Temples in Kanchipuram
Dedicated to Lord Siva, Kailasanatha is one of the earliest temples built by Rajasimha and his son Mahendra in the 8th century A.D. There are 58 small shrines situated round the main shrine. Fresco-style paintings adorn the inner walls of the shrines. Sandstone was used in the construction of this temple. It is the only temple at Kanchipuram which is not cluttered with the more recent additions of the Cholas and Vijayanagar rulers. Fragments of the eighth century murals which once graced the alcoves are a visible eminder of how magnificent the temple must have looked when it was first built.
Varadarajar temple is a massive and impressive edifice. This is another Vishnu temple on Hastagiri rock at the end of the town. The Hundred-Pillar-hall erected during the Vijayanagar period in this temple is noted for its exquisite sculptures. The ornamental rings carved out of a single stone in a chain at the four corners are the special features of the hall. The riders on horseback, beautiful figures of Rathi and Manmatha, exquisite temple jewellery are other notable features. This temple provides a glimpse of a 16th century pillared pavilion with an exuberant workmanship. The annual Garudothsavam (May - June) is most colourful and draws thousands of devotees.
Vaikunta Perumal Temple
This is one of the important Vishnu temples built by the Pallava king Nandhivarman Pallavamalla in the 7th Century A.D. This temple was built a few years after the construction of Kailasanathar temple. Numerous inscriptions are found in this temple relating to the wars between Pallavas and Chalukyas. Besides these inscriptions, the battle scenes of the Pallavas with Gangas and Chalukyas are depicted in bas-relief around the main Prakaram.
Devarajaswamy Temple: Vijayanagara kings built this temple dedicated to Vishnu. It has a beautifully sculptured pillared hall and a marriage hall. Within the large temple tank a 10m statue of Vishnu is immersed. Once in every 40 years the tank will be drained so that the statue could be viewed. It was viewed last in 1979 and said to have had visitors over 10 million.
Ekambaranathar Temple: This is one of the largest temples in Kanchi. The temple is dedicated to Shiva and covers approximately 12 hectares. The Pallavas built this thousand-pillared temple in the 7th century. Later the Cholas and the Vijayanagara kings improved it. Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar dynasty built the 59m tall gopuram and the massive outer stone wall in 1509. The mango tree in the temple yard, believed to be 3500 years old, has four branches representing four Vedas. The tree still bears fruits.