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Kanchipuram Travel Guide
Kanchipuram or Kancheepuram is a magnificent city in the state of Tamilnadu, India. Kanchipuram is located at a distance of 76 km from Chennai. Historic temples present here are its main tourist attraction. Kanchipuram is one of the oldest towns in the southern part of India, since Sanskrit and Tamil being one of the few oldest languages is still prevalent around here.
Kanchipuram is believed to have been visited by Xuanzang, the Chinese traveler, in the 4th and 9th century during the reign of Pallava dynasty and he has recorded many attributes about this beautiful town. During this time, Kanchipuram attained its fame. The city was proudly, the Pallava capital, and almost all the temples were built during the reign of the Pallava dynasty. The well known and acclaimed poet Kalidasa has also sung praises about this very town in some of the verses written by him. Xuanzang has also written about Buddha visiting this place.
This city found its fame in the famous Patanjali's Mahabhashya which was written in the second century BC and also in Manimekalai, which is a very legendary Tamil classic, including Perumpanatru Padai, an exquisite Tamil poetical work.
Geographically describing this city is present on the Palar river and is known for the artistic temples and rich silk sarees. Some of the famous temples include Varadharaja Perumal Temple dedicated to the God, Vishnu, and Ekambaranatha Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is said to take the 5 forms of the universe. Ekambaranatha Temple is dedicated to the Earth form, Sri Kalahasti Temple for Air, Chidambaram Temple for Sky, Thiruvanakoil Temple for Water and Thiruvannamalai Temple for Fire.
Kanchipuram is also known worldwide for the famous silk sarees which has made India proud due to its hand woven quality. The Kanjivaram or Kanchipuram sarees are of the highest quality and are craved for by every woman.
The Temples in Kanchipuram are the outcome of a number of ancient dynasties which have contributed to the city, their divine form of art. The Pallava, Chola, Vijayanagara, and Chalukya dynasties all have a fair amount of contributions to boast about. They include:
Kailasanatha Temple: This comes under the tag of one of the oldest Temples and is said to have been built somewhere in the 8th century by Rajasimha and his son Mahendra. The main shrine is surrounded by a lot of small shrines around it. This monument is built using sandstone and the inner walls of the shrine are painted in Fresco style. The murals show us the long lost grandeur of this beautiful Temple.
Kamakshi Amman Temple: This temple is one of the most remarkable one among the numerous temples of the whole of southern India and is mainly dedicated to the deity of Kanchi, Goddess Kamakshi, from which the city gets its name. An astonishing golden "gopuram" is present in the centre of this beautiful temple.
Devarajaswami Temple: This was built by the Vijayanagar rulers, and is devoted to Lord Vishnu. This Temple has elaborate pillars, which have been exquisitely sculpted on. A massive chain which is carved out of a single piece of stone is the main attraction in this Temple. Another attraction is a large Lord Vishnu idol which is kept submerged in a water tank which can be seen in the temple premises.
It is also believed that the ill effects of lizards can be cured by the Vaiyamaligai Lizard at the Devarajaswami Temple.
Vaikuntha Perumal Temple: This temple was built in the 7th century and is a beautiful sculpture one cannot miss. This Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and was built by Nandhivarman Pallavamalla who was one of the kings in the pallava dynasty. The battles between the Pallavas and Chalukyas have been exquisitely depicted as inscriptions on the Temple. The temple is mainly dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the sitting, standing and reclining postures have been depicted here.
The annual festival, Brahmotsavam of the temple is conducted for 10 days in the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May/June). Garuda Seva which is celebrated on the third day of the Brahmotsavam is an important part of the festival. The Car festival is celebrated on the seventh day.
Distance from Kanchipuram:
Chennai - 76 km
Pondicherry - 140 km
How to get there
Nearest Airport: The nearest airport to Kanchipuram is the Metro Chennai from where international and domestic flights operate almost daily.
Nearest Railhead: Kanchipuram is well connected by rail to Chennai, Tirupati, Bangalore and many other important cities.
Road: Kanchipuram is connected by road to Chennai and other important nearby cities in Tamil Nadu and other parts of the Southern India. For local transport, inside the city cycle rickshaws and car rentals are available.
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