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Timings : 6:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

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Kailasanathar Temple, Kanchipuram Overview

Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple is an important religious site is located on the banks of the Vedavathi River, at the western limits, facing the east side in the Kanchipuram city of Tamil Nadu. The temple holds great significance and value for the Hindu devotees and is visited by a large number of tourists all year round, but the number of visitors increases drastically at the time of the Mahashivratri.

The Kanchi Kailasanathar temple is embellished with beautiful paintings and fantastic sculptures. The Temple is the most ancient temple from amongst all the temples that are located in Tamil Nadu and was built during 685 A.D. and 705 A.D. The construction of this grand structure was started by the Pallava ruler Rajasimha, whereas his son Mahendra Varma Pallava completed it.

The architecture of the temple is an excellent example of the Dravidian style of construction, and the temple is carved out of sandstone. The architectural beauty of this temple is remarkably different from that of all the other temples in Tamil Nadu. A striking feature is the sixteen-sided Shiva lingam that is made up of black granite at the main shrine.

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History of Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple

The Pallava dynasty had established their kingdom in Kanchipuram, which is also known as Kanchi or Shiva Vishnu Kanchi, as their capital city. The kings then expanded their territories within the Tamil, Andhra and Kannada territories and started building many temples of great significance and value under their Emperor Narasimhavarman I. Two of the temples that stand out and are worth mentioning are the Tiru Parameswara Vinnagaram and the Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple.

The name of the Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple literally means Lord of the Cosmic Mountain and is built in the tradition of the Smartha worship of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Devi, Surya, Lord Ganesha and Kartikeya. The temple was built during 685 A.D. to 705 A.D. and is the first structural temple to have been built in South India by Narasimhavarman I, who is also known as Rajasimha Pallaveswaram. His son Mahendravarman III, later on, completed the construction of the temple's front facade and tower.

Unlike temples that were built of wood or hewn into rocks, the Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple became the first temple to be built in sandstone and became a trendsetter for all other temples that followed. The grand temple also acted as a safe sanctuary for the rulers during wars in those times. A secret tunnel was built by the kings to use as a safe escape route and is still visible. At present, the Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple is looked after by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Architecture and Interiors of Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple

The Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple is built in the traditional Dravidian style of design and is indeed a marvel to look at. The foundation of the temple is made up of granite. It is this granite base that enables the foundation to withstand the massive, colossal structure of the temple. The outer structure and carvings are all composed of sandstone. The temple has fifty-eight small shrines in all, which are built into the niches of the compound wall that encloses the main shrine. The main shrine depicts the carvings of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva in various dance forms. Other than these mini shrines, one can also find the main hall, a high compound wall and an entrance gate known as the gopuram, inside the temple complex. Statues of lions stand on their hind legs on the pillars of the mandapa, as if warning not to harm the temple.

The layout of the Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple is relatively simple with a tower or a 'shikara' built in the centre of the complex. This tower rises in the shape of a pyramid and has a roof in the form of a dome at the top. The main shrine, or the sanctum sanctorum, comprises of 16 Shivalingas made in black granite. Both the inner and outer walls are carved with the images of many Gods and Goddesses such as Brahma, Vishnu, Nandi, Durga Maa and Lord Shiva in the destructive dancing pose. A sculpture of Nandi can also be found guarding the entrance. The south-facing wall of the temple has a very graceful image of Lord Shiva in a seated posture and quietude, which is known as Dakshinamurti; while the west wall has Shiva in the form of Lingodhbav.

Festivals and Celebrations at Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple

The most popular festival celebrated here is the Maha Shivratri, which is celebrated in a rather grand manner every year on the thirteenth night and fourteenth day of the Magha month of the Hindu calendar.

Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple Timings

The temple is open on all days from 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM, and then from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM. The Aarti takes place twice each day, once during the morning hours, and later in the evening.

Best Time To Visit Kailasanathar Temple

The best time to visit the Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple is in February and March when the celebrations of the Maha Shivratri festival are ongoing. Visiting the temple during this time is considered to be extremely auspicious.

How To Reach Kailasanathar Temple

The temple is just 2.4 kilometres away from the bus station, and 2.5 kilometres away from the railway station. In case you are staying anywhere near these two places, you can hire a cab or an auto to reach your destination.

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