View from the tank of the kalyanamandapa of the Varadaraja Temple, Kanchipuram
Photographer: Dixon, Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph from the tank of the pillared hall of the Varadaraja Perumal Temple at Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, taken by Henry Dixon in 1868, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections. One of the two Europeans seated on the steps of the tank could be Dixon. The Varadaraja Perumal, or Vardhamama Temple, is the principal Vaishnava temple of Kanchipuram. This temple is situated in the heart of Vishnu Kanchi, which represents the Vaishnava establishment of Kanchipuram. According to local tradition the temple commemorates the site where Brahma performed a fire-sacrifice to invoke the presence of Vishnu. The temple was expanded vastly during the Chola patronage in the 12th century. Later in the 16th century, under Vijayanagara patronage, the two tall gopuras and many halls and pillared verandahs were added. The temple complex covers 20 acres and consists of five enclosures. The large pillared hall or kalyanamandapa in this view dates from the late Vijayanagara period. The columns are elaborately carved with figures from the Vaishnava iconography. The peripheral columns are sheltered by a double curved eave with stone chains used to hang lamps.