City of Thousand Temples
Kanchipuram is one among the most sacred pilgrimage sites in India. The city has some of the most grand and majestic temples to sweep you off your feet, with their striking architectural marvel. These temples are not only sacred sites, but also a study of the architectural evolution within South Indian style of temple architecture. These temples reflect architectural experimentations, restructuring and refinement that underwent under different dynasties that ruled the city.
Temples of Kanchipuram
As one of the seven holiest cities of India, Kanchipuram housed thousand temples of which only 200 are extant. These temples are the epitome of flourishing Pallava art and architecture with the embellishments from the Chola, the Vijayanagara and Chalukyas kings. Some of the most important temples are as follows:
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Ekambaranathar Temple was built by the Pallavas and later reconstructed by the Chola and Vijayanagar kings. This temple makes excellent trip to Kanchipuram. Sprawling over 11 stories and one of the tallest temple towers in South India, it has some of the most awe-inspiring sculptures, and features a thousand pillared mandapan (hall).
Vaikuntha Perumal Temple
Dating back to the 8th century, Vaikuntha temple was built by Nandivarma Pallava and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. There are scenes from battle carved on the panels encircling the main parikrama of this Vaishnavite temple. These scenes depict the bravery of Pallava kings.
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu who is worshipped as Devarajaswamy here. This temple has a 100-pillared hall, built by the Vijayanagar kings presenting the skillfulness of their artists.
The Pallava kings constructed the Kailasanathar Temple in the 8th century AD. It has a captivating panel portraying Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in the midst of one of their many dance competitions. The architecture of this temple resembles the Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram.
Kamakshi Amman Temple
Dedicated to goddess Parvati in her incarnation as Kamakshi, the goddess of Love, this is one of the three holy places of Shakti worship in India. The other two are in Madurai and Varanasi. The Cholas built the temple in its present form, during the 14th century AD.