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Where to Stay

Hotel Tamil Nadu, Kamatchi Amman Sannathi Street, Big Kancheepuram, 04112-222553

Hotel Baboo Surya, East Raja Street.222555

Krishna Lodge, Nellukara Street. 222831

Hotel Jayabala, Gandhi Road. 224453

Heritage Inn, Nadu Street. 227780

T.M. Hotels, Gandhi Road. 225250

Yatrika 222115

Circuit House 237012

Important Telephone Numbers

District Collector 237433

Superintendent of Police 237720

Public Relations Officer 237919

Chief Education Officer 222128

District Forest Officer 223014

Railway Station 222808

Head Post Office 223723

HR&CE 237848

Sri Ekambareswarar Temple 222084

Sri Kamakshiamman Temple 223422

Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple 269773

Sankara Mutt 222115

Govt. Hospital 222307

Transport Corporation 222302

Arignar Anna Cancer Hospital 264244

Christ Church 223658

Catholic Church 223658

Zumma Masijid 230876

Municipality 223593

Archaeological Survey Of India 222702


Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram(75 kms from Chennai) is one of the seven holy cities in the country, and a visit is believed to bestow salvation. Kanchipuram once had over a thousand temples. Today, there are more than a hundred extant, and all are worth a visit. Kanchipuram also has some notable churches and mosques.

Ancient Kanchipuram is the city of thousand temples and is one of the seven most sacred pilgrim centres for the Hindus. This city is also known as Kanchi. There now remain about 126 temples in Kanchi and a few more in its outskirts. The city was the capital of the early Cholas and it was the Pallava capital between the 6th and 8th centuries.

Kanchipuram is a major seat of Tamil learning as well as an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, Jains and Saivite Hindus. Apart from its temples, this small town is also known for its thriving handloom industry. The weavers of Kanchi have settled in the temple town more than 400 years ago and have given it an enviable reputation as the producers of the best silk and cotton sarees in the country. Woven from pure mulberry silk, these sarees woven in dazzling colours are embellished with fine gold thread (zari) and are available in every imaginable design and variety. This makes the choice of selection quite challenging for the buyer.

Temple festivals are held throughout the year and apart from the temple car or the ratha festivals are held in January, April and May. There are other days when the idols are taken out in procession on their respective vahanas or vehicles.

Places to See

Kailasanathar Temple Raja Simha, the father of Mahendravarman built this ancient temple in 81th Century A.D and later completed it. It is built in the typical Pallava style, with a pyramidal tower, a pillared hall and vestibule, enclosed by a wall. The temple is famous for exquisite carvings and attracts devotees and tourists alike. There are 58 small shrines situated around the main shrine, as a compound wall. Fresco style paintings adorn the inner walls of the temple.

Varadaraja Perumal Temple Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the Vijaynagar kings built this temple and the presiding deity is Varadaraja Swamy. The 100-pillared hall of this temple proves the mastery of the sculptors of Vijayanagara. 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 respectively.

Vaikunta Perumal Temple This Vaishnavite temple dates back to the 8th century and was built by Nandivarma Pallava. Battle scenes depicting Pallava valour are carved on the panels surrounding the main prakaram.

Ulagalanda Perumal Temple Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as the dwarf vamana, subdued the pride of king Mahabali. Jayamkonda Cholan built this temple. There is an awe-inspiring idol of Vishnu that is 35 feet in height.

Ashtabuja Perumal Temple   The remarkable feature of this deity is that it has eight arms. Lord Vishnu is in standing posture, facing west. The temple has ancient stone inscriptions.

Ekambareswarar Temple Originally built by the Pallavas, this large Shiva temple was later reconstructed by the Chola and Vijaynagara kings. Here, Lord Shva is worshipped as Earth or Prithvi, one of the five elements. The dimensions of this temple are reflected in its 20-acre spread and its tall south gopuram, which soars to a height of 58.5m.

The eleven-storey structure that is adorned with beautiful sculptures is one of the tallest temple towers in South India. Childless couples revere the ancient mango tree in the courtyard. They faithfully string small cradles to the branches of the tree with the hope that their desire for an offspring will be fulfilled.

Kamakshi Amman Temple This is an important shakthisthalam, known as parabrahmaroonpini. The main deity is seated on brahma, vishnu, rudra, eswara and sadasiva. The Cholas built the temple in its present from in the 12th century A.D. The temple has beautiful gopurams, pillars, mandapams and tanks.

Masjids This is a mosque built 450 years ago by the Nawab of Arcot near the Ekambareswarar temple. There is another mosque near the Vaikunta Perumal temple. The beauty is that the mosque and the temples share a common tank, true to the spirit of tolerance that India is renowned. Muslims share in the Brahmatvasam festivals of the Varadaraja temple too.

Christ Church a Britisher named Mclean, in1921, built this church. The brick structure was typically Scottish, with arches and pillars. 

Kanchi Mutt  The Kanchi Mutt is one of the mutts or peetams established by Adi Sankara, who lived from 788 to 820 AD. It has established a modern centre of learning, which has been given a deemed University status. This is at Enathur,5 kms from Kanchi. The centre has a library with ancient books and palm leaf manuscripts.

Anna Memorial Kanchipuram is the birthplace of Dr. C.N. Annadurai, the scholar statesman, affectionately called Anna meaning the elder brother by the general public. His ancestral home located here has been converted into a memorial.

Kanchi Kudil This house house is nearly 100 years old. It has an old style veranda, open courtyard, cashbox, furniture,etc. On the way to the Kailasanathar temple in Kanchipuram we can see this house.

Shakunthala Jagannathan Museum of Folk Art: This is situated close to the Ekambarerwar temple. The 400-year old house belongs to the maternal ancestors of Sir C P Ramaswamy Aiyar, a renowned scholar. This has been converted into a museum.

Places of Interest around Kanchipuram

Chengalpattu(35 KMS) As you go by train or road from Chennai Southwards, you can see a vast expanse of water. This is the beautiful Kolavai Lake with hills on one side providing a lovely backdrop to this scene. TTDC provides boating facilities at this lake.

Vedanthangal(32 KMS) - Birds Sanctuary   This sanctuary for water and other migratory birds has come up around a village tank that is surrounded by a grove of trees. It is a haven for migratory birds such as herons, egrets, sandpipers, white ibis, spoonbills, swans and grey wagtails among others. There is also a sizeable population of resident breeding water birds. Between October-February is the season to visit Vedantangal.

For reservations at the rest house, contact the Wildlife Warden, 49, Fourth Main Road, Adyar, Chennai, 600 020 Ph : 2413947.

Pandavadhootha Perumal Temple This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. King Rajakesari Varman built it about a thousand years ago.

Muttukadu backwaters located 20 kms from Mamallapuram, Muttukadu is a fine picnic spot. The TTDC arranges boating and wind surfing.

Alampari   50 kms from Mamallapuram is Alamparai. There is a ruined fort was built by the Nawabs. Backwaters and cool sands provide a nice picnic spot.

Crocodile Bank This bank was set up by Romulus Whitaker to breed several species of African and Indian crocodiles and alligators in captivity.

Mudaliarkuppam 40 kms from Mamallapuram on the East Coast Road are the beautiful backwaters of Mudaliarkuppam. Boating facilities are provided by TTDC.

Arignar Anna Zoologial Park The Arignar Anna Zoological Park 36 kms from the heart of Chennai is one of the modern zoos of India, and the biggest in South East Asia. The zoo is situated in a reserve forest. Some of the attractions are a nocturnal animal house, reptile enclosure walk-through aviaries, pre-historic animal park, butterfly house, insectariums, children's park and an interpretation centre.

Tirumalaivaiyavur (47 kms) On the way to Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, atop a small hillock, is the beautiful Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal temple in Malaivaiyavoor. The deity bears a striking resemblance to the Lord of the Seven Hills, Balaji. 

Kovalam (59 kms) Kovalam is famous for the Dargah of Hazart Dhammimul Ansari. Hazart Dhammimul Ansari lived in Medina and is believed to have seen Prophet Mohammad. He died 900 years ago, but before his death he asked his followers to cast his coffin into the sea. He wished to be buried in which ever spot it landed finally. It was in distant Kovalam that the coffin found its home. Meanwhile the Nawab of Wallajah, Sadutullam Khan had a dream in which Hazrat Dhammimul Ansari beckoned him to Kovalam. The Nawab obeyed the call and found the coffin and built a Dargah. The dargah covers an area of 3 acres.

Madurantakam (40 kms) There is a famous Rama temple here and a British Collector endowed the Goddess Shrine. While he was standing at the Madurantakam Tank, fearing a breach due to floods, he had a vision of Lord Rama. This tank is one of the largest in the state.

Sriperumbudur (29 kms) This is the birthplace of Saint Ramanuja. There is a Vaishnavite temple and legend that bhoothams or spirits put them up. The name of the place is derived from this legend. There is also a memorial to the late Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi who was assassinated here.

St. Thomas Mount (60 kms) St. Thomas, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, is said to have visited India around 52 AD. Twenty-five years later, he was martyred at a spot in the suburbs of this city. This spot has been named St. Thomas Mount. The small hill is 76 mtrs high and on it stands an old church built by the Portuguese around 1514 AD. There is an interesting relic in the Church. This is an old stone cross, which the apostle is said to have clutched in his hand while dying.

Tiruvidanthai (64 kms) The Nityakalyana Perumal Temple, more than a 1000 years old, is situated on the East Coast Road between Chennai and Mamallapuram. The beautiful deity here is Varaha Perumal, otherwise called Nitya Kalyana Perumal. The deity is believed to bestow marital bliss.

Melmaruvathur (42 kms) There is a temple dedicated to Adi Parashakthi to which people come for worship in large numbers.

Mamallapuram (65 kms) Mamallapuram is the jewel in the crown of Tamil Nadu. It is a world heritiage and cultural site. Located close to the seashore, it was an important port town during early historic times, especially the Pallava period. One can see rock-cut caves, monolithic free-standing temples, bas relief here in this historic town. There is a Dance Festival every year in the months of December and January.

Sadras (65 kms) Sadras was once a Dutch settlement and there are the remains of a fort built by the Dutch. Inside the fort is a cemetery with some old carved tombstones. This coastal village has a lovely beach.

Uthiramerur (25 kms) An ancient Siva temple having inscriptions about village administration in the past adorns this place. There is also an ancient and massive Vaishnavite temple.

Kooram (15 kms) The place has two ancient temples, one deicated to Lord Vishnu and the other to his devotee, Sri Koorathazhwar. The temples are of archaeological importance owing to their ancient nature and type of construction.

Singaperumal Koil (44 kms) Close to Chengalpattu is Singaperumal Koil. Singaperumal is a reference to the lion-headed incarnation of Vishnu, the Narasimha avatar. The temple is over 1500 years old.


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Festivals

Chitra (April - May)   An important festival in kanchipuram during this month is the Thiruvatara Uthsavam at the Arulalaperumal temple, also known as Varadaraja Temple, marking the Avatar of Shri Varadaraja on the Hastra star. The Lord is believed to have manifested himself before Brahma on a sacrificial altar. The important feature of this festival is that on the full-moon day of this month, i.e., Chitra Pournami, Lord Varadaraja is taken in procession to the banks of the river Palar for the Nadathari Utsavam. People throng to witness the Brahma Aradhana or Brahma's worship of Lord Varadaraja. This is re-enacted on this occasion.

Vaigasi (May-June)  The Vaigasi festival is important at the Arulalaperumal temple. The Brahmotsavam is observed for ten days in this month on a spectacular scale. An epigraph of the 14th century mentions the routes for the procession of the deity during the Vaigasi festival. The Garudotsavam on the third day is especially important in this temple. The epigraph mentions the procession of the deity on those ten days on different Vahanas like Simha (Lion) Amsa (Swan), Hanumantha, (Monkey) Aswam (Horse), Gajam (Elephant) and Yali to Gangaikondan mandapa.

Ani (June-July) Kodai Utsavam or the summer festival, the Thiruppallandu Sirappu and the Jyeshthabhisheka of the Utsava images were conducted in Ani as mentioned in the Pandya and Vijayanagara epigraphs.

Adi (July-August)  Epigraphic details tell us about the Thiruvadipuram festival in some of the Vaishnava temples, is conducted in Adi. Gajendra moksha is also celebrated on the full moon day in the Tamil month of Adi. This is mentioned in an epigraph dated A.D.1592.

Avani (August-September)  The Pavitrosavam is an important festival observed in all Vishnu temples in the Tamil month of Avani. The Gods are decorated with pavitramala or purificatory garlands made of silk thread. The main significance of this is to obtain expiation for the sins of omission and commission and other shortcomings in the daily worship and other religious rites performed in the temples throughout the year. The Shri Jayanti or birthday of Krishna on the day of the star Rohini also occurs in Avani.

Purattasi (Septemper-October)  In this month the grand Navaratri festival is celebrated for nine days. In the Arulalaperumal temple, both Varadaraja and his consort Perundevi Thayar are brought in procession to the 100-pillared mandapam on the Mahanavami day. Before being taken on a procession, an abhishekam or holy bath is performed for the deities in the mandapam of the Thayar shrine.

Aipasi (October-November)  In this month, besides Deepavali, the festivals for the Mudal-Alwars and Manavala Mahamuni are observed. The inscriptional record of 1582 A.D. clearly mentions about the Manavala Mahamuni Aipasi-Mula-Sirappu. The festival is conducted on his birth anniversary. The honours for this are sent from the main shrine. On these days, Arulalapperumal is brought out and bathed with 81 kalasas or pots, and offerings are made.

Karthigai(November-December)  The Karthigai Deepam festival in the month of Karthigai is one that is observed throughout Tamil Nadu in every home and in every temple. Agni one of the five elements is propitiated on this occasion. For the Shaivas, the Karthigai festival has its origin in the Lingodbhava legend.

Margazhi(December-January)  Arudra, in the month of Margazhi, is the auspicious day of the Kailasanatha temple.

Masi (February-March) The grand float festival or Teppotsavam referred to as Oddani-Thirunal takes place on the full-moon day in this month in the Arulalaperumal temple. This is followed by the procession of the idols of the Perumal and Thayar to the temple garden that is called Dorai Thottam for the Davana Utsavam or the garden-festival. This festival is for 3 days. The main festival in the Kamakshi Amman Temple is Brahmotsavam and it is celebrated for 11 days, while Shivaratri is the main festival in the Kailasanatha temple.

Panguni(March-April)   The wedding function as a part of the Panguni festival is celebrated in all Shiva and Vishnu temples. In the Arulala Perumal temple, the Panguni Pallava Utsavam lasts for 7 days when the Hastagiri Mahatyam, the temple Sthalapurana, is read in the 100-pillared mandapam in the presence of the Lord. The Panguni Utsavam is a unique festival in this temple that lasts for 7 days and culminates on the Uttiram day with the wedding ceremony of Malayala Nachiyar to the Lord. People throng in the thousands to witness this divine wedding.

Car Processions   Gods in the Hindu temples are worshipped in the forms of idols. The idols are installed in the sanctum sanctorum and it will not be moved out for any purpose. However there will be an idol (Urchavar) specially meant for processions that will be bedecked, placed on an ornamental mount completely decorated with flowers. On the seventh day of the festival the idols will be taken to particular streets for people to worship .

How to Go

Kanchipuram is 75 kms away from Chennai and is well connected by a good network of roads. There are frequent bus services from Kanchi to Chennai, Bangalore and other places. Kanchipuram has a railway station and Chennai is the nearest airport.


Air

Meenambakkam Airport in Chennai.

Rail

Railway station on the Chengalpattu-Arakkonam line. Can be reached via Chengalpattu from Chennai.

Road

Connected with all major cities by road.

 
 

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