has an impressive list of 'appeals' for all. It is one of the
seven holy cities in the country, with architecturally fascinating
temples, silk sarees that are sought after world wide, a history
rich and varied with Jain and Buddhist connections, a political
movement which changed the history of Tamil Nadu, Idlis (steamed
rice cakes) that make you crave for more..... the list is endless.
sarees have made numerous millionaires in this town. Almost every
street has a silk store. In the villages surrounding Kancheepuram
every house has a weaving unit. Surprisingly, all the silk threads
are bought from Bangalore or Surat. So why is this the hub of silk
weaving? One theory is that in Kancheepuram the skill of silk weaving
was taught by the Chinese, when there was a strong presence of Buddhist
monks from China. Whatever be the story, Kancheepuram is one of
the foremost places for silk weaving.
Kancheepuram is also called the Golden city of a thousand temples.
No points for guessing why. Numerous temples dot the town.
Perumal Temple which is in the heart of the town, is a large
temple with many sub shrines, impressive gopurams(carved towers),
a holy tank and corridors with intricate carvings. The deity is
a large idol of Varadaraja Perumal (Lord Vishnu), which is considered
second in size only to Sri Venkateshwara of Tirupathi.
Kamakshi Amman Temple, built in the 14th century A.D by
the Chola Kings, is huge and has four different entrances in every
direction, each adorned by an artistic gopuram. The main attraction
of the temple is the gold gopuram. The temple also has a gold chariot,
which is taken out in procession every Friday. This is the busiest
temple in terms if religious activity, being one of the three places
for Shakti worship in the country. Also located nearby is Sakkiswarar
Temple, built by the Cholas.
Temple is the oldest temple in Kancheepuram. Its main attraction
is the 57-meter high gopuram, which is the highest in South India.
This temple is large and there are vast spaces between the sub shrines.
The temple has a long corridor with carved pillars, where the main
deity is placed. This temple, which is a fine example of Dravidian
architecture, has additions made by almost every dynasty that ruled
Perumal Temple is a Vishnu temple built in the Pallava period
(7th century). This temple has numerous inscriptions pertaining
to the wars between the Pallavas and the Chalukyas. Kancheepuram
is one of the few places, which has both Vaishnavite and Shaivite
Kailashanathar Temple was built by Pallava rulers in the
8th century. This temple has 58 small shrines around the main temple.
Another reason to visit this temple is the Fresco painting, which
decorates the inner walls of the main temple and some remnants of
Jain Temples at Tirupparuthikkundram, were built in the 9th century.
Now they are under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India,
but are neglected and in bad shape. The first of the two temples
has an impressive series of fresco paintings decorating the ceiling.
The main deity of this temple is a Tirthankara "Chandraprabh". Also
present is a grand statue of Lord Mahaveera in a small cave shrine
inside the temple. The other Jain temple is also neglected. Nevertheless
these temples are different in their architectural style and so
come as a visual relief to the traveller, after the overdose of
Kanchi Kudil is designed to showcase Dravidian heritage.
One can find a 90-year-old house with all of its old charm and purpose
intact. Like all tourist attractions this place also has a wide
range of handicrafts shops. Live demonstrations of craftsmen and
artisans are also staged during tourist seasons.
Kanchi Kamakodi Peedam is one of the most important religious
places for Hindus, where Adi Shankaracharya (Hindu saint)established
his centre. Also worth visiting is the Deemed University of Advanced
Learning, where a 60 feet high statue of Adi Shankaracharya
Nearest Rail Hub: Kancheepuram.
Nearest Airport: Chennai.
Notes: It is worth planning your trip to coincide with the
festivals. Still photography is allowed in most temples, but it
is advised to enquire before you start clicking. Many Vaishnavite
temples close in the afternoon