Varadaraja Perumal Temple

Hindu Temple in Kanchipuram

This enormous 11th-century Chola-built temple in southeast Kanchipuram is dedicated to Vishnu. Non-Hindus cannot enter the central compound, but the artistic highlight is the 16th-century ‘100-pillared’ marriage hall, just inside the (main) western entrance. Its pillars (actually 96) are superbly carved with animals, monsters, warriors and several erotic sculptures. Yalis frame its inner southern steps and at its corners hang four stone chains, each carved from a single rock.

Every 40 years the temple tank is drained, revealing a huge wooden statue of Vishnu that is worshipped for 48 days. After 2019's showing, the next is due in 2059.