Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the lord of Mt Kailash, the Kailasanathar Temple is among the most important temples in town. The large temple complex has 60 smaller shrines, but one of the most unique aspects is the main idol of Lord Shiva, which has 16 stripes. The architecture of the temple is in traditional Pallava style of pillared halls, a vestibule and a pyramidal tower. There are 240 or so panels engraved into the temple walls that display Nagara and Pallava Grantha scripts; incidentally, some of the earliest works of calligraphy are also found at Kailasanathar Temple. It holds one of the earliest sculptures of Jyeshta Lakshmi (Moodevi) and Vaali as well.  Showcasing Dravidian style of architecture, this place is ideal for meditation and reflection. 

The construction of the Kailasanathar Temple began during the rule of Pallava king, Rajasimha (695 AD -722 AD) and was completed in the 8th century by Mahendravarman III, of the Pallava dynasty.

Visited by tourists from India and abroad, perhaps the most popular attraction of the temple is the inner-most pathway that runs around the idol of Kailasanathar, signifying the entry of a person’s soul into paradise. Lord Shiva’s vehicle, Nandi (bull god), is also worshipped here. 

The temple compound is made of stone, so the best times to visit are mornings and evenings, because the stone heats up under the harsh afternoon sun, and makes walking barefoot a challenge. 

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