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Kanchipuram : the land of thousand templesKANCHIPURAM - Bindi, bangles and Kanjeevaram sarees...this is the more popular image of the 'land of a thousand temples'. The number of silk looms outnumber the temples by far. Kanchipuram is, indeed, no longer just a Hindu pilgrimage. A shopper's stop is more like it. If you haven't taken back home a few south Indian silk sarees after a trip here, you'd better have your excuses ready.

For the religious-minded, there's enough soul food here. There are around 200 temples whose deities are centuries old. Priests, early morning prayers, the tinkle of temple bells, burning of incense sticks -- the people of this temple town begin their day with a prayer.

Kanchipuram, in Tamil Nadu, is one of the seven most sacred Hindu pilgrimages in India. It is believed that Lord Brahma worshipped Lord Shiva here. Thus the name 'Ka' (Brahma) 'anchi' (worshipped) puram' (place).

Kanchipuram has a rich past. Around the 3rd century AD, the town was popular as a Buddhist seat of learning, but Hinduism prevailed too. The stone temples were built by the Pallava dynasty 6th century onwards. Shaivism (the Lord Shiva cult) became more prevalent during the reign of Mahendra Varman I. Battles were fought between different dynasties and Kanchipuram came under different kingdoms at different points of time: Cholas, Vijaynagar, Mughals and then the British.

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