One of the seven sacred cities of India, Kanchipuram is appropriately called the golden city of thousand temples. 71 km from Chennai, the place served as the capital of the Pallavas, the powerful dynasty of south India. A Kanchipuram pilgrimage travel is always high on agenda for a Hindu devotee. Undertake a journey to one of top travel destinations in India with Best Indian Travel
Presently the city is the district head quarters for the Chengalpattu district. The place houses over 108 temples dedicated to Shiva and 18 to Vishnu apart from scores of other temples, mosques and churches.
The temples at Kanchipuram bear testimony to the pinnacle reached by the Pallava architecture. The Cholas and the Vijayanagar rulers also contributed to the majesty of the temple architecture.
It was also a great center of learning during the ancient and medieval times. The place was associated with the great Hindu revivalist Adi Sankaracharya, and the great medieval Saiva Saint Appar. The Kanchi Kamakotti Peetam, one of the Acharya Peetas of Sri Adi Sankaracharya, is situated here. The remains of some of the Buddhist Stupas are also testimony that Buddhism spread here.
In modern times, Kanchipuram, apart from its temples, is well-known all over the world also for its thriving handloom industry. The city is also known as silk city since the main livelihood of the people living in and around comes from weaving silk sarees.
Places to Visit
Sakkiswarar Temple – Located near the Kamakshi Amman Temple, Sakkiswarar Temple was built by the Cholas.
Vaikuntha Perumal Temple -This temple was built by the Pallava King Nandivarman Pallavamalla, in the 7th century AD. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple is house to several inscriptions depicting the story of the wars between the Pallavas and the Chalukyas.
Kailasanatha Temple – Built by Rajasimha and his son Mahendra III in the 8th century A D, the temple is one of the finest in Kanchipuram.
Ekambareswarar Temple -One of the old temples, Ekambareswarar Temple was built by the Pallavas and renovated later by the Cholas and the Vijayanagar rulers. The 57 meter high Rajagopuram of the temple is marked as one of tallest towers in South India.
Devarajaswamy Temple – A colossal and striking structure, Devarajaswamy Temple is also known as Varadarajar temple. The shrine of Devarajaswamy is installed on an elephant-shaped rock called Hastagiri.
Kamakshi Amman Temple – One of the three holy places of Shakti worship in India, Kamakshi Amman Temple in its present form was built by the mighty Cholas, during the 14th century AD. The other two places where Shakti is worshipped are Madurai and Varanasi .
The Seat of Sri Adi Sankara – Kanchipuram is most famous for being one of the four seats of Sri Adi Sankara, the revered Hindu sage. The seat here is known as Kanchi Kamakotti Peetham. Kanchipuram preserves the great Dravidian heritage of Vaishnavites and Shaivites.
Tiruttani – Tiruttani is regarded as one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya. The temple is located on a hilltop and 365 steps symbolising the 365 days of the year have to be climbed to reach the temple. According to ancient scriptures, the Lord had married Valli, one of his consorts at the place. The Karthigai festival held in the month of December is celebrated here in a big way.
Festivals in Kanchipuram
The famous festivals that are celebrated with great pomp and show are the Brahmothsavam, Garudothsavam and the Chariot festival.
Getting there and Around
By Air – Meenambakkam Airport, Chennai, 71 km southwest of the city centre. Jet Airways, Indian Airlines, Air Sahara, Air India and other international airlines connect Chennai to the rest of the country and the world. It has terminals for both domestic and international travel. Prepaid taxis are available at the airport.
By Rail – Kanchipuram is well connected by most trains on the Southern Railways network. There is both a broad and narrow gauge connecting the city to other parts of South India. Most trains coming in from Chennai Central station go upto Arakkonam (metre gauge). From here, one can take a local bus or hire a car to cover the final leg of the journey. Or board a train to Chengalpattu from the Chennai Egmore station and catch another train from there towards Arakkonam. Kanchipuram is midway between Arrakonam and Chengalpattu. The Arrakonam Railway Station is located to the north-east of Kanchipuram town, 25 minutes away.
By Road – Most people opt to drive to Kanchipuram.Chennai: 75 km,Bangalore: 278 km,Pondicherry: 113 km,Vellore: 70 km.Regular buses also ply from the major southern cities like Pondicherry, Vellore. The main bus stand is at Esplanade in Kanchipuram from where hourly buses depart for Chennai and Bangalore.
It is difficult to find quality accommodation in Kanchipuram. Most of the lodges are situated near the city bus stand. Some guesthouses also provide basic facilities, and a clean environment to the travelers. But for a tourist visiting Kanchipuram, Hotel Tamil Nadu (TTDC) is a perfect place to unpack besides this there are other unclassified hotels also.