Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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HomeTamils - a Trans State Nation > Culture & the Tamil Contribution to World Civilisation > Dravidian Temple Architecture  > Kanchipuram  Temples - Pallava Period (7th - 9th century)


Kanchipuram - Temple City
Varadarajaperumal Temple at Kanchipuram
Ekambaranathar Temple, Kanchipuram

Vedapuriswarar Temple - 27 kms from Kanchipuram
Sri Kailasanatha Temple - Photo Gallery
Kamakshi Amman Temple at Kanchipuram
Ekambareshvara Temple at Monuments of India
Temples of Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram Temples
Pallava Period (7th - 9th century)
with later additions

Kailasanatha Temple at Kanchipuram
Kailasanatha Temple at Kanchipuram

Professor  T.V.Mahalingam, University of Madras on Mahabalipuram in  Tamil Art & Architecture paper presented at Second International Conference Seminar of Tamil Studies, January 1968

"...The Kailasanatha is four-storeyed and is an example of sandharaprasada containing two walls providing an ambulatory. The storeys are decorated with architectural designs like kutas, kostas and panjaras. The pillars in structural temples are with rampant lions generally and with elephants, nagas and bhulas at times. Niches are to be seen in both the rock-cut and structural temples and have a makaratorana decoration on their top, the makaras in them having floriated tails overflowing on the sides. The corbels are generally curved in profile with the taranga (wave moulding) ornament and a median band. The gopuras are absent in these early temples. In the Kailasanatha at Kanchi and the Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram there are faint but unmistakable suggestions of gopuradhvaras which were to evolve into towers. Another feature of these early structural temples is the almost prodigal sculptural embellishment of the exterior walls. The carvings are invariably those of deities, a few of which appear to be fresh inceptions from the Calukyan area..."

Siva the Mendicant

Rearing Yalis

Courtesy: Manas on Kanchipuram

"...Kanchipuram is among the most famous of the 'temple cities' of Tamil Nadu. Its temples house different Hindu sects. Though today it is only a destination for pilgrims, and a repository of major architectural monuments, in antiquity it occupied a more pre eminent place in the history of South India. The city was the political capital of the Pallava rulers during the 7th - 9th centuries. It remained an important city during the succeeding Chola and Vijayanagara periods.

The Kailasanatha temple is the finest structural project of the Pallava ruler Rajasimha. The temple is almost entirely constructed of sandstone and is integrated into a coherent complex. A large variety of Shaiva images adorns the outer walls; the inner walls were once painted. A polished linga (phallus, the symbol of regeneration associated with Shiva) is enshrined within..."

The Ekambareshvara temple is the principle Shaiva sanctuary and its soaring gopuras dominate the city's skyline. This temple was erected in 1509 by the Vijayanagara emperor Krishnadeva Raya. The temple is preceded by a long columned mandapa into which earlier shrines and altars have been incorporated. A corridor surrounds the principle shrine on four sides, presenting a continuous sequence of receding piers.

The Vardhamana temple is the most important Vaishanava temple. Local legend has it that the temple commemorates the site where the Lord Brahma performed a yajna (fire sacrifice) to invoke the presence of Vishnu. It has a long history spanning the Chola and the Vijayanagara periods. One of the two high towered gopuras resemble 12th-13th century Chola projects while the other is characteristic of the 16th century Vijayanagara period. The main sanctuary enshrines bronze images of Vishnu flanked by his consorts. Some specimens of Vijayanagara paintings are still preserved on the walls..." 

Ekambaranathar Temple, Kanchipuram

Ekambareswara Temple Kanchipuram
Ekambareswara Temple - Tallest Gopuram (192 feet) Built in 1509 A.D

"...Ekambaranathar Temple is one of the oldest temples in the city. The architecture of this temple is amazing. The gopuram of this temple stands as a massive landmark, spanning a height of 57 metres - one of the tallest in South India. The vast temple premises introduce you to many wonders, one after another. The first is the "Aayiram Kaal Mandapam" or the hallway with a thousand pillars. The next is the array of 1008 Siva Lingams that decorate the inner walls of the temple. The most important, of course, is the "sthala-virutcham", a 3500 year old mango tree whose branches give four different types of mangoes. This temple bears the work of practically every dynasty which ruled Kanchipuram...." Courtesy: Kanchipuram on the Web

Varadarajaperumal Temple

Varadarajaperumal Temple at Kanchipuram




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