Kanci, aka: Kāñci, Kāñcī, Kañcī; 15 Definition(s)


Kanci means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

Alternative spellings of this word include Kanchi.

In Hinduism


[Kanci in Purana glossaries]

Kāñcī (काञ्ची).—(KĀNCĪPURA). This was the capital city of the Cola Kings. This city was also called "Kāncīvaram". It is mentioned among the holy cities. (Mahābhārata Udyoga Parva, Chapter 161, Verse 21).

(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Kāñcī (काञ्ची).—The Purāṇas attach great importance to Kāñcī. It is included in a list of seven holy cities of India. The Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa (IV.19.15) associates Kāñcī with Kāśī, the two forming the two eyes of Śiva. It is stated in the Bārhaspatya-sūtra (III.124) that Kāñcī is a Śākta-kṣetra. In the Devībhāgavata (8.38.8), Kāñcī is said to be a sthāna of the Devī called Annapūrṇā. The Vāmana Purāṇa (7.50) mentions it as the best among the cities. The Skandapurāṇa (1.19-23) counts it amongst the holy places. The Bhāgavatapurāṇa (10.79,14) and the Yoginītantra (1.17) also mention it. In Daśakumāracaritam it is referred to as a city of the Drāviḍa country.

(Source): archive.org: Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions (purana)

1a) Kañcī (कञ्ची).—In the liṅga deśa of the personified Veda.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 104. 76.

1b) A R. of the Ketumāla country.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 44. 18.

2a) Kāñcī (काञ्ची).—A river in the Ketumāla continent.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 44. 18.

2b) A R. of the Bhadrā.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 43. 25.

2c) Visited by Balarāma;1 visited by Agastya; also vāraṇaśailendra and ekāmranilaya. Viṣṇu Hayagrīva appeared before Agastya.2 A Vaiṣṇava kṣetra with śiva sānnidhya. Prayers of Brahmā, to Lakṣmī and Viṣṇu requested to reside here. Here were celebrated. Śiva's marriage, Brahma's with Vāṇī, and Viṣṇu with Kamalā. But Brahmā subsequently left this.3

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 79. 14.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 5. 6-10; 7-10.
  • 3) Ib. IV. 39 (whole): 40. 16, 59, 82-91.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

[Kanci in Natyashastra glossaries]

1) Kāñci (काञ्चि) refers to one of the ten kinds of yamaka, according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 17. Yamaka is one of the four “figures of speech” (alaṃkāra), used when composing dramatic compositions (kāvya).

2) Kāñci (काञ्चि) refers to a “girdle of one string” and is a type of ornament (ābharaṇa) for the hips (śroṇī) to be worn by females, according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 23. Such ornaments for females should be used in cases of human females and celestial beings (gods and goddesses).

Ābharaṇa (‘ornaments’, eg., kāñcī) is a category of alaṃkāra, or “decorations”, which in turn is a category of nepathya, or “costumes and make-up”, the perfection of which forms the main concern of the Āhāryābhinaya, or “extraneous representation”, a critical component for a successful dramatic play.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Kavya (poetry)

[Kanci in Kavya glossaries]

Kāñci (काञ्चि) is the name a locality mentioned in Rājaśekhara’s 10th-century Kāvyamīmāṃsā.—(Kanei) This is known as Kāñcipura or Conjeevaram, the capital of the Draviḍa or the Cola country on the river Palār. This situated at a distance of forty-three miles south-west of Madras.

(Source): Shodhganga: The Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara
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Kavya (काव्य, kavya) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahakavya, or ‘epic poetry’ and natya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

[Kanci in Chandas glossaries]

Kāñcī (काञ्ची) is the alternative name of a Sanskrit metre (chandas) mentioned by Hemacandra (1088-1173 C.E.) in his auto-commentary on the second chapter of the Chandonuśāsana. Kāñcī corresponds to Vācālakāñcī. Hemacandra gives these alternative names for the metres by other authorities (like Bharata), even though the number of gaṇas or letters do not differ.

(Source): Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
Chandas book cover
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

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Itihasa (narrative history)

[Kanci in Itihasa glossaries]

Kāñcī (काञ्ची) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. V.158.20) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Kāñcī) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

(Source): JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
context information

Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

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Katha (narrative stories)

[Kanci in Katha glossaries]

Kāñcī (काञ्ची) is the name of an ancient city, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 43. Accordingly, as Rājyadhara said to Naravāhanadatta: “there is a city named Kāñcī possessed of great excellences, which, like a girdle, well adorns the earth-bride. In it there was a famous king of the name of Bāhubala, who won Fortune by the might of his arm, and imprisoned her in his treasury, though she is a gadding dame”.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Kāñcī, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha book cover
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

[Kanci in Hinduism glossaries]

Kāñcī (काञ्ची).—The earliest literary reference to Kāñcī is in the Mahābhāṣya of Patañjali. The Mahābhāṣya on Vārttika 26 to Pāṇini IV. 2. 104 mentions Kāñcīpuraka (i. e. a resident of Kāñcīpura). Literally Kāñcī means a ‘girdle’. It seems to have been so named because it is situated like a girdle round the sea.

(Source): archive.org: Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions (hinduism)

In Buddhism

(Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

[Kanci in Tibetan Buddhism glossaries]

Kāñcī (काञ्ची) is the name of a sacred site (pīṭha) presided over by Hayakarṇā, according to the vārāhyabhyudaya-maṇḍala. Hayakarṇā is a deity situated in one of the six petals of the western lotus, of which the presiding deity is kuleśvarī (presiding lady) named Tārā. The central deity of the vārāhyabhyudaya-maṇḍala is the twelve-armed Vajravarāhī.

Kāñcī is one of the twenty-four pīṭhas, or ‘sacred-site’ (six lotuses each having six petals), each corresponding with a part of the human body. Kāñcī is to be contemplated as situated in the heart. Besides being associated with a bodily spot, each pīṭha represents an actual place of ancient India frequented particularly by advanced tantric practitioners

The Vārāhyabhyudayatantra is an explanatory tantra on the Laghuśaṃvara, but its verses are largerly extracted from the 10th century Abhidhānottaratantra, a scriputre describing various sādhanas (path towards spiritual realization).

(Source): Wisdomlib Libary: Vajrayogini
Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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India history and geogprahy

[Kanci in India history glossaries]

Kāñcī (काञ्ची) refers to one of the kingdoms of the south (see Dakṣiṇāpatha) mentioned in Gupta inscription No. 1. The Gupta empire (r. 3rd-century CE), founded by Śrī Gupta, covered much of ancient India and embraced the Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. According to this inscription, all the kings of the region of the north were who attained great fame by liberating them. One of the regions mentioned as situated in the south is Kāñcī.

Kāñcī as included within Dakṣiṇapatha is also mentioned by Rājaśekhara (fl. 10th century) in his Kāvyamīmāṃsā (chapter 17) who places Dakṣiṇapatha ahead of Māhiṣmatī.

(Source): Wisdom Library: India History

Kāñcī (काञ्ची) or Kāñcīpura is now represented by Conjeevaram on the river Palar, forty-three miles south-west of Madras, in the Chingaleput district of Madras. It was the ancient capital of the Cola and the Pallava rulers. Most of the inscriptions of Pallava rulers are dated from Kāñcīpura. It was a famous seat of Iearning. Mayūraśarman went with his guru to this city to study the sacred writings and quickly entered the ghāṭikā as a mendicant. Athole inscriptions refers to the conquest of Kāñcīpura by Pulakeśn II, the Calukya ruler.

The earliest reference to this place (Kāñcī) is in the Mahābhāṣya of Patañjalī. It is idenitfied by some with Satiyaputa of Aśokan Rock-edicts, and in Pali literature. It is noteworthy as the birth-place of the commentator Dhammapāla. and perhaps, also of Anurāddha, author of the Abhidhānmuttha Sangaha. The Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa links Kāñcī with Kāśī, both forming the two eyes of Śiva. It also figures in the Skandapurāṇa, Bhāgavara-purāṇa as well as in the yoginī-tantra. The place is sacred to Vaishnavites and Shaivites alike.

(Source): archive.org: Geography in Ancient Indian inscriptions

Kāñcī (काञ्ची) is a place-name without suffix and is mentioned in the Gupta inscription No. 1. The Gupta empire (r. 3rd-century CE), founded by Śrī Gupta, covered much of ancient India and embraced the Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The inscription refers to Viṣṇugopa of Kāñcī as one of the kings of Dakṣiṇāpatha defeated by Samudragupta but reinstated in their kingdoms.

Kāñcī is the same as Kāñcīpura or modern Conjeevaram in the Chingleput district of Madras Presidency. The kingdom of Kāñcī extended from the mouth of the Krishna to the south of the river Palar and sometimes even to the Kaveri. It is also known as Kāñcīpeḍu. It is mentioned in several early records relating to the ancient history of the Pallavas of Kāñcī (of about A.D. 250 to 355). The Aihole inscription of Pulakeśin, the Cālukya ruler in the 7th century A.D. refers to his conquest of Kāñcīpura.

Hiuen Tsang informs us that Kāñcī was 30 li or 5 miles in circuit, and that in the city there were eighty Deva temples and many hereties called Nirgranthas.

(Source): archive.org: Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions
India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

[Kanci in Marathi glossaries]

kāñcī (कांची).—f (S) A girdle or zone of gold or silver.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

[Kanci in Sanskrit glossaries]

Kāñci (काञ्चि) or Kāñcī (काञ्ची).—f. [kāñc bandhane ini]

1) A woman's girdle or zone furnished with small tinkling bells or other ornaments; एतावता नत्वनुमेयशोभि काञ्चीगुणस्थानमनिन्दितायाः (etāvatā natvanumeyaśobhi kāñcīguṇasthānamaninditāyāḥ) Ku.1.37,3.55; Me.28. Śi.9.82; R.6.43.

2) Name of an ancient city in the south of India, regarded as one of the sacred cities of the Hindus; (for the names of seven cities see avanti).

Derivable forms: kāñciḥ (काञ्चिः).

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

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Kāñciyamaka (काञ्चियमक) or Kāñcīyamaka (काञ्चीयमक).—a kind of paronomasia or punning; cf. Bk.1....
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Kāñcinagarī (काञ्चिनगरी) or Kāñcīnagarī (काञ्चीनगरी).—the same as काञ्ची (kāñcī) (2). Kāñcinaga...
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Kāñciguṇasthāna (काञ्चिगुणस्थान) or Kāñcīguṇasthāna (काञ्चीगुणस्थान).—The hips, haunches; Ku. 1...
Samudrakāñcī (समुद्रकाञ्ची).—the earth. Samudrakāñcī is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the t...
Kāñcipada (काञ्चिपद) or Kāñcīpada (काञ्चीपद).—the hips and loins. Derivable forms: kāñcipadam (...
Kāñcyāsana (काञ्च्यासन) is a type of posture (āsana), according to verse 92 of the Śrītattvanid...
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