Kanchipuram is about 76 Kms. from Chennai and is considered as one of the seven holy cities in India. There are about thousands of temples in this holy ancient city and I think one can easily spend about a year just going around the temples which were built by Pallavas, Cholas and kings of Vijayanagara. This place is famous for the world famous Kanchipuram silks and one would find each and every street lined with Kanchi cotton and silk shops. There used to be an old Tamil saying, "Kanchipuram sendral kalatti pizhaikalam " meaning if one wants he can go to Kanchipuraam and get his livelihood by weaving as this place is famous for handloom silk and cotton sarees.
Ekambareshwarar is the most famous Siva temple in Kanchipuram, another Padal petra sthalam where Sambandar, sundarar and Tirunavukarasar had sung hymns in praise of God. This is one of the Panchabhutha Lingas, and is considered to be the first among them as it represents the Earth. The others are Kalahasthi (Vayu), Chidambaram (Akash), Tiruvanaikal (Jal) near Trichy and Arunachaleshwar Tiruvannamalai (Agni).
The Lingam in Kanchipuram is made out of river sand and it appears like a cone at the top. It is believed that Goddess Kamakshi herself moulded the Lingam here out of river sand. Behind the Lingam are the idols of Ekambareshwar and his consort Kamakshi. This temple covers an area of 20 acres. The Rajagopuram here is 192 feet high with 11 tiers. The temple was originally built by Pallava kings but was later reconstructed by Chola and Vijayanagar kings. This temple dates back to 600 AD
The temple has many shrines around . Behind the main temple is the Mavadi sannidhi, the sacred mango tree where the Lord Siva appeared before Kamakshi, where she was performing a penance to reunite with him. Pilgrims offer their worship here and it is believed that if a childless woman takes the mango of this tree she would be blessed with a progeny.
There are also other shrines around this temple dedicated to Bhadrakali Amman, Sahasra Lingam( this Lingam looks beautiful with one thousand small Lingams carved on it). Then there is a sannidhi for El vaar kuzhali, the Utsavar of the main deity and Kamakshi. There is a Vishnu's shrine known here as Nilattingal Tundattan in the outer prakaram and is one of the 108 Divya deshams of Vishnu. It is believed that Vishnu helped Kamakshi during the penance when ever she faced obstacles.
The Nandimandapam outside has the dwajasthambam and behind this mandapam is the Maha Nandi. Each and every pillar has exquisite carvings and one can easily spend a day in this temple enjoying the temple architecture.
Temple timings: 6 a.m-12.30 p.m, 4.30 p.m- 8.30p.m
This temple is situated just 2 kms from the Kanchipuram main bus stand.
How to reach:
Kanchipuram is well connected by road from all the towns in Tamil Nadu and regular buses ply from Chennai with good frequency.