Aayiram Kovil Edam [Kanchipuram] Part 2 ;;;;;

Kailasnath 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 them. 

Kailasnath Temple.

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.  

Temple Sculpture.

This temple 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.

Temple Sculpture.

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.  

Silk Saree.

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.