Introduction Kanchipuram is literally a suburb of Chennai city today. It is a fast-growing town with all infrastructure facilities. There have been interesting developments in the past few years.
The growth can be attributed to the growing infrastructure of all places near Kanchipuram, particularly the massive development of the Industrial corridor of Oragadam, which was developed as a huge industrial estate and has lead to the expansion of Kanchipuram in all directions. There are so many good CBSE schools in Kanchipuram and this is one reason why people who work in Oragadam like to stay in Kanchipuram and commute to the former locality. It is just around thirty minutes drive by bus and a little less by car.
Kanchipuram itself has a big unit of Larsen and Toubro. The service sector is booming too.
Center for Education In the past two decades, Kanchipuram has emerged as a huge centre of education. The Kanchi Kamoti Mutt, which is one of the Mutts of Sankaracharya, runs a Deemed University, called the Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarawathi Viswa Mahavidyalala named after the great sage Sri Chandrasekharendra Swamigal, who is highly respected for the highest spiritual values that he propagated. This deemed University offers all the Engineering courses and the MBA/MCA degrees as well.
Kanchipuram is also connected to the Chennai Bangalore Highway. Here, not far away from the road that branches off the Highway to the Kanchipuram town, is a deemed University called the Meenakshi University, housing the Academy of Higher Education and Research and the Meenakshi Medical College and Research Institute. This is also becoming a good institution.
Apart from this, there is the Sankara Arts and Science College, affiliated to the University of Madras. The most famous CBSE schools are the Dwarkesh Vidyashram CBDE International School, Kanchi Global School and Gursketra Public School, as per the local informed opinion of parents. Kanchipuram is also home to good Tamil Nadu Government schools.
In recent years, many students from around seventy villages study only in Kanchipuram colleges. The Arakkonam to Kanchipuram Road itself has three engineering colleges, of which the Pallavan College of Engineering is quite famous.
Massive growth of the service sector The service sector growth is around forty percent compounded year after year. For example, the world-famous Saravana Bhavan has two branches here, doing roaring business. The Sangeetha chain also has an outfit here. New hotels, lodges, bus routes, new schools, shopping centres, and what have you have literally made the town a suburb of Chennai. The State Government is now trying to make Kanchipuram a part of Chennai city, as per the latest expansion plan.
Infrastructure and transport services The town has excellent connectivity to Chennai. There are direct buses from Koyembedu, the Central bus station of Chennai city, almost one in five minutes. Most of these buses ply via Poonamalee on the Chennai to Bangalore highway and then take the road that leads to Kanchipuram. There are hundreds of buses that connect Kanchipuram with a fully developed suburb called Tambaram via the industrial corridor of Oragadam. Around two lakh people will be directly and indirectly employed in Oragadam. Kanchipuram is also connected by a superb road that leads to the other industrial corridor of Sriperambadur. There are so many buses to the nearest big town called Chengelpattu, which is a district headquarters town as well. From Kanchipuram, there are direct buses to Tiruchirapalli and a number of places in Southern Tamil Nadu. In fact, the AP Government itself runs a huge number of buses from Kanchipuram to Tirupathi, via Arakkonam and Tiruthani. The availability of transport has made Kanchipuram a huge trading center.
Kanchipuram Silk Saris This town is really famous for silk saris. There are hundreds of people engaged in the manufacture of silk saris, made out of the silkworm. The saris are world-famous and have a huge export market as well. This is a huge wholesale market for all the large retail merchants of T.Nagar Chennai, where saris worth crores get sold every day. Of late, there are thousands of people who come directly and buy the silk saris for a slightly lesser price than Chennai, for the weddings. In literally entire South India, the wedding saris for the brides are always Kanchipuram saris.
The exchange of old silk "pattu" sareesThe Kanchipuram "pattu" sarees are famous throughout the world. They are mostly handloom sarees done with a great deal of perfection. It should be noted that the silver in the sarees can be melted and reused again. There are a good number of shops where the old "pattu" or silk sarees are purchased by local traders. Though this author knew about it before, he did not want to write about it, without any reference and first-hand experience. It happened today, that is, the 14th of December 2019, when the author was witness to his wife exchanging at least ten old sarees made of silk. It should be noted that a sari that was purchased for just Rs.3000 some twenty-five years ago, fetched a fabulous price of Rs.5200. The lady who did the checking later explained that the silver in the saree should be maintained very well. It that is the case, the customer can actually get a good return on the sari, even after several years. However, the public and the readers who read this piece should take care to take the advice of an insider and have at least one reference. In our case, the shop under reference was Farook silk traders, and this is situated at 63-A, Gandhi Road, Sangusapet 1st shop (opposite to Hotel Sarvana Bhavan). This author still would recommend that one should go in to give away old silk sarees only after use for at least a decade and also sufficient care to preserve the silk in it. The word "pattu" refers to the lava that is killed in the manufacture of silk sarees. The great Saint Mahaperiyava of Kanchi Kamkoti Mutt had discouraged the use of silk sarees. However, Kanchipuram silk sarees are famous throughout the world. One can even sell their old silk sarees. There are at least ten such shops if not more.
The future Already Cheyyyar, a small town some thirty kilometers from Kanchipuram, is becoming a large industrial hub. The entire stretch between Kanchipuram and Cheyyar is likely to be developed into an industrial zone. When this happens, the core town of Kanchipuram will expand to over twenty-five kilometres. Already hundreds of thousands of people live in Kanchipuram and commute to Chennai for work and for trading purposes. Kanchipuram is also connected to Chennai via the EMU trains. There is huge pressure to increase these services. If the Master plan for Chennai is a success and Kanchipuram becomes a part of Chennai city, it will grow by leaps and bounds. This is expected to happen over the next seven years. The town with a population of four lakh people (approximately) is expected to double if the Masterplan comes into operation.
Kanchipuram is poised for a massive change.