Ekambareswarar Temple is one of Lord Shiva’s famous Hindu temples, located in the Tamil Nadu state of Kanchipuram, India. It is one of the five major Shiva temples or Pancha Bootha Sthalams representing the element-Earth. Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara (water), Chidambaram Natarajar (ether), Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara (fire), and Kalahasti Nathar (wind) are the other four temples in this category.
According to legend Lord Shiva once set her on fire to test her devotion when the Goddess Parvati was doing penance. The goddess has prayed to save her brother, Lord Vishnu. Vishnu removed the moon from the head of Lord Shiva and showered his sister’s rays to cool down the fire. Then Lord Shiva sent out the Ganges to disrupt penance. Then Goddess Parvati told the Ganges that the two were like sisters, dedicated to the same deity. The Ganges relented to hear that, too. Parvati then rendered a sanded lingam. The Lord settled in Kanchipuram, inspired by her devotion, making it one of the 5 temples in Pancha Bootham.
The Goddess Parvati had constructed a lingam out of sand under a mango tree, according to another myth. The nearby river Vegavati threatened to flood and absorb the lingam. Parvati embraced the lingam out of sheer devotion to the Lord and was ready to sacrifice her life to protect the lingam. The Lord came down to earth, delighted with her fidelity, and married her.
The architecture of Ekambareswarar Temple
The temple of Ekambareswarar has high rising gopurams which dominate the skyline. The temple covers a 40-acre field. The Raja Gopuram or entrance tower was designed by Krishnadevaraya and is 172 feet high. In front of the sanctum, he designed the pillared hall too. The central shrine is surrounded by a corridor that depicts a series of receding piers. The 63 Nayanmars ‘ idols are there. The temple boasts two tanks, Kampa Nadi and Shivaganga. In the Shiva temple, there is a Vishnu shrine and Vishnu’s name is Nilatingal Tundattan. The temple has a very considerable worth of silver and gold-plated vahanams.
A Somaskanda screen at the rear of the main shrine depicts Shiva, Parvati, and Skanda. Every day six services of worship are offered in Sri Ekambareshwar Temple temple. They are known as UshadKalam, Kaalasanthi, Uchi Kaalam, Pradosham, Sayaratchai, and Ardhajamam.
Festivals Celebrated in Ekambareswarar Temple
Every day in this temple, six worship services are offered-namely UshadKalam, Kaalasanthi, Uchi Kaalam, Pradosham, Sayarakshai, and Ardhajamam. The temple’s annual calendar is characterized by vibrant festivals such as Ani Tirumanjanam (June-July), Adi Kritikai (July-Aug), Avani Moolam (Aug-Sep), Navaratri (Sep-October), Kartika Deepam (Nov-Dec), Thai Poosam (Jan-Feb), Panguni Uthiram (Mar-Apr), Chitra Pournami (Apr-May), and Vaikashi Vishakam (May-June). The Panguni festival lasts 13 days and it is during this festival that the presiding deity’s wedding is celebrated, and the venerated Nayanmars (Tirumurais) Tamil poems are sung in great splendor.
How to Reach Ekambareswarar Temple
Throughout the year many festivals throng the temple calendar. Lord Ekambareswar’s most popular temple festival is the Phalguni Festival. It is celebrated for a span of 13 days, and the wedding of Shiva and Parvati is held during this festival.
By Air: Chennai, the closest international airport, is located approximately 75 km from Kanchipuram. Public and private transport facilities are available at the airport.
By Train: Kanchipuram is connected to the southern part of the railway network and there are few trains that pass via Kanchipuram. The suburban trains run at defined intervals between Kanchipuram and Chennai beach.
By Road: The town of Kanchipuram is well connected to the other part of the state and is only a few kilometers from the Quadrilateral National Highway. Chennai bus services are frequent and it takes 2-3 hours to get there. The services are operated by the Chennai Metropolitan and the state express transport.
Hotels Nearby Ekambareswarar Temple
- Hotel Baboo Soorya, Kanchipuram
- Tanishq Park, Kanchipuram
- The Naagaa Residency, Kanchipuram
- The Palm Serviced Apartment, Kanchipuram
- Sri Hari Residency, Kanchipuram