August 21, 2016

Kanchipuram City of Temples and Silk

This is a perfect day trip from Bangalore or Chennai with a overnight stay.  We visited during August 15th,  It was heavily crowded in all temples that time as it was a long weekend. 

Kanchi was ruled by almost all different kings such as Pandya, Vijayanagara, Pallava and Chola. Each king built his own religious temples. Pallava's built temples for Tithankaras. During British rule, this town is called Conjeevaram. The Wiki has lot more details.

Kanchipuram has three major sections Shiva Kanchi, Vishnu Kanchi and Jaina Kanchi each with many temples related to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Tirthankaras respectively. 

Bodhidharma, the Buddhist monk and founder of Shaolin KungFu was the third son of Pallava King from Kanchipuram. Bodhidharma spread the Zen school of Buddhism from India to China. 

Trilokyanatha and Chandraprabha temple is a twin Jain temple that has inscriptions from Pallava king in Kanchipuram and locally called Thiruparruthikundram.

There is a wiki which details all the list of temples in a page, click here to read. 

Few Important facts to read

  • If you happen to visit Kanchipuram on Friday, don't forget to check the Golden chariot procession late evening at Kamakshi temple.
  • There is a Mango tree in Ekambareswarar Temple which is 3500 years old and bearing sweet, sour, tangy and bitter taste mangoes. This temple tower rises upto 193 feet high. 
  • Kailasanathar temple is the oldest in town, built using soft sandstone same as you see in Mamallapuram shore temple. Beautiful sculptures, yali - lion faced creatures and the tower are worth seeing here.
  • Dont miss the Ulagalandha perumal temple where you get to see 25 feet high Idol of Ulagalanda perumal - meaning one who measured the earth i.e. one leg on land and other on sky.
  • Very close to Sankara Mutt, there is a Pandava thoothar perumal temple where you get to see 25 feel high idol of perumal.
  • Varadaraja Perumal Temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams and the tower is 130 feet high. There is a 100-pillared mandapam where you get to see a stone chains, Yali - lion faced creatures and amazing sculptures.
  • Dont forget to visit Dr.Annadurai memorial house where you get to see lots of photos of Dr.Annadurai, his house belongings etc. 
  • Kanchi Kudil is the typical house in Kanchipuram those days with Thinnai, Kollai with Mutram (Kollai - Courtyard), rooms on all sides of the main hall, swing ..etc. Dont forget to visit this. 
  • Kachiyapper, a Tamil and Sanskrit scholar, was the priest in the Kumarakottam Temple. He composed the text Kandapuranam. The hall, the Kandapurana Arangetra Mantapam (An outdoor pavilion) where Kachiyapper composed the text still exists in the temple complex. Saint Arunagirinathar has sung hymns in praise of the Murugan icon of the temple

Pancha bhoota stalam ("பஞ்ச பூதத்தலங்கள்" in Tamil)

Kanchipuram Ekambareswarar temple is one of the temples that belongs to five elements of nature.
Note: Click the Temple Link to read my blog which has details and photos of the temple.

Reaching Kanchipuram

All the trains except Shatabdi express going from Bangalore to Chennai stop at Arakonam which is just 30Kms from Kanchipuram.  You can get down at Arakonam and catch a bus which is frequently available at cheap rates.

If you are driving, then use Google map. From Bangalore this is close to 280Kms and takes around 5 hours.

Note: Now the Google search has options to search trains as well, search for "trains from bangalore to kanchipuram" and you will see the details

Stay options

Dont get carried away by the posh-looks of the hotels from outside, you need to really go and check the rooms and then decide if you want to stay. There are only two good options I could see are GRT regency and MM Hotels. We stayed at GRT and read the review here.

Places to see and tips to plan

There are plenty of temples in Kanchipuram (heard more than 100+), but the below are few important ones you don't want to miss. 
  1. Kamakshi Amman Temple
  2. Ekambareswarar Temple
  3. Kailasanathar Temple
  4. Varadharaja Perumal Temple
  5. Ulagalantha Perumal Temple
  6. Kumarakottam Murugan Temple
  7. Dr.Annadurai Memorial
  8. Kanchi Kudil - Typical Kanchipuram house
  9. Sankara Mutt or Kanchipuram Kamakoti Peetam
You don't want to drive around with your car and dent/scratch your car, instead go for the Auto-rickshaw for the whole day to visit all the temples and places around. One of the reason is that, it is difficult to find the parking lot, the roads are very narrow close to temples and get blocked also it is fast and easy for the Auto to take us around the places than we search. 

All the important temples listed above are within 3 to 5Kms radius only, so it will not take more than a day to see all the temples. Start early in morning to avoid the crowds and queue. Most of the temples close by 12PM noon and re-opens by 4 in evening and close by 8PM. 

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

This is just 50Kms from Kanchipuram, incase if you are interested in Bird photography or Bird watching, then plan to visit this place. Best season is between November to March. 


Hand-woven ("கைத்தறி" - Kaithari in Tamil) silk sarees are very famous here and most of the workforce in this town are involved in weaving industry.  You might need to ask if the saree is pure silk or just few silk threads are used. There are cotton sarees with few silk threads and there are pure silk sarees as well. There are many big brand shops available. I suggest to try BM Silks, AS Babu shah, Nalli silks, Kamakshi Co-optex are good options to consider. 

Food options

When you visit the temples, dont forget to check the Prasadam counter inside the temples (Not outside) where you get Puliyogare ("புளியோதரை" in tamil), Sweet Pongal, Laddu, Vada, Muruku which can energise you instantly. 

Hotel Saravana Bhavan (HSB), Adayar Anada Bhavan (A2B) and India Coffee house are good options.  

Now, Lets move onto the photos...

Kanchipuram Varadharaja Perumal Temple Tower
130 Feet Tall Varadaraja Perumal Temple Tower

Kanchipuram Varadharaja Perumal Temple Tank
Temple Tank of Varadaraja Perumal Temple

Kanchipuram Varadharaja Perumal Temple Mandapam Stone Chain
Notice the Stone chain and Yali, beautiful 100 pillared Mandapam at Varadaraja Perumal Temple

Kanchipuram Varadharaja Perumal Temple Huge Umbrella
I have not seen such a huge umbrella anywhere, did you? At Varadaraja Perumal Temple

Kanchipuram Kailasanathar Temple Tower
Kailasanathar Temple Tower view 
Kanchipuram Kailasanathar Temple Yali
Yazhi or Yali - Lion faced creature at Kailasanathar Temple

Kanchipuram Kailasanathar Temple Sculptures

Kanchipuram Kailasanathar Temple Sculptures

Kanchipuram Kailasanathar Temple Sculptures

Kanchipuram Kailasanathar Temple Tower

Kanchipuram Kailasanathar Temple Tower

Kanchipuram Kailasanathar Temple Dwarapalaka

Kanchipuram Kailasanathar Temple Nandi

Kanchipuram Kailasanathar Temple View

kanchipuram Ekambareswarar Temple Tower
194 feet tall kanchipuram Ekambareswarar Temple Tower

kanchipuram Ekambareswarar Temple Tower
Close view of kanchipuram Ekambareswarar Temple Tower

Kanchipuram Kamakshi Amman Temple
Kanchipuram Kamakshi Amman Temple

Sankara Mutt or Kanchipuram Kamakoti Peetham
Sankara Mutt or Kanchipuram Kamakoti Peetham

Kanchipuram Anna Memorial
Dr. Annadurai Memorial house

Kanchi Kudil Thinnai
View of Kanchi Kudil and Thinnai 
Kanchi Kudil Thinnai
Kanchi Kudil Thinnai

Kanchi Kudil
Info Board at Kanchi Kudil

Kanchi Kudil Paai or Dry grass mat
Do you see the locker and notice the beautiful Paai - Dry grass mat

Kanchi Kudil Main Hall with Swing
Notice the famous wooden toy "Marapachi" on left and teak wooden pillars, swing

Kanchi Kudil Main Hall with Kolam or Rangoli
Notice the shining red floor and the beautiful Kolam or Rangoli

Kanchi Kudil
Visitors place at Kanchi Kudil

Kanchi Kudil Swing and Teak pillars
Beautiful isn't it? See the roof, supported with wood

Kanchi Kudil Thotti Children room
Typical "Thotti" for new-borns

Kanchi Kudil Wooden Rocking horse
Typical Kanchi Kudil Wooden Rocking horse

Conjeevaram Kanchi Kudil British Certificate
British certificate - Notice the name Conjeevaram

Hope you liked this post, add your comments, suggestions below in comments section. Share with your friends. You may also want to read about other temples of south india from below blogs: 


Temple Towers of South India - Photos of most of the temples of South India with the link to blogpost for more details on each temple. 


Temple Vahanas


  1. Really useful information. Thank you

  2. Good compilation. There are 7-8 Divya Desams within the limits of Kanchipuram. I can recollect few
    - Varadaraja Perumal, Yathothkari Perumal (Sonna vannam seitha Perumal), Ashtabuja Perumal, Ulagalandha Perumal temple complex itself has 3-4 Divyadesams, one inside Kamatchi amman temple, Vijaya Raghava Perumal (Thirupukkuzhi just outside Kanchi on the Vellore NH).

    There are few major Shiva temples also - Kachabeswarar, Kailasanathar apart from Ekambaranathar.

    Regarding food, Sakthi Ganapathy hotels with multiple branches serve most authentic Kanchipuram cuisine. Bonda Sambar, kanchipuram Idly, Filter coffee are really good.

    I do not have good opinion on most Silk showrooms, they outsource from other remote areas like Andhra, Arani etc. However, Silk cooperative society are relatively more reliable.

    I am native of a village near Kanchipuram and I have still not seen enough of Kanchi in 30 years :)

    1. Thanks for adding details which might benefit the readers. Thanks for the feedback.

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