Saturday, March 21, 2009

what is kanchipuram famous for?

best among the medieveal cities of india,a great place for education and fine arts in the olden days,this temple town of about 1.6 million and only about one and half hours' drive(75 kms) from chennai is every piligrim's must-see destination.located on the palar river,it was called kacchi in the olden days.a thriving and vibrant culture existed in this place which was ruled by the cholas,pallavas, pandyas and the vijayanagara empire.hieun tsang had visited kanchi somewhere in the sixth century and has written glowingly about this city's planning and the temples and architecture in his memoirs. gautama buddha had also visited kanchi.buddhism and jainism also flourished in the city at various periods of its history.the major temples that dot the landscape are the sri varadaraja perumal temple(lord vishnu),ekambaranathan temple(lord shiva) ,sri yathokktakaaryswamy temple(lord vishnu),kamakshi amman temple(saivite) etc. the kanchi kamakoti peetham founded by adi sankara popularly known as sankara mutt is an important landmark in this city.

kanchipuram is also wellknown for hand woven silk sarees of rich textures and is also referred to as the 'silk city'. 'kanjeevaram sarees' as they are referred are exquisite and the preferred dress for south indiam women for all auspicious occasions and social functions.they are world-famous for their thickness,intricate details and heavy zari hindu religion,silk is a symbol of sanctity.every south indian bride will possess at least one kanjeevaram sari though she may wear it only once in a bluemoon. the men too get their silk dhotis,angavastrams and even kurtas in the hundreds of shops selling the local produce.there are about 5000-6000 handloom weavers at kancheepuram and nearby making cotton and pure silk dhotis and sarees.

while the city satiates the needs of the spiritual seekers and those who are fond of good indian-style clothing, it is also famous for the different types of kovil prasadam( the food offerings to the gods) prepared by the temple kitchens-the kal dosai,vadai,maavu and the signature "kanjeevaram idli".after my recent trip to kanchipuram and the loads of prasadam that i brought back,i preserved the delectable idli for many days.i had it for breakfast,for lunch and for dinner too.if that urges you to try it out,don't fret. here is a recipe which i picked up from the net.

1 Ï¿½ Cup Steamed Rice
1 Ï¿½ Cup Raw Rice
1 Ï¿½ Cup Urad dal/Split Black Gram
1" piece Ginger
Ï¿½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
Ï¿½ tsp Peppercorns, Crushed
Ï¿½ tsp Dry Ginger Powder
Few Cashew nuts, fried
1tbsp Curds
3 - 4 Curry leaves

For the Seasoning :
1tsp Oil
1tsp Mustard Seeds
Ï¿½ tsp Asafoetida


Soak Steamed Rice, Raw Rice and Urad Dal separately for 5 hours.

Grind, Urad Dal with Ginger to a batter and keep aside. Grind the Rice coarsely.

Add all the other ingredients to the batter. Heat Oil and add Mustard and Asafoetida.

Add this to the batter and mix well and leave overnight to ferment.

The next day grease Idli plates and pour the batter and steam for 7 - 10 minutes."

it's a no-brainer.if you have not been already initiated into making it,go ahead and do will not regret it.


mannab said...

Your blog is simply great! I am a fan of indlis. So why not read this delicious blog written so lucidly on its creator? Thanks again. But let me remind you that you were to visit Kolkata and give us latest on hand pulled rickshaw wallas. Take your won time gs. Bye.
Mangesh Nabar

gs said...

hi mannab
i am going to kolkata on work on thursday.i'll see whether i am lucky this time to get more info about the handpulled rickshaw wallahs.and many thanks for your comments about the kanchipuram idlis.