After visiting the temple of Venkateswara on the hill of Tirumala, we left in the morning in the direction of Kanchipuram. The journeys by car in India, are always animated and surprising. It was at the same time long, because we go through many small towns with an intense commercial activity. It means seeing many people in the streets and a devilish traffic.
After three hours of travel we arrived at noon to "Kanchipuram". It is one of the five cities that represent the five elements in Hindu mythology of wind, water, fire, earth and space. It is also one of the seven sacred cities of India. If we had to choose a city to see the range of religious architecture of South India, it would undoubtedly be this. It has the peculiarity that unlike in the rest of the cities that are the territory of Shiva or Vishnu, Kanchipuram is the only one that is sacred to both. In this city, more than a thousand temples were built. Today there are 108 of Shaivism and 18 of Vishnuites. To add some other curiosity to say that there are also two temples dedicated to Jainism.
As soon as we get to the city, we go to the temple of Ekambareshwar. It is one of the largest in the city with almost 12 Ha of extension, dedicated to Shiva. It that is clearly distinguished by its colossal gopuras of more than 60 meters of altitude. As soon as we get off the car in front of the main door and as we are the only tourists, a group of sellers surrounds us with the firm intention of selling us some pretty ugly flip flops. Before our little desire to buy they give up for the moment and move away, although at the exit they will return to the charge again. But before entering the interior of the temple to visit it I will briefly tell you about the history of this city.
Kanchi, was the capital of several dynasties. The notable among them was the Chola Dynasty in the 2nd century BC and the Pallava Dynasty between the 4th and 9th centuries AD. Kanchi was called "the golden city". People say that when the Muslim invaders sacked it during the 15th century, there was a lot of gold and precious stones. But they took everything else away without touching the gold. Also during the 6th century BC it was important enough for it to be visited by the Buddha himself.
Besides the aforementioned Ekambareshwar temple due to its varied architecture is highly recommended to visit. There is the Kailasanatha, Devarajaswami (dedicated to Vishnu) and Kamakshi Amman. If you have a full day and the night, it would not be bad to go to Vaikuntha Perumal. It is a temple that is more than 1200 years old, where there are some cloisters with lion pillars. It is also important to take into account the visiting hours, since some temples close between 12.30 and 4 in the afternoon.
To visit the most common is to arrive by plane to Chennai and depending on the time, go directly to Kanchi, and continue to Mamallapuram. In either case you have to visit both cities and the order of visit will not alter the result.