Kanchipuram is a city in northern Tamil Nadu, which is known popularly as temple city. It is known for its silk sarees, temples and history. People have attributed a lot of holiness to this place and treat it as the Kashi of the south. It has also been an education and spiritual centre, and considered as a powerful place for spiritual practices. It is considered as one of the saptapuris, the seven sacred centres in India.
I was wanting to visit this city for a long time and my wish was fulfilled last week. I was there on 9th and 10th of November 2020. I went there on Monday morning (9th) from Kadapakkam (Edaikazhinadu), stayed there for the night after visiting some temples during the day, continued the temple visits the next day and returned in the afternoon. It was an amazing experience; I felt home in the city of Kanchipuram and I want to share that experience with the readers.
From the start of this year, my interest has been in exploring temples and their histories. I have already written two blog posts regarding some temples that sparked my interest in Pappankulam of the present Tenkasi district, Tamil Nadu and Edaikazhinadu of Chengalpattu district.
Kanchipuram is different; it is a city of temples and has way more than hundred temples. You can find a temple pretty much in every nook and corner of the city. In my limited time I could only explore a few of them. On the day before the journey, I prepared a list of temples I should visit and marked them in Google maps. It included the important temples which are Kamakshi amman temple, Ekambareswarar temple, Kumarakottam temple, Kailasanatha nathar temple, Vaikunta perumal temple and Varadaraja perumal temple.
The Morning session on Nov 9, 2020
At about 5: 45 AM in the morning, I took a bus that goes from Pondicherry to Chennai through ECR road and got off at Kalpakkam after more than an hour. Took a bus to Chengalpet from there. Having reached Chengalpet, took a bus to Kanchipuram. I reached Kanchipuram at about 9:30 AM.
I was very excited on reaching there and was pretty eager to visit Kamakshi amman temple first. I have always been devoted to the form of Kamakshi. Kamakshi is the ultimate reality personified as a meditating young woman. Paintings and pictures of Kamakshi amman is something that I have always been emotionally connected to. So, I had a feeling of a son going home to see his mother.
Sangupani Vinayagar temple
I knew from the maps that Kamakshi amman temple is very close to the bus stand. So, once I got off, I started walking towards the temple but saw Sangupani Vinayagar temple on the way. It is indeed a tradition to worship Vinayagar (Ganesh) before anything. So I went inside and had a darshan.
Temples of Vinayagar are abundant in Tamil Nadu and there is one almost in every street in Kanchipuram. But I did find out later that this particular temple is actually the most famous and important Vinayagar temple in Kanchipuram. He is called as Sangupani vinayagar because he holds Sangu (conch) in his hand.
Ulagalantha Perumal temple
This temple is also on the way to Kamakshi amman temple from the bus stand. When I was walking, I thought I had found Kamakshi amman temple but it was this temple that I actually saw. As I went closer, it became obvious that I am heading towards a perumal temple (Vishnu temple). Google maps indicated to me that it is the famous Ulagalantha Perumal temple in Kanchipuram.
Perumal temples also have an emotional connection. Whenever I went to my grandmother’s house in Thachanallur, Tirunelveli during childhood, I spent most of my mornings in Varam tharum Perumal temple there. I used to explore the Prakaram (outer part around the sanctum) , spending my time looking at the trees there. So prakarams of Perumal temples always attract me. I also enjoy the Tulsi and Teertham which is not offered these days in most of the temples.
Anyway, I felt like I was called by my maternal uncle for inquiry while I was on the way to meet my mother. So I went inside, had darshan and spent some time before visiting Kamakshi amman temple. This temple is connected to Vamana avatar of Vishnu. It is one of the 108 divyadesams connected to Vishnu; but it houses four divyadesams on its own. (Divyadesams are the 108 temples which are mentioned in the poems sung by Tamil Alvars.)
Kamakshi amman temple:
My favorite temple is very close to Ulagalantha Perumal temple. After a few seconds of walking, I could see the main gopuram (temple tower) of Kamakshi amman temple. I had my breakfast very close to the temple.
Among all those temples I visited in Kanchipuram, this was the only temple which was very strict in following the guidelines for Corona prevention. Wearing a mask was absolutely compulsory and it was checked at the entrance. People were only allowed after applying hand sanitizers. Circles were drawn on the way to darshan to ensure social distancing and it was also monitored by the staff to ensure that people follow it. But because of Corona restrictions, devotees were not allowed to circumambulate. Photography was also strictly prohibited; so I just took a photo of the gopuram.
The temple is a very important temple for Goddess worship in Tamil Nadu, along with Meenakshi amman temple in Madurai. It is one of the shakti peethas. Shakti peethas are 51 sites of Goddess worship situated in various places of Indian subcontinent. As per the legend, 51 body parts of Sati fell on these 51 sites after her self-immolation. This particular Shakti Peetha where Kamakshi resides is associated with Sati’s navel.
There are shrines for Durvasa and Adhi Shankara in this temple. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see them due to covid restrictions. Anyway, I want to say a few things on these shrines.
A Shrine for Durvasa
There is a shrine for Sage Durvasa here. He is known for his short temper in Indian legends. He was the one who consecrated the Bhu-Prastara Sri chakra (diagrammatic representation of the deity) in front of the main deity. He is considered as one among the three chief devotees or upasakas of the deity who form the upasaka traya – the triad of devotees consisting of Manmatha, Lopamudra and Durvasa. As per the legend, Durvasa was born and a dumb and deaf because of the curse of Goddess Sarasvati and was graced by Kamakshi amman. I have already written about Durvasa in my post regarding Pappankulam Thiruvenkadar temple.
The temple is associated with Sri Vidya tradition, a tantric tradition of spiritual practice towards spiritual enlightenment. I found the following interesting anecdote in the website of Kamakoti Mandali, a close-knit group of upasakas (https://www.kamakotimandali.com/):
“A certain lady from Trichy once described a wonderful experience. She was initiated into Srividya by her father-in-law at an early age and she visited Sri Kamalambika Devasthanam frequently. Her Guru passed away while she was still young and she knew nothing but the mula mantra given to her by her Guru. She practiced the same sincerely for years and longed for further guidance. A few years ago, while she was reciting Sri Lalita Sahasranama in the Sannidhi of Kamalambika, an old man with surprisingly sharp features appeared before her and instructed her to have darshan of Srividya Parameshwari at Kanchi, where she would get nyasa etc for her mantra. After she reached Kanchi and had darshan of Amba, she was surprised to see the same old man in the Sannidhi of Amba. The old man pointed to another gentleman and the lady rushed to fall at the feet of this gentleman. Surprised, the gentleman asked her who she was and she narrated the entire story and pointed to the old gentleman who still stood in Amba’s Sannidhanam. The gentleman was Sri Yagnanarayana Shastri, a great Srividya Upasaka from Mysore, and as myself and shastrigal watched in awe, the old man lifted his hands in blessing and disappeared. Later, when we were going round the mantapa and bowed in front of Durvasa’s Sannidhi, the very same face appeared in the Vigraha. Sri Yagnanarayana Shastrigal attained Siddhi in Bangalore in 2003 but Smt. Meenakshi Ammal, now his disciple, visits Kanchi every year and is blessed with the darshan of the great Guru without fail.”
A Shrine for Adhi Shankara
My interest to learn Sanskrit was inspired a lot by my wish to read the Bhagavad Gita commentary of Shankara in the original language. One of the 6 schools that I studied in (Jayendra Golden Jubilee School, Sankarnagar, Tirunelveli) is also associated with Shankara, and particularly with the monastery that Shankara founded in Kanchipuram.
Adhi Shankara is also believed to have installed Sri Chakra in this temple. He is also believed to have spent the last minutes of his life in Kanchipuram.
Once I came out of the temple, I bought a picture that has three deities together: Samayapuram Mariamman, Madurai Meenakshi and Kamakshi Amman. Then, I bought two books from a small shop called ‘Dheivigam” which had some rare collection of Tamil books. Most of the books there had only one copy each; the shopkeeper said that they are not sold in bookshops. Only a few copies for interested readers are made and they are ordered directly from the publisher (similar to Tamil translation of Bhutanatha Gita for which I have written a commentary on this blog).
The next day, November 10, was Aippasi Pooram according to Tamil calendar and it is the actual birthday of Kamakshi amman. It is called ‘ambal Aavir bhavitha dhinam’ which means ‘the day ambal (Goddess) appeared’. But I knew this only after leaving Kanchipuram.
Then I went to Kumarakottam temple. It is just a short walk from Kamakshi amman temple and is situated in the main road.
Kumarakottam is a temple for Lord Murugan, situated close to Kamakshi temple. It is also in between Kamakshi temple and Ekambareswarar temple, where the former is for Parvati (Kamakshi), the Goddess and the latter is for Shiva, the mythological husband of Parvati. Spiritually the couple represent Prakriti and Purusha respectively, as I have often discussed in my blogs. Murugan has also been discussed in my blog posts and he is considered as the son of Shiva and Parvati.
Lord Murugan is in the form of Brahma Shastha, the divine teacher of Brahman or the absolute reality. Kandha Puranam, the Tamil version of the famous Skanda Purana, was composed in this temple by Kachiappa Sivachariyar, a Tamil poet who worked as a priest in this temple.
I read the complete abridged text version of Kandha puranam when I was about nine years old. It is the legend about Lord Murugan. It was composed in a hall in this temple which still exists as ‘Kandhapurana Arangetra Mantapam’. The priests in the temple now are the actual descendants of the poet.
Arunagirinathar, a famous saint and a devotee of Murugan has sung hymns on this temple. Pamban swamigal has also visited the temple. After having darshan, I took some photographs and sat on the steps of ‘Kandhapurana Arangetra Mantapam’.
Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham (monastery)
I left Kumarakottam temple and walked on the same road to visit Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham situated in the corner. It is a monastery established by Adi Shankara.
Visitors are allowed to visit the brindavan inside the mutt. Just like Kamakshi amman temple, wearing a mask and applying hand sanitizer were compulsory. Samadhis of Chandrashekarendra Saraswati swamigal and Jayendra Saraswati swamigal are inside the Brindavan. After spending some quiet time inside, I came outside to visit Ekambareswarar temple.
Ekambareswarar temple is very close to the monastery. The tower of this temple is very tall and hence the presence of the temple is known from a long distance.
Once I entered, I was greeted by the wording ‘anbe sivam’ (Love is God) written on the top of a hall. It is one of my favorite sayings and is a part of Thirumular’s Thirumanthiram.
The gopuram was very beautiful to look at; it is an abode of a lot of parrots too, which were making a huge noise around the temple. The pleasantness of the breeze, the sound of the parrots, the beauty of the temple towers, the shade of the trees outside and everything else about that temple took me to a different world.
It was already about noon and the temple door was soon going to be closed for the afternoon. So, I had to hurry up to make sure that I cover everything in the temple that is worth seeing.
The temple is one of the 5 panchabhuta sthalas dedicated to Lord Shiva. Each of them represent one of the five prime elements. This temple was for the element of earth (‘Prithvi’ in Sanskrit). It covers about 25 acres and has four temple towers; the southern tower is the tallest and is about 58.5 metres (192 feet tall).
There is an old mango tree inside the temple; the board says that it is about 3500 years old. It is the sthala vriksha (sacred, monumental tree) of the temple. The place around the tree is an ideal location to sit in silence or take photographs. Once I came out, I bought two books: one was about temples of Kanchipuram and another one was about temples of Tamil Nadu in general.
It was lunch time. All the temples will be closed until about 4 or 5 pm in the evening. So I went in search of accommodation for the night. I was looking for something very simple and of low cost, preferably under Rs.800. All I needed was a place to sleep, use the toilet, charge my phone and take a bath. I thought of finding something very close to the Ekambareswarar temple. One auto-driver took me to a lodge close to the temple but it was full . He then asked me to find something close to the bus stand but he also warned that I wasn’t going to find anything for a low price that I was expecting.
So I finished lunch and took an auto to the bus stand. When I talked to the auto-driver this time, he also said the same thing that the first one said; but then he stopped at a small hotel and said that the manager may give a discount. I went in and told the manager that I was a single person wanting to visit temples and was looking for some place to stay. He was kind enough to give me a room for a discounted price that I could afford. It was Hari residency, which is very close to the Kumarakottam temple. There are just three or four shops between the temple and the hotel. Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham is also on the same road, just in the corner which is a few steps away.
The room was pretty comfortable. I had a wonderful stay there. That afternoon I took some rest in the room and also went through the booklet about the temples in Kanchipuram. Then I took a bath and planned to go to Varadharaja perumal temple.
The temples I visited so far are pretty close to each other. But this one that I was going to visit was in little Kanchipuram, a suburb which is about 3 kilometres south east to the bus stand. The area is also known as ‘Vishnu Kanchi’ because of the presence of a high number of Vishnu temples.
I went and had a coffee in the coffee shop right next to Kumarakottam temple. From the shopkeeper, I came to know that I have to take a share auto (Rs.20) to reach the temple which is the last destination in the south for any trip in share auto within the city.
The Afternoon Session on Nov 9, 2020
Varadharaja Perumal Temple
Varadharaja Perumal Temple was just another extraordinary beauty. I got that familiar ‘perumal temple feeling’; the temple was indeed the best choice for an evening visit.
This temple is also one among the 108 divya desams. The temple is famous for the form of Vishnu known as ‘Atthi Varadar’; the idol is made of the Atthi or the fig tree. It is stored in an underground chamber inside the temple tank and taken out only once in every 40 years. Once it is taken out, it is kept for worship for 48 days. Last time this happened in 2019.
Inside a temple, there is a room upstairs where two lizards are depicted on the roof; a larger one in gold and a little one in silver. As per the legend, two disciples of sage Gautama were cursed to become these lizards. You have to pay Rs.2 to see the lizards; devotees believe that their sins will be washed away after seeing them.
When I came out, it was extremely beautiful to watch the sunset as the sun was coming down behind the temple tower. The architecture is amazing and sculptures are beautiful, which is common for most of the temples in Kanchipuram.
I visited two more Perumal (Vishnu) temples on the way back; they are situated opposite to each other: Yathothkari Perumal Temple and Ashtabhuja Perumal temple.
Yathothkari Perumal Temple:
I asked in a coffee shop near Varadharaja perumal temple, who told me about these two temples. Once I got down I crossed the road and went first to this Yathokthakari Perumal Temple.
This temple also is one of the 108 divya desams. In Tamil, the form of perumal is called ‘Sonnavannam Seitha Perumal’, roughly translated as the deity of Perumal who did what he said. With the little Sanskrit I know, I could recognize that the compound word is made of three words: yatha – ukta-kari. Yatha means ‘how or what way”; ukta -means ‘that which is said’; ‘kari’ means ‘the doer”. Poigai Azhwar, one of the Tamil poet saints or alwars, was born in this temple.
There was almost nobody inside except the priest and a couple of others. Once I finished the darshan, the sun had set and it was dark. I crossed the road and went to Ashtabhuja Perumal temple which was on the other side.
Ashtabhuja Perumal temple
This temple is again another one among the 108 divyadesams. Ashtabhuja means ‘with eight arms’. Vishnu here appears with eight arms.
This temple is associated with a legend of Brahma doing a penance towards Vishnu. As per another legend, an elephant called Gajendra used to worship the deity here everyday using the lotus from the temple tank. Once a crocodile in the tank caught its leg. Elephant prayed to Vishnu for help; Vishnu killed the crocodile with his discus. This incident is known as gajendra moksham.
I took another share auto and asked the driver to drop me at Kachabeswarar temple, a Shiva temple very close to the hotel I was staying at. It is in the same street where this temple is in the southern end and the monastery of Adhi Shankara is in the northern end.
‘Kachchapa’ in Sanskrit means ‘Tortoise’. The temple got this name because according to the legend, Vishnu worshipped Shiva by taking the form of a tortoise.
I could see a lot of students studying with their books in many corners inside, as the campus of the temple was very spacious. Since it was about 7 pm in the evening, there were more people. If you need a spacious place to spend your evening in a peaceful manner, you can go to this temple. If you are a student and need a good place to study for your exams, then this is an awesome place. It was obvious as there was someone sitting with a textbook near every shrine.
I still had time left for the day. I heard that Kailasanathar temple would have closed by 5 pm in the evening. So I decided to walk to Vaikunta perumal temple, which is near the bus stand. While I was walking, I saw a small temple named Chitragupta temple on the left side of the road; so I went in.
Chitragupta is a mythical person who keeps the account of our good and bad deeds; he is the assistant of Yama, the God of death. You don’t usually see a Chitragupta temple in India; that’s very unusual. I didn’t know he was worshipped in temples until I went here. Then I found that there is one more temple for him in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh.
Chitragupta is associated with Ketu, the ninth graha in Indian astrology. So people who have issues in their birth chart related to Ketu visit this temple.
Vaikunta Perumal temple
I reached this temple when it was about to be closed. This is also one among the 108 divya desams. The temple is also called as ‘Thiru Parameswara Vinnagaram’. It is famous for its architecture and the sculptures.
The temple has three vertically aligned sanctum sanctorums but the public are allowed to visit only the one at the ground floor. It was dark when I went there and that wasn’t really the best time to go there. I didn’t take much pictures as it was dark but you can find a lot of beautiful pictures of this temple on the internet.
There is an Ayyappan temple opposite to this temple. I went there too and had a darshan. Then I started walking towards my room. I had dinner on the way and had a very good sleep.
The Morning session on Nov 10, 2020
I got up at about 5 am in the morning and took a bath, as I was planning to have darshan in any temple as early as possible. Once I walk out of the room, Shankara mutt is on the right side and Kachabeswarar temple is on the left, both are at the two ends of the same street. Taking left from Kachabeswarar temple goes to the bus stand and Vaikunta perumal temple, whereas taking right goes to Kailasanathar temple. I was planning to take right and explore the area, to see what other temples are there.
I had a coffee and started walking on the road towards Kailasanathar temple. I went into the streets to see what other temples were there; none of them were open. I reached Kailasanathar temple only to find out that it would open at 9 AM. There was a lot of time until that.
A Shiva temple very close to Kailasanathar temple is Anekadhangavadeswarar Temple. It was on the way, just before I reached Kailasanathar temple. I decided to go there, and visit other temples as well until this one opened.
Anekadhangavadeswarar Temple is one of the Paadal Petra Thalams (temples that are revered in the verses of Saiva Nayanars in the 6th-9th century CE). As per the legend, the Linga in the temple was established by Vinayagar or Ganesh, the son of Lord Shiva. The temple was also worshipped by Kubera, the king of wealth.
When I went there, the gate was open but the main shrine was closed. There was nobody inside. The place was kind of a secluded spot. While I was circumambulating the temple, the priest came and opened the door. I had a chat with him for a few minutes. Then I started walking back to explore the area near Ekambareswarar temple.
There is a corner where two roads meet, close to Brahmakumaris Rajayoga meditation centre. I had some idlis for breakfast in a kaiyendhi bhavan (a roadside shop where you usually stand and eat) there.
Chandaveli (or Santhaveli) amman temple
This is a temple located in a busy street and it is a bit close to another famous perumal temple called Pandava Dhootha temple. This is a family deity for many people and has a lot of village guardian deities inside.
As per the legend, Kamakshi amman set up guardian deities in eight directions when she was doing the penance, so that no one would disturb her. This deity is one among the eight deities; she was originally called Chandraveli amman. She got this name because the temple is close to Chandra Pushkarini theertham.
There is a cow shed inside with a lot of cows. Then there are various statues including the ones for Madurai Veeran, Nagar, Mariamman etc. People worship this Goddess to get relieved from various diseases.
Draupathi Amman temple
I started walking towards the north after coming out of Chandaveli amman temple. I went in search of nearby temples and ended up in Panjupettai big street, which goes towards the street north to the Ekambareswarar temple. Draupathi Amman temple is a small temple in Panjupettai big street.
Draupadi or Draupathi is the wife of Pandavas in Mahabharata. She is also believed to be an incarnation of Mariamman. She is a family deity for many communities.There was no one here. Spent a few minutes here.
Gangai amman temple
This temple is in Panjupettai big street, very close to a famous Shiva temple called Ona Kantheeswarar Temple. It is a very small temple where river Ganges is worshipped as the Goddess. I went inside and had a darshan before going to the Shiva temple right next to it.
Ona Kantheeswarar Temple
This is also one of the padal petra sthalams. The temple is located in an elevated structure. So you have to climb a few steps to enter.
The temple has three different shrines of Shiva with names Oneswarar, Kantheswarar and Jalandareswarar. These three lingas are believed to be self-manifested (swayambhu moorthy). As per the legend, three asuras (demons) worshipped the three lingas.
Chevandheswarar Temple is the next temple I went to, which is also a Shiva temple. I had to continue walking in the Panjupettai big street and take left at the end to reach this temple. This is behind Ekambareswarar temple.
People visit this temple to eliminate Chevvai Dosham or Mars Dosha . A Dosha is a term used in Indian astrology to mean the unfavourable position of a planet in a person’s birth chart. Since it was Tuesday, there was a huge crowd in the temple. As per the legend, Vayu, the lord of winds, worshipped Shiva here using Chrysanthemum flowers.
Once I finished darshan here, I walked back to enter a street that runs along the back side and then the left side (Eastern) of Ekambareshwar temple. The temple compound wall is very tall and the gopuram looks very beautiful from the streets around the temple.
Arasu Katha Amman temple
I found this Arasu Katha Amman temple as I walked in the road which runs right opposite to the gopuram of Ekambareswarar temple. The name of this street is Ekambaranathar sannidhi street. Just like Chandaveli amman, Arasu Katha amman was also one of the deities guarding the penance of Kamakshi amman, as per the legend; in fact, she was the leader of this guardian gang. Usually, the forms of mother Goddess Parvati or Amman is seen with a lion as the vehicle; but this Goddess has elephant as the vehicle, which is very unique.
The Amman is also called as sampathkariswari. Sampath means wealth and kari means elephant. The Amman got this name because she bestows wealth while riding on the elephant. ‘Arasu’ means kingdom and ‘katha’ means the one who saved; she got the name ‘Arasu katha Amman’ because she was the custodian to Chola kingdom.
Once I finished darshan in Arasu Katha Amman temple, I went to the street right next to it to visit Meikandeeswarar temple. This temple is a part of ‘Thondai Mandala Atheenam”, a Shaivite monastery established in the 14th century.
There was no one inside. I just saw the beautiful linga. After having darshan, I walked out and found ‘Renugambal temple’ in the corner of the same street.
Renuka is a Goddess who is also called Yellamma or Yellai Amman. It was probably because of the merger of two different traditions. Renuka was the wife of sage Jamadagni and was known for her chastity. I visited the temple and sat inside for a few minutes in silence. Then I went back to the previous street to visit two more temples there.
I saw this Thanthondreeswarar temple in Ekambaranathar sannidhi street. Unfortunately the temple was closed. There is a big statue of Shiva on the top, at the entrance.
At the entrance, it was written that Shiva in this temple was worshipped by sage Upamanyu. I kept walking towards the north, facing Ekambareswarar temple tower, to reach Jurahareswarar temple which was just a few metres away.
Jurahareswarar temple is another beautiful Shiva temple with wonderful architecture, in a peaceful location. People worship in this temple to get cure from fever; the name Jurahareswarar literally means the one who takes away the fever or diseases which happen along with a rise in body temperature. As per the legend, Devas worshipped here to get recovery from fever.
I sat there for a few minutes admiring the beauty of the temples and the trees around. The occasional sounds of birds and the coolness of the shade added an additional flavour to the experience.
Pandava Thoothar temple
Once you leave Jurahareswarar temple, you have to take the next left which is right after the temple and walk another few metres to reach Pandava Dhootha temple (or Pandava Thoothar temple). This is again one of the 108 divya desams dedicated to Vishnu.
I had been trying to visit this temple since the morning; I went there twice (once at 6:30 AM and then again at 7:30 AM) but it was closed. My third attempt was successful.
The temple is associated with Krishna of Mahabharata, who is one of the avatars of Vishnu. His statue inside the garbhagriha is about 25 feet tall and he is in sitting form. Krishna Janmashtami or the birthday of Krishna is a very important festival in this temple.
Swami Arulala Perumal Emperumanar, also called Yagnamurthy came to this temple and had a debate with Sri Ramanuja; he was defeated and became the disciple of Ramanuja. So, the birthday of Swami Arulala Perumal Emperumanar (Bharani of Karthigai month) is also celebrated in this temple.
The time was about 10 AM as I was about to leave from there; my next destination was Kailasanathar temple, the long awaited one, which was supposed to open after 9 AM. The temple is a bit away from all the other temples that I visited that morning; it is in the western limits of Kanchipuram city, on the bank of Vegavathy river.
Kailasanathar temple is the oldest temple in Kanchipuram. This is also one of the most important temples in Kanchipuram. It is a beautiful temple with wonderful stone carvings.
The temple has about 58 small shrines of various forms of Shiva. The place where it is situated is one of the three kanchis (short form for Kanchipuram) called Shiva Kanchi; the other two are Vishnu Kanchi and Jain Kanchi. There is a secret tunnel inside the temple used by kings to escape when their safety was threatened.
The temple was built during Pallava’s period (640-730 AD) along with Vaikunta Perumal temple. You will get a different feel and experience in this temple. There is a grassland before the temple and a couple of stone benches are there to sit. You can sit and enjoy the view. I spent a long time there, admiring the beauty and taking pictures. The photos I took here will speak more than these words; so check them out.
The time has crossed 11 AM. I have to check out the hotel by noon. To walk back to the hotel, I have to walk on the straight road until Kachabeswarar temple and then take left from there. I began to walk slowly, having one last look at both sides of the road and checking if there was anything else to visit on the way.
This is not a temple; this is something interesting I saw on the way. Kanchi Kudil is an ancestral property which has been turned into a tourist place. The board caught my eye.
I went inside and met a lady who was sitting in the reception. She said that there is a ticket to enter, which costs Rs.10. I bought the ticket and went inside. The lady gave me an introduction about the place.
How did the house of a joint family in Kanchipuram that survived on agriculture about 100 years before look like? Kanchi Kudil takes you back on time. This house is about 100 years old; they have preserved the furniture, utensils, clothing, equipment and more of those days. The house reminded me of some ancestral houses I have seen in Tirunelveli district when I was young.
Airavateswarar Temple is right opposite to Kachabeswarar temple; there might be a natural tendency to ignore the temple since it looks so small and simple in front of the large Kachabeswarar temple with a high temple tower. Also, the temple has a small entrance and one has to look twice to recognize the presence of a temple there.
It is one of the oldest temples, built during Pallava’s time. Since this temple is on the way back to the hotel, I went inside and had a darshan.
The Final Hour
The time is up. I went near Kamakshi amman temple, for two reasons. If the temple was open I could go there once more; if the Deivigam book store was open I could browse for more interesting books.
But the bookstore was closed; a single door in the Kamakshi amman temple was closed, indicating that they were just waiting for the devotees who were already inside to come out. Anyway, it was Aippasi Pooram day as I mentioned in this post, which I came to know only after leaving Kanchipuram.
I went back to the room, put my phone on the charger and took a rest for some time. Then I packed my things and told the manager that I was checking out; I had already made the payment the first day.
The owner called me near and asked me how the stay was. I told him it was very good and I thanked him for the discount. I also asked for his card. I left a positive review with 5-star ratings in Google Maps.
I walked to Kanchipuram bus stand and had lunch in a restaurant inside. I got a bus directly to Kalpakkam, from which I could take a bus to Kadapakkam. I reached my residence in Kadapakkam in the evening.