Kanchi Ekambeshwara History

Kanchi Ekambeshwara History


Ekambareswarar Temple or Ekambaranathar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva. The temple is located in the town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, India. Lord Shiva is worshiped as Ekambareswarar or Ekambaranathar and is represented by the lingam, with his idol referred to as Prithvi lingam.

Ekambareswarar temple is significant to the Hindu sect of Saivism and it is the one of the temples associated with the five elements, the Pancha Bhootas, Earth, Sky, Air, Fire and Water, specifically the element of earth, or Prithvi.

Lord Shiva’s consort Parvati is depicted as Gowridevi Amman. The temple also houses Nilathingal Thundam Perumal temple, a Divyadesam, the 108 temples revered in the Vaishnava canon Nalayira Divya Prabhandam

Among the temple numerous shrines, Ekambareswarar and Nilathingal Thundam Perumal being the most prominent. The temple complex houses many halls; the most notable is the thousand-pillared hall built during the Vijayanagar period.

According to Legend, once Parvati, the consort of Shiva was cursed to become dark like Kali. Then she wanted to expatiate herself from the sin by doing penance under the temple’s ancient Mango tree near Vegavathi river.To test her devotion Lord Shiva sent fire on her. Then Goddess Parvati prayed to her brother, Vishnu, for help. Lord Vishnu took the Moon from Shiva’s head and showed the rays to cool down the tree as well as Parvati. Lord Shiva again sent the river Ganga (Ganges) to disrupt Parvati. Then Parvati prayed to Ganga and convinced her that both of them were sisters and so should not harm her. 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”

Another legend says that Parvati worshipped Shiva in the form of a Prithivi Lingam or a Lingam improvised out of sand, under a mango tree. Legend has it that the neighboring Vegavati river overflowed and threatened to engulf the Shiva Lingam and that Parvati or Kamakshi embraced the Lingam. Shiva touched by the gesture materialized in person and married her.