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Kamakshi Amman Temple

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Southern India is well-known for its cultural heritage, and the Kamakshi Amman Temple represents an important gem from the past. Set in the midst of Kanchipuram, also known as the City of Temples, this place of worship is home to the divine Goddess Kamakshi, who is believed to be an incarnation of Parvati, the Hindu goddess of love, fertility and strength. Visitors claim to experience a formidable energy in the air that can only be felt in the presence of the deity. This makes the shrine a popular destination for devotees and culture buffs.

The Kamakshi Amman temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, which are sacred shrines built around the falling body parts from the corpse of Goddess Sati from heaven. It is believed the naval part of her body fell at this site, thus making it a holy abode. Shaktism is based on a Hindu tradition focused on worshipping the Goddess. In the name Kamakshi, the letter 'Ka' represents Saraswati (the Goddess of knowledge and wisdom), 'ma' represents Lakshmi (the Goddess of wealth and prosperity), while 'akshi' refers to gracious eyes. Together, these three Hindu Goddesses or Devis form the holy trinity of the female transcendental energy of the universe.

Ancient as it is, the sacred abode is rooted in the beliefs of civilisations gone by. With its prominent artistic gopurams and the mythology surrounding its origins, the Kamakshi Amman temple creates an enigmatic aura that draws in not just ardent devotees, but also curious travellers from all over the world. Unlike other holy places in Southern India, this temple is well-maintained and kept clean, providing a pleasant atmosphere for prayer and worship.

Varadharaja Perumal Temple

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Varadharaja Perumal Temple located in the city of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is one of the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is of immense religious importance. It is also believed that the Alwars or the poetic saints visited this temple. The temple complex is expansive and is a work of worship that was built during the reign of the Chola Kings. It is, hence, also of great historical importance. Devotees of Lord Vishnu from all over the world visit the temple to seek blessings in Vishnu Kanchi especially during the 10-day Vaikasi Brahmmotsavam, Purattasi Navaratri and Vaikunda Ekadasi. The majestic architecture of the temple complex and the intricate carvings are sure to mesmerise one and all. The serene vibe of this scared spot is so surreal and unexplainable that one really has to visit the temple to experience it.

Varadharaja Perumal Temple is a part of the trio Mumurtivasam along with Ekambareswarar and Kamakshi Amman Temples. The temple is also known as Perumal Koil and is believed to highly sacred in Vaishnavism. Visitors can explore the enormous temple complex that has 32 shrines and other features built according to the ancient temple architecture. This temple has a unique idol of Lord Vishnu made of wood. The idol is kept in a silver box and is immersed in water. Locals believe that the region received good rainfall after the idol is wholly submerged in water. The temple and stories related to it have been mentioned in the Vedanta Desika, Thirtha Prabandha Peyalvar, Bhoothathalvar and several compositions created by Muthuswami and Tyagaraja Dikshitar in the 18th century.

Devarajaswami Temple

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The Devarajaswami Temple was constructed by the Vijaynagar kings. It is devoted to the Hindu god Lord Vishnu. There are ornamented engraved pillars that can be seen inside the temple.

This scrupulous temple has a marriage hall that was built in remembrance of the marriage between Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi. There is also a water tank that contains a large statue of Lord Vishnu inside the water. The tank is debilitated every 40 years and it is at that time, the 10 meter high statue can be seen, and is then established for darshan for 48 days before it is immersed in water again. There is also an enormous chain that was engraved out of one single stone.

Kailasanathar Temple

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Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple is an important religious site is located on the banks of the Vedavathi River, at the western limits, facing the east side in the Kanchipuram city of Tamil Nadu. The temple holds great significance and value for the Hindu devotees and is visited by a large number of tourists all year round, but the number of visitors increases drastically at the time of the Mahashivratri. The Kanchi Kailasanathar temple is embellished with beautiful paintings and fantastic sculptures.

The Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple is the most ancient temple from amongst all the temples that are located in Tamil Nadu and was built during 685 A.D. and 705 A.D. The construction of this grand structure was started by the Pallava ruler Rajasimha, whereas his son Mahendra Varma Pallava completed it. The architecture of the temple is an excellent example of the Dravidian style of construction, and the temple is carved out of sandstone. The architectural beauty of this temple is remarkably different from that of all the other temples in Tamil Nadu. A striking feature is the sixteen-sided Shiva lingam that is made up of black granite at the main shrine.

Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam

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The Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam is a monastic institution for the Hindu community located in one of the Pancha Bhuta Sthalas, the city of Kanchipuram. The Pancha Bhuta Sthalas represent five materials essential for our existence, namely - Earth, Sky, Water, Fire and Air. Out of these, Kanchipuram represents Earth, Chidambaram represents Sky, Thiruvanaikoil represents Water, Thiruvannamalai represents Fire and Kalahasti represents Air. Visitors often find the institution a place to find peace. The management still follows the traditional practices in a pure environment which is rarely seen in today's world. They serve the Ananda Prasadam to all the visitors during noon which will put the soul to rest instantly. People from all castes and creed are welcome to visit and to attend the traditional poojas without any discrimination.

The institute or the matha of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam was established by Adi Shankaracharya in 482 BC to propagate Advaita Discipline and safeguard the ancient Veda-Dharma as unhealthy religious practices by the Non-Vedic sect of people threatening the Veda Dharma. It is currently being headed by the 70th Shankaracharya. The lucky ones could get to see the senior pontiff; however, one may interact with the junior pontiffs and seek more knowledge about Veda Dharma from them.

The magnificent temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga who is locally known as Kamakoti. The institute also has a Sanskrit Base as it is mentioned in the Vyakarana Mahabhashya of Patanjali. The word 'Kanchi' has been mentioned several times in the Vyakarana Mahabhashya. The Brindavan of Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Swamiga is also worshipped here. The matha and its divine vibe have to be experienced to know the true meaning of sanctity.

Kanchi Kudhil

Highly influenced by the Hindu religion, many of the temples here can be seen are in fact Hindu temples. The ancient culture as well as the cultural heritage of Hinduism is shown at Kanchi Kudhil.

It is a small house that shows exactly how the Hindu religion is intertwined into India's history and modern day way of life. This delightful place of discovery is open to visitors. There is no fitting way for a person of another faith to apprehend and acknowledge the captivating religion of Hinduism than to visit the Kanchi Kudhil.

Ekambaranatha Temple

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The Ekambaranatha Temple is the largest temple in Kanchipuram. It covers a massive area of 20 acres. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and was built by the Pallavas and then in turn was renovated by both the Cholas and the Rayas.

One notable feature of this temple is the fact that the 1000 lingas are all carved out of one solitary stone. Also, there are one thousand pillared halls found within the temple. Outside of the Ekambaranatha Temple there is a mango tree that is around 3500 years old. There are four separate limbs found on the tree that represent the Four Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana). Tradition has it that the fruit from each limb tastes different even though they all are on the same tree.

Vaikunda Perumal Temple

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The Vaikunda Perumal Temple was built by the Pallava king Nadivarman II during the 7th century. This is particular temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

In fact, Lord Vishnu's image can be seen in standing, sitting and reclining forms on towering vimanas that can be seen throughout the temple. There are also many beautiful lion pillared cloisters as well as several bas ? reliefs in the main shrine of the temple. Inscriptions that tell of the history of the temple as well as the history of the city itself can be seen on the walls. India's Department of Archeology cares for this temple.

Thennangur Panduranga Temple

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Thennangur Panduranga Temple is located in the Thennangur village in the district of Tiruvannamalai in Kanchipuram. The town is also known as the birthplace of Goddess Meenakshi. Thennangur Panduranga Temple is dedicated to Panduranga and his consort Rukmayee. It attracts tourists from all over the world for its religious importance, its unique architecture and the divine idols of Lord Panduranga and Rukmayee. The main idol of the temple was installed by Swami Haridas Giri which he had brought along with him from Pandharpur about 500 years ago. The striking temple also houses an idol of Achyutraja Perumal which is a rare find India. It is said that no temple in India has an idol of Achyutraja Perumal, making it a unique find in the country.

The idols are grand and elegantly dressed with great enthusiasm and spirit in colourful clothes and beautiful jewellery. The sight of the beautifully decorated idols is a treat to the eyes. Many get mesmerised by the dazzling beauty of the idols and witness, not just the blessings of the Almighty, but also the magical vibe in the temple atmosphere. One can see a beautiful merger of the Orthodox Sampraday and the Bhajan Sampraday here. It is believed that the Lord blesses newlywed couples hence most families choose the Maha Mandap inside the temple complex as their wedding venue. It is also believed that Lord Panduranga appears in different forms on special occasions. The Thennangur Panduranga Temple is thus of immense religious and spiritual importance to the devotees travel miles to visit and offer their prayers.

Kachapeshwarar Temple

It is at the Kachapeshwarar Temple that the Lord Shiva can be seen being worshipped by Lord Vishnu in the form of a tortoise. This image can be viewed on sculptures and engravings that have ornated this beautiful temple from start to end.

This concept of a temple to be dedicated to one Hindu god, in this case Lord Shiva, and then show another god worshipping that entity makes this temple extremely unique. The exquisite interiors of the temple is just as impressive as the exterior.

Ulagalantha Perumal Temple

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Ulagalanthar Perumal Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu and one of the 108 Divya Desams, is located very near to the Kamakshi Amman Temple in the city of Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. The temple is of great historical and religious importance and is visited by followers from all over the world. The temple deity has an idol of Vishnu in the form of the Vamana which stands about 35 feet tall with a width of 24 feet in a pose that depicts Lord Vishnu has one foot on planet earth and the other on the skies. It is believed that the foot that pushes towards the skies is the foot that pushing King Bali to Patala (the hell).

The form of the idol of Lord Vishnu is also called the Trivikrama Form. It is believed that Lord Vishnu took this avatar to defeat King Bali on the day of Amavasya which is still celebrated as the festival of Deepavali or the celebration of the victory of Lord Vishnu. Many Poojas are performed in the temple. However, one of the most important ones is the Naga Dosha or the Kaal Sarpa Dosha Pooja. Because of its proximity to the Kamakshi Amman Temple, many devotees visit this temple every day. The premise is very well maintained by the temple management and has a soothing vibe that must be experienced by everyone visiting the city.

Jain Temple, Kanchipuram

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The Jain Temples of Kanchipuram are of immense religious importance for Jain devotees located in the village of Thiruparuthikundram in Kanchipuram. One of these temples is dedicated to Bhagwan Mahavir, and the other is dedicated to Jain Teerthankaras. The temple architecture is mainly 9th-century Dravidian type of structure. These ancient temples are adorned with beautiful paintings depicting deities and stories of the Jain culture/ Jain style of art. Most of these paintings have been restored, but the beauty of the temples is very well preserved. As one explores the architecture, they are sure to feel enthralled with the beauty of fresco and the mural paintings. This structure draws not just the Jain devotees but also art and architecture lovers from all over the world.

The glorious temple is also of great historical importance denoting the era when Jainism became a way of living in Kanchipuram during the reign of the Pallava Kings who were ardent followers of the religion. Both the temples are located adjacent to one another and are maintained by the Department of Archaeology in Tamil Nadu. Since these are ancient structures, only some regions are open for tourists as the restricted areas as highly deteriorated. The temple dedicated to Bhagwan Mahavir is called the Jinaswamy Temple and the one dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras is called the Chandraprabha Temple.

According to a legend, Queen Lakshmana, the wife of Mahasen Raja, had a desire to drink a streak of the glowing moon when she was pregnant. The child who was born to the Queen had the radiance of the moon. He was thus named Prince Chandraprabha. The prince is said to have given up on all the pleasures of life very early in his life and preached the path to enlightenment to the masses. He is said to have attained nirvana as Sammetshikhar after he fasted and meditated for about a month.

Vijayaraghava Perumal Temple

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Vijayaraghava Perumal Temple is a place of worship dedicated to Lord Vijayaraghava Perumal located in the town of Kanchipuram. This glorious temple is the 57th of the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was built in the 13th century during the reign of the Pandya rulers. Certain inscriptions on the temple walls denote the era it was constructed. The temple architecture is similar to the traditional temples found in Kanchipuram. A majority of the devotees that visit the revered shrine are women who wish to bear a child. According to a belief, roasted lentils are soaked in water, bundled in a piece of cloth and tied to the woman's lap during Amavasya. If the lentils sprout, the woman is believed to be bearing a child soon in the future.

According to a legend, when Ravana was abducting Sita, the King of Birds, Jatayu fought with Ravana to free Sita but couldn't succeed. Rama and Lakshmana, who were looking for Sita, reached the place where Jatayu was lying injured from the fight. He told them what had happened and prayed to be blessed by his magnificent form, Viswaroopam. Upon granting his wish, Rama performed his last rites. It is believed that the pyre heat was so unbearable that Sridevi moved to the left while Bhudevi moved to the right of the pyre. Then Rama shot an arrow into the earth giving rise to a spring which we call the Jatayu Teertham. The Vijayaraghava Perumal Temple complex has two different shrines for the main deity, Vijayaraghava Perumal, and for Margathavalli Thayar. The idol of Vijayaraghava Perumal is seen standing in between Sridevi and Bhudevi facing east. One can see Jatayu resting on his thigh. Tourists also flock to the temple to see the unique Kuthirai Vahanam which spins on its axis.

Chitragupta Temple

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Chitragupta Temple located in Kanchipuram is dedicated to Chitragupta who is a Hindu Deity. It is a rare temple in India that is dedicated to Chitragupta who is also known as the assistant of The God of Death, Yamaraja. The temple is a striking work of traditional architecture that is found in most of the temples in South India. It has Rajagopuram which is three-tiered and a sanctum sanctorum. According to Hindu mythology, Chitragupta was born from a painting that Lord Shiva drew in detail and was appointed to keep an account of the good and the evil deeds of humans on earth to help maintain Dharma. He was therefore named Chitragupta, Chitra (painting/ picture) and Gupta (accountant).

The elegant temple was built during the 9th century by the Chola Dynasty. Further renovation and expansion work was taken over by several other kingdoms which ruled Kanchipuram after Chola Dynasty. Today, the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department maintains the temple and promotes it as a major tourist attraction of South India. Chitragupta is also considered planet Ketu's Adi-devata and is also believed to have born to the sacred cow, Kamadhenu and was brought up by Lord Indra and Goddess Indrani. The idol of Chitragupta is in a sitting posture with a pen in his right hand and some documents in his left hand. The Chitragupta Temple is considered of high religious importance. Devotees flock here in huge numbers especially during the festival of Chitra Pournima which is celebrated every year in April.