Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Kanchipuram;this temple city is a must visit if you like temple architecture

Kailasanatha temple Kanchipuram
Located in Tamil Nadu, India, Kanchipuram town is around 72 km from Chennai. It used to be the imperial capital of the Pallavas for over five hundred years from the 4th to 9th centuries. Thereafter, the city came under the rule of Cholas from the 10th to 13th century; and of the Vijayanagar kings from 14th to 17th century.The temples in Kanchipuram are divided into sections called Siva-Kanchi, Vishnu-Kanchi, and the third-Jaina-Kanchi.

Because of its glorious history one can easily trace the evolution of temple construction in south India through these five beautiful temples that depict the time periods and sects.These pictures are courtesy Soma Jha:

 1) Kailasanatha temple Kanchipuram- This oldest temple Pallava Temple was built between 690-720 AD by Pallava king Rajasimha. Shiva is portrayed in different moods and forms and shown as a family man with his wife Uma and their children.
Kailasanatha Shiva-Parvati
Remnant of murals showing shiva leela at Kailasanatha

2) Vaikuntha Perumal - This Vishnu Temple in Kanchipuram was built during the reign of Nandivarman 11 of Pallava Dynasty between 720-796 A.D. Three sanctuaries have the images of Vishnu in different postures - seated (ground floor), lying (first floor; accessible to devotees only on certain days) and standing (second floor; not accessible to devotees).This temple also has several historical sculptures that are quite unique and are rarely seen in any other temples. One can learn a lot about the history of the entire Pallava dynasty up to the reign of Nandivarman Pallavamalla, the builder of this temple, from these sculptures.
Vaikuntha Perumal 
Vaikuntha Perumal-lion pillared cloister

Vaikuntha Perumal Vishnu-temple
    Ekambareswarar Temple

3) Eambereshwar Shiva Temple- This temple is the largest temple in the town of Kanchipuram. Eambereshwar is located in the northern part of the city. The temple gopuram is around 59m tall, and is perhaps the tallest gopurams in India. This was originally a Pallava temple, but was brought down and rebuilt by the Cholas, and the present structure is of the Chola dynasty.

    Ekambareswarar  shiva temple- Raja gopuram-main gateway-59 mtrs
    Ekambareswarar -unusual sculpture

To be continued in the next post...

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