Temple....is it a temple or a mound of fine arts from all over the world? At first, I did not understand anything. When I took a closer look, I saw a wall built
of stone mandapas (halls) covered with large number of carvings. We will be surprised when we examine it in
detail. Everywhere, we can see mandapas
made of pillars which have a variety of artistic works covering every inch of
This temple was
constructed in 7th century A.D.
Another speciality is that all these are built of sandstone. We cannot see this feature anywhere else. As we pass the wall covered with carvings of
horse, lion, elephant, etc and reach inside, the colourful sight of sculptures
with different forms welcome us. Dragon
carvings look like they are ready to jump onto us. Inside the temple wall, there are several
small chambers which are used by ascetics for meditation.
Parashurama in the
form of a mendicant.
Majority of the
sculptures are that of Shiva and Parvati in different forms. I saw a rare sculpture of Parashurama in the
form of a mendicant. There are 1 or 2
paintings that were drawn centuries back.
These have been drawn using fruit juice, colours made of crushed plant
leaves as well as colours made with a paste of stone powder. They still exist as pieces of art that could
not be destroyed by time.
is maintained by Archaeological Society of India. I reached there around midday. I do not know if it is because of that or if
it is because I was the only person left to visit, there were just me and my
guide. While I stood in that silence
among the sculptures, I felt like I was in another world.
I was walking enjoying
the beauty of the place. I shuddered
when I heard somebody calling me ‘swami.’
It was the temple priest. He asked
me if I was waiting for worshipping as he was going to close the door of the
sanctum. Then only I came to know that
there is a sanctum inside. Inside the
walls, there is a stone stupa in the middle and that is the sanctum. I stooped my head and went inside through the
door on the side of the temple, which the temple priest showed me. Inside, there was total darkness and silence.
Weaving Of Saree.
The deity is
Shiva-Parvati. When the priest waves
lighted lamps, the deity is seen in 2 forms, yet another wonderful form of
Dravidian architectural style. We have to
crawl inside through a small hole, crawling our way to circumabulate around the
idol in the sanctum and come back crawling.
It looks like a baby coming out of its mother’s womb, just like a reincarnation. It is impossible for fat people to get inside
as they will get stuck. I gave fee to
the temple priest and went out in the sun.
It took me some time to realize that whatever I came across and whatever
I saw was not a dream. I felt like
coming out of a wonderland. This sight
in Kanchipuram is worth the visit.
Standing in the background with its head held high is the cultural
tradition that can never be erased by time.
It stands for
the next generation also to see and understand.
There are so many other sights also to be seen.
Next is a description on world-famous silk of
the temple city. When I enquired about
the weaving factories, I was shocked by the information I got. Saree is woven in numerous Kanchi streets. The villages of Kovil Street, Devikapuram and
Vandavasi are just a few of them. This
takes at least one full day’s visit. Muthuswamy
went to a nearby shop and came back and told me that there is one Ramanatha
Iyer who has a silk shop and a weaving factory, so we could go there for a
visit. The shop owner also told
Muthuswamy that if we want to see the weaving process of saree, we might have
to buy something from the shop first.