to Siva, Kailasanatha is one of the earliest temples. It was built
by the Pallava king, Rayasimha, in the late 7th century, though
its front was added later by his son, King Varman III. It is the
only temple at Kanchi which isn't cluttered with the more recent
additions of the Cholas and Vijayanagar rulers, and so reflects
the freshness and simplicity of early Dravidian architecture.
Fragments of the 8-th century murals which once graced the alcoves
are a visible reminder of how magnificent the temple must have looked
when it was first built.
The temple is run by the Archaeology Department and is very interesting,
Quite unusually, non-Hindus are allowed into the inner sanctrum.
Sri Ekambarnathar Temple
Is dedicated to Siva and is one of the largest temples in Kanchipuram,
covering nine hectares. Its 59 m high gopuram and massive outer
stone wall were constructed in 1509 by Krishna Devaraja of the Vijayananagar
Empire, though construction was originally started by the Pallavas
and the temple was later extended by the Cholas. Inside are five
separates enclosures and a 1000- pillared hall. The temple's name
is said to be a modified form of Eka Amra Nathar -- the Lord of
the Mango tree. and in one of the enclosure is a very old mango
tree with four branches representing the four Vedas. The fruit of
each of the four branches is said to have a different taste, and
a plaque nearby claims that the tree is 3500 years old. The
Kamaskhi Amman Temple
dedicated to the goddess Paravati, this important temple is
the site of the annual Car Festival, held on the 9th lunar day in
February -March. When not in use, the ornately carved wooden car
is kept partially covered in corrugated iron halfway up Gandhi Rd.
The temple has a golden gopuram in the centre.