A Journey Off the Beaten Path & Beyond the Taj Mahal: The Unexplored Beauty of Kanchi Sri Kailasanathar Temple in Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage


When one thinks of India, images of the majestic Taj Mahal often spring to mind. While this iconic monument is undoubtedly a marvel, India’s cultural and architectural heritage extends far beyond its gleaming white marble. Hidden in the heart of Tamil Nadu, the Kanchi Sri Kailasanathar Temple in Kancheepuram offers a much more captivating experience for travelers seeking a journey off the beaten path. This blog post invites you to explore the serene beauty and historical significance of the Kanchi Sri Kailasanathar Temple, a gem that stands as a testament to India’s rich cultural tapestry.

Discovering Kancheepuram: The City of a Thousand Temples

Kancheepuram, often referred to as the “City of a Thousand Temples,” is a treasure trove of ancient architecture and spirituality. Located about 75 kilometers from Chennai, this historic city was once the capital of the Pallava dynasty and a flourishing center of learning and culture. Amidst the many temples that dot its landscape, the Kanchi Sri Kailasanathar Temple holds a special place due to its architectural grandeur and spiritual significance.

The Architectural Marvel of Kanchi Sri Kailasanathar Temple

Built in the 8th century by the Pallava king Rajasimha (Narasimhavarman II), the Kanchi Sri Kailasanathar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is the oldest temple in Kancheepuram and is an architectural marvel that showcases the artistic brilliance of the Pallava dynasty. The temple is constructed using sandstone, and its intricate carvings and detailed sculptures are a feast for the eyes.

Key Architectural Highlights:

  1. Vimana (Tower): The temple’s vimana, or tower, is adorned with intricate carvings depicting various deities, mythological scenes, and intricate floral patterns. The vimana stands tall, symbolizing the connection between the divine and the earthly realms.
  2. Sanctum Sanctorum: The inner sanctum houses a beautiful Shiva Lingam, which is the focal point of the temple. The sanctum is surrounded by a narrow passage that devotees use for pradakshina (circumambulation), a practice believed to bring blessings and spiritual merit.
  3. Mandapams (Halls): The temple features several mandapams, or pillared halls, each adorned with exquisite sculptures and carvings. These halls were used for various rituals, ceremonies, and gatherings.
  4. Sculptures and Frescoes: The walls of the temple are embellished with detailed sculptures and frescoes depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. The attention to detail in these artworks reflects the high level of craftsmanship and devotion of the artisans of that era.

Spiritual Significance and Legends

The Kanchi Sri Kailasanathar Temple is not just an architectural marvel but also a significant spiritual destination. It is believed that the temple was built to honor Lord Shiva in his form as Kailasanathar, the Lord of Mount Kailash. According to legends, worshipping at this temple can absolve devotees of their sins and grant them moksha (liberation).

One of the unique aspects of this temple is the presence of 58 small shrines within the temple complex, each dedicated to various forms of Lord Shiva and other deities. Devotees believe that visiting these shrines and offering prayers can bring prosperity, health, and divine blessings.

A Tranquil Retreat for the Soul

Visiting the Kanchi Sri Kailasanathar Temple offers more than just a glimpse into ancient architecture and spirituality. The temple’s serene environment, away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, provides a tranquil retreat for the soul. The peaceful ambiance, combined with the gentle chants of prayers and the scent of incense, creates a meditative atmosphere that soothes the mind and spirit.

How to Reach Kanchi Sri Kailasanathar Temple

Kancheepuram is well-connected by road, rail, and air, making it easily accessible for tourists from around the country and the world.

  • By Air: The nearest airport is Chennai International Airport, approximately 75 kilometers away. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to Kancheepuram.
  • By Train: Kancheepuram has its own railway station, with regular trains connecting it to major cities in Tamil Nadu and other parts of India.
  • By Road: Kancheepuram is well-connected by road, with frequent bus services from Chennai and other nearby cities. You can also hire a private taxi or drive to the temple.

Tips for Visitors

  1. Dress Modestly: As a place of worship, visitors are advised to dress modestly, covering their shoulders and knees.
  2. Photography: While photography is allowed in the temple premises, it’s important to respect the sanctity of the inner sanctum and refrain from using flash photography.
  3. Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Kancheepuram is during the winter months (October to March) when the weather is pleasant.


Beyond the Taj Mahal and the well-trodden paths of India’s famous and highly promoted landmarks lies the unexplored beauty of the Kanchi Sri Kailasanathar Temple. This ancient temple, with its stunning architecture, rich history, and spiritual significance, offers a unique and enriching experience for travelers. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a spiritual seeker, or simply someone looking to escape the chaos of everyday life, a visit to the Kanchi Sri Kailasanathar Temple in Kancheepuram promises to be a journey of discovery and tranquility.

Embark on this journey off the beaten path and immerse yourself in the timeless beauty of the Kanchi Sri Kailasanathar Temple—a hidden gem that stands as a testament to India’s glorious past and spiritual heritage.

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Introducing Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar - A specialist academically trained in modern Western sciences, yet deeply enamored with India's timeless ethnic arts, crafts, and textiles. Her heart beats for the rich and glorious cultural and spiritual heritage of India, and she has dedicated her entire blog to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide. Through her simple yet impactful blog posts, Mala aims to reach every nook and corner of the globe, sharing India's beauty and wisdom with the world.

But Mala doesn't stop at just sharing her own thoughts and ideas. She welcomes constructive criticisms and suggestions to improve her blog and make it even more impactful. And if you share her passion for India's culture and heritage, she extends a warm invitation for high-quality guest blog posts.

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