Sunday, February 7, 2010

Kanchipuram Bike Trip

Kanchipuram, a quaint little town, 75km from Chennai(thats where I live) was built by the Pallava Empire about a 1000 years ago. I was looking around places to take me and my bike for a li'l trip. This place popped to my mind. Other than spiritual pursuits, yeah this place has temples dime a dozen, the sheer splendour of these temples have amazed me for quite a while. And so I started.

The route is along the very smooth Chennai Bangalore highway. After encountering heavy traffic all the way till the outskirts of the city, I accelerated my XCD to 70 and the ride was as smooth as they get. En route, you'll pass the Hyundai India Factory, the Irungattukottai race track, the Nokia India factory and quite some industrial parks. Though its a tolled road, bikers are not charged!!!:)

Arrive at kanchipuram an hour and a half later and you'll be greeted by an array of 70-80 year old houses,shops and various other business outlets(read tea shops, hotels and other shops selling flowers and other religious items). I headed straight towards the Ekambaranathar Temple, the presiding deity of Kanchipuram. This Shiva lingam is named so because, Kamakshi, an avatar of Goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva's consort, prayed under a mango tree, to get married to lord shiva, with a lingam made of mud.
In Sanskrit, Ek means one, and amara means mango tree. Hence the name. The very same lingam is present in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. behind this are the couple themselves, adorned in marriage costumes. The very same tree under which Kamakshi prayed to lord shiva is also present. This tree is said to be around 3500 years old. With 7 branches, each branch is supposed to give a different tasting fruit, as well as branches of those leaves are in different colour and flavor. While the colour legend is true by the sight u get, we'd not know the other stories as we're not allowed to touch the sacred tree.

The temple itself is a magnificent sight to behold and a treat for the eyes. The sheer enormity and the beauty of the temple's architecture leaves you spellbound. It also leads you to think that people at those times were far more brilliant. Imagine, we armed with the latest technology, can't build anything even remotely as good, buildings that kill

people. While those people, armed with basic hammers, tongs and primitive tools, have built structures like this that are about 1000 years old and are withstanding the test of time with only a handful of them starting to show signs of wear, just wear not caving in like our month old buildings.

This temple is an epitome of the Pallava architecture and its brilliance. Posting a couple of pictures i sneaked in. Mind you, photography is strictly not allowed, though you are charged 20 bucks if you want to carry one. While inside you're told that pictures are not allowed at all.
Tip: Better hide your cam, flash strictly off if you taking pics or thinking of it
While I am to maintain the temple's sanctity, parting with 20 rupees and not bringing back a bit of memories is not good too. :P I'm never good at following rules.

Kanchipuram is truly a wonderful place to get to know the architecture and a delight if you are interested in architecture. A place worth visiting for your spiritual pursuits too. The shiva linga just gives you the goosebumps. Its magnificent to look at along with the earthern lamps adorning it. With the god and the goddess behind, you'll automatically start uttering your prayers. Such is the beauty of the sanctum sanctorum.

Hope you like this post. My first and I do promise to improve.

P. S: Promises have the liberty to be broken.
P. P. S: I might have erred in some facts about the temple. Kindly let me know if so. :)


  1. Hoping to see more such bike rides.! :)

    Good one - Casual!


  2. A nice post da.... I would like to see the formatting improve... widen the size of the main area of the template da... it will make it feel shorter... I thoroughly enjoyed the blog...Title the post accordin to main subject da, i expected more abt kanchi itself... not jus the temple.... Loved it tho!