Kanchipuram, otherwise known as Kanjeevaram or Kanchi, is a relatively tiny town in the state of Tamil Nadu. Regarded as a major spiritual hub of Hinduism, it also a prominent pilgrim location. Kanchipuram has various medieval temples with truly stunning and impressive architecture. It was formerly the capital of the Pallava kingdom during the 4th to the 10th century whilst it was also a centre of education for most big and common religions in India. Modern day Kanchi consists of many stunning Hindu Temples which are still being used today, whilst there are also archeological remains of the famous Jain Temples. Sadly, despite Kanchi having the reputation of being the centre of the religion Buddhism in Southern India, there are no more remains of Buddhism presence to be visited and explored due to war and erosion. Geographically Kanchi is located opposite the Bay of Bengal and also the capital of the state Chennai and is known as the city of a thousand temples. Geographically, the city is situated in between Thiruvallur and also Villupuram and totals an area of over 440,000 hectares whilst also having a coastline of more than 50 km. A brief history of Kanchi includes it being the ancient and historical capital of the well renowned Pallavas during which was the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries. One of the seven holy and sacred cities throughout India, Kanchi is for that reason a well visited religious city with visitors from all over India and the world who strive to see a magical piece of history. A fairly robust and industrious city, Kanchipuram today is a thriving industry for hand woven silk fabric and saris. The silk is produced by many of the cities weavers and is made with the finest quality material and pure gold thread in the country. One of the highlights of the city is that visitors are able to view the quality materials on street markets and can often, with good negotiation skills, are able to purchase hand woven silk at wholesale prices. Being such specialist in the production of silk, Kanchipuram is also known as Silk City. Best Season Due to the very hot and humid summers which can restrict a lot of activity, it is advised to visit during the winter months to experience a lot less cool temperature. The best months to visit Kanchi are between October and March. Getting There The most popular and common modes of transport into and out of the city are via train and bus The city itself houses the railway station and is well served by trains from a suburb of Chennai, Chengalpattu whilst there are also trains to and from Mumbai. Buses frequently run to and from small and major cities such as Chennai, Bangalore and Mamallapuram. Tourist Attractions at Kanchipuram Kanchi Kamakshi Temple - The Kamakshi Temple is a nationally renowned Hindu temple which was built and dedicated to Kamakshi who acts as one of the forms of Parvati, a Hindu Goddess. The temple is also very closely spoken about in association with Sankaracharya who is one of the all time most famous Hindu Gurus. The Kanchi Kamakshi Temple is one of three temples which act as a vital center of worship of Parvati as the mother Goddess within the region. Legend has it that the temple was constructed by the Pallava Kings, where Kanchipuram acted as the capital of their kingdom roughly around 6 C.E. The main image in the temple shows Kamakshi being sat in a Padmasana displaying a yogic posture which means peace and prosperity. The image also shows Kamakshi bearing a sugarcane along with flowers, a lasso and a goad along with a parrot being displayed standing on the bunch of flowers. The temple is very special amongst locals due to it being the only Parvati temple in the city. A truly remarkable temple and different to the hundreds of traditional temples around the city, it is a popular tourist attraction to visitors staying in the area. Vaikunta Perumal Temple – The Vaikunta Perumal Temple or otherwise known to locals as The Thiru Parameswara Vinnagaram is a temple that was constructed in dedication to Lord Vishnu, who is a Hindu God. The architectural prowess of the temple indicates a Dravidian style. The temple has been praised in the Divya Prabandha, which is an ancient Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the sixth to the ninth centuries. There were over 100 Divyadesam's for Lord Vishnu with this temple being one of them. The Vaikunta Perumal Temple is widely thought to have been constructed by Nandivarman the second who was a Pallava King and later altered during the ruling of the Cholas and the Vijayanagar Kings. Encircled by a great big wall of granite, inside the walls you will find many shrines and bodies of the temple. Events happening at the temple include six daily rituals in accordance to Vaikasana Agama whilst there are also two annual festivals located at the premises. Governed by the state of Tamil Nadu, the temple is one of the most popular points of the visit from travelers in the city. Varadharaja Perumal Temple - Varadharaja Perumal Temple or otherwise known to the locals of Kanchi as Hastagiri or Attiyuran, is an ancient Hindu temple which was constructed and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Like the aforementioned Vaikunta Perumal Temple, the Hastagiri is also one of the Divya Desams, which are all temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu and are renowned for being the point of a visit from the Alwars, also known as the 12 poet-saints. The temple is especially famous due to one of the most talked about Hindu graduates of Vaishnava Visisht, Ramanuja who, legend has it, was widely known to have lived in the temple. Amongst the temples that are classed as Divya Desams, the Hastagiri is named Perumal Koil and is one of the most sacred places in the city for Vaishnavites. Kailasanathar Temple - The Kanchi Kailasanathar temple is one of the oldest constructions and building within the city. The temple has unique Dravidian architecture and is a Hindu Temple built and dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has prominent value in the region with locals regarding its history as vitally important to the city. Built by the Pallava Empire in 685 AD, the temple demonstrates a sandstone compound with holds many carvings including that of half-animal deities which were prominent and vastly popular in the Dravidian period. Inside the temple are 58 shrines which are each dedicated to different forms of Shiva. The shrines are located within the inner realms at the top of the compound wall in the circumambulatory passage. The temple is by far one of the most popular sights to see in Kanchi. Must Do Activities One of the things that visitors should strive to do whilst in the city is to visit The Kanchi Mutt which hosts kutcheris, and also Indian music events in the evenings. It is a great way to spend an evening and to truly grasp a taste of Indian culture. A private organization, RIDE India, is an organization which provides people with the opportunities to either do long term or short term voluntary work. Visitors who are keen to take part in such a wonderful scheme will have the opportunity to take part in the Eco-Tourism program which gives you the chance to visit families of silk weavers, attend local cusisine cooking lessons and also the chance to visit all of the prominent temples in the city. Furthermore, participants will also be allowed to stay overnight in one of their designated guesthouses. Visitors to Kanchi absolutely must go on a shopping spree. Most famous for the production and manufacturing of silk, visitors will be able to grab some impressive items such as stoles, scarves and sarees or even just random pieces of fabric at bargain prices. Most of the stores are located on Mahatma Gandhi Road so ensure that you visit and bring home some unique souvenirs and gifts. Accommodation There are numerous hotels and places to stay in Kanchipuram and places to suit people of all requirements and budgets. There are a whole host of low budget places for backpackers and those on a budget, whilst those looking to indulge in high standard facilities, there are also places to meet this demand. Our recommended places to stay are as follows; GRT Regency Jaya Bala Hotel Simla Lodge Despite being a town small in stature, Kanchipuram makes up for its size with an abundance of history and culture. With vast historical events molding the city into what it is today, the production of the finest silk in the town should certainly be exploited by tourists who wish to take a special something home to their friends and families. A truly mesmerizing place, visitors won't regret visiting Kanchi.