Our first destination for the day was Kanchipuram (Kanchi), a district in Tamil Nadu which is famous for its ancient historic temples and world-famous silk sarees. As planned, we started our journey at 4.30 AM the morning. My in-laws also joined us for this trip/function. Starting at this time of the day (sometimes even 3 AM in the morning) has become a habit for us. During our previous trips, we had found a lot of advantages when we start at this time of the day. The pleasant morning drive had always given us wonderful experiences. We always reached the destination early and without any delay from our planned time (there were no unwanted delays due to traffic jams or waiting in the long queues near the toll gates, etc).
The road that we took to reach Kanchipuram was a wide and very well maintained highway (AH43 and AH45). At around 7.30 AM, we reached Vellore where we planned to have our breakfast at a Saravana Bhavan hotel. The hotel was inside the city, so we had to take a diversion from the highway. Luckily, breakfast was available at that time. The quality of the food was very good, but the quantity was very less and was very expensive.
After breakfast, we started from Vellore at 8.30 AM. From Vellore to Kanchipuram, the distance is around 72 km and since the highway was very well maintained, we reached Kanchipuram at 10 AM, exactly as we assumed. Kanchipuram, the capital city of the popular and powerful Pallava dynasty, is called “City of thousand temples” because it has numerous ancient temples which are rich in history. But, since we did not have much time to explore, we planned to cover only four famous temples.
- Timings: 6 AM to 12 noon and 4 PM to 8 PM
- Entry fee: none
Kailasanathar temple is the first temple that we visited. This is considered to be the oldest temple in Kanchipuram built during the Pallava dynasty (685-705 AD). It indeed looks very old, but still shows its glory in each and every corner of the temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is built in Dravidian Architectural style. The temple’s main attraction is the array of 58 shrines surrounding the main shrine. Each of these shrines has pillars with the unique and beautiful designs of mythical lions. The sculptures in every corner are very beautifully carved. After praising the excellence of our older generation for some time, we waited for the priest to offer pooja to Lord Shiva. After the pooja, we continued our journey towards Ekambaranathar temple.
Ekambaranathar (Ekambareshwarar) temple
- Timings: 6 AM to 12.30 PM and 4 PM -8.30 PM
- Entry fee: none
Our next place to visit was Ekambaranathar temple which is just 2 km from Kailasanthar temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered to be the largest temple in Kanchipuram. As soon as we went near the temple, all of us were surprised to see the 59 m tall Raja Gopuram. This entrance tower is one of the tallest Gopurams in India. The other attraction of this temple is the hallway with thousand pillars, which was built by the Vijayanagar Kings. The hallway is extremely beautiful. The temple’s inner walls are decorated with an array of 1,008 Siva lingams. One another attraction is the holy mango tree which is believed to be 3,000 years old. There is not many of intricate carvings in this temple, but the huge number of pillars, tall Gopuram, and the ancient mango tree make this temple a “must visit” place.
Kamakshi Amman Temple
- Timings: 5.30 AM to 12.30 PM and 4 PM to 8.30 PM
- Entry fee: none
This temple is dedicated to Goddess Kamakshi, one of the forms of Parvathi, and is the most famous temple in Kanchipuram. The temple is said to be built during the Chola dynasty, but the place is assumed to be thousands of years old. People come to this temple from different parts of India. The temple is very near to the Kanchi bus stand, but the road leading to this temple is narrow and filled with tourist vehicles. As we entered the temple premises, we saw a long queue waiting to go inside the temple. We immediately decided not to go inside because we were running out of time and the queue was so huge that it would have taken a minimum of 1 hr to get inside. So, we just walked around the main temple and came out. The temple has four entrances with temple towers on all the entrances and also has a small holy tank. We felt very sad for not being able to go inside this popular temple.
Varadharaja Perumal Temple
- Timings: 7.30 AM to 12.30 PM and 3.30 PM to 8.30 PM
- Entry fee: none
We left the Kamakshi Amman temple at around 12 noon. There was a traffic jam as soon as we came out of the temple. The road leading to our next destination Varadharaja Perumal Temple was going through the main streets of Kanchipuram. Everywhere we could see the well-known handwoven silk saree shops. The road was heavily crowded. So, it took us half an hour to reach Varadharaja Perumal temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. When we reached the temple, the time was 12.25 PM and they were about to close the entry. Luckily, they allowed us inside. Again, this temple was also crowded and therefore we could not explore this temple properly. The temple is huge and is said to be built during the Chola dynasty in the 10th century. Outside the main shrine, there is a 100 pillared hall which is said to be constructed during the Vijayanagara empire. Each pillar is carved flawlessly in this hall. Among the architectural pieces, the most prominent one is the huge stone chain sculpted in a single stone. It is truly an example of the perfection of Vijayanagara architecture.
When we completed our visit to the Perumal temple, the time was 1 PM and Chennai was around 2 hrs drive from the place. The drive from Kanchi to Chennai was a bit boring. Though the road was good, the weather was extremely sunny. We reached Tambaram at around 3 PM and had lunch in Ananda Bhavan in Tambaram. When I was working in Chennai, I had stayed in Tambaram. So, having lunch in this hotel, made me feel nostalgic for few minutes. The place had not changed much in 6 years.
After lunch, we checked into the hotel that we booked at around 4.30 PM. The room was very good. From the hotel, the wedding venue was at 10 km. distance. After taking a rest for half an hour, we got ready for the wedding reception and reached the venue at around 6.30 PM.
- Route Traveled: BTM Layout > Hosur > Vellore > Kanchipuram > Chennai
- Photos: Kanchipuram Photos
The total toll fee that we paid during our journey is as follows:
|Toll Plaza Name||Fee (Single journey, Car)|
I have been only to Kamakshi amman temple. Need to plan for kanchipuram again.
Yeah.. there are number of temples in Kanchi apart from these temples I mentioned.. Plan accordingly..