Kanchipuram was ruled by the Pallava, Chola, and Pandya dynasties over the course of many centuries, and each ruling family tried to outdo the others by building bigger and better shrines. The city’s most notable shrine, the Devarajaswami Temple dedicated to Vishnu, includes a 96-pillar marriage hall and a huge chain carved from stone.
Many visitors head to Kanchipuram on a day trip from Chennai, and guided tours often combine a visit to the city’s temples with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site temples at the nearby town of Mahabalipuram.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Kanchipuram is a must-visit for anyone interested in history, architecture, or ancient Hindu customs.
Make sure to wear sun protection and comfortable shoes.
Kanchipuram has lots of steps and uneven ground and is thus not suitable for wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Kanchipuram is about a 1.5-hour drive southwest of Chennai, though buses between the cities generally take closer to 2.5 hours. The most convenient way to reach the city is to take a taxi or visit as part of a guided tour that includes transportation.
When to Get There
Most of the temples are open in the morning and again during the late afternoon and evening; the cooler morning hours are typically the most pleasant time to visit. Southern India is quite hot and rainy in the summer, so the most comfortable time to visit is from October through March, when the weather is cooler and dryer.
Many tours of Kanchipuram also stop at Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was historically an important center for art, architecture, and literature. The ancient city boasts a variety of temples, ranging from cave temples to its famous eight-century stone Pallava temples, which are full of intricate carvings. Highlights include the Shore Temple, which overlooks the Bay of Bengal.
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