History And Geography

Kanchipuram district had been administered by the Pallavas, the Cholas, the rulers of the Vijayanagar Empire, the Muhammadan Kings and the British before Indian Independence. Tondaimandalam was an ancient division of Tamil country comprising roughly the present Kanchipuram district, Chennai district, Tiruvallur district, Vellore district and Tiruvannamalai district. The capital of Thondaimandalam was Kanchipuram. The major breakthrough in the district administration was in 1788 when, for the first time, collector was appointed to the district. The district was split up into two divisions, Northern and Southern and placed under the charge of two collectors. Karunguzhi became the headquarters of the district and it remained so up to 1859 when it was shifted to `Home Garden` Saidapettai, except for a short spell (1825-1835) during which Kanchipuram served as the district headquarters. From 1859 to 1968 the collector`s office was located in Saidapettai and with effect from 1st July 1968, Kanchipuram became the district headquarters.


Kanchipuram district is a spectacular site of temples and the district headquarters is also known as the temple city. The temples of Kanchipuram district reflect the glorious traditions of South India. Mammalappuram was a flourishing port-town during the time of Pallavas. This is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the district of Kanchipuram. The monuments of Mamallapuram are excellent specimen of Dravidian temple architecture and Pallava art. Sriperumpudur is another place of tourist interest in the district. It is 29 kilometres from Chennai on the way to Kanchipuram. It is the birth place of Saint Ramanuja, the father of Visishtadvaida philosophy of Vaishnavism and hence, an important pilgrim centre for the Vaishnavites. Kamakodi Peetham and Kammakshi Amman temple are closely associated with the life of Shankaracharya. The Kamakoti Peetham is enshrined in the Sri Chakra just in front of Sri Devi and all pujas and sacrifices are offered to the Sri Chakra. Sri Ekambareswara temple is the most famous Shiva temple at Kanchipuram district. Kailasanatha temple was constructed by the Pallava Dynasty during the first quarter of the 8th Century. The temple is built of red sandstone and has innumerable carvings of Pallava art, of which the Urdhva Thandava dance of Shiva and the laughing face of Parvati are worth seeing. Another famous temple of this district is the Sri Ulagalandar temple. The temple was constructed in the Chola period. Some of the other temples of this district are Sri Vardaraja Perumal temple, Vaikuntha Perumal temple, Sri Vijayaraghava Perumal temple, Sri Subramaniya Swami temple, Jain temples, etc. Apart from the temples some of the other major attractions of this district in the state of Tamil Nadu are Muttukkadu (a large lake), Bird Sanctuary at Vedantangal, Sadras, Anna Memorial, etc.

How to reach Kancheepuram

By Road: Kanchipuram is 75 kms away from Chennai and is well connected by a good network of roads. There are bus services from Kanchi to Chennai, Bangalore, Pondicherry, Thiruppathi, Thiruvannamalai and other places.
By Rail: Can be reached from Chennai Central railway station and Arakkonam railway station. The Southern railway has augmented its suburban train services to Kancheepuram by extending EMU services on the Chennai Beach-Tambaram-Chengalpattu section.
By Air: The nearest airport is Chennai International Airport (Meenambakkam)- just a 2 hours drive away.

Tourist Information
District Tourism Development Officer,
Kovalam Road,
Mamallapuram – 603 104.
Kanchipuram District.
LandLine : 044-27442232
Mobile : 9176995869
Email : to.mamallapuram@tn.gov.in

Places of Interest

Mamallapuram The Ancient Port City

Mamalapuram (Mahabalipuram) is one of the important place to visit in Kanchipuram. It was a flourishing port town during the time of Pallavas. This thriving port city was given the lease of life through the chisels of Pallavas. The monuments of Mamallapuram are excellent specimen of Dravidian temple architecture and Pallava art.

The art in the marvellous monuments with sculpted panels, caves, monolith rathas and temples lay emphasis on robust earthly beauties, imbibed with life. Mythological episodes, epic battles, demons, Gods, animals, all vividly depicted on the wall. These sculptures are breathtakingly real and artistic. Most of the temple and monuments were completed during the reigns Narasimha Varman I and Narasimha Varman II.

In contrast to the grand monuments of the Cholas, the architecture of Pallavas is simple yet very lively and attractive. The Pallavas were followers of Jainism but the conversion of Mahendra Vernman to Shaivism had drastic consequences on the future of Jainism and it also explains the Shiva and Vishnu temple at Mamallapuram. The shore temple strikes a very romantic theme and is perhaps the most photographed monument in India after Taj Mahal. The temple is flood lit in the night and then its beauty comes out to fully. The pleasure of watching the monument in light with cool breeze from the sea has no comparison. Mamallapuram attracts tourists from all over the globe to its monumental splendour and sunny beaches.

The Caves
There are nine cave temples which are cut in the rocks in Mamallapuram. These caves are famous for their real life depiction of incidents from the Hindu Mythology. There are Bas-reliefs in the various caves. In particular the carvings in the Krishna cave appears very real. Vishnu is seen in the cosmic sleep in Mahishasuramardhini cave. In contrast to peace here, the other portrayals of Goddess Durga is fighting the buffalo headed Demon.

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

It is one of the major Water Bird Sanctuaries in India.of 48 Kms from Kanchipuram. The birds nest on the branches of submerged trees. Storks, Egrets, Cormorants, Darter, Flamingos, Pelicans, moor hens,herons, kingfishers, sandpipers, white ibis,spoonbills, swans and grey wagtails are some of the birds which arrive here during season.The best season time is between October and March, when a large number of migratory birds visit. The birds can be viewed from the bank or from the watch tower. The Best time to visit this sanctuary is from November to March.


The Kanchi Kailasanathar temple is the oldest structure in Kancheepuram dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Shiva lingam in this temple is 10 feet high. Kanchi Kailasanathar temple was built in 7th century AD by a Pallava king named Rajasimha known as Narasimhavarman II. It is famous for its magnificient Vimana, the gopuram over the sanctum sanctorum.

It speaks volumes of architectural beauty that flourished in the reign of Pallava king. The foundation of the temple is laid on granite tones while the superstructure is carved out of sandstone. Currently the temple is well maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. The temple is open from 6.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.

By bus Kailasanathar Temple is 3 kms.from Kancheepuram bus stand. Nearest Railway station: Kancheepuram. From Kancheepuram Railway station the temple is 2.7 km away. Private taxi are available to reach this temple. From Chennai the temple is 75 kms away.


It is called as Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam and belived to be established by Adi sankara himself as Moolamnaya Sarvajana Peetam. Kanchi Mahaswami Sri Chandrasekarendhra Saraswathy Swamigal, the 68th pontiff of this Mutt lived for 100 years and his Brindavanam is located inside the Mutt’s premises. Sree Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal and Sankara Vijayendra swamigal are the 69th and 70th pontiffs of this mutt respectively.


It is a 12th century temple in the heart of the town. “Ka” means Goddess Saraswathi ( God of Education), “ Ma” means Goddess Lakshmi (God of Wealth), “Akshi” means Eye. The name in full refers Kamakshi with Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi as her both eyes. It is an important Sakthi Sthalam called as the “Nabisthana Ottiyana Peetam”. The temple also has a golden Gopuram on the Sanctorum of Goddess Kamakshi deity which is visible to all devotees.

Goddess Kamakshi is in a sitting posture in the temple. There are no traditional Parvati or Shakthi shrines in the city of Kancheepuram, apart from this temple, which adds even more legend to this temple. Phone: +91 44 27233433- 27221214.


It is one of the five major Shiva temples of Pancha Bootha Sthalams ( each representing a natural element) representing the element – Earth. The Single Mango tree in the outer court is revered as most sacred and it is believed, if worshipped by childless couple will be blessed with a child. Reaching a height of 57 metres, the temple’s Raja Gopuram (the entrance tower to the temple) is one of the tallest in south India and was built by the Vijayanagar king Krishnadevaraya. One notable feature of the temple is the Aayiram Kaal Mandapam, or the “hallway with a thousand pillars” which was built by the Vijayanagar kings. The temple’s inner walls are decorated with an array of 1008 Siva lingams. Timings: 6.00a.m. to 12.30 p.m. 4.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. Phone: +91-44-2722 2084. The temple is at the centre of the town and is too close to the bus stand. It can be reached by walk from there.


Sri Deveraja Swamy Temple, popularly known as Sri Varadarajar Temple is situated at the eastern corner of Kancheepuram. A 23 acre temple complex, with 19 vimanams and around 400 pillared halls is dedicated to Varadarjaperumal or Varadaraja Swamy. One of the 108 Divya Desams, all the 12 Alwars have visited and have sung hymns in praise of the lord. The Bhramotsavam during (May/June) is the main festival of the temple. This palatial temple was constructed at various stages centuries ago by various kings. The hundred pillared Mandapam was built by the Vijayanagar kings. This has become a centre of attraction to the foreign tourists with exquisite carvings and delicate works of art. The Tiruppanies done by Alam Kheer Basha of Delhi during 1645 was inscribed on the walls of the temple.

Timings – Morning: 6.00a.m. – 12.30 p.m. Evening: 3.30p.m. – 8.30 p.m. Phone: 044 27269773, Nearest Railway station: Kancheepuram.


It is one among the 108 Divyadesams dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Vaikunthanathan(Lord Paramapadanathan) and his consort Lakshmi as Vaikundavalli. It was built by Pallava King Nandivarman in the 8th century. This temple presently is under the care of Archaeology Department, Govt. of India.

It consists of three tiers. On the first tier, Moolavar vaikunda Perumal graces in his sitting posture facing west. On the second tier, Araganadha Perumal places his head towards north and showers his grace in his reclining posture. On the third tier, Paramapadanadhar graces in his standing posture. Thus Perumal graces his devotees in his three postures of sitting, reclining and standing in this temple of three tiers. The temple tank is called Airammadha theertham and the Vimanam is known as Mukunda Vimanam. Vaikunda Ekadasi is the most important festival of the temple. The temple is at a walkable distance from the Kancheepuram bus stand. The temple is open from 7.30a.m. to 12.00 noon and from 4.30 p.m. till 7.30 p.m. Phone: +91-44-27269773,9443990773.


The Nityakalyana Perumal Temple more than 1000 years old is situated on the East Coast Road between Chennai and Mamallapuram. The beautiful deity here is Varaha Perumal, otherwise called Nitya Kalyana Perumal. The deity is believed to bestow marital bliss to the unmarried devotees who worship him.


It is a 400 year old ancestral home of the Damal Family, maternal fore fathers of renowned scholar Sir. C.P.Ramasamy Iyer. This house has been converted into a museum. Furnitures, Antique Dolls, Ancient Palm Leaves, Musical Instruments, Pooja items, Lamps, Stone Sculptures, Paintings, Traditional Dressing & Make –up Cases, Silk, Cotton and Handloom, men and women’s wear, Jewellery and Indological Books are on display in this museum.


The Archaeological Department confirms that the present structure could be around 500 years old. But locals call it a 1500 years old temple. It is located at Semmenjeri on the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) 30 kms from Chennai. It is said that, a Pallava king who lost his eye sight got back his vision on worshipping Srinivasa Perumal here. Even now, people believe that anyone with eye problems get it cured by worshipping the Perumal here. This is also said to be a Prahtana sthalam for the unmarried and childless couples. Contact : 9840388836, 98400 69650 for further details. Timings: Morning 7.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m., Evening 4.00 p.m. to Night 8.00 p.m.


The Crocodile Bank is situated at around 44 km away from the capital city of Tamil Nadu, near Mahabalipuram. It extends over an area of about 3.2 hectares, comprising a wide range of Indian and African crocodiles, alligators and other reptiles including turtles and snakes. Here the crocodiles are kept in their natural habitat. Founded by Romulus Whitaker, the German Biologist in 1976, to conserve the species of crocodiles and alligators wich are endangered, it is provided with lush tropical vegetation for giving ample shade to these reptiles. At the time of its establishment, the total population of the crocodiles was only 30. Presently, it has 14 varieties of crocodiles, 12 specriesof turtles and 5 types of snakes, with total number of 2,400 reptiles in the Crocodile Bank. Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 7.00 p.m. – 8.30 p.m. (By advance booking only) Phone : +91 -44 27472447


It is 42 kms from Kancheepuram. This is called as Melmaruvathur Sidhar Peetam. The temple is dedicated to Adi Parasakthi and siddhar is called as Bangaru adigalar or AMMA. People throng this place of worship in large numbers, during festival occasions.


The work to establish the Zoological park was started in 1976. It was opened to public in 1985. It is one of the largest Zoological Complex in South East Asia sprawling over an area of 602 ha. This houses 40 varieties of mammals, 20 avian species and 14 species of reptiles, Animal Welfare, research,veterinary, horticulture and sanitation teams, apart from maintain Zoological complex, conducts awareness campaigns for the school children and teachers as a part of its education program. Separate natural habitat enclosure has been created for the Butterflies in an area of 2.7 acres, with 200 species of nectar plants at a cost of 4 crores. Timings : 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Tuesday holiday. Phone: 044 – 22751089.


A Sea side village, 40 kms, from Chennai city is on the way to Mamallapuram. There is a popular Church and a Dargah within the village boundary that attracts pilgrims from its neighbourhood areas and Chennai too. Catamaran ride and mid sea diving arranged by the locals attract a lot of tourists.


TTDC operates a Boating centre in this ideal picnic destination with enticing green back ground and glittering blue sky and sea, with food court facility. Annual Windsurfing Regatta is organized in the month of February. Muttukadu Boat House is a water sport facility on the East Coast Road at Muttukadu, Chennai. Offering rowing, wind surfing, water skiing and speedboat riding. It is a backwater area of the Bay of Bengal located 36 kms. From the city centre and 23 kms from Adyar on the way to Mamallapuram. Phone: + 91 – 9952995827. Operating Hours: Morning 9.00 a.m. to Evening 6.00 p.m.


Ulagalandha Perumal is the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu (known as Vamana Avataar). This talks about the divine happening of measuring the entire universe in one step by Lord Vishnu in the form of a Brahman, as a gift fromKing Mahabali. This temple was built by Jayam Konda Cholan. This architecturally beautiful temple has a unique feature of having four Divya Desams in the same complex. 1. Thiru Ooragam. 2. Thiruneeragam 3. Thirukkarvanam. This is a unique feature which can’t be seen anywhere. It is a great benediction to Kanchi to have 4 “Divya Desams” in a single temple.

Ulagalanda Perumal temple is situated very near to Kancheepuram Bus Stand. The temple is open from 7.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon and from 4.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. Phone: +91-9443597107, 9894388279, 9443903450, 9442553820, 9787414773.


Mamallapuram is a resort and tourist centre. In addition to the ancient monuments and temples. It has an extensive beach front on the ocean. It was created by the Pallava Dynasty and it was their seaport during their regime. The Pallava king Nrasimha Varman I, was a great wrestler with the title, MAMALLAN, hence it was named MAMALLAPURAM. This has an exotic and long sea shore, temples in the form of Chariots called Rathas, mandapams ( cave sanctuaries) huge open air reliefs such as the famous and excellent 100 foot long “ Arjuna Penance”. And the Temple of Rivage, with innumerable glorious sculptures of Lord Siva.

Built in Dravidian Style of architecture the shore Temple complex has one large and two small temples. It is one of the oldest structural excellence of South India and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A new and modern addition to the town of Mahabalipuram is the Open Air Museum. Sculpture and Art College, Sculpture workshops, Handicrafts long and beautiful sea shore attracts millions of tourists throughout the year. Accomodation: Hotel Tamilnadu (TTDC) Unit I, Beach Resort Complex, PH: 2744 2361-64.


Also called as Rain Drop Boat House, maintained and operated by the TTDC, it is 90 kms. from the city of Chennai and 30 kms south of Mamallapuram on the East Coast Road. This boat house has varieties of boats like Banan Boat, water scooters, speed boats to suit the taste of the visitors. Boating trip is also arranged to the nearest beach island in the Odiyur Lake.


Deviating from the normal posture with four arms, Lord Vishnu is in standing posture with 8 arms called as Ashtabuja Perumal. The temple is one o the 108 Divyadesams of Perumal. A separate Mangalasasanam (hymns) is addressed to Goddess by Azhwar only in the temple. This temple was built by Thondaiman Chakravarthy who is popularly named as Vayiramoghan.

The Perumal is in this sthalam is Sri Aadhikesava Perumal and he is seen with 8 hands. He holds Chakaram, Sword, a Flower and an Arrow on the right hands and Sangu, Bow, Kedayam and Gadha on the left. This temple with a single prakaram covering an area of about an acre has a 3 tiered rajagopuram in its northern entrance and the temple tank is Gajendra Pushkarini. There are shrines to Bhuvaraahar, Aandal, Peyalwar and Hanuman.The temple is open from 7.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon and from 4.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. Phone: +91-44-2722 5242. The temple is 2 kms from Kancheepuram bus stand.


Uthiramerur is located about 85 kms. From Chennai. This temple is about 1200 years old built by Nandhi Varma with the help of Paramesa Vathan an extremely skilled Vasthu Sasthra expert. This temple has numerous inscriptions about Chola and Vijayangaram regime. The rituals in this temple are performed as per Krishna Yajuveda Vaikasana Agamam. Sri Kamakshi Sametha Sri Kailshanathar Temple dedicated to Lord Siva is also located at Uthiramerur. The temple is believed to have been constructed during the reign of Uthiravarma Chola.ord Vishnu is generally seen in either of the 3 forms,Nindraan (Standing),Irundhaan (Sitting) or Kidandhaan (Reclining) This is one of the few tempstandingles where you can have dharshan of Maha Vishnu in all this 3 forms.