Gopura between the first and second courts of the Ekambareshvara Temple, Kanchipuram
Photographer: Dixon, Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the gopura between the first and second courts of the Ekambareshvara Temple at Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, taken by Henry Dixon in 1868, 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. This 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 an open courtyard where there is the "thousand pillared hall" with elaborately carved columns. The hall faces a tank in the north and the shrine in the west which contains the Prithvi lingam of Shiva, representing the earth. Behind the sanctum there is another gopura richly decorated with carvings.