காஞ்சிபுரம்


Unidentified temple gopura, possibly at Kanchipuram

Photograph of an unidentified temple gopura, possibly from Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, taken by Henry Dixon in 1868, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections. The holy city of Kanchipuram was the capital of the Pallava rulers in the 7th and 8th centuries, and continued to be an important centre in the succeeding Chola, Vijayanagara and Nayaka periods. There are many Shaiva and Vaishnava temples in the town. This view shows a tall pyramidal gopura, or tower, leading to a temple enclosure.

Jain figure from Kanchipuram. Made into an engraving and published in AR (9) 1809, opposite p.272.

Watercolour drawing dated 18th August 1799 of a Jain statue from Kanchipuram, from an Album of 56 sheets of drawings mainly of miscellaneous architecture and sculpture in the Deccan and S. India, dated 1793-1806. The drawing was engraved for C. MacKenzie, ‘Account of the Jains’, ‘Asiatic Researches,’ vol.9, 1807, opposite page 272.

Colin Mackenzie (1754-1821) was the first Surveyor General of India. Originally from Scotland, he came to India in 1782 as a member of the Madras Engineers. He took part in numerous map surveys, mainly in Southern India, before he was appointed to the post of Surveyor General in 1815. During his surveys in South India he collected and recorded innumerable details concerning every aspect of South Indian history, architecture, language, life and religion, resulting in possibly as many as 2,000 drawings and over 8,000 copies of inscriptions. This drawing depicts a naked seated Jain figure.

View looking towards an unidentified mandapa, probably at Kanchipuram


Photograph of an unidentified mandapa, probably at Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, taken by Henry Dixon in 1868, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections. The holy Hindu town of Kanchipuram was the Pallava capital in the 7th and 8th centuries and continued to be an important centre under the Chola, Vijayanagara and Nayaka periods. This view shows a ruined pillared hall with carved columns and arched niches on the roof, which could be one of the many temples in the town.

Ekambareshvara Temple, Kanchipuram

View of the pavilion outside the entrance of the Ekambareshvara Temple at Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. This photograph was taken by Madras School of Industrial Arts around 1868 and is from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections. Kanchipuram was the Pallava capital in the 7th and 8th centuries and continued to be an important centre under the Chola, Vijayanagara and Nayaka periods. The Ekambareshvara Temple is the largest and most important Shiva temple of Kanchipuram which dates mostly from the 16th-17th centuries. It is entered through a tall pyramidal gateway or gopura erected in 1509 by the Vijayanagara king Krishna deva Raya. This gopura is almost 60 metres high and is covered with sculptural ornamentation. It leads to a large courtyard with a “thousand pillar hall” or kalyana mandapa, with richly carved pillars. The tall pavilion seen in this view is situated in the middle of the street that leads to the gateway. Its pillars are also covered with carvings from the Vijayanagara period.

kalyanamandapa of the Varadaraja Temple, Kanchipuram

Photograph from the tank of the pillared hall of the Varadaraja Perumal Temple at Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, taken by Henry Dixon in 1868, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections. One of the two Europeans seated on the steps of the tank could be Dixon. The Varadaraja Perumal, or Vardhamama Temple, is the principal Vaishnava temple of Kanchipuram. This temple is situated in the heart of Vishnu Kanchi, which represents the Vaishnava establishment of Kanchipuram. According to local tradition the temple commemorates the site where Brahma performed a fire-sacrifice to invoke the presence of Vishnu. The temple was expanded vastly during the Chola patronage in the 12th century. Later in the 16th century, under Vijayanagara patronage, the two tall gopuras and many halls and pillared verandahs were added. The temple complex covers 20 acres and consists of five enclosures. The large pillared hall or kalyanamandapa in this view dates from the late Vijayanagara period. The columns are elaborately carved with figures from the Vaishnava iconography. The peripheral columns are sheltered by a double curved eave with stone chains used to hang lamps.

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