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Sometimes known as Siva Vishnu Kanchi, Kanchipuram is one of the seven sacred cities of India and was, successively, capital of the kingdoms of the Pallavas, Cholas and rajas of Vijaynagar. During Pallava times, it was briefly occupied by the Chalukyans of Badami, and by the battle fortunes of the Pallava kings reached a low ebb.
Kanchipuram is a spectacular temple city and its many gopurams can be seen from a long way away. Of the original 1000 temples, there are still about 125 left spread out across the city. Many of them are the work of the later Cholas and of the Vijayanagar kings.
Kanchi is also famous for its hand-woven silk fabrics. This industry originated in Pallava times, when the weavers were employed to produce clothing and fabrics for the kings. The shops which sell silk fabrics, such as those along the road to the Devarajaswami Temple, are used to bys loads of Indian tourists in a hurry and prices are consistently higher than in Madras.

 Dedicated to Siva, Kailasanatha is one of the earliest temples. It was built by the Pallava king, Rayasimha, in the late 7th century, though its front was added later by his son, King Varman III. It is the only temple at Kanchi which isn’t cluttered with the more recent additions of the Cholas and Vijayanagar rulers, and so reflects the freshness and simplicity of early Dravidian architecture.
Fragments of the 8th –century murals which once graced the alcovers are a visible reminder of how magnificent the temple must have looked when it was first built.
The temple is run by the Archaeology Department and is very interesting. Quite unusually, non-Hindus are allowed into the inner sanctum.

Parameshwara and Nandi Varman II built this temple between 674 and 800 AD, shortly after the Kailasanatha Temple. It is dedicated to Vishnu. The cloisters inside the outer wall consist of lion pillars and are representative of the first phase in the architectural evolution of the grand 1000-pillared halls of later temples.

The Sri Ekambaranathar Temple is dedicated in Siva and is one of the largest temples in Kanchipuram, covering nine hectares. Its 59-meter-high gopuram and massive outer stone wall were constructed in 1509 by Krishna Devaraja of the Vijayanagar Empire, though construction was originally started by the Pallavas and the temple was later extended by the Cholas. Inside are five separate enclosures and a 1000- pillared hall (which actually contains 540 differently decorated pillars).
The temple’s name is said to be a modified form of Eka Amra Nathar- the Lord of the Mango Tree- and is one of the enclosures is a very old mango tree, with four branches representing the four Vedas. The fruit of each of the four branches is said to have a different taste, and a plaque nearby claims that the tree manifestation of the god and is the only around. You can also partake of the sacred ash (modest contribution gratefully accepted). As this is still a functioning Hindu temple, non-Hindus cannot enter the sanctum sanctorum. With the permission of the temple priest, it’s possible to climb to the top of one of the gopurams.

Dedicated to the goddess Parvati, this imposing temple is the site of the annual Car Festival, held on the 9th lunar day in February/ March. When not in use, the ornately carved wooden car is kept partially covered in corrugated iron halfway up Gandhi Rd.
The temple has a golden gopuram in the centre.   

Devarajaswami Temple
Like the Sri Ekambaranathar Temple, this is an enormous monument with massive outer walls and a beautifully sculptured 1000-pillared (actually only 96) hall. One of its most notable features is a huge chain carved from a single piece of stone. The temple is dedicated to Vishnu and was built by the Vijayanagar kings.


HOTEL ROYAL SOUTHERN, (Government Approved) 3 Star

BUS: As elsewhere, the timetable at the bus stand is in Tamil, but there is no problem finding a bus in the direction you want to go.   

Trains run from Madras Egmore to Kanchipuram

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