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Ekambranathar Temple
About Shiva  -  Shiva Image Gallery
Pooja Cost : US$ 9.00 Leadtime : 3 Days
Location : Kancheepuram.
Main Deity : Ekambareswarar.
Nearest Town : Kancheepuram District : Kancheepuram State : Tamil Nadu
The south gopura of the temple is the forerunner of all towers and it is the gopuram, which is visible on the trunk road at the Temple view. Nine stores rising to a height of 60 meters.

As God stood in the form of a tree. Eka = one; Kambam = wood, this place got the name Ekambam. At that, time Ganga in the form of huge flood began to submerge that place and Uma out of fear called for her maids. Kampa also means fear and hence the water that formed a river came to be called Kampa river. One of Uma's maids, in the form of Kali, obstructed the flood and she came to be called Pralayam Katha Matha. As the maid was unable to control the flood completely Uma called Mahavishnu for help. Vishnu took his Visvarupa form and obstructed the flood. The moon's light shone on his throat and he came to be called Nila Thunda Perumal. But even the great flood could not dissolve the sand Linga and the tree. Uma realized that the Lingam was none else but Siva, and she embraced Him for protection. As she embraced Siva with her hands and breasts, the prints were clearly visible on the Lingam. Hence, the God got the name Thazuva Kuzainda Nathan.
Let us enter through the great southern tower. Just opposite the entrance in the inside is a Mandapa called Sarabesa Mandapa, which contains nothing. At the extreme left is the Thousand Pillared Hall and a tank in between. The Pillared Hall is a very huge one but now its condition is not attractive. The Vijayanagara rulers who constructed it embellished it with superb paintings on the ceiling. A beautiful Nataraja dancing within a circle, a green hued Anjeneya are all that is left. The other painting have been completely ruined. The tank between the gopura and the Pillared Hall is said to be the legendary Kampa river. In Kaliyuga, the river has shrunk into a tiny tank. But the layout and design of the tank is very picturesque.

At the entrance to the pillared Hall is a cell for Vikata Chakra Vinayagar. Rettai Pulavars have praised this Vinayagar in their Ekambaranathar Ula. The Flagstaff by its very height announces its presence. Near the Flagstaff is Tiru Kachi Mayanam eulogized in Thevaram. The pillared mandapa which leads into the interior is called Kalyana Mandapam and each pillar has some carving to appreciate. A beautiful tank with cool waters and a covered vestibule is the sacred Tirtha of this temple and is called Sivaganga. Not only our sins are washed, but even our physical dirt by fishes in plenty. A beautiful pavilion sits in the center. The four sides of the temple shelters Valisam, Satya Nadisam, and Rishabesam with Kachi Mayanam. Huge pillars with artistic carvings form an umbrella to the corridor all round.
Pralaya Pandini who stemmed the flood is enshrined here to bless us. Next is Simaskanda and then the sacred Mango tree - Mavadi-under which Parvati performed a penance. The tree is 60 ft. high and spreads its mighty branches around. It is said that tree is 3500 years old. Look down. Kamakshi is in the act of doing penance. Nearby is Siva appearing from the Linga. Next to the Mavadi is Mavadi Kandan and the Sannadhi of Elavar Kuzhali Amman. This entire circuit is filled with several Lingams including a Sahasra Lingam (Thousand faceted). God has no name or form, but we in Bakthi sing about 1008 names! It is to represent that all the 1008 forms or names are fused in one. We enter the inner circuit, where the 63 Nayanmars and festival idols are kept. In the same passage is Vishnu as Nila Thingal Thunda Perumal facing Ekambaranathar. This place is very sacred, as Thirumangai Alvar has sung hymns eulogising this Lord.

The Main Lingam or Moolavar of sand is covered in silver sheath. Siva is said to be lover of baths (Abhisekam). But here, He being of sand, no bath is possible. But he is coated with a special unguent of Civet oil. The canopy under which this main Lingam is sheltered is called Rudrakoti Vimana. The tower over a sanctum is called Vimana. Though everyday here is a festive day, the most important festival is the Panguni Uttiram. When on the tenth day on a full moon night Siva weds Parvati. On the same day at the same time in several places in Kanchi, weddings take place. A peculiarity is that this Lingam is exactly similar to some Lingams discovered in the excavations of Mohenjadaro Lingams, which are without rings. The earliest inscription is on a slab in the cross wall of the outermost prakaram. The character is in Pallava Grantha with the words "Griha Saila". Another slab of Pallava grantha characters is lying here all indicating that a Pallava structure has undergone changes in subsequent periods.
Some other inscriptions reveal that Saivite mutts like Isana Devar Madam, Alalasundarar Madam and Jangama Madam were nearby.

There are some sub-shrines within this temple. The Vella Kambar in the south worshipped by Brahma, the Kalla Kambar in the north worshipped by Vishnu, the Nalla Kambar in the north-east, worshipped by Rudran, the Devi in the north-east, Mathala Madhavan in the west, Markandisar in the west and Aputhisvarar in the south are these sub shrines.