is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, 72 km (45 mi) from Chennai – the capital of Tamil Nadu. It is the administrative headquarters of Kanchipuram District. According to legend, the name
, referring to his worship of Hindu god Vishnu at this place. Kanchipuram is well-connected by road and rail. Chennai International Airport is the nearest domestic and international airport to the city, which is located at Tirusulam in Kanchipuram district. In Hindu theology, Kanchipuram is one of the seven Indian cities to reach final attainment. Kanchipuram was the historical capital of the Pallavas. It was under the Pallavas from 6th to 8th century A.D and later became the citadel of Cholas, Vijayanagar Kings, the Muslim and the British. It has been a centre of Tamil learning, cultural and religious background for centuries. Kanchi is also known centre of the finest silk sarees made in the country. Kanchi has magnificent temples of unique architectural beauty bearing eloquent testimony to its glorious Dravidian heritage. Adi Sankara established his episcopal seat (Kamakotipeetam). Kanchipuram is the birth place of C.N. Annadurai, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu affectionately called as "Anna" by the people of Tamil Nadu.
Vaikuntam Perumal Temple
Kanchipuram is located 72 km (45 mi) south-west of Chennai on the banks of the Vegavathi River, a tributary of the Palar River. The city covers an area of 11.6 km2 (4.5 sq mi) and has an elevation of 83.2 m (273 ft) above sea level. While Kalidasa referred to the city as the best among the cities (Nagareshu Kanchi) in his works, Yuan Chwang, the great Chinese traveler, who wandered to the place in the 7th century, wrote about the bravery, piety, love of justice and veneration for learning of its people. According to the latter, Buddha had also visited the place. Often referred to as the 'Kashi Of the South', it is one of seven of the the most sacred towns for Hindus.
The erstwhile capital of Pallavas, it was fortified by them ramparts and moats for security purposes. Many of the wide and well laid out roads and temples were founded during their period. Once a major maritime power, it had contacts with far-off China, Siam and Fiji. Kanchipuram has a long history behind it. Cholas ruled the town from 10th - 13th century and Vijayanagara dynasty ruled from 14th - 17th century. Ekamabaranadhar temple with a height of 192-ft high tower and the Varadaraja Perumal temple with 100-pillar mandapam are some of the most splendid architectural gems of Vijayanagara Dynasty.
Ancient city of Kanchipuram or the city of thousand temples has 108 temples dedicated to Siva and 18 to Vishnu along with Adi Shankaracharya Mutt and scores of other temples, mosques and churches. Apart from the temples and shrines, Kanchipuram is well renowned for handloom industry, traditional cotton and silk saris. The skills of the silk weavers of Kanchi settled here for more than 400 years ago are legendary and are said to be the producer of the best silk sarees in the country.
Places to see in Kanchipuram
Vaikuntam Perumal Temple :
This is one of the important Vishnu temples which was built by Pallava King Nandivarman Pallavamalla in the 7th century A.D. Numerous inscriptions are found in this temple relating to the wars between the Pallavas and Challukyas. The presiding deity Lord Vishnu is depicted in sitting, standing and reclining postures.
Kailasanathar Temple :
This Pallava temple was constructed in the 8th century and has an attractive panel depicting Shiva and Parvathi in the midst of one of their innumerable dance competitions. The architecture of this temple resembles the Shore Temple at Mamallapuram.
Another ancient temple of Kanchipuram, it has been renovated by the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Vijayanagar Kings. The 57 metres (188") high Rajagopuram is one of the tallest towers in South India. The 2,501 - year old mango tree inside the temple has 4 branches each yielding different varities of mangoes. This temple has five spacious corridors (prakrams) and a beautiful 1,000 - pillar hall.
Varadarajar Temple :
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple was built by the Vijaynagar kings and the presiding deity is Devarajaswamy. The 100-pillared hall of this temple proves the mastery of the sculptors of Vijayanagara in fine artists. Among the best pieces are the severed halves of a large chain carved out of a single stone and the figures of the God of Love and his consort astride a swan and a parrot.
Kamakshi Amman Temple :
This is one of the three holy places of Sakthi worship in India, the others being Madurai and Varanasi. The temple in the present form was built by the Cholas during 14th centuary A.D.
Anna Memorial :
Kanchipuram is the birth place of Dr. C.N. Annadurai, the scholar statesman, affectionately called Anna - The Elder Brother - by the general public. His ancestral house located here has been converted into a memorial.