South India Temples
» Kanchipuram Temple
Kanchipuram Temple - Tamilnadu
75-Km From Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Religious Capital Of South India
Famous Temples In Kanchipuram :
Kamakshi Amman Temple, Varadaraja
Temple, Kailashanathar Temple, Ekambareshwar Temple, Kumara Kottam, Ulahalanda
Important Festivals Celebrated :
Brahmotsavam -Varadaraja Temple
In May; Garuda Sevai- Varadaraja Temple
In June; Float Festival -Varadaraja Temple In February And November; Kamakshi
Ammam Festival - February; Mahashivaratri Festival - Kailashanatha Temple
In February; Panguni Uthiram -Ekambareshwara Temple In March-April.
Land Of Thousand Temples
Kanchipuram is a small, rural town about 75-km from Chennai in the state
of Tamil Nadu. With the Sankara Mutt acting as the hub of Hindu activities
and the temples, Kanchipuram is one of the most highly visited pilgrimage
spots in India, and can rightfully be called the "Religious Capital of
Kanchipuram was under the Pallavas from the 6th to 8th century AD and
later became the citadel of the Cholas, Vijayanagar Kings, the Muslim
and the British. It has been a center of Tamil learning, cultural and
religious background for centuries. Kanchipuram has magnificent temples
of unique architectural beauty bearing eloquent testimony to its glorious
All the religious cities in India support one of the two sects in Hinduism
- Vaishnavism and Shaivism, but Kanchipuram has blended itself equally
to both the sects, dividing itself into Vishnu Kanchi, surrounding the
Varadaraja Temple, and Shiva Kanchi, surrounding the Ekambareshwar (also
spelt as Ekambareshwa) Temple, while the Kamakshi Amman Temple stands
in between as a place of Shakti worship.
How to Get There
Chennai is the nearest airport to Kanchipuram.
Trains for Kanchipuram are available from Chennai, Chengalpattu, Tirupati,
Kanchipuram is 75-km away from Chennai and is well connected by a
network of roads. There are frequent buses from the city to Chennai,
Bangalore and other places. For local transportation bicycles can
be hired from the shops near the bus stand. Cycle Rickshaws and auto
rickshaws are also available on hire to move in and around the city.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kailashanathar (also spelt as Kailashnatha) is
one of the earliest temples built by the Pallava ruler Rajasimha Pallava
and was completed by his son, Mahendra Varma Pallava in the 8th century
AD. It is the oldest structure in Kanchipuram and the finest example of
Pallava architecture in South India. The temple is situated among several
low-roofed houses just over 1-km west of the town center.
Of all the temples in India, no other edifice has been so elaborately
filled with all the 64 aspects of Lord Shiva. The temple is unique in
its architecture and is viewed more as an architectural wonder than as
a holy place. Hence, it is never crowded with locals. But, once in a year
during Shivaratri festival large crowds visit the temple and there could
be hours of waiting in long queues.
Kamakshi Amman Temple
India has three main cities where the Goddess Shakti is worshipped. Kanchipuram
holds the most important rank among the three. In the same order, the
three places are Kanchipuram, where the Goddess Kamakshi is worshipped,
Madurai, where the Goddess Meenakshi is worshipped, and Kashi, where the
deity is 'Visaalakshi'.
The Kamakshi Amman temple is the hub of all religious activities in Kanchipuram.
The temple is also in closer control of the Shankara Mutt, unlike the
other temples, which are governed either by the Department of Archeology,
Government of India, or the Hindu Temples Department of the Tamil Nadu
Government. The kings of the Chola Empire built the temple in 14th century
The main tower over the sanctum (Vimanam) of the temple is gold plated.
Also of significance is the Golden Chariot in this temple. The Golden
Chariot is taken in a procession around the temple on Friday evenings
around 7.00 p.m. This temple also features an Art Gallery with pictures
depicting the history of Sri Adishankaracharya and the Shankara Mutt.
Kumara Kottam is located in between the Kamakshi and Ekambareshwar temples
in the Somaskanda formation in the town of Kanchipuram. It is a well-visited
temple with two Prakarams and a complete pantheon of Parivara Devatas
enshrined in their respective shrines.
In the sanctum, Muruga is in a seated pose. Valli, Deivayani are absent
here, but their festival idols are kept here. In accordance with the function
of Creation he has assumed, his right arm is in Abaya pose, the upper
hand holds the rosary, and the lower left arm is on the thigh in Katyavailambita
pose with the left arm holding the Kamandalam. The posture is also called
Here only honey is used for ablutions. When one comes out after worshipping
the main deity, one can see the festival idols. In the front part of the
temple in the mirror room one can see the marble figure of Ramalinga Swamigal.
Ekambareshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the largest temples
in Kanchipuram, spreading over an area of 12.14 hectares. This ancient
temple is surrounded by a huge stonewall built in the early 16th century
during the days of the Vijayanagar Empire.
Ekambareshwar temple is of hoary antiquity, beginning as a small fane,
it has grown over the centuries into a large one with innumerable shrines,
Mandapams, Gopurams and Tanks. It is considered to be one of the most
ancient temples in India and has been in existence even prior to 600 AD.
It enshrines many traditions.
The Varadaraja temple is one of the important shrines of Sri Vaishnavites,
also known as "Hastigiri" and is one of the celebrated Vaishnava Divya
Desams, located in Vishnu Kanchi or "the Little Kanchi". Originally it
was known as "Attiyuran". The main deity here is Varadaraja Perumal in
a standing posture facing west and the Lord here is also known as "Devaraja",
"Pranatharthihara", "Deva Perumal", "Athiyooran" and "Perarulalan".
Varadaraja temple with superb art has a magnificent history, which is
associated with Sri Ramanuja, who used to serve here. Many miracles are
said to have occurred. It was with his ministry that the temple, then
already several centuries old, began to gain fame.
Festivals Celebrated In Kanchipuram
Some of the important festivals celebrated in Kanchipuram are the Brahmotsavam
-Varadaraja temple in May; Garuda Sevai- Varadaraja temple in June; Float
festival -Varadaraja temple in February and November; Kamakshi Ammam Festival
- February; Mahashivaratri festival - Kailashanatha temple in February;
Panguni Uthiram -Ekambareshwara temple in March-April.
Ulahalanda Perumal Temple
Ulahalanda Perumal temple, situated about half a kilometre from the centre
of the town near Kamakshi Amman temple is one of the oldest temples in
Kanchipuram. The deity Ulahalanda Perumal in this temple represents the
"Vamana Roopam", an incarnation of Lord Vishnu taken to save the Devas
from the Demon king Mahabali. The deity Ulahalanda Perumal is depicted
by a huge image of about 35 feet high.
Places to stay in Kanchipuram
Accommodation is available at the moderate class hotels, lodges and choultries