The Kamakshi Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kamakshi who is considered to be a form of Parvati, a Hindu Goddess. Most probably, the temple was constructed by the Kings of Pallava dynasty sometime in the sixth century.
A unique feature of the deity in this temple is that goddess Kamakshi is in a sitting pose instead of in a standing pose. The goddess is seated in a Yoga position and has a very calm and serene presence about her. Surprisingly, this is the only temple in the city that is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, nevertheless a very popular one among the Hindus.
Many areas and structures of the temple have seen reconstruction because the originals were destroyed in a natural calamity or could not stand the test of time. However, all the rulers of Kanchipuram have tried their best to restore the temple according to its initial constructions. But a keen observer will still be able to spot the original work of architecture that was done on the walls of the temple when it was initially built.
The Varadharaja Perumal Temple is also famously known as the Hastagiri Temple or Attiyuran. The temple was built in reverence to Lord Vishnu and is one of the 108 temples that the Alwars, or the twelve saints, travelled to. The temple, like the other Vishnu temples, is located in the Vishnu Kanchi part of Kanchipuram.
Legend has it that the learned Hindu scholar Ramanuja stayed in this temple for some part of his life. The locals refer to this temple along with the Ekambareshvara Temple and the Kamakshi Amman temple as “Mumurtivasam” or the house of three.
This temple is also referred to as Perumal Koil and is considered a must visit for the devotees of Lord Vishnu. The temple is very famous among locals as well as foreign tourists because of the annual festival that is held each year over here.
During the festival one can spot huge umbrellas that are regularly used to mark the start of festivities. Another major festival or ‘Bhramotsavam’ is held during the months of May and June.
Ekambareshvara Temple is the temple of the Hindu God Shiva and every year thousands of devotees flock to the place for His blessings. The temple, which was built even before 600 AD is located in the northern part of the city of Kanchipuram.
The temple is one of the five most revered temples of Shiva and is symbolic of the element Earth of the five elements. It is one among the 'Panchabootha Sthalams'. The round tower head of the temple is 59 m tall making it one of the tallest such structures in India.
According to a local legend Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, had once performed penance under an old mango tree that is still situated within the temple premises. The temple is believed to have been built by the Pallava Kings and is a supreme example of the fine craftsmanship of the times.
Later, the temple was reconstructed and other additional work was also done by the subsequent rulers of Kanchipuram.
The Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt was established by Adi Sankara and is located in the city of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. The Kanchi mutt was founded on the lines of a monastic institution for the Hindus. There are five pancha-bhutasthalas of the mutt and the Kanchipuram mutt is one of the five.
Nobody knows when the mutt was actually built but archaeological evidence has shown that the institution has been in existence for over 2500 years now. This has been proven by the epigraphical evidence found on the walls of the mutt. Some historians claim that the mutt in Kanchipuram is more than three centuries old but there is no solid proof to support this claim.
Initially the mutt was in Kumbakonam and was moved from there to Kanchipuram in the 18th century when Hyder Ali’s army marched into the area. Today, the mutt is revered all across South India and every year thousands of devotees of Adi Sankara visit the institution in search of peace and serenity.
The Devarajaswami Temple is a fine example of ancient art and architecture. The temple was built by the rulers of Vijayanagar in reverence of Lord Vishnu. The temple is located in the eastern part of the city of Kanchipuram. This temple consists of exquisitely carved pillars that give us a deep insight into the architecture as well as the technology of the times.
The pillars are all hand carved and depict Hindu deities in their various forms. Within the premises of the temple is a huge marriage hall that symbolizes the celestial union of Goddess Laxmi and Lord Vishnu.
A unique feature of the temple is a humungous chain that is engraved on a stone. A statue of lord Vishnu of 10 m lies immersed in a water tank built inside the temple. This statue of Vishnu can be viewed only once in forty years when the tank is entirely drained for the devotees to catch a glimpse of their Lord. The statue is immersed in water again only after 48 days.
The Vaikuntha Perumal Temple was built sometime during the seventh century by the Pallava king Nandivarman. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the main shrine has three distinct levels. The main shrine houses finely carved sculptures of Lord Vishnu. These sculptures are huge in size and show Vishnu in different standing, sitting and reclining positions.
The temple is frequented every year by thousands of devotees of lord Vishnu to seek His blessings. Thousands of tourists flock to the temple to see the main attraction of the temple that is the hall of 1000 pillars. Each pillar is unique in itself since every pillar has a different statue carved on it.
The passages within the temple are supported by pillars that have lion carved on them. The architecture of the temple is noteworthy not only in terms of religion but also in terms of history. The walls of the temple have writings engraved on them that speak about the combat between the Chalukyas and the Pallavas.
Kanchi Kudil is an ancestral house that has been converted into a heritage inn. However, this is not the only attraction of the place; it has been built keeping in mind the rich historical and cultural past of Kanchipuram. The guests staying at the inn get a feel of the culture of the place and also receive vast amounts of information on the history of the city.
Everything right from the furniture to food gives first-hand information to the guests about the city’s past. The inn is indeed an ancestral house but has been maintained according to the modern standards of living so that the guests do not miss on the comforts of day-to-day lives when they visit the city.
There are also cultural programmes that are held in the evenings to give the tourists an insight into the arts that flourish in the city. Those looking for souvenirs can shop at Kanchi Kudil for special local made handicrafts.
The Kailasanathar Temple or the Kailasanath Temple is perhaps the oldest temple in the city. The temple was built by the Pallava King Narasimhvarman in the eight century in reverence of Lord Shiva. The temple is visited every year by the devotees of Shiva.
The temple consists of a compound made from sandstone and has exquisite carvings that are an example of the fine craftsmanship of the times. The architecture of the temple is in sync with the Dravidian architecture that was commonly used for constructing structures and buildings during the time.
As a result, there are many half-animal deities that have been engraved on the walls and pillars of the temple. Along with the fine architecture, the temple is also known for its ‘vimana’ or the tower that is directly above a small unlit shrine. The temple also has a number of panels that have engravings of Lord Shiva posing as Natraja.
The Madras Atomic Power Station is located in Kalpakkam that is a small town in the district of Kanchipuram. The main idea behind the construction of a power station in South India was to make the country more powerful in terms of its nuclear capability. In fact, the power station was the pioneer when it came to creating indigenous nuclear technology.
The Madras Atomic Power Station was India’s first completely indigenized nuclear power station. The power station is fully equipped to handle nuclear power production, fuel reprocessing as well as nuclear waste treatment. It has a plutonium-based fuel fabricator for fast breeder reactors or FBRs.
The atomic plant was built under the leadership of India’s Prime Minister Srimati Indira Gandhi and became a part of the grid in 1983. A visit to the plant is a must if you are in the area because the technology used at the plant offers the common man a deep insight into the advancements that science has made in our country.