Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple

By Sanjeev Nayyar esamskriti@suryaconsulting.net | 2016

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The Sri Kailasanadar Temple was built by the Pallava king Rajasimha and his son Mahendra in 8th century a.d. If there is a temple that I went gaga on seeing the first time this is it. Is it became I been to Mount Kailash in Tibet, or am a Saivite by evolution do not know. NANDI outside temple. There is a well maintained garden in temple complex.

A close up view of temple. It is a Shiva Mandir, the oldest structure in Kanchipuram and the finest example of Pallava architecture in South India. Of all the temples in India, none other has been so elaborately filled with all the 64 aspects of Lord Shiva. "Of the 8 shrines that u see 2 two are located on the southern side of the main gateway and balance are on right of pic on northern side. Each structure stands independent and complete in all respects)."

Side view. Lion in standing pose all along the external wall. "It is one of the oldest structural stone temple in Tamil Nadu. Built mainly using sandstone and holds many frescos that stood time".

View of Shikhara (tower) from south side. The tower rises in a pyramid shape and has a dome shaped roof on the top.

Temple entrance. "Kailasanatha contains in embryo many of the features of the rapidly emerging South Indian style: gopuras, pilastered walls, a pyramidal shikhara, and a perimeter wall enclosing the complex."

On south side you see small shrines dedicated to various forms of Shiva, totally 58 in number. Shrines have Lord Shiva and Parvati in many dance forms. Gods and Goddess in outer walls are Brahma, Vishnu, Nandi, Goddess Durga with 3 Ganas, Shiva in Samhava Tandava (destructive dancing) pose.

Straight view of temple. There is image of deity in temple and in the wall behind that. U can see Nandi on top right of pic. They are there all over external wall.

Looks like Goddess Durga. Pillars are adorned with Yalis.

Images in outer wall. "The foundation is made of granite while outer temples made of sandstone. "

Images in temple I think are Lord Vishnu and centre is Shiva Parvati.

Centre is Shiva as Dakshinamurthy. External wall of temple from south side. Top of pic centre see Ganesha. 2 animals on either side are Erect Lions.

The next panel with rear view of temple on left ie western side. External wall of temple has images of Durga, Skanda, Bhavati, Vishnu, Narasimha Avatar of Vishnu, Shiv Tandava, Brahma, Ravana, Vali offering prayers to Atmalinga Chandikeshvara, Tripurantaka. Managed to click some of these, others did not know - there was no guide to help identify.

South west view.

Horizontal angular south west view of temple. No words to express amazing work - architectural beauty.

I think this is image of Lord Vishnu with Bhudevi and Sridevi on either side of the pic.

South side image. Left is 3 headed Brahma with wife. Centre is Shiva. Right is Vishnu with wife. Please correct if wrong.

I think this is Shiva in Samhava Tandava (destructive dancing) pose. Note how big ears of elephant are depicted.

Centre is Durga. I was so taken in by the small shrines and the overall temple that missed taking more pics of temple external wall and long view of temple with shrine/tower.

View of temples from northern side. Did not feel like leaving this temple. To read all about the temple Click here

Image inside niches on northern side.

Shiva Parvati. Earlier the walls had painting, effect of time.

Lord Vishnu. Pic no 16 had close up. This has the panel on both sides. Level one has lady and others seems like men with flutes.

Northern side angular view of small temples. Note Nandi on top.

Images inside temple niche.

Some more images. Missed taking pics of Shiva as LINGODHBAV (emergence of linga), Ravana, Vali offering prayers to Atmalinga Chandikeshvara.

Shiva Bhikshatana. "Shiva with sandals, unbound hair, and carrying his few possessions on a staff, is shown as a youthful ascetic, being worshiped by wives. A disenchanted husband raises his fist in the upper left corner. The poise and gestural language of these figures (the flexion of Shiva''s left leg and sandaled foot, his upward-pointing left hand, the outraged husband''s martial stance, and the kneeling adoration of the seduced wives) lend vitality to the composition. Shiva''s upward-pointing left hand is echoed, a couple of centuries later, by the upward-pointing right hand of his disciple Sambandar (Sambandha)".

Another niche. Animals below have face of a horse.

North side temple niche image.

View of temples on north side. Note the cemetery. Can artisans of today make such a structure?

Rear side of temple, the front side is eastern side entrance that you saw in pic 2.

Close up of work on one of the temples ka wall.

East side but after entrance. These temples still have a linga inside.

Two warriors. Shore Temple Mahabalipuram too was made in the 8th century. To see pics Click here

Animal in front is a peacock so image has to be of Karthikeyan but he is 3 headed so not sure. Pattadakal Temples made in 7th century. To see pics Click here

This is what you see on entering temple. Did not go for darshan since opened at 6 pm and had to take pics of another temple. Hope to have darshan surely the next time round. Aihole is said to be the cradle of Indian Temple Architecture. To see pics Click here

A close up of the vimana. Am still spell bound with this wonder of a Shiv Mandir. To visit a very good site on the temple Click here