I had booked to stay at a hotel in Covelong, directly on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. The guide, car and driver arrived early on Saturday morning, as requested, so we could head out, with plenty of time to spare. It was the rainy season - maybe it is always the rainy season near the coast. For planning, when driving in India, I consider 40 kilometres covered on average in an hour is the best that one may expect, and we had about 75 kilometres to cover to reach Kanchipuram. In places, the road was poor, requiring a detour. Kanchi had been the capital of the various Pallava dynasties for five centuries or so during the first millennium.
Our first stop was a model primary school on the outskirts of town, followed by the Ekambareshvara Temple, and then the real treasure - the Kailasanatha Temple, from the early 8th century. Next I wanted some quick photos of the street commerce, before taking in the third and final temple - the Varadaraja Perumal Temple in the southeast of Kanchi. A word of caution for visitors - temples close down every day from 12 noon to 4 in the afternoon. (Note, the time stamp on my photos in the EXIF data is incorrect - one hour ahead.)
The Varadaraja Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. He is the god who always says "yes" to a request, and the word for that is "Varadar" - one who gives. Now the temple is enclosed by a surrounding wall, so that access may be controlled from the gate in the western wall. Shortly after arrival, we had been blessed by no rain that morning for the most part, it started to pour down. I do not carry an umbrella! I have enough to bring with me and choose to get wet instead.
Just inside the main entrance, on the left, there is a structure called the "100-pillar hall". We headed for that so as to stay dry. Immediately, to the north of this "hall" - actually a mandapa, sits a tank. Apparently, there is a wooden image of Varadarajaswamy preserved in a silver box, in water pumped out and put on display every 40 years. My visit did not coincide with this event. And, I am not suggesting this image reposes in the structure front and centre in this photo. The tank is known as the Theertham Tank.
The Varadaraja Temple dates to 1053 CE with additions in the 14th century.
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