Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram, the golden City of a thousand temples and one of the seven sacred cities of India is 76 km from Madras. It was successively the capital of the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Rayas of Vijaynagar. Under the Pallavas it became the capital of their far flung empire. During the 6th and 7th centuries AD, some of the best temples in the city were built by Th Pallavas. From the 4th to 7th centuries, successive dynasties built temples and monuments at Kanchipuram. The city was also the seat of learning. Sri Sankaracharya, Appar, Siruthonder and the great Buddhist Bhikku, Bodhidharma lived and worked here. Today it is known not only for its temples but also for its hand-woven silk fabrics.

Kanchipuram General Information

  • Area: 11.6 sq. kms
  • Population: 1, 69,813 
  • Altitude: Sea level
  • Rainfall: 87 cms. (35") Average
  • Season: Throughout the year
  • Clothing: Tropical
  • Languages : Tamil, Telugu & English.

Climate

Season Months Temperature
Summers March to May 21°c - 37°c
Monsoon June to September 19°C - 25°C
Winter Oct to Feb 19°C - 29°C

How to Get There

By Air

Nearest Airport is Chennai (76 km) just 2 hours drive away.

By Rail

Kanchipuram is connected by rail with Madras via Chingleput

By Road

It is 76 km from Chennai via Poonamallee, Sriper Umbathur, 35 km from Chingleput, 61 km from Vedanthangal, 64 km from Mamallapuram, 136 km from Pondicherry

Places to visit

Ekambareswara Temple: A shiva temple built originally by the pallavas and later improved upon by the Cholas and the kings of Vijayanagar. It is a large temple with five prakarams (enclosures) and a thousand-pillared hall. The massive outer walls and the gateway towers (gopurams) were built by Krishna Deva Raya in 1509 AD.

Kailasanatha Temple: Built by Rajasimha pallava in the early decades of the eighth century, its architecture is an improvement on that of the Shore Temple at Mamallapuram.

Sri Kamakshi Temple: Dedicated to the goddess Kamakshi (Parvati), it has an imposing structure. The temple's annual car festival which falls on the ninth lunar day in February-March draws large crowds.

Sri Vaikunthaperumal Temple: Built a few years after the Kailasanatha. This temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, marks the next stage in the development of Dravidian architecture. The cloisters inside the outer walls consisting of a colonnade of lion pillars represent the first phase in the evolution of the grand thousand-pillared hall of later years.

Sri Varadaraja Temple: A Vishnu Temple built by the Vijayanagar kings. Its hundred-pillared hall has exquisite sculptures, among them a massive chain carved out of a single stone.

Excursions

Thirukkalikundram: A piligrim centre known for its temples. An important feature here is the feeding of a pair of kites by the temple priest during noon daily.

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary: Season for migratory birds from November to February. Viewing from observatory tower. Best Time: 1500 to 1800 hrs

Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram): A well known tourist centre famous for its rock cut temples built by the Pallavas during the seventh century.

FESTIVALS

The temples at Kanchipuram celebrate festivals almost throughout the year in accordance with almanac. The most famous festivals are:

Brahmotsavam: Celebrated generally in January, March, April and May-June Car Festival: Celebrated generally in January, April and May

Garudothsavam: The decorated image of Lord Vishnu, seataed on the Garuda is taken out in procession in the month of May.

Shopping

Kanchipuram is famous for its handwoven silk and cotton which can be bought from the Main Street shops but a selection is available in Madras.