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Home > Discover Coimbatore > Sightseeing > Kancheepuram

Kamatchi  Amman TempleKancheepuram 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.

Saree WeavingSilk 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.

Varadaraja Perumal TempleVaradaraja 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.

Varadaraja Perumal TempleEkambaranathar 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 South India.

Jain TempleVaikuntha 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 temples.

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 murals.

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". Ekambaranathar TempleAlso 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 Dravidian-built temples.

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 is erected.

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


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In & Around Coimbatore

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