One of the most memorable day trips that we took during our time in Chennai, India was visiting the city of Kanchipuram. We were told that Kanchipuram was the place in the state of Tamil Nadu to buy silk, so we drove the hour southwest out of Chennai, about 45 miles (72 kilometers), to visit the city. In addition to buying scarves and other silk products, we also visited the Ekambareswarar Temple, which was another gorgeous temple that we were able to see while we were there. It was one of the hottest days that we encountered while we were in India, but the beautiful sites and the thrill of buying the silk items more than made up for any discomfort we felt.
Walking around the Ekambareswarar Temple was one of the few times while we were in India that we weren’t overwhelmed by crowds. Obviously, it is India, so that is a relative term, but it did feel more relaxed than some of the other places that we went to. As with most temples, tour guides will come up to you and offer to take you on a tour and the price always has to be negotiated, but we chose not to pay for a tour at this particular temple. Heading southwest away from Chennai takes you to more of a jungle feel and we enjoyed seeing the parrots that were content to make the temple grounds their home.
One memory that we’ll never forget was getting blessed by a temple elephant while we were in the temple. Apparently, at the time that we were in India, many of the temple elephants were on “holiday” where they are pampered and spoiled once a year for all of their hard work. We handed the elephant a coin, which he took with his trunk, and then we bowed and the elephant gently tapped us on the head with his trunk. We were surprised by how soft the elephant’s trunk was, we were expecting it to be leathery and hard, but it wasn’t. In addition to being blessed by the elephant, another interesting site within the temple was seeing all of the ribbons tied to the “wishing tree”. We were told that many woman would tie a ribbon in hopes of getting pregnant, but people would tie ribbons on the tree for many other reasons as well. It was just another tradition that we enjoyed learning about.
Going to the silk shop in Kanchipuram was quite the experience. We were told that Indian women from around the country order the wedding saris from Kanchipuram due to the high quality of the silk. We sat down at a table and the owner of the shop started pulling out bundles of silk and laying them before us. If we found a color pattern that we liked, he would pull out several more bundles and lay them in front of us. We ended up buying scarves for every female family member that we could think of as well as a beautiful table runner that we use on our formal dining room table. The best thing that we bought, however, was an absolutely gorgeous sari. Everything that we bought in Kanchipuram that day probably cost us less than what a single silk scarf would cost us here in the United States and was even less expensive than the silk that we bought in Chennai.
If you are ever in Tamil Nadu and want to buy some silk, a trip to Kanchipuram should definitely be on your agenda. The owner of the store couldn’t have been more helpful and friendly and we truly enjoyed the experience, even with some struggles with the language. Fortunately, you don’t have to haggle over prices at the silk shops, the price that they quote is what you pay and it is so reasonable, there isn’t any reason to complain. We came home with several souvenirs on our trip, but the silk items we bought are definitely some of our most treasured. Not to mention that our family and friends were quite thrilled to receive such beautiful items.
32 thoughts on “Kanchipuram, India”
Thanks you for sharing. I would love to visit there.
WOW !!! Fantastic.. It’s my home town.. how was your visit ?
We had a great time!
It’s great to hear that you enjoyed your trip ! 🙂
Please don’t mistake me…Just a small update , 2nd picture was Varadharaja Perumal Temple .
Thank you. I’m going to India in October. Loved your pictures and insights.
What an incredible experience!!
wow, I live so close to Chennai, but never visited here. We have so big a country and so many relics, architectures, museums, history, it is difficult to see everything 🙂
Yes, it is kind of like the US very spread out.
If possible, visit Hampi, it is one of the most incredible ruins of many temple complexes, of the Vijayanagara Empire, on the south bank of the River Tungabhadra from 7th century.
Loved how you described in detail about the vendors showing saree. It is always wonderful to see outsiders having a good time here. 😊
Awesome collection.Love India
Thank you. We do too 🙂
I have been there. Though I am an Indian, I am enchanted by the place. I am happy to read about a non-native’s experience.
Grt post well written
Thank you 🙂
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Wow, Glad you had good time in India.
All love from India 🙂
Kanchipuram really is a great place to visit… I’m so glad you had fun!
We really had a great time 🙂
I’ve been to Kanchipuram many times. You write about it beautifully. There are two things that you may not realize. The production of silk is cruel because it kills the silkworms. Cotton does not have this problem. Keeping elephants in temples is very unkind. Elephants are wild animals that do not belong in captivity. There are organizations working to try to get them all into sanctuaries, where they can stand on grass, roam through trees and take a bath in a river.
😀. Great post.
I wish I had visited here when I went to Chennai! great post
Thank you. It was beautiful to see.
Great post 👍. I enjoyed the photos 📷
Thank you 🙂
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