A street view of the Ekambareswarar Temple main entrance
A street view of the Ekambareswarar Temple main entrance

Ekambareswarar Temple (Sri Ekambranathar temple) is located in Kanchipuram city of Tamilnadu,dedicated to Lord Shiva representing the element ‘Earth’. Another significant thing is Sri Nilathingal Thundathan Perumal Temple,also named as ‘Thiru Nilathingal Thundam’ dedicated to Lord Vishnu and also one of the ‘108 Divya Desam Temples’ is situated inside the Ekambareswarar Temple premises. The Pancha Bhoota temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva and these five temples are said to be the important pilgrimage places of South India.

The word Pancha refers to the number ‘five’ and Bhoota refers to ‘elements’. And the five elements are Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Sky and are believed to be manifested in the form of five Lingams, the divinity of Lord Shiva. Ekambareswarar Temple is one among the Pancha Bhoota Lingam Temples which is believed to be built by Chola Kings. The Pancha Bhoota Lingam Temples are:

  1. Ekambareswarar Temple (Kanchipuram,Tamilnadu)
  2. Jambukeswarar Temple (Tiruchirapalli,Tamilnadu)
  3. Arunachalaeswarar Temple (Tiruvannamalai,Tamilnadu)
  4. Kalahastheeswarar Temple (Sri Kalahasti, Andhrapradesh)
  5. Thillai Natarajar Temple (Chidambaram,Tamilandu)
Entrance to Lord Ekambareswarar Sannithi at Ekambareswarar Temple
Entrance to Lord Ekambareswarar Sannithi at Ekambareswarar Temple

The legend says that, under a mango tree, Goddess Parvati made a Shiva Lingam out of sand and worshipped the Lingam. Lord Shiva wished to test Goddess Parvati‘s devotion and made river Ganga to engulf. Goddess Parvati frightened that the Lingam may get ruined and hugged the Shiva Lingam tightly to protect it. Then Lord Shiva opened His third eye causing the tree under which Goddess Parvati was doing penance to get fired. Lord Vishnu took the moon and showered the cold rays and saved the penance of Goddess Parvati. The cold rays turned back the tree to its original form. And hence Lord Vishnu is called as Nilathingal Thundathan and the temple is called as ‘Thiru Nilathingal Thundathan Perumal Temple’.

Lord Shiva pleased by Goddess Parvati’s great devotion towards the Shiva Lingam and blessed Her. Sri Nilathingal Thundathan Perumal Temple located inside the temple premises of Ekambareswarar Temple. Sri Nilathingal Thundathan Perumal Temple,named as ‘Thiru Nilathingal Thundam’ dedicated to Lord Vishnu and also one of the ‘108 Divya Desams’ is situated inside the Ekambareswarar Temple premises. The presiding deity of this Lord Vishnu’s temple is ‘Lord Nilathingal Thundathan’, also known as Lord Chandra Chooda Perumal, in a standing posture, facing towards the west.

Ekambareswarar Temple tower has eleven stories and is one of the tallest towers in South India
Ekambareswarar Temple tower has eleven stories and is one of the tallest towers in South India

His consort Goddess MahaLakshmi is named as Goddess Ner Oruvar Illavalli Nachiyar and also called as Goddess Nilathingal Thunda Thaayar. Sri Nilathingal Thundathan Perumal Temple is the only temple of Lord Vishnu where the poojas are done by the Saivite priests. The ‘Pushkarani’ (temple tank) of Sri Nilathingal Thundathan Perumal Temple is called as Chandra Pushkarani. This temple is glorified in Nalayira Divya Prabandham, the great canon, and the songs were sung by the saint Thiru Mangai Azhwar. The Vimanam (tower above the sanctum sanctorum) of Sri Nilathingal Thundathan Perumal Temple is called as Purusha suktha Vimanam.

Specialty

The main deity of this temple is Lord Shiva worshipped as Lord Ekambareswarar and can find the idol of Goddess Kamakshi located next to Shiva Lingam. The Shiva lingam placed here is known as the Prithvi Lingam (Earth Lingam). A panel which is called Somaskanda accent the idol of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Lord Skanda. The other deities of this temple are Lord Ganesha, Lord Vishnu where He is worshipped as Vamana Murthy.

The famous Sthala Virusham (the Mango Tree) about 3500 years old in the Ekambareswarar Temple
The famous Sthala Virusham (the Mango Tree) about 3500 years old in the Ekambareswarar Temple

This temple’s monumental tree is a 3,500 year old mango tree, and its branches produces four different kinds of mangoes. The temple consists of ten pillars in its Prakaram (inner corridor) of this temple which is said to produce ten different musical sounds when it is hit with a stick. The temple totally contains 1000 pillars believed to be built by Vijayanagar Kings, which is popularly called as AAyiram Kaal Mandapam.

Unlike other temples, there is no separate shrine for Goddess Parvati in this temple, which is a uniqueness of Ekambareswarar Temple. The Rajagopuram (temple tower) of Ekambareswarar Temple is at a height of 172 feet, which is one of the tallest temple tower in south India. The special feature of Ekambareswarar temple is that the roof of this temple contains the twelve zodiac signs.

A view of the corridor inside the Ekambareswarar Temple
A view of the corridor inside the Ekambareswarar Temple

Pooja Timings

  • UshaKaala Pooja – 6.00 a.m.
  • Kaalasanthi Pooja – 7.00 a.m.
  • Uchi Kaala Pooja – 12.00 p.m.
  • Sayaratchai Pooja – 6.00 p.m.
  • Ardhajama Pooja – 8.00 p.m.

Festivals

  • Brahmotsavam – January or February
  • Sivarathri festival – February or march
  • Panguni Uthiram – March or April
  • Aadipooram festival – July or August
  • Vinayaka chathurthi festival – August or September
  • Navarathri festival – September or October
  • Diwali festival – October or November
  • Tirukarthikai – November or December
By Road

The city of Kanchipuram is well connected with the other part of the states and it is few kms from the Quadrilateral National Highway. There are frequent bus services from Chennai and it takes 2- 3 hours to reach. The Chennai Metropolitan and the state express transport operate the services.


By Train

Kanchipuram is connected with the southern part of the rail network and few trains are running through Kanchipuram. Suburban trains are running between Kanchipuram and Chennai beach on specified intervals.


By Air

Chennai, the nearest international airport, is situated around 75 km away from Kanchipuram. Both public and private transport facilities are available at the airport.

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  • Kailasanadhar Temple
  • Sri Simha Dhakshinamoorthi Vyagrapuriswarar Temple
  • Madambakkam Sri Lakshmi Narayana Perumal Temple
  • Vaikunda Perumal Temple
  • Kachabeshwarar Temple
  • Kanchi Varadaraja Swami Temple

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