The Ekambareswarar temple (also called Ekambaranathar Temple) is one of the famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in Kanchipuram in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the five major Shiva temples or Pancha Bootha Sthalams situated in South India. The Temple represents the element – Earth or Prithvi from the Pancha Bootha Sthalams. Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple every year. Lord Shiva is worshiped as Ekambareswarar or Ekambaranathar, and is represented by the lingam, with his idol referred to as Prithvi lingam.
According to legend, Goddess Parvati was cursed to become dark like Kali. To expatiate herself from the sin, she was doing penance under the temple’s ancient Mango Tree near Vegavathi river. In order to test her devotion Lord Shiva sent fire on her. The Goddess prayed to her brother, Lord Vishnu to save her. In order to save her, he took the Moon from Lord Shiva’s head and showed the rays which then cooled down the tree as well as Parvati.
Then, Lord Shiva again sent the river Ganga to disrupt Parvati’s penance. Parvati prayed to Ganga and convinced her that both of them were sisters and so should not harm her. And so, Ganga did not disturb her penance and Parvati made a Shiva Linga out of sand to get united with Shiva. The God here came to be known as Ekambareswarar or “Lord of Mango Tree”.
According to another legend, it is believed that Parvati worshipped Shiva in the form of a Prithivi Lingam (or a Lingam improvised out of sand), under a mango tree. The neighboring Vegavati river threatened to overflow and engulf the lingam. Parvati, out of sheer devotion to the Lord, embraced the lingam and was ready to sacrifice her life to protect the lingam. Pleased by her devotion, the Lord descended to earth and married her.
This vast temple is one of the most ancient in India having been in existence since 600 AD but, the present structure is said to be dating back to 11th-12th centuries. The architecture of the temple showcases a signature Shaivite structure with a lofty gopuram, 5 prakrams or concentric circumambulatory enclosures. The 1000 pillared hall adorning carvings of 1008 Shivlingas is believed to be added by the Vijayanagara kings during 15th century. The inner sanctum houses the Prithvi Lingam. Also, the sacred mango tree, believed to be more than 3000 years old, can be seen in the temple premises. The specialty of the tree is that it bears four different types of Mangoes in four different seasons in the year.
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 : 13 day Panguni Uthiram, the most important as per the Vedic tradition colourful events with processions in Silver Rath, Silver Mavadi Servai and Gold Vrushab- the Nandhi vahan of Lord Shiva.
September- October: Navaratri Festival
The temple is open to worship during morning 06:00 am to 12:00 am and evening 05:00pm to 08:30 pm. Daily poojas are conducted for six times in this famous temple. Moreover the special poojas to be carried out in Lord Siva’s Temple are also performed regularly.
|Koo Pooja||6.00 a.m.|
|Ukshakala Pooja||6.30 a.m. To 7.30 a.m|
|Kala santhi Pooja||7.30 a.m. To 8.30 a.m|
|Uchikala Pooja||11.30 a.m. To 12.00 Noon|
|Pradhosa Kaalam||5.00 p.m. To 5.30 p.m|
|Sayaratchai Pooja||6.00 p.m. To 7.00 p.m|
|Arthajama Pooja||8.30 p.m.|
How to Reach the Temple?
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.
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.
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.