What this tour is about: Two hours from Chennai is the temple city of Kanchipuram, also called Shiva-Vishnu Kanchi, one of the seven sacred cities of India. Kanchipuram was the capital of the Pallava dynasty from the 6th century AD, and was later the citadel of the powerful Chola kings and the Vijayanagar Rayas. In its heyday, Kanchipuram was a center of culture, seat of learning and one of the holy places that pilgrims flocked to. On your visit to Kanchipuram, you can see all its past glory in the magnificent temples. The temples have fascinating stories behind them and are outstanding examples of Dravidian architecture.
Kanchi is also world famous for its woven silk fabrics. Today, shoppers from all over recognize Kancheevaram silk sarees for their lustre, durability and intricately patterned motifs. 75% of Kanchipuram’s population depends on the silk saree industry. Yet, the city does not manufacture silk, or indeed, any of the raw materials that go into silk making. Kanchi specializes only in handloom weaving. Weaving is a cottage industry, and the skills are handed down from one generation to the next. If you’re looking to buy silk fabric - cushion covers, scarves, sarees - then this is the place for it. There are reputed silk houses, and prices are lower than in Chennai.
You can also visit a small museum at Kanchipuram – this is an old house, which the owners have opened to visitors. It is now a rich store of household memorabilia, paintings, et al. You can visit the prayer room, the kitchen utensils room, the family quarters etc.
On the way to Kanchipuram is the village of Sriperumbudur. If interested, you can stop briefly here to visit the Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Foundation, built at the site of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.
Duration: Full day