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Kanchipuram, is known as the home of thousand ancient temples. Travel to Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, and experience the varied heritage temple of South India that differentiates South India temples from rest of India India.

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Kanchipuram Temples


Kanchipuram, one of the holiest cities of India is famous for its acient temples. The grand architecture of these ancient temples clearly indicates towards the south Indian style of temple architecture (Dravidian style). The temples of Kanchipuram were built by different dynasties, each enriching and refining the architecture further.

The Pallava kings were great lovers of art, architecture and learning. Therefore, it was their reign, under which the first south Indian ancient stone temples were built at Mahabalipuram. The evolution of the south Indian style is clearly visible in the temples at Mahabalipuram. Later, the Cholas, Chalukyas and Vijaynagar rulers ruled Kanchi. They also built many temples and thus taking forward the building activities started by the Pallava dynasty. The later kings built new temples, and renovated the old ones.

Temple Complex - kancipuram
¤ The Architecture Style

The ancient temples in Kanchipuram belong to the south Indian style of temple architecture. The ancient city of Kanchipuram greets visitors with a cluster of temple shikharas (prominent roofs that surmount the sanctum sanctorum of the temples) and gopurams (tall). There are many elaborately carved temple gateways also, belonging to the typical south Indian style of building temples.


¤ Major Temples of Kanchipuram Considered one of the seven sacred cities of India, Kanchipuram has only 200 temples remaining out of the thousand ancient temples. There are 650 stone inscriptions in Kanchipuram belonging to different dynasties and different periods. The Kanchipuram temples represents the Pallava art, also reflect the creative maturity of Chola, Vijayanagara and Chalukyan kings, who decorated these temples with great dexterity.

Kailashnatha Temple
The oldest temple at Kanchipuram is the Kailashnatha temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is a perfect example of the early Dravidian style of temple architecture and was built by the Pallava king Rayasimha. It can also be described as descendent of the rock temples at Mahabalipuram, which were also built by the Pallava rulers. This ancient temple was constructed in the late seventh century AD and Rayasimha's son added the front portion later. There are 8th century remains of murals within the temple, indicating the magnificence of the original temple. There are a number of small shrines within this temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati (Lord Shiva's consort) and their sons Ganesh and Murugan.

Sri Ekambaranathar Ancient Temple
The Sri Ekambaranathar temple is also dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the largest temples in the city of Kanchipuram. It is spread over an area of 12 hectares. This temple stands here right from the time of the Pallavas and the Chola rulers, who extended it later. Krishnadevaraya, the great ruler of the Vijaynagar Empire, built its 59 meter high Gopuram or gateway and massive outer walls in the early 16th century. One of the unique features of this temple is its thousand-pillared mandapam (hall).

Kamakshi Amman Temple
There is a ancient temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati in Kanchipuram. The majestic temple is known as the Kamakshi Amman Temple. Goddess Parvati is worshipped here in the form of Kamakshi or the goddess of Love. The sanctum sanctorum of this temple can be reached by passing through a large mandapam (hall) with decorated pillars.
Kamakshi Amman Temple
Devarajaswami Temple
The mighty Devarajaswami temple was built by the rulers of the Vijaynagar kingdom. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, one of the principle Hindu Gods. The temple has an intricately sculpted pillared hall. It also has a similar marriage hall, marking the celestial wedding of Lord Vishnu with Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. A huge chain carved out from a single piece of stone is the highlight of the temple. There is also a submerged statue of Lord Vishnu in a large tank of water within the temple premises. The water of this tank is drained out every 40 years, so that the statue may be viewed.

Vaikuntha Perumal Temple
The Vaikuntha Perumal temple at Kanchoipuram is also an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was built shortly after the construction of the Kailashnatha temple. There are covered passages inside the outer walls of this temple, which are supported by lion pillars. Representing the first phase, of the architectural evolution the grand thousand pillared mandaps were built within numerous south Indian temples. There are many sculptures carved out of stones within the temple premises telling us about the rich culture and heritage of the city.

The detailed information is available in an eighth century script that tells us about the three different levels of the main shrine constructed, mainly dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It contains the images of Lord Vishnu in standing, sitting and reclining postures.



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