The Kailashnath temple situated at Putleri Street 1.5 km from Kanchipuram. is an ancient temple fine specimen of the Pallava architecture. The Pallava king Rajasimha started the temple in the 7th century AD and was completed by his son Mahendra. It is the oldest structure in Kanchipuram and the finest example of Pallava architecture in South India. The foundation of the temple is made of granite while the superstructure is carved out of sandstone.
The circumambulatory path around the sanctum is made in such a manner that it requires visitors to climb the up and down a flight of seven stairs and to crawl through narrow ways.
The temple is adorned with the sculptures of the Lord Shiva in 64 poses, which presents a picture of different aspects of mythology. The fresco paintings embellish the inner walls of the shrine. The temple is unique in its architecture and is viewed more as an architectural wonder than as a holy place.
It is not a major pilgrimage center. Pujas are offered regularly here to the Lord Shiva-Kailashanatha. The festival of Shivaratri is held here once every year.
The Innumerable Forms Of Lord Shiva
Of all the temples in India, no other edifice has been so elaborately filled with all the 64 aspects of Lord Shiva and something else. Two circuits, one outer and another around the sanctum adorn this temple. It is not mere walls that fringe the corridor. Small shrine-like cells have been constructed along the entire length of both sides and filled with the various exploits of Lord Shiva, not found anywhere else.
Shiva Lilarnavam, Sambu Nadaname and such other literatures have exquisitely described the dances of Lord Shiva. Come straight to this temple and walk around the corridor. The cells on the periphery are small, while on the inner wall they are big with big images.
Lord Shiva's leg outstretched and piercing the high heavens; Gajantaka who attired himself with the torn skin of the elephant Asura, with Uma standing coyly nearby; Bhikasadana who with his comely figure disturbed the hearts of the wives of the sages, and as a charming Mohini lured the sages from their rituals; "Ardanari", a half blended with Uma; "Sandya Thandava Shiva who danced at dusk wielding a Trisula (also spelt as Trishula); Gangadara who stemmed the force of Ganga in his locks; Brahma-Chiracheda murthi who clipped off the fifth head of Brahma by his nail; "Vishapaharana" who arrested the poison Alahala in his throat; Gowriprasada who changed the colour from black to a golden hue; "Chanda Thandavan" with "Rowdram" (anger), "Karunai" (mercy), "Sringar" (amour), "Bayam" (fear), "Nagai" (Smile) and "Veeryam" (Valour) exhibited in his face.
Thiripurantakan who without a single weapon destroyed the Asuras (demons) with his mere smile, Kritarjunamurti in the guise of a hunter, Chandesvara Anugraha, LinGodbavar, Bairava, Harihara are some the innumerable forms of Lord Shiva that can be witnessed here.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air : Chennai is the nearest airport to Kanchipuram. One can take flights for most of the important Indian cities and cities abroad from Chennai.
Rail : Trains for Kanchipuram are available from Chennai, Chengalpattu, Tirupati, and Bangalore.
Road : Kanchipuram is 75-km away from Chennai and is well connected by a network of roads. There are frequent buses from the city to Chennai, Bangalore and other places. For local transportation, bicycles can be hired from the shops near the bus stand. Cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws are also available on hire to move in and around the city.
WHERE TO STAY
Accommodation is available at the moderate class and small budgeted hotels, lodges, and choultries in Kanchipuram.