Kailasanatha Temple

sights / Religious

Kailasanatha Temple information

Kanchipuram , India
Opening hours
6am-noon & 4-8pm
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Kanchi's oldest temple is its most impressive, not for its size but for its weight of historical presence and the intricacy of its stonework. As much monument as living temple, Kailasanatha is quieter than other temples in town, and has seen a lot of restoration. Dedicated to Shiva, it was built in the 8th century by the Pallava king Narasimhavarman II, who also gave us Mamallapuram's Shore Temple.

The low-slung sandstone compound has fascinating carvings, including many of the half-animal deities in vogue in early Dravidian architecture. Note the rearing lions on the outer walls. The inner sanctum is centred on a large 16-sided lingam, which non-Hindus can view from about 8m away. The tower rising above it is a precursor of the great vimanas of later Chola temples. An autorickshaw from the centre costs ₹40, but walking is nice.