Kancheepuram – Sri Ekambareswarar Temple

Name of the Temple

Sri Ekambareswarar Temple

Period of origin

Before 3500 years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Ekambara Nathar

Ambal: Kamakshi, Elavar Kuzhali

Sthala Theertham: Sivaganga

Sthala Virksham: Mango

Devaram: Thirugnana Sambandar, Thirunavukkarasar, Sundarar and Manickavasagar

Sthalapuranam:

Ekambaranathar temple is situated in this holy town of Kancheepuram, one of the Panch Bootha Sthalangal of God Shiva. This vast temple covers an area roughly 40 acres. It is one of ancient temple reported to be in existence from the year 600 AD. Pallava, Chola and Vijanagara Kings have contributed to the building of this temple. The presiding deity Shiva is worshipped here as Prithvi Lingam (Lingam of Earth). There is no separate shrine for the Female deity as is customary in all the Shiva Temples found in Kancheepuram.

The Raja Gopuram or the entrance tower to the temple which rises to a height of 172 feet was built by the Vijayanagar Monarch Krishnadevaraya. The pillared hall in front of the sanctum was also built by the Vijayanagar Kings. All of the four revered Saivite Saints have sung the glory of this temple. The Saint poet Sundaramoorthy Nayanar is said to have recovered his eyesight (left eye) after offering worship here.

The presiding deity here is Ekambareswarar or Shiva, worshipped as the Prithivi Lingam. A Somaskanda panel featuring Shiva, Parvati and Skanda adorns the rear of the main shrine, which has been held in worship for centuries together. It is believed that Parvati, the consort of Shiva worshipped him in the form of a Prithivi Lingam, or a Lingam improvised out of sand, under a mango tree. Legend has it that the neighboring Vegavati river overflowed and threatened to engulf the Shiva Lingam and that Parvati or Kamakshi, embraced the Lingam, and Shiva, touched by the gesture materialized in person and married her. In this context he is referred to as ‘Tazhuvakkuzhainthaar’ in Tamil. There is no separate shrine for Ambal or the Goddess in the temple as she is worshipped along with Shiva, as in every other Shiva temple in the precincts of the town of Kanchipuram. There is another shrine of Shiva and Kamakshi under the Stala Vruksham or the Temple tree, which is a mango tree said to be 3500 years old.

The ancient mango tree in the courtyard is worshipped by all even today with great veneration. It has got four branches representing the four Vedas. Each branch bears fruit with a different taste and the leaves are also different in appearance. It is a popular belief that if a childless woman takes the fruit of the tree she is blessed with children. In the prakaram round the mango tree is a lingam. Which is a composite of 108 small lingams and another one of 1008 small lingams? There are idols of the 63 Nayanmars also. There are two tanks in the temple, Kampa Nadi and Sivaganga. There is a Vishnu shrine in the Siva temple and the name of the Vishnu is Nilatingal Tundattan. The temple has silver and gold-plated vahanams of considerable value. Originally built by the Pallavas, this large Siva temple was later reconstructed by the Chola and Vijaynagara kings. Here, Lord Siva is worshipped as Earth or Prithivi, which is one of the five elements. The dimensions of this temple are reflected in its 20 – acre spread and its tall south gopuram which soars to a height of 58.5m.

Six worship services are offered each day in this temple – namely UshadKalam, Kaalasanthi, Uchi Kaalam, Pradosham and Sayaratchai and Ardhajamam. Colorful festivals such as Ani Tirumanjanam (June-July), Adi Kritikai (July-Aug), Avani Moolam (Aug – Sep), Navaratri (Sep-October), Kartikai Deepam (Nov-Dec), Thai Poosam (Jan-Feb), Panguni Uthiram (Mar-Apr), Chitra Pournami (Apr-May) and Vaikashi Vishakam (May-June) mark the temple’s annual calendar. The Panguni festival lasts for 13 days and it is during this festival that the wedding of the presiding deity is celebrated, and the venerated Tamil poems of the Nayanmars (Tirumurais) are sung in great splendor.

Route:

Located in Kancheepuram Town – about 2 Kms. from Kancheepuram bus stand.

Temple Timings:

6.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.

Temple Telephone Number:

044-2722 2084

Temple Address:

Sri Ekambareswarar Temple
Kancheepuram
Kancheepuram district
PIN 631502

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