Kanchipuram ‘Banaras of the South’

Kanchipuram is a religious town of Soth Indian state Tamil Nadu. It is considered as one of the Seven Holy cities of India (Saptapuri). Kalidasa, who was Sanskrit poet in 4th century, described this city as “the best among cities”. Due to high religious importance of the city among Hindus, it is also regarded as “Banaras of the South”. Kanchipuram have numerous historical temples/ shrines belong to Shaiva and Vaishnav including very famous Kamakshi Amman Temple, Kailasanathar Temple, Ekambareswarar Temple and Vaikunta Perumal Temple. Out of 108 holy temples of the God Vishnu ( Divya Desham), 14 are located here in Kanchipuram.

The city also houses Kanchi Matha which was established by Adi Sankaracharya. It was the capital city of the Pallava Kingdom between the 4th and 9th centuries.

Apart from religious value, the city is equally well known for hand woven silk sarees. Weaving industries is major employment provider in the city.

During the 1st to 5th century the city was under the influence Jainism and Buddhism, people from across the world come here for learning of Budhhism and Jainism.

Important religious spot of Kanchipuram

Ekambareswarar Temple- It is the largest temple of the city lie in northern part of Kanchipuram, dedicated to Shiva. Its gateway tower, or gopuram, is 59 metres (194 ft) tall, making it one the tallest temple towers in India. The temple is one of five called Pancha Bhoota Stalams, which represent the manifestation of the five prime elements of nature; land, water, air, sky, and fire. Ekambareswarar temple represents earth.

Kailasanathar Temple– dedicated to Shiva and built by the Pallavas, is the oldest Hindu temple in existence and is declared an archaeological monument by the Archaeological Survey of India. It has a series of cells with sculptures inside.

Kamakshi Amman Temple

most famous temple of Kanchipuram, here goddess Parvati is depicted in the form of a yantra, Chakra or peetam. In this temple, the yantra is placed in front of the deity. Adi Sankara is closely associated with this temple and is believed to have established the Kanchi matha after this temple.

There are other important Shiva temple in city are  Muktheeswarar Temple, Iravatanesvara Temple, Kuranganilmuttam, and Karaithirunathar Temple.

Kumarakottam Temple- This temple dedicated to Lord Muruga, is located between the Ekambareswarar temple and Kamakshi Amman temple. Kandapuranam which is Tamil translation of Skandapurana was composed in 1625 by Kachiappa Shivacharya in the temple.

Varadharaja Perumal Temple-  It is the largest Vishnu temple in Kanchipuram spread in 23 acres of land. It was built by the Cholas in 11th century. It is one of the Divya desams, the 108 holy abodes of God Vishnu. The temple features carved lizards, one platted with gold and another with silver, over the sanctum. Clive of India is said to have presented an emerald necklace to the temple. It is called the Clive Makarakandi and is still used to decorate the deity on ceremonial occasions.

Tiru Parameswara Vinnagaram- this temple belongs to Vaishnav section of Hindus. The central shrine has a three-tier shrine, one over the other, with Vishnu depicted in each of them. The corridor around the sanctum has a series of sculptures depicting the Pallava rule and conquest. It is considered the oldest Vishnu temple that was built by the Pallava king Paramesvaravarman II in early 8th century.

Another mutt which was famous in ancient times was the Upanishad Bramham Mutt, located near Kailasanathar temple, Kanchipuram. It has the Mahasamadhi of Upanishad Brahmayogin, a saint who wrote commentaries on all the major upanishads in Hinduism. It is said that the great Sage, Sadasiva Brahmendra took to sanyasa at this mutt.

How to reach Kanchipuram

Air: Chennai International Airport is the nearest domestic and international airport to the city aprox 65 km from Kanchipuram, which is well connected to other major Indian cities. From the airport you can hire a cab to reach this temple town.

Rail:  Kanchipuram itself have its own railway station, and there are regular trains from Chennai and other town of Tamil Nadu. There are other long route train connect this town from Delhi, Mumbai etc. so reaching by train is not a problem.

Road: South India have a good network of roads and most of these route are well connected through Govt and private own buses. You can easily get buses from many town of Tamil Nadu like Chennai, Tirupati, Pondicherry and Trichy to  Kanchipuram.


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