The Ekambareswarar Temple is a famous place in the town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. The temple is associated with the five elements, the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, and specifically to the element of earth, or Prithvi. Lord Shiva is Ekambareswarar or Ekambaranathar here. The lingam represents him. Moreover, the name for his idol is Prithvi lingam.
Devi Parvati is depicted as Gowridevi Amman. The other four temples in this category are Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara (water), Chidambaram Natarajar (ether), Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara (fire) and Kalahasti Nathar (wind). Further, all of the four famous Shaivite Saints have sung the glories of this temple.
History of Ekambareswarar Temple
The Pallava Kings built a part of the main temple. However, the rest of the temple complex was built in the 17 th century. This temple is one of the most ancient in India. It exists since at least 600 AD. Also, Second century AD Tamil poetry speaks of Kama kottam, and the Kumara kottam.
Initially, Pallavas built the temple. The Vedantist Kachiyapper served as a priest at the temple. Then, the Chola Kings rebuilt the entire structure. Also, Adi Sankara, the 10th-century saint got Kanchipuram remodelled along with expansion of this temple.
The Vijayanagar kings also made a lot of contributions to the temple. Vallal Pachiyappa Mudaliar used to go regularly from Chennai to Kanchipuram to worship in this temple. He also spent a lot of money on the temple’s renovation. The temple pillar contains an image of Pachiyappa Mudaliar seated at horseback.
At the later stage a similar temple with same name Ekambareswarar was constructed in Chennai by Pachiappa Mudaliar.
According the devotees, there is a legend around the temple. Some say that once while Lord Shiva was meditating Parvati mischievously covered his eyes with her fingers. It resulted in complete darkness on earth for many years. As a result, Parvati went to earth and created the earth linga and worshiped it under a mango tree in Kanchipuram giving birth to the temple.
Significance of Ekambareswarar Temple
This is the 1st of the 32 Tevara Stalam built in the Tondai region of Southern India. It is the largest Shiva temple in Kanchipuram.
In 1509, Krishna Deva Raja of the Vijayanagara kingdom built a 60 meter high Gopuram.
The temple premise has a 540 pillar hall, beautifully designed and carved. The Vijayanagara Monarch constructed the pillared hall.
A 3500 years old mango tree adores the sanctum having four branches each dedicated to the four Vedas. Moreover, the Deity derives its name from the Mango tree from the words Eka-Amra-Natha, meaning the Lord of the Mango tree. The path to the tree has a Shiva Lingam made of around 1008 small lingas.
A Somaskanda panel featuring Shiva, Parvati and Skanda together adorn the back end of the main shrine, which has been worship for centuries together. The verses of famous folk singer Kanchi Kotayappa Nayak also admire the main deity.
Timings of Rituals and Poojas at Ekambareswarar Temple
The temple opens at 6 am in the morning then closes at 11 am. Again it reopens at 5 pm in the evening and closes finally at 8 pm.
First of all, the Ushakkala pooja takes place at sunrise at 6 am.
Kaalasandhi pooja takes place at 7 am.
Uchikkala pooja takes place at 12 in the afternoon.
Saayaraksha pooja happens at 6 pm in the evening.
Then, Ardhajama pooja takes place at 8 pm.
Festivals held at Ekambareswarar Temple
The month of July observes the important festival Ani Tirumanjanam .
Also, the month of August observes Adi Kritikai and Avani Moolam .
The Chitra Purnima and Vaisakhi In the months of May and June marks the temples annual calender. The Panguni is a festival of 13 days. During this period, the wedding of the presiding deity is observed.
How to reach Ekambareswarar Temple
Air: Chennai is the nearest airport which is 75km away from Kanchipuram. The airport has public and private transport facilities available on a regular basis.
Rail: connected on the southern part of railways Kanchipuram has few trains running through the town. However suburban trains are available on particular intervals running between Kanchipuram and Chennai beach.
Road: the city is only a few kms away from the Quadrilateral National Highway. Frequent bus services are available throughout the day making the journey easier for travellers.
Hotels nearby Ekambareswarar Temple
Sri Hari Residency at 99, West Raja Street, Near Sri Kumara Kottam Temple offers grand cosy accomodations. It is an excellent place to stay.
Also, M.Hotel, Kanchipuram of No. 65-66, Nellukara Street, Bus Stand is another great place to check in. It has well suited amenities and a blissful environment.
Places to visit near Ekambareswarar Temple
Kailasnatha Temple- This temple worships Lord Shiva, the supreme Hindu God. His temples are present in every part of the country. However, many of these temples are not there in Tamil Nadu.
Kamakshi Amman Temple- This temple is devoted to Goddess Kamakshi Amman. This huge temple is constructed in around 5 acres of land. The temple houses a gallery, which presents the life history of Adisankaracharya.
Kanchi Kudil represents the life of the people of the city with a view to attract tourists and let them feel the essence of life as lived here. Kudil means house. The house is over 90 year old and its architecture resembles the olden style.
Devarajaswami Temple- The temple is famous for its richness of exquisite sculptures. Vijayanagar Kings built this temple for lord Vishnu.