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Kailasanathar Temple: An Inspiring Trendsetter

Written By: Akshatha Vinayak

Humans have a gift which animals don't; they can not only discover but also improvise. That's how humans have progressed over the years. Wondering why are we talking science here? Well, it is because to know the significance of man's ability to move forward.

Entrance to Kailasanathar Temple

Entrance Door of Kailasanathar Temple
Photo Courtesy: Satz007

Once upon a time, temples were carved out of rocks or were made of wood. There comes a time when a person comes up with a new design to be constructed with stones. Kailasanathar Temple is a one-of-its-kind temple of its age in Kanchipuram.

A dream project of Rajasimha of Pallava Dynasty became a trendsetter. Rajasimha's love for art and architecture reflects in every corner of this grand temple. The use of sandstone in constructing the temple structures became a hit after the popularity of Kailasanathar Temple.

Kailasanathar Temple

58 Cellular Temples Forms the Outer Wall
Photo Courtesy: Sivakumar1248

The idea was to build it similar to the palace of Shiva in Mount Kailash as portrayed in mythological texts. Kailasanathar Temple became the first structural temple of South India. The shrine is complete in all aspects from Gopuram, entrance gate, compound, hall and the inner sanctum.

What makes it unique?

Unlike other temples, this compound wall is not just a wall! It has a small cell like shrines that constitutes the outer wall. So, you have to keep your eyes wide open even before entering the temple complex. Each cell has carved sculptures depicting the Somaskanda reliefs (mythological tales of Shiva and Parvati).

Kanchi Kailasanatha Temple

Interiors of Kailasanathar Temple
Photo Courtesy: Kannan Muthuraman

Inner Sanctum

Common to any Shiva Temple, the inner sanctum has a granite Shiva Linga with a Nandi facing it. Rajasimha was a great devotee of Shiva and hence we can find many stone carvings of Shiva here.

We can also notice several sculptures of Nandi (Bull) and Lion. Historical texts suggest that the Bull was the emblem of Pallava Dynasty. Hence we can see the importance given to Nandi. Interestingly, the carving of lions can be seen in many parts of the temple. It just indicates to the interest or love for some animals which the sculptor or the king possessed.

There are also sculptures of several other gods like Vishnu, Brahma, Ganesha, Durga and so on inside the temple.

Kailasanatha Temple Kanchi

Inside the Temple Complex
Photo Courtesy: Kannan Muthuraman

Unfortunately, Rajasimha didn't see the temple to its completion. His son Mahendravarman took it on himself to finish his father's magnum opus.

Kailasanathar Temple was nothing less than a milestone during its age. Who wouldn't love to visit a masterpiece like this?

Interesting Facts About Kailasanathar Temple

  • A circumambulatory passage is there inside the shrine. One has to crawl inside the passage and climb several steps to reach the exit. It is believed that this passage is symbolic of life and death.
Sculptures Kailasanathar Temple

Sculptures in Kailasanathar Temple
Photo Courtesy: Simply CVR

  • The most famous Brihadeshwara Temple in Thanjavur is inspired by Kailasanathar Temple.
  • Though, Kailasanathar Temple is the oldest shrine in Kanchipuram, it is not as famous as other temples in Tamil Nadu.

To reach Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple

Kanchipuram is 68km from Chennai.

Many buses are there from Chennai to Kanchipuram.

Kanchipuram Railway Station is the nearest railway station to reach the temple.

Chennai International Airport is the nearest airport to Kanchipuram.

Click - How to Reach Kanchipuram

Best season to visit Kanchipuram

October to March is the best season to visit Kanchipuram. Even from time to September to October is a favourable time.

Lions Carved in Kailasanathar Temple

Lions Carved on the Pillars
Photo Courtesy: mckaysavage

Current weather in Kanchipuram

It is 28 ºC in Kanchipuram now.

The old world charm mystifies you at Kailasanathar Temple!

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