Kanchipuram is a pilgrimage city. A former Pallava capital (7th - 9th century), Kanchipuram is filled with temples dating from the 8th - 17th centuries. These temples are the perfect study of the evolutionary changes that the South Indian architecture underwent while different reigns made their impressions on them.
Among the oldest temples in the temple city of Kanchipuram is
Kailasanath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. King Rajasimha, of the
Pallava dynasty, built this Shiva temple in the early 8th century. An
epitome of an early structural temple, Kailasanath Temple reflects the
rapidly emerging South Indian style: gopuras, pilastered walls, a
pyramidal shikhara, and a perimeter wall enclosing the complex.
Constructed mostly of limestone, the walls and vimaanam of this temple
are filled with great sculptures, and paintings. There are 58 small
shrines situated around the main shrine. Paintings of Fresco-style adorn
the inner walls of the shrines. It has an attractive panel depicting
Shiva and Parvathi in the midst of one of their innumerable dance
It is the only temple at Kanchipuram, which is devoid of any of the
recent additions of the Cholas and Vijayanagar rulers. It is believed
that the temple also served as the king's shelter during wars and the
remains of an escape tunnel in the temple's precincts attests to that
On the auspicious day of Maha-Sivaraathri, thousands of ardent devotees
converge to the temple. The temple is far removed from the city and thus
quite peaceful. Under the maintenance of the Department of Archeology,
Government of India, tourists are allowed to freely photograph the
sculptures in and outside the temple, with the exception of the Sanctum
and the main Deity.
How to Reach
Chennai (75 km) is the nearest airport from Kanchipuram.
Trains for Kanchipuram are available from Chennai, Chengalpattu,
Tirupati, and Bangalore.
Kanchipuram is well connected by a good network of roads.