Kanchipuram

Ancient Kanchipuram, the city of thousand temples, is one of the seven most sacred pilgrim centres for the Hindus. There now remain about 126 temples in Kanchi and a few more in its outskirts. The city was the capital of the Early Cholas as far back as the 2nd century BC and a Pallava capital between the 6th and 8th centuries.

Given its illustrious past, it is not surprising that Kanchi was a major seat of Tamil learning as well as an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, Jains and Hindus. Today, apart from its temples, this small town is also known for its thriving handloom industry. The silk weavers of Kanchi settled more than 400 years ago and have given it an enviable reputation as the producer of the best silk sarees in the country. Woven from pure mulberry silk, the sarees in dazzling colours are embellished with fine gold thread (zari) and are available in every imaginable design and variety, which can make the job of selection quite challenging.

Temple festivals are held throughout the year and apart from the temple car (ratha) festivals, which are held in January, April and May, there are other days when the idols in the temples are taken out in procession on their respective vahanas or vehicles

Attractions in Kanchipuram, around and from Kanchipuram

  • Anna Memorial Kanchipuram is the birthplace of Dr. C.N. Annadurai, the scholar statesman, affectionately called Anna - The Elder Brother - by the general public. His ancestral house located here has been converted

  • Ekambareswarar Temple Originally built by the Pallavas, the Cholas later reconstructed this large Siva temple. Here, Lord Siva is worshipped as Earth or Prithvi, which is one of the five elements. The dimensions of this te

  • Elagiri Hills An isolated, attractive picnic spot in the Eastern Ghats is the Elagiri Hills, at an elevation of about 1000 metres. A salubrious climate, scenic surroundings and a quaint Murugan temple are some of t

  • Handloom Industry Kanchipuram's exquisite silk sarees are woven from pure mulberry silk in contrasting colours and have an enviable reputation for texture, lustre, durability and finish. More than 5,000 families are en

  • Kailasanathar Temple This Pallava temple was constructed in the 8th century and has an attractive panel depicting Shiva and Parvathi in the midst of one of their innumerable dance competitions. The architecture of this te

  • Kanchi Kamakoti Math One of the centres of Hindu philosophy. This is said to have been established by Adi Sankaracharya. The chief pontiff of the mutt is still called the Sankaracharya.

  • Sriperumpudur It is 29 kms from Chennai on the way to Kanchipuram. It is the birthplace of Saint Ramanujar, the Father of Visishtadvaita philosophy of Vaishnavism and hence an important pilgirim centre for the Vais

  • Tiruttani Tiruttani, lying to the west of Chennai, is one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya. Situated on a hilltop, the temple is accessible by road as well as by train. 365 steps lead to the hill, which rep

  • Vaikunta Perumal Temple This Vaishnavite temple dates back to the 8th century and was built by Nandivarma Pallava. Battle scenes depicting Pallava valour are carved on the panels surrounding the main prakaram.

  • Varadaraja Temple Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple was built by the Vijaynagar kings and the presiding deity is Devarajaswamy. The 100-pillared hall of this temple proves the mastery of the sculptors of Vijayanaga

  • Vedantangal Birds Sanctuary - This small birds sanctuary has come up around a village tank, which is surrounded by a grove of trees. It is a heaven for migratory birds such as sandpipers, white ibis, spoonbills,