Top 10 Famous Temples in Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram the “City of Thousand Temples,” is a historical city in Tamil Nadu and is one of the seven Hindu pilgrimage sites and popular tourist destinations of South India.

According to Hindu holy scriptures, there are seven sacred cities called Mokshadayini Sapta Puri, which one must visit to attain Moksha (salvation), and Kanchipuram is one of them.

Seven of the holy cities of Sapta Puri are Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya (Haridwar), Kasi (Varanasi), Kanchi (Kanchipuram), Avantika (Ujjain) and Dvaravati (Dwarka).

The holy city of Kanchipuram is famous for its ancient temples, Dravidian architecture, monuments and silk sarees. It is a must-visit destination for cultural enthusiasts and spiritual seekers alike.

Here is a list of the top 10 famous temples in Kanchipuram you must visit.

1. Varadaraja Perumal Temple – Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Varadaraja Perumal Temple – Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu
Image Source: Wikimedia

The Varadharaja Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is one of the 108 Divya Desams. The Divya Desams are the temples mentioned in the works of the Alvars, the poet-saints of the Sri Vaishnava tradition. The temple is also known as Hastagiri and Attiyuran

The temple along with Ekambareswarar Temple and Kamakshi Amman Temple in Kanchipuram is popularly known as Mumurtivasam (abode of the trio). The temple complex is spread over an area of 23.5 acres and has 32 shrines and 19 vimanas (towers). There are many ornately sculpted pillars in the temple depicting various legends from the Mahabharata and Ramayana

The temple was renovated by the Cholas in 1053 and was later expanded during the reigns of the great Chola kings Kulottunga Chola I and Vikrama Chola.

Temple Timings: 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM and then from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM on all days

2. Kamakshi Amman Temple – Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Temples in Kanchipuram - Kamakshi Amman Temple
Image Source: Wikimedia

The Sri Kamakshi Amman Temple is dedicated to the goddess Kamakshi and is an important Sakthi Sthalam called the Nabisthana Ottiyana Peetam. 

‘Ka’ represents Goddess Saraswathi (the Goddess of Education), ‘Ma’ represents Goddess Lakshmi (the Goddess of Wealth), and ‘Akshi’ means ‘eye’. The full name, Kamakshi, symbolizes the presence of both Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi as her eyes.  Adi Shankaracharya is believed to have established the Sri Yantra in the temple.

The temple was constructed during the reign of the Pallava dynasty and is spread over an area of 5 acres. The sanctum houses the idol of the goddess Kamakshi in a sitting posture. There are no traditional Parvati or Shakthi shrines in Kancheepuram, apart from Kamakshi Amman temple,

Temple Timings: Morning from 5:30 AM–12:30 PM and then evening 4 PM–8:30 PM

3. Ekambareswarar Temple – Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Ekambareswarar Temple – Kanchipuram
Image Source: Wikimedia

Ekambareswarar Temple also known as Ekambaranathar Temple is one of the Pancha Bhuta Sthalam temples in the holy city of Kanchipuram. The Pancha Bhuta Sthalam means the god Shiva’s five temples, representing one of the five elements of Nature – Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether.

The temple represents the element earth or Prithvi and the god Shiva is worshiped as Ekambareswarar or Rajlingeswaram. It is one of the oldest temples in South India in Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu.

The God Shiva here came to be known as Ekambareswarar or “Lord of Mango Tree”. The sacred mango tree, believed to be more than 3,000 years old, can be seen on the temple premises.

The Ekambareshwarar Temple is one of the most ancient temples in India and is believed to be in existence since at least 600 CE. The temple is mentioned in the classical Tamil Sangam literature dated 300 BCE.

The temple was built in the 9th century by the Chola Kings and later developed by the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire.

Temple Timings: 6:00 AM – 12:30 PM and 4:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Read More: Rameswaram Temple – South India’s Spiritual Heritage

4. Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple – Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple
Image Source: Wikimedia

The Kailasanathar temple means ‘Lord of Kailasha’, also known as the Kailasanatha temple. The Pallava-era historic Hindu temple is located in Kanchipuram and is one the oldest surviving temples in Tamil Nadu.

The temple reflects the Dravidian architecture and was built under the reign of the Pallava Dynasty in 700 CE by Narasimhavarman II with additions by Mahendravarman III. 

It is believed that Raja Raja Chola I visited the Kanchi Kailasanathar temple and drew inspiration to build the Brihadeeswara Temple.

The circumambulatory path in the temple is symbolic of life and death, one has to crawl inside the passage and climb several steps to reach the exit. The temple is famous for its one of the earliest and finest specimens of Hindu mural art in Tamil Nadu.

Temple Timings: Morning from 6:00 AM – 12:00 PM and Evening from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM

5. Vaikunta Perumal Temple – Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Vaikunta Perumal Temple
Image Source: Wikimedia

The Vaikunta Perumal Temple is in a village called Uthiramerur near Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. It is dedicated to the god Vishnu, who is worshipped as Vaikunta Perumal, and his consort Lakshmi as Anandavalli.

The temple is one of the Divya Desams or Vishnu temples built by Pallava king Nandivarman in the 8th century and later renovated by the Cholas. The temple is mentioned in the Narsingh Puran and was built in the Dravidian style of architecture.

The sanctum houses the idol of Lord Vishnu flanked by Sridevi and Bhudevi. There is an assembly hall in the temple which spreads across 2,500 sq ft with no pillars, and the roof is supported solely by walls. The temple is designated as a protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Temple Timings: Morning – 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM and Evening – 2:00 PM to 5:30 PM

6. Ulagalantha Perumal Temple – Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Ulagalantha Perumal Temple
Image Source: Wikimedia

The Ulagalandha Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is one of the 108 Divya Desams.  The temple has the unique feature of having four Divya Desams in its complex namely, Thirukkarvaanam, Thirukaaragam, Thiruooragam and Thiruneeragam 

Lord Vishnu is worshipped as Ulagalandha Perumal, the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, also known as the Vamana Avatar, with his consort Devi Lakshmi as Amuthavalli. The Vamana avatar appeared to destroy the pride of demon king Mahabali by measuring the entire universe in one step. The idol of Ulagalantha Perumal in the temple is over 35 ft in height.

The temple is constructed in the traditional Dravidian style of architecture and was built by the Pallavas. Later many modifications were done during the reigns of Medieval Cholas, Vijayanagara Kings and Madurai Nayaks.

The two major festivals of the temple are ‘Brahmotsavam’ celebrated from January-February and ‘Vamana Jayanthi’ in August-September.

Temple Timings: 7:00 AM–12:00 AM and 4:00 PM–8:00 PM

Read More: Chidambaram Nataraja Temple – Journey to the Abode of Nataraja

7. Trilokyanatha Temple – Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Trilokyanatha Temple – Kanchipuram
Image Source: Wikimedia

The Trilokyanatha Temple, also known as Thirupparuthikundram Jain temple or Jeenaswamy Trilokyanathar temple in Kanchipuram is an 8th-century Digambara Jain temple. It is one of the oldest Jain temples in Kanchipuram and the area around the temple is called Jain Kanchi.  

The temple was constructed in Dravidian architecture was built during the reign of Narasimhavarman II of the Pallava dynasty. Later expansion and renovations were done by the Jain community with the help of Cholas, Pallavas and Vijayanagar kings. The temple is well known for its exquisite wall paintings and inscriptions. 

Temple Timings: Every day from 7:00 AM to 11:45 PM

8. Sathyanatheswarar Temple – Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Sathyanatheswarar Temple – Tamil Nadu
Image Source: Wikimedia

The Sathyanatheswarar Temple is dedicated to Shiva, who is worshipped as Sathyanatheswarar with his consort Devi Parvathi as Pramarambikai. The temple is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams praised in the Tevaram, the 7th-century religious work in Tamil, written by Tamil saint-poets known as the Nayanars.

Shiva is said to be Swayambhu (self-manifested) in the form of a granite Lingam. The temple complex is spread across an area of 2,090 square metres and features a three-tier main raja gopuram, a lotus tank and two Prakarams (outer courtyards).

Temple Timings: 7:00 AM–1:00 PM and 4:00 PM–7:00 PM

Read More: 10 Famous Ancient Temples in Tamil Nadu – Religious Places

9. Ashtabujakaram Temple – Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Ashtabujakaram Temple – Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu
Image Source: Wikimedia

The Ashtabujakaram Temple also known as Ashtabuja Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. who is worshipped as Ashta Bhuja Perumal and his consort Lakshmi as Alamelumangai.

The idol of Lord Mahavishnu in the temple is standing with eight hands holding a Chakaram, a Sword, a Flower and an Arrow in the right hand and Sangu, Bow, Kedayam and Gadha in the left.

The temple is glorified in the Nalayira Divya Prabandham, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Alvar saints from the 6th–9th centuries. It is constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture and was believed to have been renovated by the Pallavas of the late 8th century, with later contributions from Medieval Cholas and Vijayanagara Kings.

Temple Timings: 6:30 AM–12:00 PM and 4:00–8:00 PM

10. Chitragupta Swamy Temple – Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Chitragupta Swamy Temple – Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu
Image Source: Wikimedia

The Chitragupta Swamy Temple in Kanchipuram is one of the very few temples dedicated to Chitragupta, a Hindu deity, considered to be the assistant of Yamraj, the Hindu god of death.

The temple was built during the 9th century by the Cholas and was later expanded and reconstructed by many other rulers. It is the oldest temple in South India dedicated to Chitragupta. 

The idol of Chitragupta in the temple is in a sitting posture with his consort Karnikambal, holding a pen in his right hand and a palm leaf in his left hand. The temple has a three-tiered Rajagopuram (gateway tower) and a sanctum sanctorum.

Temple Timings:  7:00 AM–12:00 PM and 4:00–8:30 PM every day

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