Thiru Ekambaranaathar Temple, Kanchipuram

Thiru Ekambaranaathar Temple was the last Panchabootha Sthala to visit. It is located in the town of Kanchipuram, that is north of Thiruvannamalai, and east of Vellore, which was the town we visited after Thiruvannamalai – and before Kanchipuram – which I’ll be posting about later 😉

Kanchipuram is another very old town, and was the early capital of the Chola Dynasty. It later became the capital of the Pallava Dynasty, and the Cholas shifted to Tanjore. It has a rich history, going back to more than a millenium, and has been an important city for not only Hinduism, but also Jainism and Buddhism. The world-known Bodhidharma was in fact a Pallava Prince from this town. Kanchipuram is today known for its beautiful silk sarees (and of course this temple). After visiting the temple, we went to a smaller company that produces and sell handloom pure silk sarees. It was quite interesting to see them working. My mum bought some sarees too.

If you go back in Saiva Tamil litterature, Kanchipuram is referred as “Kacchi”, and lord Shiva from the Ekambaranathar Temple is mostly referred as “Kacchi Ekamban”. The temple is also among the 5 Panchabootha Sthalas, dedicated to Earth. It is said that the temple’s history goes back to year 600 AD. One legend says that the Goddess Parvathi in her avatar as Kamakshi, worshipped lord Shiva in a Prithvi Lingam (a lingam of sand, hence the name Prithvi) and embraced the lingam. Shiva was touched by this, appeared in front of her, and married her.

Appar Swamigal mentions Kanchipuram is one of his Thevaaram songs as the town of education, praising its highly educated population at that time. The town is also known for its many temples, and also has the  oldest Shiva temple in Tamil Nadu, and the very popular Kamakshi Temple, that we visited too. One of the 3 most important musicians of Carnatic music, Shyama Sasthri, was also born here.

~ AJ

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