The city of temples, Kancheepuram, lures not only devouts of Indic culture, but it also attracts famous historians and archaeologists. Known for its rich culture, Kancheepuram is around 70 kms from Chennai. Apart from good quality of silk and antiques, Kancheepuram has a lot to explore, such as the structures made by the Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas, Vijayanagara Empire and the Carnatic kingdom.
The city, which is also known as Ghatikasthanam (place of learning), was also a religious centre of advanced education for Jainism and Buddhism between the first and fifth centuries. Kanchipuram has been chosen as one of the heritage cities for HRIDAY - Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of Government of India. Not only that, if you want to sneak peek into the ancient Indian culture then Kancheepuram is a must-visit place as its houses and streets still have the essence of medieval times.
If you have been planning for a short trip to the southern state of Tamil Nadu and want to visit any tourist spot other Kodaikanal, Ooty or Pondicherry, then Kancheepuram is the best place to explore. And if you love ancient architecture and Indian history, then these temples of Kancheepuram are must-visit.
Here are some famous temples in Kancheepuram
1. Kailasanathar Temple: The oldest temple of Kancheepuram, Kailasanathar is a classic example of Pallava architecture. Dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva, the temple’s sanctum sanctorum contains 16-sided shiva linga.
2. Ekambareswarar Temple: Spread over 10 hectares, this temple is a holy pilgrimage site in Shaivism. It is considered as one of the five main shrines for Shaivas (followers of Shiva). The original structure of Ekambareswarar kovil was built in the sixth century by the Pallava Dynasty and later, it underwent major changes under the rule of Tanjore Nayaks. The temple hosts an extravagant 10 days festival named "Panguni Brahmotsavam", which held from March to April.
3. Vaikunthnathar Temple: The holy pilgrimage site of Vaishnavism, the temple depicts the Dravidian style of architecture. The temple is believed to be constructed by the Pallava king Nandivarman II (720-96 CE), which was later restored by Medieval Cholas and Vijayanagar kings.
4. Varadaraja Perumal Temple: The holy pilgrimage site of Vaishnavism is one of the 108 Divya Desams, which are the most sacred Vaishnavite shrines spread across the country. The temple features over 350 inscriptions attributed to almost all major dynasties ruled the southern part of India.
5. Kanchi Kamakshi Amman Temple: The original structure of this temple is said to be made under the Pallava dynasty, whereas its history is rich in myths and legends. Kamakshi Amman Temple is related to the Shaktas, who are the devouts of Goddess Shakti. The annual chariot festival or "ther-vizha" during the Tamil month of Masi (between February and March), attracts many devotees to the town of Kancheepuram.
6. Ulagalantha Perumal Temple: Also known as TriVikrama temple, the Vaishvism holy pilgrimage site is dedicated to Vamana, the fifth avatar of Lord Vishnu. The traditional Dravidian style of architecture temple hosts a dozen annual chariot festivals. Ulagalantha Perumal Temple is also one of the 108 Divya Desams like Varadaraja Perumal Temple.
7. Trilokyanatha Temple: Built during the Pallava Dynasty, Trilokyanatha Temple is one of the most important Jain temples. It features the Dravidian style of architecture, with wall paintings and inscriptions which depicts the life of Lord Krishna along with various Jain deities.
8. Chitragupta Swamy Temple: Dedicated to Chitragupta, the assistant (or accountant) of Yamaraj, the temple depicts the architectural features of the Chola Dynasty. The temple is considered to be the place from where the Chitragupta keeps a look at everyone's good and bad deeds.
9. Sathyanatheswarar Temple: The shrine built during the seventh century is dedicated to Lord Shiva, following the Shaiva tradition. Despite its smaller area -- just 2290 sq m, the temple is an important Shaiva pilgrimage as it is mentioned in the Tamil Shaivite canon among 274 other important Shiva temples.
10. Ashtabujakaram Temple: The temple features mixed architectural styles of the Pallavas, Cholas and Vijayanagara Dynasties. It hosts a 10-day extravagant celebration of Vaikunta Ekadasi, which falls in the month of December, which is considered as one of the important events for Vaishnavism.