Ekambareswarar Temple, Kanchipuram: A Sacred Haven of South India's Spiritual Heritage

Important information

  • Address : Ekambareswarar temple, Kilambi, Tamil Nadu 631502
  • Open and Close Timings : 06:00 am to 12:30 pm and 04:00 pm to 08:30 pm
  • Nearest Railway Station:  Kanchipuram Railway Station at a distance of nearly 2.1 kilometres from Ekambareswarar Temple.
  • Nearest Airport :  Chennai International Airport at a distance of nearly 61.1 kilometres from Ekambareswarar Temple.
  • Did you know : Ekambareswarar Temple holds immense significance within the Saivism sect as one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, representing the earth element, Prithvi.

The Ekambareswarar Temple, also known as Ekambaranathar Temple, stands as a revered Hindu sanctuary devoted to Lord Shiva, nestled in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India. This temple holds immense significance within the Saivism sect as one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, representing the earth element, Prithvi.

Shiva, worshipped as Ekambareswarar or Ekambaranathar, is venerated through the lingam, revered as the Prithvi lingam. Parvati, his consort, is depicted as Elavarkuzhali. Celebrated in the 7th-century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, by the revered Tamil saint poets, this temple is classified as a Paadal Petra Sthalam.

Spanning 25 acres, the temple complex is among India's largest and encompasses four gopurams (gateway towers). The tallest, the southern tower, stands at an astounding 58.5216 meters (192 ft), ranking among India's tallest temple towers. Within this sprawling complex lie various shrines, prominently those dedicated to Ekambareswarar and Nilathingal Thundam Perumal. The grandeur extends to its halls, notably the Vijayanagar-era thousand-pillared hall.

The temple's architectural legacy traces back to the Chola dynasty's era in the 9th century, with subsequent expansions credited to the Vijayanagar rulers. Presently maintained by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu, this temple stands as a beacon of spiritual heritage and is a cornerstone of Kanchipuram's tourist attractions.

History and Legends

The temple's origins date back to antiquity, believed to have been built during the Pallava dynasty's reign. Revered in Tamil literature and Saivite scriptures, the temple is steeped in mythological tales. One legend tells of Parvati's penance, where she created a lingam out of sand and worshipped Lord Shiva under a mango tree. Impressed by her devotion, Shiva blessed her and the lingam turned into Prithvi Lingam, symbolizing the earth. This mango tree, believed to be over 3,500 years old, still stands within the temple premises.

Architectural Splendor

The Ekambareswarar Temple boasts breathtaking architecture, showcasing intricate carvings, towering gopurams (entrance towers), and sprawling halls. The temple's thousand-pillared hall, adorned with ornate sculptures and detailed craftsmanship, captivates visitors with its grandeur.

Religious Significance

Devotees flock to this sacred abode seeking blessings and spiritual solace. The temple is revered as one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, representing the element of earth (Prithvi Lingam) among the five prime elements. The sprawling temple complex houses various shrines dedicated to different deities, including Kamakshi Amman, Vishnu, and Ganesh, attracting worshippers from far and wide.

Rituals and Festivals

Ekambareswarar Temple hosts a plethora of religious rituals and vibrant festivals throughout the year. The Panguni Uthiram festival, celebrating the divine wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, and the Thai Poosam festival are among the most prominent celebrations, drawing devotees in large numbers.

This sacred site observes six daily rituals from early morning to late evening and hosts twelve significant annual festivals. Among these, the Panguni Uthiram festival, spanning thirteen days in the Tamil month of Panguni (March - April), holds paramount importance, drawing devotees from far and wide.

Travel and Accessibility

Situated in the heart of Kanchipuram, the Ekambareswarar Temple is easily accessible. Visitors can explore other renowned temples in the vicinity, such as Kailasanathar Temple and Varadharaja Perumal Temple, enriching their spiritual journey in the city known for its rich cultural heritage.

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