Kanchipuram today is a noisy, dusty place, with a definite shortage of good hotels and restaurants. But the temples are unmissable, and the priests invariably friendly. The fever-pitch noise and bustle may come as a bit of a shock after tranquil Mahabalipuram, but like Varanasi, the authentic spirituality of the place lies just beneath the surface.
The cool season to visit is November to January, but many brave the heat for the big Car Festival of February-March. Subsequent festivals in April-May are hot, crowded and uncomfortable.
There are regular buses in and out of Kanchipuram from both Madras and Mahabalipuram. All buses are a mad scramble, and you’ll have to fight tooth-andnail for a seat.