Kanchipuram – Kailasanathar Temple – P5

History of Temple –

The temple has gone by other names such as Kachipettu Periya Thirukatrali (meaning: Stone Temple of Kachipettu, the old name for the present day Kanchipuram) when Rajaraja Chola I of the Chola Dynasty paid a visit to this temple. Inspired by the architecture of this temple, he built the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur. Currently, Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.

Architecture of Temple –

The temple draws some influence from other styles developed by Chola Dynastya and Vijayanagara Emperors, while still holding their core Pallava architecture in its original style. The entire temple is made of stone, but it is not like the rock-cut architecture built into hallowed caves or carved into rock outcrops like Mahabalipuram. On the left is the gopuram, while on the right is the temple complex. The foundations are made of granite, and it holds the temple, while the superstructure, which includes the carvings, are made of sandstone. When it was created, only the main sanctuary used to exist with pyramidal vimana and a detached mandapa.

The temple has garbagriha, antarala, mandapa, high compound wall, entrance gate, gopuram, making it complete in all aspects. The mandapa was made by interposing ardhamantapa. Mythical lion mounts surround the pillars, which adds to the Pallava style.

The passage –

The passage is in circumambulatory form along the compound wall. It has symbolic value. Anyone entering must crawl through the passage, with seven steps climbing towards the passage. This represents the stages of life. After the passage, one must exist via a pit, which symbolizes the death. Others believe that the circumambulatory form is also representing how a person is coming out of a mother’s womb while staying in the same line with Hindu belief of rebirth. Some even say that if one completes the circumambulatory passage, then one will attain moksha. However, every meaning is related with birth, life, death and rebirth.

Sculptures –

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