Ekambareswarar Temple

One among the “Pancha Bhoota Stalam” [five Shiva temples each representing five elements of life], Ekambareswarar Temple is one of the most sacred Shiva temples. It represents the element Earth. Shiva is worshipped as Ekambareswarar. The temple is thousands of years old with the current structure being a reconstructed one, around 600 AD by the Pallavas. However the temple displays the works of likely every dynasty that ruled Kanchipuram. The 172 feet Raja Gopuram is a marvelous piece of architectural wonder built by the Vijayanagara Empire. The Cholas made architectural contributions to the temple too.

Legend has it that the lingam here at the Ekambareswarar Temple is made and worshipped by Goddess Parvati herself and that we can still see a mark on the Lingam which holds this legend true. Once Goddess Parvati covered Shiva’s eyes and the world suddenly filled with darkness. With Shiva’s eyes closed, the Sun and Moon darkened without even a beam of light. He opened his third eye and saved the day for the mankind. Parvati was filled with guilt after witnessing all these. Shiva asked her to do penance to free her from wrong karma. Parvati born on earth as Kamakshi and started her penance. She made a Shiva linga out of sand and worshipped Lord Shiva in the form of Prithvi Lingam [Lingam made of earth] under an ancient temple mango tree. At the same time, Shiva in order to test her devotion caused a flood where Kamakshi was busy worshipping him.

Kamakshi on realizing about the flood got scared of the Prithvi Lingam being washed off, embraces the lingam. Lord Shiva who literally started melting due to her devotion and love appears in his materialized human form and married Kamakshi. Also this is when Kamakshi accidently left some marks on the lingam as a result of her bangles and kuchas hitting the sand made lingam which can be seen even today.

The “Sthala Vriksham” or the ancient temple mango tree is more than 3500 years old under which Kamakshi worshipped the Shiv Lingam is still present here and is one of the significant landmarks of the temple. It has four branches and each represents one of the four Vedic texts and yield four different flavors of fruits. The other significant features of the temple include the “Aayiram Kaal Mandapam” or the 1000 pillared hall, 1008 Shiv Lingams that adorn the inner walls of the temple and the ten musical pillars at the inner corridor of the temple. Another architectural brilliance is that the sun rays falls directly on the Shiva linga every 19, 20 and 21 of the Panguni month (March-April) which is hen the most important festival of the Ekambareswarar Temple is celebrated, the Panguni Uthiram.

Temple Timings

The temple is open to worship during morning 06:00 am to 11:00 am and evening 05:00pm to 08:00 pm.

Major Festivals

January- February Brahmotsavam, the golden car festival when Lord Shiva is taken around the temple premises in a well decorated temple car.

February- March Shivaratri Festival, great gathering of Shiva devotees.

March- April Panguni Uthiram, the most important as per the Vedic tradition.

September- October Navaratri Festival

How to Reach?

By Air:

The nearest airport is Chennai International Airport. After getting down at Chennai grab a taxi or Government bus to Kanchipuram which is 64 kms away.

By Rail:

The nearest railway station is Kanchipuram Railway Station. You can catch trains from any part of the country which pass through Kanchipuram. After getting down at Kanchipuram, grab an auto-rickshaw or taxi to the temple.

By Road:

Tamil Government Buses to Kanchipuram are available from all the parts of the Tamil Nadu state and also from major cities in South India. It is 64 kms from Chennai which is the major city close to Kanchipuram from where you get frequent buses to Kanchipuram.