Kanchipuram

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Kanchipuram (कांचीपुरम्) or Kanchi is a city and District in Tamil Nadu.

Variants

Location

It is 72 km from Chennai – the capital of Tamil Nadu. Located on the banks of the Vegavati River.

Jat clan

Mention by Panini

Kanchi-Prastha (कांचीप्रस्थ) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [2]

Origin of name

Kanchipuram was known in early Tamil literature as Kachi or Kachipedu but was later Sanskritized to Kanchi or Kanchipuram.[3] The earliest inscription from the Maurya period (325–185 BCE) denote the city as Kanchipuram, where King Visnugopa was defeated by Samudragupta Maurya (320–298 BCE). Patanjali (150 BCE or 2nd century BCE) refers to the city in his Mahabhasya as Kanchipuraka.[4] The city was referred to by various Tamil names like Kanchi, Kanchipedu and Sanskrit names like Kanchipuram. The Pallava inscriptions from (250–355) and the inscriptions of the Chalukya dynasty refers the city as Kanchipura.[5]

History

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.

In Hindu theology, Kanchipuram is one of the seven Indian cities to reach final attainment.

Xuanzang, a Chinese traveller who visited Kanchipuram in 640, recorded that the city was 6 miles in circumference and that its people were renowned for their bravery, piety, love of justice, and veneration for learning.[6]

Tej Ram Sharma [7] writes about 4. Kanci (कांची) mentioned in Line-19 of (No. I) Allahabad Stone Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta (=A.D.335-76):

The earliest epigraphic mention of Kanci is to be found in this


Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions 255


inscription. The inscription refers to Visnugopa of Kanci as one of the kings of Daksinapatha defeated by Samudragupta but reinstated in their kingdoms. Kanci is the same as Kancipura or modern Conjeevaram in the Chingieput district of Madras Presidency. 554 The kingdom of Kanci extended from the mouth of the Krishna to the south of the river Palar and sometimes even to the Kaveri. 555 It is also known as Kancipedu. 556 It is mentioned in several early records relating to the ancient his- tory of the Pallavas of Kanci (of about A.D. 250 to 355) 557 The Aihole inscription of Pulakesin, the Chalukya ruler in the 7th century A.D. refers to his conquest of Kancipura. 558 The earliest literary reference to Kanci is in the Mahabhasya of Patanjali. 559

The Mahabhasya en Varttika 26 to Panini IV. 2.104 mentions Kancipuraka (i.e. a resident of Kancipura). 560 Hiuen Tsang informs us that Kanci was 30 li or 5 miles in circuit, and that in the city there were eighty Deva temples and many heretics called Nirgranthas. 561

The Puranas attach great importance to Kanci. 562 It is included in a list of seven holy cities of India. 563 The Brah- man da Purana 564 associates Kanci with Kasi, the two forming the two eyes of Siva. It is stated in the Barhaspatya sutra 565 that Kanci is a Sakta-ksetra. In the Devibhagavata 566 , Kanci is said to be a sthana of the Devi called Annapurna. 567 The Vamana Purana 568 mentions it as the best among the cities. The Skandapurana 569 counts it amongst the holy places. The Bhagavatapurana 570 and the Yoginitantra 571 also mention it.

In Dasakumaracaritam 572 it is referred to as a city of the Dravida country.

Kanci is full of temples and shrines. Siva Kanci and Visnu Kanci form the western and eastern parts of the city, while the Jaina Kanci is known as Tiruparutti-Kunram. 573 Of the temples at Conjeevaram, the most famous are the Kamaksi temple with a Cakra placed in front of the deity, the Vaikuntha Perumal temple of Visnu and the Shiva temple of Kaila- sanatha. 574

Apart from its religious significance Kanci has been a famous centre of learning. The Pallava ruler Mahendravarman, the author of the Mattavilasa-Prahasana; Bharavi, the author


256 Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions


of the Kiratarjuniyam and Dandin, the author of the Dasakumar- acaritam are said to have flourished here. 575

The famous Buddhist dialectician Dinnaga came here to satisfy his intellectual and spiritual thirst and about the middle of the fourth century A.D., the brahmana Mayurasaraman, who founded the Kadamba line came here for getting recognition in Vedic learning. 576 The Adi-guru Sankaracarya established here the famous Pitha known as Kamakotipitha. 577 Literally Kanci means a 'girdle'. It seems to have been so named because it is situated like a girdle round the sea.


R.C. Majumdar, The Vakatka-Gupta Age by R. C. Majumdar and A.S. Altekar. p. 145 ; Historical Geography of Ancient India by B. C. Law. p. 161

555. Selections From Sanskrit Inscriptions by D. B. Diskalkar. Vol. I, Part II. p. 33.

556. B. N. Puri, Cities of Ancient India. p. 31.

557 Epigraphia Indica . Vol. 6, p. 84 : Epigraphia Indica . Vol. I, p. 2 : Epigraphia Indica . Vol. VIII, p. 24. Cf. R. Gopalan, History of the Pallavas of Kanciby. (1928)

558. ---- for more details : Cities of Ancient India by B. N. Puri, p. 31 ; R. D. Banerji, History of Orissa. Vol. I, p. 116.

559. Cities of Ancient India by B. N. Puri. p. 31.

560. Kielhorn, (ed.), Mahabhasya, Vol. II, p. 298.

561. Buddhist Records of the Western World by S. Beal. Vol. II, p. 230

562. History of Dharmasastra by P. V. Kane , Vol. IV, pp. 711-12.

563. अयोध्या माया मथुरा काशी कान्ची अवन्तिका । पुरी द्वारवती चैव सप्तैते मोक्षदायक || ;See History of Kosala by V. Pathak. p. 52 note

564. IV, 19, 15.

565. III. 124.

566. History of Dharmasastra by P. V. Kane , Vol. IV, p. 712.

567. VIII. 38.8.

568. XII. 50 : पुष्पेषु जाती नगरेषु कान्ची नारीषु रम्भाश्रमिणा गृहस्थ:

569. Ch. I, 19-23. "

570. Catalogue of the Coins of Ancient India by John Allan. 79, 14.

571. Age of the Imperial Guptas by R. D. Baneiji. 17.

572. Historical Geography of Ancient India by B. C. Law, . p. 161.

573. Cities of Ancient India by B. N. Puri. p. 33, Historical Geography of Ancient India by B. C. Law. p. 162.

574. History of Dharmasastra by P. V. Kane , Vol. IV, p. 712 : Historical Geography of Ancient India by B. C. Law . p. 162.

575. Cities of Ancient India by B. N. Puri. pp. 33-34.

576. R. S. Tripathi, History of Ancient India. p. 454 : Oy. 1936, pp. 304-7.

577. Cities of Ancient India by B. N. Puri. p. 34.

कांची=कांचीपुरम=कांजीवरम्

विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[8] ने लेख किया है ...कांची (AS, p.155) ....कांची की गणना सप्त मोक्षदायिका पूरियों में है- देखें. सप्तपुरी. यह दक्षिण भारत का सर्वप्रसिद्ध तीर्थ है. ...... चौदह सौ वर्षों तक अनेक राजाओं की राजधानी रही. गुप्त सम्राट समुद्रगुप्त की प्रयाग प्रशस्ति में काशी के राजा विष्णुगोप (पल्लव) का उल्लेख है. सातवीं सदी में चीनी यात्री युवानच्वांग कांची आया था. उसम समय नगर की परिधि 6 मील थी. 11 वीं सदी में चोल नरेशों का यहां अधिकार था. 1310 ई. में अलाउद्दीन खिलजी के दक्षिण भारत पर आक्रमण के समय यहां के मंदिर भी विध्वंस किए गए किंतु शीघ्र ही विजयनगर के नरेशों इसे अपने राज्य में सम्मिलित कर लिया. विजयनगर के पतन के पश्चात कांची की प्राचीन गरिमा को ग्रहण लग गया. 1677 ई. में मराठों और तत्पश्चात औरंगजेब का यहां कब्जा रहा. 1752 ई. में क्लाइव ने छीन इसे लिया और मद्रास में शामिल कर लिया.

कांची का संबंधी कई प्रसिद्ध विद्वानों से बताया जाता है जिनमें संस्कृत के यशस्वी कवि भारवि और दंडी मुख्य हैं. तमिल कवि अप्पार और सुंदरस्वामी भी कांची के निवासी थे. नालंदा के कुलपति धर्मपाल जो अपने समय के प्रसिद्ध दार्शनिक विद्वान थे कांची में पर्याप्त समय तक रहे थे. मालती-माधव नाटक के प्रसिद्ध टीकाकार त्रिपुरारिसूर भी कांची के निवासी थे. उन्होंने अपनी टीका में एकाम्रेश्वर की प्रशंसा में लिखा है--'एकाम्रमूलनिलय करिभूधरनायकौ, कांची पुरीश्वरौवन्दे कामितार्थ प्रसिद्धये'. कांची 7वीं शती ई. में जैनधर्म का विशाल केंद्र था. चीनी यात्री युवानच्वांग ने लिखा है कि उसने कांची में अनेक दिगंबर जैन मंदिर देखे थे. कांची नरेश महेंद्रवर्मन प्रथम (600-630 ई.) प्रारंभ में जैन ही था यद्यपि बाद में वह शैव हो गया था.

कांचीपुरम परिचय

कांचीपुरम उत्तरी तमिलनाडु के प्राचीन व मशहूर शहरों में से एक है। कांचीपुरम तीर्थपुरी दक्षिण की काशी मानी जाती है, जो मद्रास से 45 मील की दूरी पर दक्षिण–पश्चिम में स्थित है। कांचीपुरम को पूर्व में कांची और कांचीअम्पाठी भी कहा जाता था। यह आधुनिक काल में कांचीवरम के नाम से भी प्रसिद्ध है। कांचीपुरम को द गोल्डन सिटी ऑफ़ 1000 टेंपल भी कहा जाता है। कांचीपुरम को भारत के सात पवित्र शहरों में से एक का दर्जा भी प्राप्त है।

कांची का अर्थ (ब्रह्मा), आंची का अर्थ (पूजा) और पुरम का अर्थ (शहर) होता है यानी ब्रह्मा को पूजने वाला पवित्र स्थान। शायद इसलिए यहाँ विष्णु के अनेक मंदिर स्थापित किए गये हैं, जिस कारण इसे यह नाम दिया गया है।

सप्त पुरियों में गणना: ऐसी अनुश्रुति है कि इस क्षेत्र में प्राचीन काल में ब्रह्माजी ने देवी के दर्शन के लिये तप किया था। ऐसा माना जाता है कि जो भी यहाँ जाता है, उसे आंतरिक खुशी के साथ-साथ मोक्ष की प्राप्ति भी होती है। मोक्षदायिनी सप्त पुरियों अयोध्या, मथुरा, द्वारका, माया (हरिद्वार), काशी और अवन्तिका (उज्जैन) में इसकी गणना है।

कांची हरिहरात्मक पुरी है। इसके दो भाग शिवकांची और विष्णुकांची हैं। सम्भवत: कामाक्षी अम्मान मंदिर ही यहाँ का शक्तिपीठ है। दक्षिण के पंच तत्वलिंगो में से भूतत्वलिंग के सम्बन्ध में कुछ मतभेद है। कुछ लोग कांची के एकाम्रेश्वर लिंग को भूतत्वलिंग मानते हैं, और कुछ लोग तिरुवारूर की त्यागराजलिंग मूर्ति को। इसका माहात्म्य निम्नलिखित हैं:-

रहस्यं सम्प्रवक्ष्यामि लोपामुद्रापते श्रृणु।
नेत्रद्वयं महेशस्य काशीकाञ्चीपुरीद्वयम्॥
विख्यातं वैष्णवं क्षेत्रं शिवसांनिध्यकाकम्।
काञ्चीक्षेत्रें पुरा धाता सर्वलोकपितामह:॥
श्रीदेवीदर्शनार्थाय तपस्तेपे सुदुष्करम्।
प्रादुरास पुरो लक्ष्मी: पद्महस्तपुरस्सरा।
पद्मासने च तिष्ठ्न्ती विष्णुना जिष्णुना सह।
सर्वश्रृगांर वेषाढया सर्वाभरण्भूषिता॥[1]

इतिहास: कांचीपुरम ईसा की आरम्भिक शताब्दियों में महत्त्वपूर्ण नगर था। सम्भवत: यह दक्षिण भारत का ही नहीं बल्कि तमिलनाडु का सबसे बड़ा केन्द्र था। बुद्धघोष के समकालीन प्रसिद्ध भाष्यकार धर्मपाल का जन्म स्थान यहीं था, इससे अनुमान किया जाता है कि यह बौद्धधर्मीय जीवन का केन्द्र था। यहाँ के सुन्दरतम मन्दिरों की परम्परा इस बात को प्रमाणित करती है कि यह स्थान दक्षिण भारत के धार्मिक क्रियाकलाप का अनेकों शताब्दियों तक केन्द्र रहा है। कांचीपुरम 7वीं शताब्दी से लेकर 9वीं शताब्दी में पल्लव साम्राज्य का ऐतिहासिक शहर व राजधानी हुआ करती थी। छ्ठी शताब्दी में पल्लवों के संरक्षण से प्रारम्भ कर पन्द्रहवीं एवं सोलहवीं शताब्दी तक विजयनगर के राजाओं के संरक्षणकाल के मध्य 1000 वर्ष के द्रविड़ मन्दिर शिल्प के विकास को यहाँ एक ही स्थान पर देखा जा सकता है। 'कैलाशनाथार मंदिर' इस कला के चरमोत्कर्ष का उदाहरण है। एक दशाब्दी पीछे का बना 'वैकुण्ठ पेरुमल' इस कला के सौष्ठव का सूचक है। उपयुक्त दोनों मन्दिर पल्लव नृपों के शिल्पकला प्रेम के उत्कृष्ट उदाहरण हैं।

हवाई मार्ग: कांचीपुरम का सबसे नज़दीकी हवाई अड्डा चेन्नई में है, जो 75 किमी की दूरी पर स्थित है। चेन्नई से कांचीपुरम लगभग 2 घंटे में पहुँचा जा सकता है।

रेल मार्ग: कांचीपुरम का रेलवे स्टेशन चैन्नई, चेन्गलपट्टू, तिरूपति और बैंगलोर से जुड़ा है।

सड़क मार्ग: कांचीपुरम तमिलनाडु के लगभग सभी शहरों से सड़क मार्ग से जुड़ा है। विभिन्न शहरों से कांचीपुरम के लिए नियमित अंतराल में बसें चलती हैं।

पर्यटन: कांचीपुरम इसलिए मशहूर है क्योंकि यहाँ स्थित अनेक आकर्षक और प्राचीन मंदिर यहाँ की ख़ूबसरती में चार चाँद लगाने के साथ पुरानी यादों को भी ताज़ा कर देते हैं। चेन्नई से 45 मील दक्षिण-पश्चिम में बेगावती नदी के किनारे स्थित कांचीपुरम के मशहूर मंदिरों में वरदराज पेरुमल मंदिर भगवान विष्णु के लिए, एकम्बरनाथर मंदिर भगवान शिव के पाँच रूपों में से एक को समर्पित है। इसके अलावा, कामाक्षी अम्मान मंदिर, कुमारकोट्टम, कच्छपेश्वर मंदिर, कैलाशनाथ मंदिर आदि भी मुख्य हैं। आज भी कांचीपुरम और उसके आसपास 126 शानदार मंदिर हैं। फिलहाल, यहाँ 100 के आसपास दूसरे मंदिर बाकी रह गए हैं पर प्राचीन ज़माने में मंदिरों की संख्या क़रीब एक हज़ार थी।

संदर्भ: भारतकोश-कांचीपुरम]

Description by Tej Ram Sharma

Tej Ram Sharma [9] writes about Kanchi:

Kanci (कांची) (No. I, L. 19) : Allahabad Stone Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta (A.D. 335-76) mentions Kanchi in Line-19: -Whose great good fortune was mixed with, so as to be increased by (his) glory produced by the favour shewn in capturing and then liberating Mahendra of Kosala, Vyāghraraja of Mahākantāra, Mantarāja of Kurūḷa, Mahendra of Pishtapura, Svāmidatta of Kottura on the hill, Damana of Erandapalla, Vishnugopa of Kānchi, Nīlarāja of Avamukta, Hastivarman of Vengā, Ugrasena of Palakka, Kubera of Devarāshtra, Dhananjaya of Kusthalapura, and all the other kings of the region of the south;- L-19. कोसलमहेन्द्र-माहकान्तारकव्याघ्रराज-कौरालकमण्टराज-पैष्टपुरक-महेन्द्रगिरि-कौट्टूरक, स्वामिदत्तैरण्डपल्लकदमन-काञ्चेयकविष्णुगोपावसमुक्त्तक-

The earliest epigraphic mention of Kanci is to be found in this


Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions 255


inscription. The inscription refers to Visnugopa of Kanci as one of the kings of Daksinapatha defeated by Samudragupta but reinstated in their kingdoms. Kanci is the same as Kancipura or modern Conjeevaram in the Chingieput district of Madras Presidency. The kingdom of Kanci extended from the mouth of the Krishna to the south of the river Palar and sometimes even to the Kaveri. It is also known as Kancipedu. It is mentioned in several early records relating to the ancient history of the Pallavas of Kanci (of about A.D. 250 to 355) The Aihole inscription of Pulakesin, the Chalukya ruler in the 7th century A.D. refers to his conquest of Kanchipura. The earliest literary reference to Kanci is in the Mahabhasya of Patanjali.

The Mahabhasya en Varttika 26 to Panini IV. 2.104 mentions Kanchipuraka (i.e. a resident of Kancipura). Hiuen Tsang informs us that Kanci was 30 li or 5 miles in circuit, and that in the city there were eighty Deva temples and many here-tics called Nirgranthas.

The Puranas attach great importance to Kanci. It is included in a list of seven holy cities of India. The Brahman da Purana associates Kanci with Kasi, the two forming the two eyes of Siva. It is stated in the Barhaspatya sutra that Kanci is a Sakta-ksetra. In the Devibhagavata , Kanci is said to be a sthana of the Devi called Annapurna. The Vamana Purana mentions it as the best among the cities. The Skandapurana counts it amongst the holy places. The Bhagavatapurana and the Yoginitantra also mention it. In Dasakumaracaritam it is referred to as a city of the Dravida country.

Kanci is full of temples and shrines. Siva Kanci and Visnu Kanci form the western and eastern parts of the city, while the Jaina Kanci is known as Tiruparutti-Kunram. Of the temples at Conjeevaram, the most famous are the Kamaksi temple with a Cakra placed in front of the deity, the Vaikuntha Perumal temple of Visnu and the Shiva temple of Kaila- sanatha.

Apart from its religious significance Kanci has been a famous centre of learning. The Pallava ruler Mahendravarman, the author of the Mattavilasa-Prahasana; Bharavi, the author


256 Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions


of the Kiratarjuniyam and Dandin, the author of the Dasakumar- acaritam are said to have flourished here.

The famous Buddhist dialectician Dinnaga came here to satisfy his intellectual and spiritual thirst and about the middle of the fourth century A.D., the brahmana Mayurasaraman, who founded the Kadamba line came here for getting recognition in Vedic learning. The Adi-guru Sankaracarya established here the famous Pitha known as Kamakotipitha. Literally Kanci means a 'girdle'. It seems to have been so named because it is situated like a girdle round the sea.

Visit by Xuanzang in 640 AD

Alexander Cunningham[10] writes that In the seventh century the province of Ta-lo-pi-cha, or Dravida, was 6000 li, or 1000 miles, in circuit, and its capital, named Kien-chi-pu-lo, or Kanchipura, was 80 li, or 5 miles, in circuit.[11] Kanchipura is the true Sanskrit name of Conjeveram, on the Palar river, a large straggling town of great antiquity. As Dravida was bounded by Konkana and Dhanakakata on the north, and by Malakuta on the south, while no district is mentioned to the west, it seems certain that it must have extended right across the peninsula, from sea to sea. Its northern boundary may therefore be approximately defined as running from Kundapur, on the western coast, via Kadur and Tripati, to the Pulikat Lake, and its southern boundary from Calicut to the mouth of the Kaveri. As the circuit of these limits is very nearly 1000 miles, the boundaries suggested may be accepted as very nearly correct.

During the pilgrim's stay at Kanchipura, about 300 Buddhist monks arrived from Ceylon, which they had quitted on account of political disturbances, consequent on the death of the king. By my reckoning, Hwen Thsang must have arrived in Kanchipura, about the


[p.549]: 30th of July, A.D. 639, and, according to Tumour's list of the kings of Ceylon, Raja Buna Mugalan was put to death in A.D. 639. From the information furnished by these monks, the pilgrim drew up his account of Seng.kia.lo, or Ceylon, which he was prevented from visiting by the disturbed state of the country.

References

  1. A glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province By H.A. Rose Vol II/K,p.455
  2. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.67
  3. "Kanchipuram City Banks". Kanchipuram Municipality. 2011. p.6
  4. Sharma, Tej Ram (1978). Personal and Geographical Names in the Gupta Inscriptions. Concept Publishing Company. ISBN 0-415-40868-7. p.255
  5. Tej Ram Sharma (1978). Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions. Concept Publishing Company. ISBN 0-415-40868-7. p.255
  6. Imperial Gazetteer of India 1908, pp. 544–546.
  7. Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Place-Names and their Suffixes , pp.255-257
  8. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.155-157
  9. Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Place-Names and their Suffixes,pp.255-257
  10. The Ancient Geography of India: I. The Buddhist Period, Including the Campaigns of Alexander, and the Travels of Hwen-Thsang. By Sir Alexander Cunningham, p.548-549
  11. Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' iii. 118. See Map No. I.