Chennai International Airport (69 kms. away from Kanchipuram city centre).Book with us
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The Kanjeevaram or Conjeevaram instantly evokes, the Gold standard in the classic epitome of Indian grace – the Saree. And Kanchipuram’s history and evolution as a city is inextricably interwoven with this 9 yards and more.
Historically, Kanchipuram, a centre of education was known as the Ghatikasthanam, or “place of learning, and was a religious centre of advanced education for Jainism and Buddhism between the 1st and 5th centuries. Kanchipuram also presents the glorious Dravidian heritage of both the Vaishnavites (worshippers of Vishnu) and Shaivites (worshippers of Shiva). The west side of Kanchipuram is called Shiva Kanchi because it has the maximum number of Shiva temples and the east side of the city is called Vishnu Kanchi.
The region was referred in early Tamil literature as Kachi or Kachipedu but was later sanskritized to Kanchi or Kanchipuram. According to legend, the name Kanchi is derived from “Ka” referring to the Hindu God of creation, Brahma and “Anchi”, referring to his invocation of the Hindu God of preservation Vishnu at this place. This region was also known as Tondaimandalam in ancient Sangam literature, in which it is referred to as a forest of Kanchi (River Portia) trees. The earliest references to Kanchipuram are found in the books of the Sanskrit grammarian Patanjali, who lived between the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE. The city is believed to have been part of the mythical Dravida Kingdom of the Mahabharatha, and was described as “the best among cities” (Sanskrit: Nagareshu Kanchi) by the 4th-century Sanskrit poet, Kalidasa. The city is often called the “Banaras of the South”.
Located on the banks of the Vegavathy river, Kanchipuram has been ruled by the Pallavas, the Medieval Cholas, the Later Cholas, the Later Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, the Carnatic kingdom, and the British, each of which has left indelible impressions on the region’s art and culture.
It is also the headquarters of the Kanchi matha, a Hindu monastic institution believed to have been founded by the Hindu saint and commentator Adi Sankaracharya, and was the capital city of the Pallava Kingdom between the 4th and 9th centuries.
Chennai International Airport (69 kms. away from Kanchipuram city centre).Book with us
Kanchipuram bus station is connected to Chennai (70 kms.), Mumbai, Pune and Madurai.Book with us
Arakkonam Railway Station (28 kms. away from Kanchipuram city centre). For train timings and on-line reservations (within India) visit the IRCTC’s website.Book with us
All foreign nationals entering India are required to possess a valid international travel document in the form of a national passport with a valid visa obtained from an Indian Mission or Post abroad. All Individual visa seekers are requested to apply for the Indian Visa through online application link , in order to make an application for getting the Indian visa. The duly signed physical copy of the application form completed in all respect and submitted successfully, is to be submitted at the concerned Indian Visa Application Center (IVAC) or directly to Indian Mission/ Post, on the scheduled date of interview along with the requisite supporting documents. The status of Visa Application can be seen on the link for Visa Enquiry.Enquiry
Superintendent of Police – +91 75300 58261
Life Care Hospital – +91 44 2723 1090
Pongal (Harvest festival)
Brahmotsavam (10 day festival at the Varadaraja Temple), Temple Car Festival (09 th May)
Silk Tourism Festival (Arts and culture)
RIDE India offers genuine homestays and the possibility to explore the Kanchipuram area through their Eco-Tourism program. This allows visitors the chance to visit families of silk weavers, attend local cooking lessons and an opportunity to visit all the prominent temples in the city. It is an organization which provides people with the opportunities to either do long term or short term voluntary work. Furthermore, participants are also allowed to stay overnight in one of their designated guesthouses.
Muttukadu is a large lake formed out of the backwaters, with boating and wind surfing facilities. Located 80 Kms away from Kanchipuram, The Muttukadu brackish water is an excellent site for birdwatching, with many species of kingfisher, pelecan, stork, ibis, igrit, bee-catcher and so on.
Food adventures for the real connoisseurs would not be complete without the Saapaad at Sri Rama Cafe, next to the similarly named Sri Rama hotel - South side of Gandhi Rd. /Hospital Rd., near the main roundabout (Kancheepuram-Chengalpat intersection) by the bus station. This is a veteran pure vegetarian restaurant where they serve some of the heartiest meals of rice, sambar, rassam, curries and breads.
The Ekambareshvara temple is the principle Shiva temple and its soaring Gopuras dominate the city's skyline. Built in 1509 by the Vijayanagara Emperor Krishnadeva Raya, it has a long columned mandapa that leads to the temple. The Vardhamana temple is the most revered Vaishanava temple and according to legend, is the site where Lord Brahma performed a Yajna (fire sacrifice) to invoke Lord Vishnu. It has elements of both the Chola dynasty and the Vijayanagara empire. The Ekambaranatha Temple, is considered as one of the 'Panchabootha Sthalams' or the five temples of Shiva representing the five elements. Here the Shivalinga is worshipped in the form of sand. Legend has it that Goddess Parvathy worshiped the Sand Linga here under a very old mango tree. The innermost sanctum opens only at 4pm in the evening.
Located at Sangeetha Vidwan Nainar Pillai Street (Old Putheri Street) Kanchi Kudil is a restored ancestral property that goes back more than 90 years when it used to house joint families. Decked with the eponymous Manglorean tiles, the home welcomes you with life sized replica statues of the city’s dwellers. The rocking chairs, lazy swings, the Thinnai, the open air courtyard, the preserved kitchen, handicrafts and musical instruments make you travel through time to an unhurried era. It is an agrarian house with a loft in the front room to store paddy grains with an outlet on the top to dry the grain under sun. Kanchi Kudil plays host to crafts exhibition, cultural performances by local artisans. The food court offers South Indian dry snacks from 9 AM till 5 PM. Homemade meals for lunch and dinner can be arranged only with prior notice and permission.
The Weavers’ Service Center, Kanchipuram, takes you up close and personal with one of the city’s most coveted heirlooms – the Kanjeevaram Silk. In 2005, "Kanchipuram Silk Sarees" received the Geographical Indication tag, the first product in India to carry this label. The silk trade in Kanchipuram began when King Raja Raja Chola I (985–1014) invited weavers to migrate to Kanchi. The craft was propagated further with the mass migration of weavers from Andhra Pradesh in the 15th century during the Vijayanagara rule. Pure Mulberrry silk with dazzling colours and fine Zari Work [gold/silver thread linings] is the hall mark of Kanjeevaram silk. From yarn to fabric, the entire weaver’s family toils towards this. One spins, one dyes, one weaves.
Owing its venerated origins to the deep chambers of the kitchen of the Varadharaja Perumal temple in Kanchipuram (out-of-bounds to most except a few select priests) the famous Koil Idli is made every morning as an offering to the deities. Traditionally steamed over a wood fire and shaped by bamboo kudalai (oblong shallow bamboo basket) cylinders lined with Mantharai leaves (which has several health benefits) into which the batter is poured it is believed that the Idlis are a favourite of the Gods. Some say that they were offered at the temple from the days of the Pallavas. The Koil Idlis made at the temple are around a foot long. Every day, two Idlis are offered to the deities, of which one is distributed to visitors from 7.15 a.m. onwards which often disappears in less than 15 minutes Gastronomes can also savour this Idli (though not the divinity) at Sri Saravana Lunch Home on Gandhi Road which serves it every day. Here, the idlis are steamed inside steel tumblers and best eaten with with Idli podi or coarsely ground pudina chutney.
Surrounded by orchards, rose gardens and green valleys, Elagiri or Yellagiri, 160 kms. from Kanchipuram is a basket worthy picnic spot in the Eastern Ghats at an elevation of about 1100 m. The hill station dates back to the British colonial days and is a popular spot for trekking, para-gliding and rock climbing. The highest point in Yelagiri is the Swamimalai Hill, standing tall at 4,338 ft; Swamimalai is a popular destination for trekkers. The view from the summit is spectacular.
Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary (60 kms. from Kanchi) has sprung up around a village tank, which is surrounded by a grove of trees. Migratory birds like the White Ibis, Spoonbill, The Sandpiper, Gray wagtail and the swan etc. can be spotted here. The best period for sighting is October-February. The birds which nest on the branches of submerged trees can be viewed from the bank or from the watch tower.
B Krishnamoorthy a national award winning Silk weaver and designer hailing from a family whose three generations have been in the profession, has more than 5,000 unique designs to his credit.
It was during the reign of Krishna-Deva Raya, when the famous weaving communities of Andhra Pradesh, the Devangas and Saligars, migrated to Kanchipuram. Thus, occurred the historical migration of the entire silk industry in the 15th century, to this city.
According to Hindu legend, Kanchipuram weavers are descendants of Sage Markanda, the celestial weaver for Hindu gods. While cotton is the favourite for Hindu God Shiva, Silk is a favourite of Lord Vishnu.
Speciality about Kanjivaram sari is that it is made out of a T-shuttle loom which means the border and the pallu have a different waft and weft than the body. Most of the motifs – Sun,Moon, Parrots, Peacocks, Swans, Lions, coins, mangoes, leaves used in the Saree design are inspired by sculptures in the temple. One of the motifs is the mythological bird, Annapakshi, represented in the sculptures. Other common motifs include a jasmine bud within a square or a round frame, locally known as mallinaggu. Another is Thandavalam where parallel lines run across the body of the Sari.
According to some accounts, Bodhidharma, a 5th/6th-century Buddhist monk and founder of the Shaolin Kung Fu was the third son of a Pallava king from Kanchipuram. He is credited as the transmitter of Chan Buddhism to China, and regarded as its first Chinese patriarch. Throughout Buddhist art, Bodhidharma is depicted as an ill-tempered, profusely-bearded, wide-eyed non-Chinese person. He is referred as "The Blue-Eyed Barbarian" in Chan texts.
The ancient guild of traditional craftsmen who make Onavillu (also known as Pallivillu), a ceremonial bow presented to the diety of Padmanabha Swamy in Thiruvananthapuram during the festival of Onam trace their origins to Kanchipuram. The ancient guild was once located on the banks of the Killi River, where they had a small shrine dedicated to Kanchipuram Amman.
Clive of India is said to have presented an emerald necklace to the Varadaraja Perumal temple. It is called the Clive Makarakandi and is still used to decorate the deity on ceremonial occasions.
Kanchipuram was hailed by the famous ancient Indian poet Kalidasa as Nagareshu kanchi or Kanchi the ideal city.
Buddhists institutions from Kanchipuram were instrumental in spreading Theravada Buddhism to the Mon people of Myanmar and Thailand who in return spread the religion amongst the incoming Burmese and Thai people.