Sathyanatheswarar Temple, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Sathyanatheswarar Temple, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu
Photograph courtesy: Tirukalimedu/Wikipedia/ CC BY-SA 3.0

Sathyanatheswarar Temple (also called Karaivananathar Temple or Thirukalimedu temple) is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is located in the town of Thirukalimedu, near Indira Theertham Kanchipuram, Kanchipuram district in Tamil Nadu. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Sathyanatheswarar and his consort Parvathi as Pramarambikai. Sathyanatheswarar is revered in the 7th-century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the nayanars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam, the 275 temples reverred in the canon.

Legend of the Sathyanatheswarar Temple

According to the legend, Chandra wanted to marry his Guru’s (Jupiter) wife, Dhara and for that he did a yagna seeking the boon from Vishnu. Dhara was allured by Chandra and Budha was born from them.  When Budha came to know about his birth felt ashamed and started doing a penance praying to Shiva to include him as one of the Navagrahas at this place. Then Lord Shiva appeared as Sathyanatheswarar and offers him the boon.

Another legend, Indra, the king of celestial deities was attracted by the beauty of Ahalya, the wife of sage Gautama. He wake the sage early in the day by took a form of rooster. When the sage left for the river, he entered the sage’s house as Ahalya was alone. The sage realized that something wrong happened, so that he returned house and saw Indra left as a cat. He cursed Indra to have eyes throughout his body. As a result Indra was roaming around and started doing penance at this place to regain his appearance.

Architecture of the Sathyanatheswarar Temple

 The Sathyanatheswarar temple covers an area of 22,500 square feet with two prakarams or outer courtyard, a lotus tank and a three-tiered rajagopuram (or gateway tower) height of 50 feet facing West. All the shrines are enclosed in a granite wall. The central shrine faces east and holds the image of Sathyanatheswarar (Shiva) in the form of lingam made of granite. The granite images of Nandi (the bull and vehicle of Shiva), a tall flag staff and a Balipeeta, the place of offering, axial to the sanctum.

Sathyanatheswarar Temple Festival

The major festivals are celebrated in this temple are

  • Margazhi Tiruvathirai during the Tamil month of Margazhi (December – January)
  • Aipassi Annabishekam during Aippassi (October – November)  
  • Maha Shivaratri during February – March.

Sathyanatheswarar Temple Timings:

The temple is opened from 5:30 AM to 1:00 PM and 04:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

Pooja Timings:

 The temple rituals are performed two times a day; Kalasanthi at 8:00 a.m. and  Sayarakshai at 6:00 p.m. Each ritual comprises four steps: abhisheka (sacred bath), alangaram (decoration), naivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Sathyanatheswarar and Pramarambikai Amman.

How to Reach the Sathyanatheswarar Temple

By Air

Nearest airport Chennai International Airport is about 74 KM away. Direct train from Chennai to Kanchipuram is available. Also one can hire private cabs to reach there.

By Rail

Nearest railway station is Kanchipuram railway station at 2 KM distance.

By Bus

The temple is about 2.2 KM away from Kanchipuram Bus stand.