Dedicated 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.
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.
Temple is 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.
Rock Fort Temple
The temple tops an 83 m high outcrop. This smooth rock was
first hewn by the Pallavas who cut small cave temples into the southern
face, but it was the Nayakas who made use of its naturally fortified
position. It's a stiff climb up the 437 steps cut into the stone
to the top but well worth it for the views. Non-Hindus are not allowed
into the Vinayaka Temple at the summit nor the bigger Sri Thayumanaswamy
Temple dedicated to Siva, halfway up. Occasionally temple priest
waive this regulation.
This superb temple complex at Srirangam, about three km from
the Rock Fort, is surrounded by seven concentric walls with 21 gopurams
and is probably the largest in India. Most of it dates from the
14th to 17th centuries, and many people have had a hand in its construction,
including the Cheras, Pandyas, Cholas, Hoysalas and Vijayanagars.
The largest gopuram in the first wall on the southern side was completed
as recently as 1987 and now measures an astounding 73m. The temple
complex is very well preserved, with excellent carvings throughout
and numerous shrines to various gods, though the main temple is
dedicated to Vishnu. Even the muslims are said to have prayed here
after the fall of Vijayanagar Empire.
Trichy also has some interesting Raj-era monuments. Built in1812,
St. John's Church has louved side doors which can be opened to turn
the church into an airy pavilion. Rouse the doorkeeper to let you
in. The surrounding cemetery is also interesting.
An ancient Shiva temple, is the biggest temple in Chennai. A
masterpiece of Dravidian style and displays the architectural elements
- gopurams, mandapams and a tank. There are some fragmentary inscriptions
dating back to 1250 AD.
Sri Parthasarathy Temple
Devoted to Lord Krishna, was originally built by the Pallavas
in the 8th century and renovated in the 16th century bt the Vijayanagars.
It houses the five 'avatars' of Lord Vishnu, and has a small temple
shrine dedicated to Vishnu's consort, Vedavalli Ammai. It's one
of the oldest surviving temple in Chennai.
The Santhome Cathedral
Church built in 1504, then rebuilt in neo-Gothic style in 1893,
this Roman Catholic Church near Kapaleeshwarar temple is said to
house the remains of St. Thomas the Apostle.
Little Mount Shrine
St. Thomas is believed to have lived in Little Mount Shrine (a tiny
cave) when he came to India around 58 A.D. Known locally as Chinnamalai,
the cave is entered via the Portuguese Church that was built in
St. Mary's Church
Built in 1678-80, was the first English Church in Chennai, and
is the oldest surviving British Church in India. There are reminders
in the Church of Clive, who was married here in 1753, and of Elihu
Yale, the early Governor of Chennai who later founded the famous
American University bearing his name.