As of 2001 India census,GRIndia Kancheepuram had a population of 152,984. Males constitute 50% of the population and females 50%. Kancheepuram has an average literacy rate of 75%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 81%, and female literacy is 69%. In Kancheepuram, 10% of the population is under 6 years of age.
pushpEshu jAti purushEshu vishNu, nArIshu rambA nagarEshu Kanchi
The term "nagareshu Kanchi" in the verse above means that Kanchi was the best amongst the cities of medieval India.
Kanchipuram is one of the oldest cities in South India, and was a city of learning for both Tamil and Sanskrit, and was believed to be visited by Hsuan Tsang. It was during the reign of Pallava dynasty, from the 4th to the 9th centuries that Kanchipuram attained its limelight. The city served as the Pallava capital, and many of the known temples were built during their reign.
The king of Kanchi, PallavaMahendravarman I was a great scholar and musician, a man of great intelligence and also a great playwright. Yuan Chwang, the great Chinese traveler, visited the city in the 7th century and said that this city was 6 miles in circumference and that its people were famous for bravery and piety as well as for their love of justice and veneration for learning. He further recorded that Buddha had visited the place. As regards learning, Kanchi stood second in glory only to Banaras.The history of Kanchi can be traced back to several centuries before the advent of the Christian era. The place finds its name in Patanjali's Mahabhashya written in the second century BCE Manimekalai, the famous Tamil classic, and Perumpanatru Padai, a great Tamil poetical work, vividly describe the city as it was at the beginning of the Christian era. Pattupattu, one of the sangam literatures records that the king Thondaiman Ilandirayan ruled this town around 2500 years ago.
From the 3rd to the 9th century CE Kanchi was the capital of the Pallavas who ruled over the territory extending from the river Krishna in the north to the river Kaveri in the south. The Pallavas fortified the city with ramparts, moats, etc., with wide and well laid out roads and fine temples. They were a great maritime power with contacts with far-off China, Siam, Fiji, etc., through their chief Port Mamallapuram, the modern Mahabalipuram. The Cholas ruled this town from 10th century to 13th century. Kings of Vijayanagara dynasty ruled from 14th century to 17th century. The temple tower, 192 feet height in Ekamabaranadhar temple and 100-pillar mandabam (building) in Varadaraja Perumal temple in this town are famous for the architectural techniques of Vijayanagara dynasty. Robert Clive, of the British East India Company, who played a major role in the establishment of British rule in India, is said to have presented an emerald necklace to this temple (the Clive makarakandi, still used to decorate the Lord on ceremonial occasions). Kanchi was a major seat of Tamil learning as well as an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, Jains and Hindus. Once the seat of learning and religious fervour started its climb down from the Mughal invasions followed by three centuries of colonial rule under the British.
Bodhidharma (A.D. 520) went to China from Kanchipuram to spread Buddhism. He stayed at the Shaolin Monastery and preached Buddhist ideologies. At that time he trained the local people in the art of Varmakkalai. The art underwent many changes and came to be known as Shaolin kung fu or boxing. In Japan it came to be known as karate and judo. But it is interesting to note that the Chinese school agrees with the southern school of this art in that it has the same 108 varma points.
Kanchipuram is also the seat of the Kanchi maţha, a religious institution that became influential and famous under the leadership of Shri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati. This maţha says that Ādi Sankara settled in Kanchipuram after establishing four Āmnāya maţhas in the four corners of India and that this gave rise to the Kanchi maţha. However this claim is disputed by the four original mathas who claim the Kanchi matha is only a branch matha. The followers of Kanchi math however claim that this Matha was temporarily shifted to Kumbakonam because of which it was known as Kumbakonam Matha for sometime, and that later the Matha shifted back to Kanchipuram.
Today, apart from its temples, this small town is also known for its thriving hand loom industry. Kancheepuram town is also known as Silk City since the main profession of the people living in and around is weaving silk sarees,more than 5,000 families are engaged in this industry. The silk weavers of Kanchi settled more than 400 years ago and have given it an enviable reputation as the producer of the best silk sarees in the country. Woven from pure mulberry silk and have an enviable reputation for texture, lustre, durability and finish. The sarees in dazzling colours are available in every imaginable design and variety, which can make the job of selection quite challenging.
Kanchipuram in history was also been known as the ghatikasthanam or place of learning. Even today there are a lot of educational institutions in and around Kanchi .
The following are the educational institutions found in Kanchipuram:
Kanchipuram also has some good old schools which often produces state level ranking: