Kanchipuram otherwise known as Kanchi is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, 72 km from Chennai – the capital of Tamil Nadu.Located on the banks of the Vegavathy River, Kanchipuram has been ruled by the Pallavas, the Medieval Cholas, the Later Cholas, the Later Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, the Carnatic kingdom, and the British. The city's historical monuments include the Kailasanathar Temple and the Vaikunta Perumal Temple. Historically, Kanchipuram was a centre of education and was known as the ghatikasthanam, or "place of learning". The city was also a religious centre of advanced education for Jainism and Buddhism between the 1st and 5th centuries.The city is a holy pilgrimage site for both Saivites and Vaishnavites. Of the 108 holy temples of the Hindu god Vishnu, 14 are located in Kanchipuram. The city is well known for its hand woven silk sarees and most of the city's workforce is involved in the weaving industry.The city is believed to have been part of the mythical Dravida Kingdom of the Mahabharatha, and was described as "the best among cities" (Sanskrit: Nagareshu Kanchi) by the 4th-century Sanskrit poet, Kalidasa. The city was regarded as the "Banaras of the South".Kanchipuram was a battlefront for the British East India Company in the Carnatic Wars against the French East India Company and in the Anglo-Mysore Wars with the Sultanate of Mysore.
Buddhism is believed to have flourished in Kanchipuram between the 1st and 5th centuries. Some notable Buddhists associated with Kanchipuram are Aryadeva (2nd–3rd centuries) – a successor of Nagarjuna of Nalanda University, Dignaga and the Pali commentators Buddhaghosa and Dhammapala. According to a popular tradition, Bodhidharma, a 5th/6th-century Buddhist monk and founder of Shaolin Kung Fu was the third son of a Pallava king from Kanchipuram.Jainism was introduced into Kanchipuram by Kunda Kundacharya (1st century).Jainism spread to the city by Akalanka (3rd century). Kalbhras, the rulers of Kanchipuram before the Pallavas, followed Jainism which gained popularity from royal patronage. The Pallava kings, Simhavishnu, Mahendra Varman and Simhavarman followed Jainism, until the advent of Nayanmars and Azhwars during the 6th and 7th centuries.Hindus regard Kanchipuram to be one of the seven holiest cities in India, the Sapta Puri.The city is a pilgrimage site for both Saivites and Vaishnavites.Ekambareswarar Temple, Kailasanathar Temple, Muktheeswarar Temple, Iravatanesvara Temple, Kumarakottam Temple, Varadharaja Perumal Temple are the famous temples in Kanchipuram.Ashtabujakaram, Tiruvekkaa, Tiruththanka, Tiruvelukkai, Ulagalantha Perumal Temple, Tiru pavla vannam, Pandava Thoothar Perumal Temple are among the divyadesam, the 108 famous temples of Vishnu in the city. There are a five other divyadesams, three inside the Ulagalantha Perumal temple, one each in Kamakshi Amman Temple and Ekambareswarar Temple.The city has two mosques; one near the Ekambareswarar temple was built during the rule of Nawab of Arcot in the 17th century, and another near the Vaikunta Perumal temple shares a common tank with the Hindu temple. Muslims take part in the festivals of the Varadarajaswamy temple.Christ Church is the oldest Christian church in the city. It was built by a British man named Mclean in 1921. The church is built in Scottish style brick structure with arches and pillars.