Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The sweetness of Southern India circuit (Day 9 late morning) - Kailasanathar Temple, Kanchipuram - The 19th of February 2015

Known for its historical importance (being the oldest Hindu Temple in existence and therefore declared an archaeological monument by the Aerchaeological Survey of India) Kailasanathar Temple (which means temple of the lord of the cosmic mountain) was built from 685-705 AD in Dravidian architectural style by Narasimhavarman II of the Pallava Dynasty, having had the front fa├žade of the gopuram completed during the reign of Mahendravarman III. 


Dedicated to the various forms of Shiva the temple comprises 58 small shrines. According to local belief the temple was equally a safe sanctuary for the rulers of the kingdom during war periods (once a secret tunnel used as an escape route was found). Its foundation is made of granite, though the structure that includes the carvings is made of sandstone.

One of the things that immediately caught our attention was the depiction of mythical lions sculpted on the mandapa pillars and looking in every direction.

I couldn't help photographing the whole ensemble from different directions but also the  sculptures inside the various shrines (reliefs of Shiva and his consort Parvathi in many dance forms) placed along the compound wall which enclosed the main shrine, as well as  the many carvings of Gods and Goddesses outside its outer wall.

I was deeply impressed by the representations of such a wide variety of Deities in the utmost  possible forms and incarnations, as well as their poses.


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