Kanchipuram Temples

Kamakshi Amman temple is one of the main temples in the city and dedicated to goddess Kamakshi, the Goddess of love. It is one of the three Shakti peetams along with Madurai and Kashi. All the other temples in Kanchipuram do not face East but actually face this temple. Also in this city with so many temples it is strange that there are no other temples with a shrine for Goddess Durga. This temple is tied very closely to Adi Sankaracharya and a lot of the festivals here are begun with his blessings. Foreigners are not allowed into the inner sanctum of the temple as with all the temples in Kanchipuram.

Varadaraja Perumal temple is an ancient temple built by the Cholas in 1053 and one of the 108 divyadesams the holy abodes of Vishnu. It is located in part of Kanchipuram called the Vishnu Kanchi that is a home for a lot of famous Vishnu temples and one of the greatest Hindu scholars, Ramnujacharya is believed to have resided in this temple. The temple itself is on top of Hastigiri hill, which is believed to be Indra's elephant Airavata. There is a hall of 100 pillars and the sculptures on each pillar is stunning. Stories and legends from Hindu mythology are depicted. Hire a guide and he will show you pillars that emit different sounds, one in particular that when the stone is tapped in different places sounds like gold, silver or copper. Once in everyone's lifetime, 40 years, the holy tank, Anantha theertham is emptied and a wooden idol of Lord Attigiri Varadaraja is taken out from under and worshipped by millions. The next festival will be in 2019.

Ekambareswara temple is one of the Pancha Bhutha Sthalas (five elements) and is the Earth form. According to legend, Goddess Parvati, once playfully closed Lord Shiva's eyes and plunged the world into darkness. Shiva, angry cursed Parvati and she turned black like Kali. She then came here to earth and did penance under a mango tree that still exists. Like the Kamakshi temple, ancient shrines existed in these locations prior to 600 AD but the current construction was built by the Pallavas and the Cholas. The temple covers an area of over 40 acres. Reaching a height of 57 meters, the temple's Raja gopuram is one of the tallest in South India and was built by the Vijayanagar King, Krishnadevaraya.

Kailasnatha temple is an early structural Shiva temple built of sandstone in Kanchipuram, India, by a Pallava dynasty king Narasimhavarman II also known as Rajasimha in the early 8th century. It is decorated with Yallis or fierce monsters. The stone gets very hot in the sun so make sure you visit this architectural wonder in the early morning. It is protected by the ASI. The temple is a natural progression to the Mahabalipuram rathas and one can see the architecture develop over the centuries.