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Kanchipuram Tourism And Travel Guide
23.5° C / 74.4° F
December to March
2 to 3 Days
Chennai Airport (59 kms)
Kanchipuram Railway Station (2.5 kms)
The temple town of Kanchipuram is in Tamil Nadu in the South of India. Albeit a small one, the town is the centre of the larger Kanchipuram district that encompasses more tourist places like Mamallapuram and Covelong on the sea coast, temple towns of Uttiramerur, Sriperumbudur and Melmaruvathur and wildlife sanctuaries of Vandalur and Vedanthangal. Kanchipuram district has several electronic, car production units, silk weaving industries and software companies making Kanchipuram one of the hottest hubs of tourism and industrialization in Tamil Nadu.
Centuries ago, Kanchipuram was dotted with a thousand Hindu and Jain temples and was broadly segregated into Shiva Kanchi, Vishnu Kanchi and Jaina Kanchi. Several hundred temples remain today in one of the holiest cities of India. This capital of the Pallavas has seen through the reigns of many a Dynasty and still retains the remnants of its glorious traditions through its temples. If you are planning a visit to Kanchipuram, our travel guide should help you chart out a good trip.
How to Reach
Kanchipuram has a well connected and direct access by road and rail. The easiest way to reach Kanchipuram would be by road from Chennai.
The closest airport is the Chennai International Airport that serves domestic flights to most Indian cities and international flights to places like Singapore, London, Kuala Lampur and Sri Lanka.
There are long distance trains that halt enroute at Kanchipuram. There are also local EMU and passenger trains from the neighbouring cities.
The closest metro city is Chennai, on whose Expressway to Bengaluru lies the town of Kanchipuram. Kanchipuram is well connected to all neighbouring towns and cities by buses.
There are government and private buses, auto rickshaws and taxis to get around town. You could also hire a motorbike for solo rides.
Weather and the Best Time to Visit
The best time for a visit is from December to March, when it’s winter and the season’s pleasant and breezy.
Summer months are very hot, with only the occasional April showers, iced apples, mangoes and watermelons stimulating the ambience.
Southwest and northeast monsoon rains in on Kanchipuram. The coastal regions get heavy thundershowers and cyclonic storms that make travelling taxing.
After the northeast monsoon patters off by December, the season turns lovely and mildly cool and remains so till March. This is the ideal time for a hassle free trip to Kanchipuram.
Things to Do
Explore Karikili Bird Sanctuary:
Carpeted with lush vegetation and watered by irrigation tanks, the Karikili Bird Sanctuary is migratory home to a marvel of birds like ducks, Night Herons, Garganey Teals, Stilts, Moorhens, pelicans Ibis and egrets. The Sanctuary is about 38 km from Kanchipuram.
Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam is an exclusive residential theatre group where children from the neighbouring villages are trained in the rustic art forms of dance, music and drama of Kattaikkuttu, which they follow along with a regular school curriculum. It’s interesting to watch the kids team up as actors, musicians as well as makeup technicians. The Gurukulam is in Punjharasanthangal, about 7 km from Kanchipuram.
Aadikesava Perumal Temple:
The Boodhaganas of Shiva offered a thanksgiving for Vishnu who saved them from a curse, by building the Adikesava Perumal Temple. In front of the temple is a small shrine for the Thanuganda Thirumeni idol of Vaishnava Saint Ramanuja, at the place where he was born. The Aadikesava Perumal Temple which is a fine masterpiece of Dravidian architecture is in Sriperumbudur, about 31 km from Kanchipuram.
Arignyar Anna Zoologiocal Park aka Vandalur Zoo is the first public zoo in India (1855). The zoo is one of the largest zoological gardens with moated atoll typed enclosures for the larger animals, walk through aviaries and natural grasslands for the elephants. You can go on a safari ride to the lion, deer and gaur park as well as on an elephant safari. The Vandalur Zoo is about 50 km from Kanchipuram.
Visit Satabdhi Manimandapam:
The Mani Mandapam for Guru Sri Chandrasekhara Mahaswamigal is a captivating granite monument made in the Chola, Pallava and Nayaka architectural styles. A granite idol of the Swami graces the sanctum sanctorum in front of which sits a gigantic stone carved Nandhi. The Mani Mandapam is at Orikkai, about 5 km from Kanchipuram.
Pure silk saris of Kanchipuram are available at the Cooperative Silk Society showrooms run by the State Government. You could also buy silk saris from authentic showrooms. You’d find a number of sari outlets in Nellukara Street, Mettupalayam Street, Gandhi Road and the Handloom Weavers Service Centre for finest silks and cotton. It’s generally recommended that you visit Cooperative Silk Societies and not to get suggestions from auto rickshaw wallahs or agents regarding the best showroom for silks, but do some homework on real Kanchipuram silk before zeroing in on the right store.
If you would love to try different variations of the Kovil idlis, visit eateries like Kanaga Vilas or Sri Krishna Vilas. There are a number of vegetarian cafes like Indian Coffee House, Saravana Bhavan or Upashana Hotels where you could get to eat the traditional South Indian food. For non-vegetarian, North Indian and Chinese fare, there are several hotels like Arabbat, Dakshin Restaurant and Eat Me veg and nonveg restaurant. There are a good lot of restaurants for choices and you could always stroll round town discovering more places to eat at.