthani is said to be the place where the Lord Muruga married Valli, one of his two consorts. The Karthigai festival which falls in December is celebrated with great pomp and splendour. This small town is also the birth place of Dr.S.Radhakrishnan, philosopher-statesman and former President of India.
Vedanthangal (48 kms): It is one of the major water birds sanctuaries in India. Storks, Egrets, Comorants, Darter are some of the birds which arrive here during season. Along the lake bund there is a 24' high observation tower commanding the panoramic view of the sanctuary. Season: October-March. Forest Rest House is also available.
Uthiramerur (28 kms): An ancient Siva temple built according to silpa sastras that contains inscriptions about village administration in those days is situated here. There is also an ancient Vaishnavite temple which is massive in structure. It is multi-storyed with Astanga vimana.
The Temples of Kanchipuram
Kamakshi Amman Temple at Kanchipuram
Sriperumpudhur (29 kms): It is the birth place of Saint Ramanujar, the father of Vaishnava Philosophy and hence an important pilgrim centre for the Vaishnavites. A memorial for Sri Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India, is situated here. Tourist accommodation is available.
Vandalur (35 kms): The new sprawling 1,265-acre Anna Zoological Park at Vandalur, the biggest in South India, has, among other species, a superb collection of tropical mammals, birds and reptiles. The animals are in vast natural enclosures enabling them to move freely.
Attractions and Places to Visit in Kanchipuram
The Ekambaranathar Temple: The Ekambaranathar Temple in the city was built by the Pallavas and was later reconstructed by the Chola and Vijayanagar kings. Lord Shiva is worshiped here as Prithvi (earth), one of the five basic elements of the physical world. The dimensions of the temple are reflected in its 20-acre spread and its tall south Gopuram, which soars to a height of 58.5 m. The temple has 11 stories and one of the tallest temple towers in South India. The structure is decorated with beautiful sculptures.
The Vaikunta Perumal Temple: The Vaikunta Perumal Temple was established in the 8th century AD by Nandivarma Pallava. There are beautiful carvings of battle scenes depicting Pallava valour on the panels surrounding the main parikrama of this Vaishnavite temple.
The Varadaraja Temple: The Varadaraja Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu who is worshipped as Devarajaswamy here. This temple, which has a 100-pillared hall, was built by the Vijayanagar kings and displays the mastery of their artists.
The Kailasanathar Temple: The Kailasanathar Temple was erected in the 8th century AD by the Pallava kings and has an attractive panel depicting Shiva and Parvati in the midst of one of their innumerable dance competitions. The architecture of this temple is very similar to the Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram.
The Kamakshi Amman Temple: The Kamakshi Amman Temple has an imposing structure and is dedicated to goddess Parvati in her incarnation as Kamakshi, the goddess of Love.
How to Reach Kanchipuram
Air : Chennai is the nearest airport to Kanchipuram. One can take flights for most of the important Indian cities and important cities abroad from Chennai.
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. We would provide you all India tourist permit vehicles for the local transportations and also for the intercity drives too.