The Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Located at Kanchipuram in Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This temple is the oldest structure in Kanchipuram and constructed of Dravidian architectural style. It is known for its historical significance. The temple was built between 685 and 705 AD. by a Rajasimha ruler of the Pallava dynasty. The low-rise sandstone compound contains a large number of sculptures, including many half-animal deities that were popular during the early Dravid architectural period. Currently, Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.
The meaning of Kailasanathar is “Lord of the Cosmic Mountain”. It is built in the tradition of Smartha worship of Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Surya (Sun), Ganapati and Kartikeya, in Hinduism, a practice which replaced the Buddhism.
Temple construction is accredited to the Pallava dynasty, who had established their kingdom with Kanchipuram (also known as “Kanchi” or “Shiva Vishnu Kanchi”) as the capital city, considered one of the seven sacred cities under Hinduism. There was an interregnum when the Chalukya rulers defeated the Pallavas and occupied Kanchipuram. However, the Pallavas regained their territory and started expanding their capital city of Kanchipuram and built many temples of great magnificence. The only temple of this period which is extant is the Kailsahanathar Temple.
The temple was built during 685-705AD. It is the first structural temple built in South India by Narasimhavarman II (Rajasimha), and who is also known as Rajasimha Pallaveswaram. His son, Mahendravarman III, completed the front façade and the gopuram (tower). Prior temples were either built of wood or hewn into rock faces in caves or on boulders, as seen in Mahabalipuram. The Kailasanathar temple became the trend setter for other similar temples in South India. According to local belief, the temple was a safe sanctuary for the rulers of the kingdom during wars. A secret tunnel, built by the kings, was used as an escape route and is still visible.
The temple has gone by other names such as Kachipettu Periya Thirukatrali (meaning: Stone Temple of Kachipettu, the old name for the present day Kanchipuram) when Rajaraja Chola I of the Chola Dynasty paid a visit to this temple. Inspired by the architecture of this temple, he built the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur.
Located in the Kanchipuram city of Tamil Nadu, Kailasanathar temple was built during 685 A.D. to 705 A.D. The Pallava ruler, Rajasimha started the construction of the temple but it was completed by his son Mahendra Varma Pallava. The architecture of the temple is a fine example of the Dravidian style of architecture carved out of sandstone. 58 small shrines with different forms of Lord Shiva surround the main shrine. The walls of the temple are adorned with beautiful paintings and sculptures of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in different postures. According to the popular belief the temple served as a shelter to the king at the time of battles.
The temple is conveniently located in a rustic suburb away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A huge kneeling Nandi with the face towards the temple stands right in front of the entrance. The architectural beauty of this temple stands out from all the other temples in Tamil Nadu. One of the unique features of this temple is the 16 sided Shiva lingam made up of black granite at the main shrine. Thousands of devotees visit the temple at the time of Mahashivratri, when you would even have to wait for hours in long queues for your turn.
Temples Visiting Timings:
Temple is open from 6 AM to 12 PM and then 4 PM to 7 PM daily.
Some of the major festivals celebrated annually include Ram Navami, Janmashtami, Shivratri, Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi and Diwali. Marking the Hindu New Year, Diwali is one of the grandest Hindu festivals, and attracts many visitors and devotees to the mandir.
How to Reach the Temple
Kailasanathar Temple situated west side of kanchipuram and is 3 Km from Kanchi bus stand. Somehow there is no local bus service in Kanchipuram. But you can take an Auto to reach the temple.
The nearest Railway Station is Kanchipuram. From Kanchipuram, the temple is 2.7 km away. Private taxis are available to reach this temple.
Chennai is the nearest airport. From Chennai the temple is 75 kms away.