Temples in and around Kanchipuram
Last Updated: 27th June 2011
Kanchipuram was the capital of Pallava regime and is well known for temples and silk sarees. It is the seat of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham established by Aadhi Sankaracharya. It is believed that Sankaracharya attained samadhi at Kanchipuram, although another school of thought holds that Kedarnath in the Himalayas is the site of his samadhi. The town has 5 out of 275 Shiva temples glorified by the Thevara hymns and 14 out of 108 Vishnu divya desams. Kamakshi amman forms the central amman shrine for all the Shiva temples here and so none of the Shiva temples within Kanchipuram will have amman shrines. Ulagalandha Perumal and Pandava thoodhar are temples with stunningly huge moolavars. Kailasanathar Temple and Vaikunda Perumal Temple are the places must be visited by everyone just for the sheer beauty of the of art and architecture.
This is a temple town with more than 150 ancient temples and only some of them are listed here. For a very detailed version with complete list of temples, click here
Vishnu Temples part of 108 Divya desams:
- Thirukachi (Hastigiri) Varadhraaja Perumal
- Thiru ooragam, Thiru neeragam, Thirukkaragam and Thirukkaarvaanam in the same temple complex
- Nilanthunagal tundam
- Parameswara Vinnagaram
Shiva Temples part of 275 Thevara Padal Petra Sthalams
- Ekambareswarar Temple
- Sri Thirumetralinathar temple
- Thiru Onan Kandhan Thali
- Kachi Nerikkaaraikkaadu
Temples being maintained by Archeological Survey of India (ASI):
- Iravatanesvara Temple
- Jvaraharesvara Temple
- Matangesvara Temple
- Muktesvara Temple
- Pirvatanesvara Temple
- Vaikunta Perumal Temple
- Kailasanatha Temple
Note: Normally the Kamakshi amman temple and the Varadharaja Perumal temple are the most crowded ones. Kamakshi amman temple opens at 5:30 am and people visiting Shiva temples are expected to visit Kamakshi amman first. It is also advised to visit Varadharaja Perumal at the earliest before getting crowded.
Temples in Shiva Kanchi
Sri Kamakshi Amman temple
Significance: This is known as Aadhi Sakthi peetam. This temple forms the amman shrine for all the Shiva temples within Kanchipuram since She is wholly present in Kanchipuram. Due to this, none of the Shiva temples in Kanchipuram will have a separate shrine for Goddess.
Legend: The temple is known as Kamakottam. Brahma Vishnu and Rudra were creations of her eyes, hence the name Kamakshi. She is Tapas Kamakshi at Mangadu and Kalyana Kamakshi at Kanchipuram. She was under stringent penance standing on tip of left leg on fire at Mangadu and upon satisfying Shiva, came here to marry him. Here She worshipped a Shivalingam made out of sand under a mango tree.
Temple: The temple covers an area of about 5 acres and the sanctum is crowned with a gold plated vimanam. Kamakshi is enshrined in a seated penancing posture with four hands in the sanctum and is referred to as the Parabhrama Swarupini, seated with Bhrama Vishnu Rudra Eswara and Sadasiva. It is believed that Kamakshi was originally an Ugra Swaroopini, and that Aadhi Sankaracharya, installed the Sri Chakra in front of Her and personified her as the Shanta Swaroopini. It is believed that during the days of Aadhi Sankara, the presence of the Ugra Swaroopini was felt outside the temple precincts, and that Sankaracharya had requested her not to leave the temple complex. Symbolic of this, the festival image of Kamakshi, takes leave from Sankaracharya, at his shrine in the inner prakaram, each time she is taken out in procession.
In the inner praharam, Bangaru Kamakshi, Maha Saraswathi and Aadi Sankaracharya are present along with Ardhanareeswarar, Soundaryalakshmi and Varaahi. When we come out after worshipping Kamakshi we can see Annapoorani in front. There is also Arupa lakshmi and the kumkum prasadam should be first put in front of Arupa lakshmi and then taken out from there. The outer praharam houses the temple tank and several mandapams such as the 100 pillared hall, the dwajaarohana mandapam etc.
Festivals: The annual festival is celebrated in the month of Maasi. The silver chariot festival falls on the 7th day. Other festivals include Navaratri, Aadi and Aippasi Pooram, Sankara Jayanthi and Vasanta Utsavam in Vaikasi.
Sthala vruksham: Sanbagam.
Significance: One of the 108 Divya desams within the Kamakshi Amman temple on the Kostham of Kamakshi amman shrine itself.
Main deity: Kalla Perumal with Thayar Anjilaivalli Nachiyar
Legend: Parvathi when penanced upon Shiva sought the help of her brother Lord Vishnu. It is also said that Parvathi sighted Lord Vishnu overhearing the conversation between her and Lakshmi, upon which she addressed Him as Kalvan.
Temple: Images of Vishnu (Nindraan, Irunthaan, Kidanthaan) are seen near the temple tank.
Theertham: Nithya Pushkarani
Vimanam: Vamana Vimanam
Sri Aadhi Kamakshi amman temple
This is the older Kamakshi amman temple and is just behind the main Kamakshi amman temple. The Kamakshi amman and other deities here are very beautiful.
Sri Maakaaleeswarar Temple
This is near Aadhi Kamakshi amman temple just behind the main Kamakshi amman temple. Lord Shiva is holding Raghu and Kethu in His hand which is very rare. An important Raghu-Kethu parihara sthalam. Around the main Shiva shrine all the nine navagrahaas are in separate shrines along with their consorts. Kalyana Durga is famous here.
Ulagalandha Perumal Temple
The temple is abut 200 meters from the Kamakshi amman temple. This is a temple of 4 divya desams within a single temple complex. Apart from the main deity of Ulagalanda Perumal, there are three other deities in the same complex which were in different places nearby. Details of the original temple, Sthala Vruksham and Pushkarani are not known excepting the informations from the Azhwar’s pasurams.
Thiru Neeragam: This is a small shrine in the northern praharam. Sri Jagadeesa Perumal and Neelamangala Valli Thayar are the main deities. Only the Utsava Vigraham is present and the whereabout of the moolavar vigraham and the original temple are not known. The Theertham here is known as Akrura theertham and the Vimanam Jagadeeswara vimanam.
Thirukkaragam: This shrine is also located in the praharam of Ulagalandha Perumal Temple. The Utsava moorthy is Sri Karunakara Perumal and the thayar is Padamamani Nachiyar. Details of the original temple, Sthala Vruksham and Pushkarani are not known excepting the fact from the Thirumangai Azhwar’s pasurams that the main deity is in standing posture. The Theertham is Akraya theertham and Vimanam is Vamana vimanam.
Thiru Karavanam: This is another divya desam shrine in the praharam of Ulagalandha Perumal temple. Details of the original temple, Sthala Vruksham and Pushkarani are not known excepting the fact from the Thirumangai Azhwar’s pasurams that the main deity is Thiru Kalvar in a standing posture and the Thayar is Kamalavalli Nachiyar. Only the Utsava moorthy is present. The Theertham is Gowrithadakam and the Vimanam is Pushkala Vimanam.
Significance: The main deity is imposing 35 feet height and 24 feet width
Location: Near Kamakshi Amman temple
Main deity: Trivikrama called Ulagalandha Perumal and Aranaravalli Nachiyar in different shrines.
Legend: During Thrivikrama avathara, Vishnu asked for 3 steps of land from King Mahaballi. Mahabali agreed to give and for one step of Vishnu, Mahabali was already under the feet of Vamana and was unable to get the full dharshan of Trivikrama. He penanced here to have a full dharshan and Trivikrama reappeared in front of him and even then he was not able to see the complete form. Per his request Thrivikrama in the form of Aadhiseshan is present in the same temple.
Temple: The main deity Ulagalandha Perumal is magnificent in size with His left leg lifted up to sky. Everyone will be stunned with the the size of the deity. Also, within the sanctum sanctorum, to the right of Perumal there is a small enclosure where Thrivikrama in the form of Aadhiseshan which is famous for ragu, kethu dosham.
Theertham: Naga theertham
Vimanam: Sarasreekara Vimanam
Kumarakkottam Subramanyaswamy Temple
Location: The temple is situated in the West Raja Street and there is a back side entrance from Kamakshi amman temple also.
Legend: Once Lord Brahma, the God of creation was imprisoned since he did not know the meaning of the Pranava mantra ‘Ohm’. Lord Muruga executed the great task of creation all by himself and the sanctum sanctorum of the temple presents Lord Muruga as a creator, Brahma Subramanyar. Subramanya made a Shiva linga known as Deva sena padeesar and worshipped him. Arunagirinadhar sang Thiruppugazh on Subramanya here.
Temple: This is an ancient temple held in high esteem since the holy text – Kantha Puranam was published here. The holy scenes from the sacred text were staged at the Rock Hall here which has now been functioning as Kachiappar Library. Scenes from the Kantha Puranam adorn the walls. There are separate shrines for Lord Vinayaka, Palaniandavar, Shanmuga, Urugum Ulla Perumal, Navagrahas, Arunagrinathar and Goddesses Valli, Theivani. There is a sacred hall set aside for meditation. The holy figures of Kachiappa Sivacharyar and Vallalar Ramalinga Swamigal are found in the court of the temple.
Sri Kachabeswarar Temple
Location: The temple is situated in the southern corner of the West Raja Street at Big Kanchipuram, about 300 meters from Kamakshi amman temple.
Main deity: Swayambu linga known as Kachabeswarar and Soundrambikai ammai.
Legend: Mount Madura which was used as the churning stick for the churning of the Milky Ocean to get Amruth, started to sink into the ocean bed. Thereupon, Vishnu assumed the form of tortoise (koorma avatar), dived to the bottom and let them use his back as a pivot upon which the churning stick could turn. At the end, Lord Vishnu was overcome with pride and thought that it was only through his efforts that the celestials succeeded in getting Amruth from the sea. Overwhelmed with pride, Lord Vishnu caused the waters to more. All the creatures trembled with fear. At this juncture, Lord Shiva destroyed the tortoise and strung its shell on the sacred garland worn about his neck. Lord Vishnu, who regretted for his act, came to Kanchi and worshipped Lord Shiva and got His blessings. Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu then redeemed the office of leadership for Vaikuntam. Also, Brahma and Saraswathi worshipped here to get the blessings of Shiva for his work of creation. Asura guru Sukracharya worshipped here to get Mruthsanjeevini and Vajrayakkai.
Temple: It is a temple which has a wide court around it. Other deities in the temple are Chaturmukeswarar, Saraswathi, Vinayakar, Sastha and Bairavar. Around the pond there are temples of Dharma Siddheswarar, Kama Siddheswarar, Artha Siddheeswarar and Moksha Siddheswarar. To the west of the idol of Lord Kachabeswar is the shrine of Lord Vinayaka (Satyamoli Vinayakar) worshipped by Lord Vishnu. People who worship this Lord would be able to overcome all troubles and sufferings in life and fulfill their wishes.
Theertham: Ishta Siddhi Theertham.
Vaikunthanatha Perumal Temple at Parameswara Vinnagaram
Significance: One of the 108 Divya desams; held in high esteem as ‘Parameswara Vinnagaram’; apart from the divinity, a must-visit temple for the history and art lovers for its sheer beauty of art and architecture; maintained by Archeological Society of India as a ‘protected monument’
Location: Situated in the street that separates from the East Raja Street at Big Kanchipuram, very close to the Bus Terminus. The temple lies further up the street.
Main deity: Vaikuntanathan and the Thayar Vaikuntavalli
Legend: Dwarapalakas of Vaikuntam were reborn as Pallava and Villava and they performed an Ashwametha Yagna here and the Lord gave them dharshan as Paramapatha Nathan
Temple: The temple, built by Nandhivarma Pallavan, is a fine example of art and architectural skill and this has already become a famous tourist centre. The holy figures carved out of stone in the inner walls of the temple are really marvelous. The Vimanam has 3 tiers. In the first tier, the Lord gives dharshan in the sitting posture; in the middle tier as Ranganathar in the reclining posture with Sridevi and Bhoodevi; and in the top tier in the standing posture.
Theertham: Iyramada Theertham
Vimanam: Mukunda Vimanam
Thiru Pavala Vanna and Pachai Vanna perumal
Location: This is about 400 meters from the Kamakshi amman temple on the main road from Chennai while coming through Bangalore highways and before Kamakshi amman temple.
Significance: These are two separate temples situated in opposite directions in the same street. It is said that if one visits one temple, visiting the other is mandatory. Another uniqueness is that these two temples collectively form a single Divya Desam.
Thiru Pachai Vanna Perumal Temple
Main deity: Pachai Vannan in a seated posture on Aadhisessha, also called Paramapadha Nathan
Legend: Sage Brugu performed an Yagna here to have Laksmi devi as his daughter and he married her to Vishnu here.
Vimanam: Pravaala Vimanam
Thiru Pavala Vanna Perumal Temple
Main deity: Pavala Vanna Perumal in standing posture with Pavalavalli Thayar
Theertham: Chakkra theertham
Legend: The main deity is of red shade which is unique. When Saraswathi sent demons to spoil the yagna done by Brahma, Vishnu came to the rescue of Brahma and fought the demons. So He is seen here in red colour with blood stains.
Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Sankara Mutt
Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam is one of the 6 mutts that were installed by Shri. Adhi Shankarar. The Brindhavanam and the wax idol of Sri Chandrasekarendhra Swamigal (as affectionately called as Periyava) are the main attractions apart from the current two Sankaracharyas. Daily Chandramouleeswara pooja will be done by the Sankaracharyar around noon time. There is no fixed time for the Sankaracharyas to give dharshan and they visit the devotees every now and then and blesses them.
Sri Ekambareswarar and Sri Nilathunda Perumal Temple
This is located near the Kamakshi amman temple and Sankara mutt.
Significance: Sri Ekambareswarar temple is one of 275 sacred Shiva temples of Tamilnadu (one of the 5 of Kanchi) glorified by the Thevara hymns and also one of the Pancha Bootha temples representing land. Sri Nilathunda Perumal shrine within the same temple premises is one of the 108 Vishnu divya desams.
Sri Ekambareswarar Temple
Main deity: Ekambaranadhar and Elavarkuzhali ammai in separate shrines
Legend: Once Parvathi closed the eyes of Shiva for fun and the whole universe went dark. Shiva got angry and punished her to be born on earth. She chose the place near Kamba river and made a linga of mud, placed it under Ekamba tree and started to worship. One day, due to flood, the whole town was full of water and she embraced Shiva linga to protect him from dissolving in flood water and started doing her worship. Shiva was pleased with her devotion and he agreed to marry her.
Temple:The linga is made of sand. We can see both Shiva and Parvathi together at the back of linga in the main sanctum. Other main deities are Vellakambar worshipped by Brahma, Kallakambar by Vishnu and Nallakambar by Rudra. Other deities are Vikata chakra Vinayakar, Arumugar, 1008 lingas, 108 lingas, 63 nayanmars, Markendeyar, Bikshadanar, Nataraja, Pralayam katha ammai and Navagrahas. The main Rajagopuram was constructed by Krishna Deva rayar. Sambandhar, Navakku arasar & Sundrar sang hymns on Shiva here. Arunagirindhar sang Thirupugazh on Subramanya. On Ratha Sapthami day sunrays falls on Siva here. Ganapathy near Gopura vasal is on peacock which is different here.
Sthala Vruksham: 3600 years old mango tree with 4 branches related to 4 Vedas. Unfortunately the tree is no more alive but a large piece of the tree has been kept in the mandapam.
Theertham: Siva ganga teertham and Kamba river
Sri Nilathunda Perumal Temple
Significance: One of 108 Divya desams
Location: The shrine is to the north east of Ekambareswarar shrine within the inner praharam of the Ekambareswarar temple
Main deity: Nilaattingal Tunda Perumal in standing posture with Sapthagnaga
Legend: Shiva tested Paravthi’s commitment in performing Tapas by setting fire to the mango tree under which she was seated. Parvathi prayed to her brother Lord Vishnu, who caused waves of nectar to cool down the scorching rays. Lord Vishnu as Vamana continues to stay here at the behest of Parvathi. It is also said that, at the time of churning of Milky ocean to get nectar, the God of ocean Vishnu became warm and to cool himself, he requested Shiva to alleviate the discomfort through the cool rays of the moon adorning Shiva’s head. Hence the name Nilaa-tingal tundattan.
Sri Pandava Thoodha Perumal Temple at Thiru Paadagam
- One of the 108 Divyadesams
- Imposing 28 feet Krishnar in sitting posture
- Parihara temple for people born in ‘Rohini’ star
Location: Near Ekambareswarar temple
Main deity: Pandava Thoodha Perumal in sitting posture with Thayars Rukmani and Sathyabama
Legend: King Janameyajeyan listened to the story of Mahabaratha from Sage Vaisambhavana and got enlightened by the event of Sri Krishna revealing himself through the Viswaroopa dharshan when he went to Hasthinapuri as an ambassador of Pandavas. The king wanted to have the same kind of dharshan of Vishnu and so performed an Aswamedha yaga here and got the Viswaroopa dharshan as he wished.
Temple: The temple is 1000years old and was built by King Rajakesari Varman. If the Lord was standing in Ulagalandha Perumal temple, He is sitting here as Lord Krishna. It is sure that everyone will be amazed by both of the imposing, beautiful and stunning deities. The designs on the Lord’s garments are also fantastic.
Theertham: Mathsya theertham
Vimanam: Bathra Vimanam
Note: The bhattar here sometimes behave rudely and so be a little careful not to get mood spoiled in a divinely place.
Jurahareswarar Temple at Juragaresam
Location: This is an ASI maintained temple and is next to the Pandava Thootha Perumal temple to the south of Sannidhi street of Sri Ekambareswarar temple.
Main deity: Shiva in linga form known as Jurahareswarar.
Legend: Demon Juragan was destroyed here. Devas worshipped in this place to cure themselves from disease due to heat and they were cured. Shiva here, is known to cure the devotees of their ailments such as fever, relieves them of the heat present in their body and helps to maintain the normal body temperature.
Temple: There are five windows in the sanctum sanctorum itself which is circular. It is a shining example of the architectural skill. The whole temple is built of stones and many holy figures are engraved on them. It is a magnificent temple that attracts countless number of devotees. The idol of Juvarahereswarar here is one of the 64 holy idols (formless form of Lord Shiva). There are two kinds of divine treasures in the temple. There is a statue of Lord Gubera (God of treasure) in this temple.
Theertham: The temple tank is called ‘Vepperi Kulam’ and now is popularly known as ‘Upperi Kulam’.
Sri Kailasanadhar temple
Location: 1.5 km from Ekamberaswarar temple and to the west of Putheri street (S.V.N Pillai Street) street at Big Kanchipuram. It is found next to Kachiyanegathangavatham.
Significance: Being taken care by the Archeological Society of India this is a treasure house of sculptures. Along with Vaikunthanatha Perumal temple, this must be visited by everyone just for the sheer beauty of the art and architecture
Main deity: Shiva in the form of linga with 16 stripes, called Kailasanathar
Legend: There were thiripuraris-Tharakatchan, Kamalatchan and Vidhyamali who were ardent devotees of Lord Shiva and were graciously granted three worlds .the three worlds are iron world, silver world and bronze world. The demons other than the thiripuraris were by nature very unruly, harassed the celestials to the greatest extent possible. Lord Vishnu, who wanted to destroy the demons, came to understand that Lord Shiva was the only divine power who could destroy the demons. So Lord Vishnu set about his task of destroying their (demons) faith and devotion to Lord Shiva. Firstly Lord Vishnu created Aadhibuddhan as a form of his own self and sent him along with Sage Naradha to the demons. Both of them (Sage Naradha and Adhiputhan) succeeded in their endeavor to destroy the faith of all the demons (including the thiripuraris). After destroying the demons, Sage Naradha and Aadhibuddhan reached Kanchi and here they felt as if the sins wanted to get away from them and did not want to burden them any more. So the place (within the city of kanchi) came to be known as Paruthimalai Kundram. A little distance away from Kanchi both Sage Naradha and Aadhibuddhan established an idol of Lord Shiva and worshipped Him for many years. God then, appeared before them and said that they can atone for their sins only by undergoing suffering in their different births. In the temple, there is small passage around the sanctum-sanctorum with two entrances – Janana (birth) entrance and Marana (death) entrance. Shiva suggested to them to enter and exit through this passage many times to get rid of their sins.
Temple: This is the first temple made of stones by Rajasimha Pallava. After the completion of the temple they fixed a date for Kumbabhisheham. Shiva came in the King’s dream and asked him to postpone the date since he wanted to honour the invitation of Saint Poosalar for the Kumbabhisheham of his temple at Thirunindravoor which he (Poosalar) built brick by brick by mentally (not physically) just by sheer devotion. This is inscribed in the temple and Sekkizhar also has mentioned this in his work.
Note: It is said that there are two idols of dancing Shiva and Parvati. When the aarti is raised, you see an angry Shiva and smiling Parvati and when it is lowered, you see a smiling Shiva and shy Parvati (Check with the priest). A real marvel indeed!!!
Kachi Anekathangavadham temple
Significance: One of the 275 sacred temples glorified by the Thevara hymns; one of the five of them in Kanchipuram.
Location: This small temple is situated to the left of the path that leads to the Kailasanathar temple in a serene environment adjoining the S.S.K.V School, to the West of Putheri street in the North Western part of Kanchipuram.
Place: The fields in the vicinity are known as ‘Aanaiyurittaan Vayal’. This is known as Kachi Anekathangavatham since there is another sacred place known as anekathangavatham on the slopes of the Himalayas.
Main deity: Swayambu linga known as Anekathagavadeswarar
Legend: Lord Vinayaka established Lord Shiva idol in the name of ‘Anekabeswarar’ and set out to Eranyapuram to destroy the demons. Beginning from Kasi, a demon, He separated their powers from their embryos and united all the powers into one supreme power called ‘Vallabai’ and got wedded to it. Lord Gubera also worshipped here.
Sri Thirumetralinathar temple
Significance: One of 275 sacred Shiva temples glorified by the Thevara hymns and one of the five of them in Kanchipuram
Location: The temple is in Pillaiyar Palayam (Kanchi), in Thirumetralli Street, 2 km from Ekambareswarar temple. On one side of the street, there is a temple in honor of Thirugnana Sambhandar (also called Aaludaiyapillai and hence the name Pillayar Palayam) and on the other side is the Thirumetralli temple. The Uttruketta Mutheesar temple stands between the two temples.
Legend: Vishnu meditated upon Shiva here to attain Shivaroopam. As per holy command of Lord Shiva, Thirugnanasambhandar set his holy foot here, sang hymns in praise of Lord Shiva standing at the end of the road. Lord Vishnu listened to the songs with great piety and melted into linga form. Sambandhar also attained Shiva saroobyam here. Budha, one of the Navagrahas worshipped Shiva here
Temple: Metralinadhar linga is facing east and Vishnu linga is facing west. There are 2 other Shivalingams in this shrine – Odha Urigeeswarar and Mutheeswarar.
Theertham: Vishnu theertham.
Onakandeeswarar temple at Thiru Onan Kandhan Thali or Jalantharesam
Significance:One of the 275 sacred Shiva temples glorified by the Thevara hymns and one of the five of them in Kanchipuram
Location: Located at about a km to the West of the Ekambareswarar temple near the Sarvatheertham in a corner of the road that leads to Arakkonam, just opposite to the Panjupettai Electricity Board sub-station.
Legend: Once, Onan and Kanthan, the commanders of the demon Vanasuran, worshipped Shiva here and the 2 Shivalingams Oneswara and Kantheswara are present in different shrines. To the south of the temple outside, there is an idol of Lord Shiva, Jalandareeswarar, worshipped by Jalandaran known by the holy name Jalandaresam. Sundaramoorthy Nayanar is closely associated with this shrine. There is a story that when Sundarar sang hymns, Shiva hid himself in a tamarind tree nearby and when he sang another song Shiva was pleased and dropped tamarinds from the tree which turned into gold coins.
Temple: This is a small temple. There is a Vinayagar deity at the Thiruvonakandan mandapam at the entrance and if you put your ear, you will get a kind of omkara sound.
Theertham: Onakandhan teertham
Kachi Nerikkaaraikkaadu or Thirukkalimedu
Significance: One of the 275 sacred temples glorified by the Thevara hymns; one of the five of them in Kanchipuram.
Location: The place is known as Satyavratam and Indiresam. The path opposite the Head Post Office leads to this temple and the place is called Thirukkalimedu. In ancient times, people used this path to gain access to Kanchipuram. Since the path is full of spiny plants, the sacred place came to be called by the name Kachinerikkaraikkadu.
Main deity: The presiding deity is a Swayambumurthi known as Kaaraittirunatheswarar or Satyanatheswarar and the consort, Brahmmaraambigai.
Legend: Lord Indra, the King of the Devas and Lord mercury worshipped Shiva here.
Temple: The temple tank is known as Indra Theertham and Budha Theertham and it is believed that one who has a holy dip in temple tank and worships the God here would be endowed with the best benefits. Lord Mercury rose to the position of a planet only after worshipping the God here. It is believed that sesame oil offered during ablutions are absorbed by the Shivalingam. There are two prakarams and a three tiered Rajagopuram.
Theertham: Indra Theertham and Budha Theertham
Kachi Aayaarohaneswarar Guru Temple
Location: Near Pillarpalayam pond on the banks of the River Vegawathi.
Main deity: Kayaroganeswarar and Kamalaambigai
Legend: Once, Lords Brahma and Vishnu were very disappointed as their life time was drawing to a close. Shiva, who is beyond time limit took both of them to his shoulder and started dancing. Since Lord Shiva allowed them to take refuge on his back and blessed them, He is called Kayarohaneshwarar. Goddess Mahalakshmi showered the leaves of the holy Bael tree worshipped Kayarohaneshwarar to be blessed with a holy husband – Lord Vishnu. This temple is popularly known as Guru Sthalam since Lord Jupiter (Lord Guru) came here to worship Shiva and was blessed with unfailing devotion towards Him. Every Thursday, people throng the temple. The place of Sri Bhaaskhara maharishi is situated very close to this temple.
Theertham: Kayarohana Theertham. The Kanchi Puranam lays emphasis on the greatness of this place by saying that those who bathe in the Kayarohana Theertham and worship Shiva and Goddess Lakshmi here would be bestowed with all wealth and wisdom.
This is located very near main bus stand near the rettai mandapam. It is a unique and exclusive nineth century Chola period temple dedicated to Chitragupta, the chief accountant and the minister of Lord Yama, the God of Death. Chitragupta keeps record of all the good and evil deeds of humans and accordingly decides to send them to heaven or hell. Lord Brahma created Chitragupta through the Sun God and he is considered the younger brother of Lord Yama. People believe that Chitragupta is the Athi Devathai for Kethu which is one of the Navagrahas. So, anyone who worships Chitragupta at the temple would be bestowed with prosperity and wealth. The vices of the Kethu would also be mitigated. Some say (Note ‘some’) that for naga dosham one travels to kalahasti, but it is incomplete since at kalahasti, only the rahu pariharam is done and without ketu, the pariharam is incomplete. Hence a visit to chitragupta temple on the same day will complete the dosha. There are a large number of worshippers and devotees who come to the temple to perform pujas, especially during the Pournami or full moon every month.
The presiding deity, Chitragupta, is in a sitting posture holding a pen in the right hand. The left hand holds a palm leaf, both symbols of his work. There is also the Utsava Panchaloka idol of Chitragupta which is seen along with his consort Karnikambal.
Temples in Vishnu Kanchi
Sri Deepa Prakasar / Vilakkoli temple at Thiruthanga
Significance: 0ne of 108 Divya desams; avathara sthalam of Vedantha Desikar
Location: The temple is to the west of Ashtabujakaram temple and it is easy to locate the temple in the name of Deepa prakasar or Vilakoli perumal or Desikar temple.
Main deity: Deepa Prakasar in standing posture with Maragdha Valli thayar.
Legend: Brahma started an yagna in a nandavanam (which was cool and hence the name Thanga), without informing his consort Saraswathi. She was not happy about this and requested demon Mayanalam to disturb the yagna, who in turn made the whole world dark by his power. Brahma in turn sought the help of Vishnu, who manifested Himself as bright light and hence the name Deepaprakasar.
Temple: There is a shrine for Vedantha Desikar with Lakshmi Hayagreevar
Theertham: Saraswathi Theertham
Vimanam: Sreekara Vimanam
Sri Azhagiya Singa Perumal at Thiruvellukai
Significance: One of the 108 Divya desams
Location: The temple is opposite to Vilakoli Perumal temple. It is easy to locate the temple in the name, Yoga Narasimhar.
Main deity: Sri Azhagiya Singa (Narasimha) Perumal in sitting posture and Sri Vellukai Valli Thayar in different shrines.
Importance: Once Lord Narashimar at the Hastishaila caves in Attigiri sanctum hill, came to this place while chasing the demons. He found this place very cool and nice and also the Demons were not to be seen. So he stayed here as Yoga Narasimhar deciding to take care, if the demons return again. Since the Lord stayed here at His pleasure (Vel means desire), this place is called Velukkai.
Theertham: Kanakasaras theertham
Vimanam: Kanaka Vimanam
Significance: One of the 108 Divya desams
Location: South of Rangaswamy tank, small Kanchi.
Main deity: Aadhi Kesava Perumal, also called Gajendhra Varadan, in standing posture with consort Alamelmangai thayar in different sanctums.
Legend: At the request of Brahma, Lord Vishnu with eight weapons in eight hands warded off the demon intruders of the yagna conducted by Brahma. Hence the name, Ashtabujakaram. Even today, Shiva is seen guarding the yagna sala in the form of Sarabesan.
Sage Mahasudha was in penance here. Indhra was worried of his seat and he deva kanyas to disturb muni and kanyas took the form of elephant and diverted munis attention. He changed himself into an elephant and started living with them. After many years he came to know that he was fooled by them. Once when he realised his mistake he approached Sage Markendaya to help him out. Markandeyar asked him to worship Vishnu in this place Ashtabujakaram. He worshipped Vishnu with lotus flower, in the same form of elephant. One day the elephant’s leg was caught by a crocodile and to free himself the elephant took the name of Vishnu as Narayana and he was rescued by Vishnu and attained his previous form of human being. Peyaazhwar got the dharshan of Gajendhra Moksham at this shrine.
Temple: The main deity Ashta buja Perumal is seen with ashta bujam (eight hands) having weapons – chakram, knife, flower, arrow, sanku, bow, kedayam and gadha – in each hand. The tradition here is to first worship Goddess Pushpakavalli (Alarmelmangai) and then the Perumal.
Festival: Gajendhra moksham festival in the tamil month of Aadi
Theertham: Gajendra Pushkarani
Vimanam: Gaganakriti Vimanam
Sri Yadhothakaari Temple, also called Thiruvegka
Significance: One of the 108 Divyadesams; Poigaiaazhwar avatarastalam
Location: Near Rangaswamy tank at Small Kanchipurm; closer to Varadharaja Perumal Temple
Main deity: ’Sonnavannam seidha’ perumal in sleeping posture and Kamalavalli thayar in different shrines.
Legend: Vegavathi (Saraswathi) river started flooding by the act of demons to disturb the yagna performed by Brahma. At the request of Devars, Vishnu came to the rescue and laid down on Aadhisesha in the way of the river in 3 places forming dams. The places are Pallikondan (called Vadavarangam), Thiruparkadal and this place. So the place was called Vegavathi anai and later Vegka.
It is said that Poighai Azhwar took birth in a lotus flower representing ‘Panchajanyam’ in the Poigai pushkarani, adjacent to the temple.
It is also said that Kanikannan, a disciple of Thirumazhisai Azhwar was banished from the kingdom by the then ruler when he refused to sing on the King. When Thirumazhisai Azhwar left the place in search of him, Lord Vishnu at the request of Azhwar, rolled Adisesha in His hand and followed Azhwar. Once Lord Vishnu left the place, the whole town faced several problems. The king realised his mistake and begged Azhwar to forgive and return back to the kingdom. Azhwar then returned to the place requesting Vishnu once again to follow him and He did. Since Vishnu did as asked by His disciple, He got the name ‘Sonnavannam Seitha Perumal’, signifying the respect the disciples commanded from their master and also the humility of the master towards His disciples.
Temple: In this place, Ranganatha Perumal is in a unique resting posture with His head to the right side of the devotees and legs to the left side unlike the other temples. He is huge and very beautiful.
Andal is most beautiful here (Raju – I have never seen an Andal more beautiful than this including Srivilliputhur.When we went She was matched equally by a beautiful alankaram. This Andal shrine is a parihara sthalam for child birth and marriage. A ‘not to be missed’ temple for the beauty of Perumal and Andal)
Theertham: Poighai pushkarani
Vimanam: Veda Saara Vimanam
Sri Varadharaja Perumal temple at Thirukkachi
Significance: One of 108 Divya desams in a sprawling 20 acre area
Location: Vishnu Kanchi, Chinna Kancheepuram
Main deity: Varadharaja Perumal in standing posture and Perundevi Thayar in separate shrines
Legend: Brahma worshipped Lord Vishnu in this kshetram in Krita yuga; Gajendra in Treta yuga; Brahaspathi in Dwapara yuga and Aadhisesha in Kali yuga. It is believed that Iravatham, Indhran’s elephant, in the form of a hill bears the image of Lord Vishnu. The Lord is also called in several other names like Devaraja Perumal, Giri Varadhar, Karivaradhar and Athigiri Arulala Perumal. Sages Brugu and Naradha, Goddess Saraswathhi and Indhra were blessed by Varadharajar. Hayman and Sukran were transformed into lizards for their sins and they penanced here and got blessed by Vishnu. There are two lizards at roof of the temple and everyone is allowed to touch them to get relieved of all ailments.
Temple: This is a massive temple in a sprawling 20 acres site, patronized by Chola and Vijayanagara kings. The first praharam of the temple is on the holy mound called ‘Hasthigiri’. The main sanctum is 40 feet height with 43 steps to go. In the basement, we see Azhagiya Singa Perumal in sitting posture and Arithra devi Thayar. The 100 pillar mandapam with stone chains by the side of the temple tank is a shining example of art and architecture of that period. On the banks of the holy tank is the Chakrathazhwar shrine with Chakrathazhwar in front and Aadhiseshan holding Narashima moorthy at the back. Valampuri Vinayakar Temple is found in the inner court of the temple. The original figure of Lord Varadharajar made out of fig-wood (Atthi) is kept at the bed of the temple tank and is taken out once in 40 years for worship for 10 days. Sages such as Peyalwar, Budhathalwar and Thirumangai Alwar have sung on this deity. The temple festivals Garudasevai and the chariot festival are special, celebrated with great religious fervor and have won fame all over the world.
Theertham: Vegavathi, Ananthasaras Brahma theertham and well.
Jaina / Buddha / Samana Kanhi at Thiruparuthikundram
Jeenaswamy Trilokyanathar Temple. 1387 C.E. sangeetha mandapam & 17 th century paintings are present. This temple is under Archeologial society of india. Earlier this place was the centre of Jainism and Jaina mutt was also present. Now the mutt was moved to Melsitthamur near Gingee.
Other important temples / places:
Sri Maha Periyava Satabdhi Mani Mandapam at Orirukkai
How this divine project in honour of the Centenarian Sage of Kanchi came up is a fascinating story, demonstrating once more that ‘fact is stranger than fiction’! The idea was originally floated by one of the humblest devotees of the Sage,by name Thethagudi V.Venkatarama Iyer. He saw Parameshwara,the Lord of Mount Kailash Himself in the sacred person of the Sage and never missed the Darshan of the Sage of Kanchi on the evening of the Pradosham days during the years of his service with the Railways, wherever the Sage was camping. He came to be called,on that account,as Pradosham Mama by his fellow devotees everywhere. In 1989-’90,he launched the SriSriSriMahalakshmiMathrubhuteswarar (SSSMM)Trust to collect funds for building the edifice to mark the Centenary Jayanthi of the Sage. Devotees across the globe were captivated by this idea and contributed their mite for the fruition of this Project,but it took quite some years even for the first phase of this Project to materialize. Pradosham Mama reached the Lotus Feet of the Sage long before the Consecration took place .
According to PadmaSri S.M.Ganapati Stapatiyar who was devoted wholeheartedly to the making of this all-granite marvel of architecture, this Satabdhi Mantapam has come up in a happy blend of the Chola, Chera, Pandya and Pallava traditions of architecture-something that has not been attempted for a thousand years since RajaRajaChola’s famous Brihadeeswara temple in Thanjavur was built. His Holiness SriSri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal performed the Kumbhabhishekam on the morning of Jan28,2011.
The Nandi Mantapam, Deepastambam, Rajagopuram and Pakasala are yet to come up-funds are to be raised. So far, nearly Rs 20 crores kindly donated by devotees, have been spent.
Sri Madhangeeswarar Temple
This is located near Vaikunthavasa Perumal temple and to the south of it. This temple was built by Pallvas in the year of 800-900 AD. The architecture of this temple is same as Kailasanathar temple. It has 8 lion pillars each carved out of single stone (monoliths). A big shiva lingam is at the centre of temple. There are elephant statues in each corner around the temple. This temple is maintained by Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and it is one of the most visited place by history enthiusts and foreigners.
Sri Mutheeswarar Temple
This is near Vaikuntha vasa Perumal temple at the back side of Ulagalandha Perumal temple.
Sri Macheswar Temple
This is just at the back side of the Ulagalandha Perumal Temple
Sri Muktheeswarar Temple
This is about 100 meters from the Thirumetralinathar temple.
Sri Amara Eshwarar Temple
Sri Punya Koteeswarar Temple
Near Varadharaja Perumal temple
Sri Narasimhar Temple at Sevilimedu
One of the biggest Rudhra Narasimhar having Lakshmi on his lap
Sri Sanjeevaraya temple at Ayyangarkulam
Located on the way to Vandavasi. This is an exclusive Sri Hanuman temple without any other sannadhis (even Ramar is not there).
Kailasanathar Temple at Ayyangarkulam
Sri Vedhanadhar temple at Thiruvothoor (Cheyyar)
Significance: One of 275 sacred Shiva temples glorified by the Thevara hymns.
Location: 28 kms from Kancheepuram in Cheyyar
Main deity: Swayambu linga known as Vedanadhar and Elamula Nayakai.
Legend: Shiva preached meaning of Veda to Devas and Sages in this place, hence the name Thiruvothoor. Vishnu worshipped Shiva here and got his Chakrayudam. Sambandhar sang and transformed male palm trees to female palm trees here.
Temple: We can see Vishnu’s sculpture in the name of Aadhi Kesava Perumal. Nandhi before Kodimaram is facing the entrance. There is a stone sculpture of the Palm tree in the temple premises with Shiva linga under the tree and Sambandhar worshipping it. Arunagirinadhar sang Thirupugazh.
Theertham: Cheyyar and Kalyana teertham.
Sthala Vrukaham: Palm
Sri Panangateeswarar temple at Thirupankottore
Significance: One of 275 sacred Shiva temples glorified by the Thevara hymns
Location: 10 km from Kanchipuram
Main deity: Swayambu linga known as Panangateeswarar and Amirtha valli ammai.
Name: The place was full of panai (palm) trees and hence the name Panangattore.
Legend: When Sundarar visited this place Shiva appeared before him in the form of an old man and offered food. Sundarar laughed at him and said when there is no water what is the use of food. The old man scratched the land under his leg and water started flowing. The old man disappeared and Sundarar was surprised and sighted out the temple and visited it. He sang hymns on Siva of this place.
Temple: There are two deities one worshipped by Sage Agasthiar and the other by Saint Pulasthiar known as Thalapureeswarar and Krupadeeswarar with ambal Krupagambikai. The temple is constructed in Gajaprushta form (elephant back).
Theertham: Jada gangai and Sundara theertham. People say that the level at Sundara theertham is just 3 feet even today.
Sthala vruksham: Panai tree
Acknowldgement: Thanks to all the Blog readers who have given so much information to update this page