Kancheepuram - The Land of Temples

Posted Date: 17 Nov 2010      Author: S.Sowmya Profile photo   Member Level: Gold (Rs. 50)

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Kancheepuram - The Land of Temples



Kancheepuram is popularly known as Temple City and is well known at world level which is located at 75 kms towards southwest direction from Chennai. Among 51 Sakthi Peetas Kanchipuram Temple is the first Sakthi peeta and this temple is also called as 'Sri Kamakodi Peetam' which was established by Sri Adi Sankaracharya. The Temple City Kancheepuram is one of the seven sacred cities(Kshetra) and is popularly called as 'Satyavrata Kshetram' as the residents here taken the vow of speaking the truth. From 6th century to 8th century the temple city Kancheepuram was the capital of the Pallava Empire. 'Kanchi Puranam' on Goddess Kamakshi Devi were composed here. Kancheepuram is considered as the Holy city next to Kasi.

City of Temples

Katchabeswar Temple, Ulagalandha Perumal Temple, hiruparaanthakeshwarar Temple, Vilakkoli Perumal Temple, Ekambareshwarar Temple, Kailasanathar Temple, Vaikuntanathar Perumal Temple, Varadarajar Temple, Iravadeshwaran Temple, Muktheshwaran Temple, Madhangeshwaran Temple and many more proves Kancheepuram as Temple City. These temples at Kanchipuram are well known for its temple and sculptural architecture.

Kamakshi Amman Temple at Kancheepuram

This temple was built in the 14th century by the Cholas and the presiding deity here is Goddess Kamakshi. There exists a belief that Goddess Kamakshi Amman will fulfil the needs of the devotees who worships here. The word 'ka' means Goddess Saraswathi known for God of Education, word 'ma' means Goddess Lakshmi known for God of Wealth and the word 'Akshi' means Eyes. As the name refers 'Kamakshi' the Goddess who lives in Kancheepuram with Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshi as her both eyes, filled with love. The goddess here performed penance by sitting in a needle tip towards Lord Shiva to free herself from the livelihood.

In this place Sri Adi Sankara had installed a 'Srichakra' in 'arthameru' shape in front of the Deity and sung songs in the praise of goddess named 'Soundarya Lahari' and daily poojas are done to 'Sri Chakram' too. During war period because of repeated invasion of Kanchi, the Golden idol of Kamakshi - Swarna Kamakshi of Kanchipuram was taken to Tanjore through under ground subway (Suranga Padhai) and sheltered it in a temple and the swarna kamakshi became Bangaru Kamakshi and now remains in that shrine and even now that suranga padhai is there at Kanchi Temple. Kancheepuram is one of the three holy places of Sakthi worship in India the other two being Madurai and Varanasi. Well known Festival celebrated for the Goddess Kamakshi are Navarathri, Bhramotsavam and Pournami Pooja (Pooja on Full Moon Day).

Vilakkoli Perumal Temple at Kancheepuram

Vilakkoli Perumal Temple stands fifth among the Divya Desams in Kanchipuram. Presiding deity here is Lord Mahavishnu given the name Vilakkoli (Deepa Prakasar) and the sthalapurana says that when Lord Brahma started a Yagna without the consort of Saraswathi and so she made the world dark by her powers. Lord Vishnu who himself appeared as a flame helped Brahma to continue his yagam and hence the name Vilakkoli Perumal or Deepa Prakasar and this shows that with the light of God no one could make any obstacles and could cause darkness in others lives when the God is worshiped truly. This temple is one of 108 Divya desam.

Ekambareshwarar Temple at Kancheepuram

It is the largest of the Shiva Temples and one of the five 'Panchabootha Sthala' where the presiding deity is Lord Shiva as Prithvi Linga known as Earth Linga. The temple has a magnificient Raja Gopuram which is one of the tallest gopuram (tower) of South India. It was built during the period of pallavas. The 1000 pillered hall with the array of 1008 small lingas decorating the inner walls which speak the beauty of sculptural architecture.

The sthalapurana says that the Goddess Parvathi playfully closed the eyes of Lord shiva's while he was on the task of creating, protecting and destroying the universe. This makes Lord Shiva to become angry on Parvathi and cursed her to go to the Earth for her misdeed. Accordingly Parvati born on earth and made a shivalinga out of mud and worshipped it under a mango tree at Kacheepuram. Shiva tested her sincerity by making obstacles but with the help of Lord Vishnu she overcomed all the difficulties and won the love of Lord Shiva and Shiva took her again. The deity here Ekamranatha - 'Eka' means one, 'amra' means Mango and 'natha' means Lord. This mango tree is said to be 35,000 years old with four branches, which symbolizes four vedas. In the month between March-April (Tamil Month Phalguni) Tamil Festival known as 'Panguni Uthiram' where the celestial wedding of Siva and Parvathi is celebrated at Ekambareshwarar Temple in a grand manner.

Kailasanathar Temple at Kancheepuram

This is an ancient temple built during 8th century by Rajasimha of Pallava dynasty. This temple is also popularly known as b>Rajaasimmeshwaram and Thirukkartrali.



This temple reflects Dravidian Style of arcitecture. The temple is built by black stone from the basement to the top of the tower(gopuram). This stone temple has a lot of stone inscriptions and the inscriptions which are in Sanskrit wrote in Granta script. This temple is now maintained by Architectural Survey of India. The paintings and sculptures on the courtyard narrates the story of Lord Shiva.

Vaikuntanathar Perumal Temple at Kancheepuram

This temple is located on the eastern direction of Kailasanathar Temple. Built in 7th century by the Pallava ruler Nandivarman-II in and this is one of the vaishnavite temples. Presiding deity here is Vaikuntanathar and Goddess Vaikuntavalli. Here is the three sanctums where in the first sanctum the Lord gives dharshan in sitting posture, in the middle the Lord gives dharshan in the reclining posture and in the third the Lord gives dharshan in the standing posture. Maha Sivarathri Festival and Vaikunta Ekadesi Festival is celebrated in a grand manner where about three lakh people visit this temple during this time.

Varadaraja Perumal Temple at Kancheepuram


Varadaraja Perumal Temple is located at Chinna Kanchi and is situated on the top of Elephant Hill. The temple was built during the Vijayanagara Period. Here the presiding deity is Varadarajaswami (Lord Vishnu)in standing posture with four hands holding sankha, Chakra etc. and is adorned with costly jewels. Here the festival is the Brahmotsava, Garudotsavam which takes place between May-June every year where lot of devotees are attracted towards this temple. The temple sprawls at an area of about 23 acres with five prakarams around the temple with huge compound walls. There are two big gopurams in the temple on which eastern gopuram was built by Krishnadevaraya and the western temple gopuram built by Pallavas.

There is a hundred pillar mandapam builty by Vijayanagar Kings and the gopurams(towers) are an example for architectural marvels. Varadaraja Perumal Temple is one of the 108 Vaishnavaite Temples and some of the most beautiful sculptures in Kancheepuram is to be found in this temple. This temple is the last and 15th Divya Desams of Kancheepuram.

Temples in and around Kancheepuram


Thiruparuthi Kundram - Jain Temple

Thirupparuthi kundram is just 4kms from Kancheepuram which is situated on the banks of Palar river. This village has an ancient and famous Jain Temple and this place is popularly termed 'Jina Kanchi'. This temple was constructed by Pallava King Mahendravarman and now this temple is under the control of Tamilnadu Archeology Department.

Uthiramerur - Sundara Varadaraja Perumal Temple

Uthiramerur is the panchayat town of Kancheepuram and it is situated at a distance of 85 kms from Chennai and 28kms from Chengalpatt, Vandavasi, Kancheepuram and Maduranthakam. The famous temple here is Sundara Varadaraja Perumal and this temple has a three tier architecture and in the first tier the Deity Sundaravaradar gives darshan in standing posture with Goddess Anandavalli and in the second tier with Lord Vaikunta Varadar in sitting posture and in the third the deity gives dharshan in reclining position and is called Ananthasayanamurthi.

Thiru Vekka - Aadhikesava Perumal

This Sthalam is situated about two kms from Sri Varadharaja Perumal Temple and the presiding deity here is Sri Aadhikesava Perumal with eight hands on which he holds chakram, sword, sankam, bow, kedaya etc. Thiru Vekka sthalam is one of the 18 Vaishnavite Temples in Kancheepuram.

Chitra Gupta Swami Temple

This temple is situated nearby to Kancheepuram at Nellukaran Street which is the only temple for Chitra Gupta Swami in South India. Its believed that he records all the actions of men, good or bad. Worshipping this Lord on a full moon day is considered to be very beneficial.

Thirumalpur - Thirumanigandeshwarar Temple


The Holy town Thirumalpur is situated in Kancheepuram to Arakkonam route and within 5kms from the railway station. The town has the famous Siva Temple known as Thirumanigandeshwarar Temple where the presiding deity is Lord Manigandeswarar (Lord Shiva). The sthala puran says that the Lord Vishnu who had lost his chakra worshipped Lord Shiva in standing posture and got the sudharshana chakra. The holy tree of this shekthra is Vilvam. The Temple Festival Bramothsavam is held during the Tamil month of Masi i.e., Feb-March.

Thennangur - Pandurangan Temple


This temple is situated 37kms from Kancheepuram-Vandavasi route. The main Pradhana gopuram (tower) is built like that of Poori Jagannadhar Temple styles while the Raja Gopuram is built in South Indian Style. The presiding deity here is Pandurangan with Ragumayi. The gopuram of this temple is 120 feet in height.

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