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Kailasanathar Temple
About Shiva  -  Shiva Image Gallery
Pooja Cost : US$ 9.00 Leadtime : 3 Days
Location : Kancheepuram.
Main Deity : Kailasanathar.
Nearest Town : Kancheepuram District : Kancheepuram State : Tamil Nadu
A huge kneeling Nandi stands in the front facing the temple and a look at it clearly indicates it must have been painted in gorgeous colours once. In those days, all the sculptures were painted brightly. Now only traces are seen; and they are not inferior to those of Ajanta.

At the entrance are eight sub-shrines, of which the third from the right was built by Rangapatakai, queen of Rajasimha. The shrine next in the entrance and opposite to the main shrine is called Mahendresvaram and was built by the king’s son Mahendran. This structure is almost like a small shrine with Divitala Tara Vimanam sheltering a Tara Linga and a Somaskanda relief in the sanctum. At the back of this shrine on the outside and facing west is the Pallava king Rajasimha with his queen Rangapatakai canopied by a parasol. In ancient times, it was the custom to equate kings with the queen raised to a divine status in more than 3 places in niches in the outer prakara. They are recognized by their 2 hands while Gods are endowed with four.

The main sanctum shaded by a finest Vimana resembling Mount Kailas consists of a sanctum housing a Shodasakona lingam of black colour. The early Pallavas scooped rocks to from a temple, while Rajasimha placed granites to form a free standing temple with prakaras, Ghostas, Mandapas and Vimanam. Of all the temples in India, no other edifice has been so elaborately filled with all the 64 aspects of Siva and something else.

Two circuits, one outer and another around the sanctum adorn this temple. It is not mere walls that fringe the corridor. Small shrine-like cells have been constructed along the entire length of both sides and filled with the various exploits of Siva, not found anywhere else. Siva Lilarnavam, Sambu Nadaname and such other literatures have exquisitely described the dances of Siva. Come straight to this temple and walk around the corridor. The cells on the periphery are small, while on the inner wall they are big with big images.
Siva’s leg outstretched and piercing the high heavens; Gajantaka who attired himself with the torn skin of the elephant Asura, with Uma standing coyly nearby; Bhikasadana who with his comely figure disturbed the hearts of the wives of the sages, and as a charming Mohini lured the sages from their rituals; Ardanari, a half blended with Uma; Sandya Thandava Siva who danced at dusk wielding a Trisula; Gangadara who stemmed the force of Ganga in his locks; Brahma-Chiracheda murthi who clipped off the fifth head of Brahma by his nail; Vishapaharana who arrested the poison Alahala in his throat; Gowriprasada who changed the colour from black to a golden hue; Chanda Thandavan with Rowdram (anger), Karunai (mercy), Sringar (amour), Bayam (fear), Nagai (Smile) and Veeryam (Valour) exhibited in his face. Thiripurantakan who without a single weapon destroyed the Asuras with his mere smile. Kritarjunamurti in the guise of a hunter. Chandesvara Anugrahar, Lingodbavar, Bairava, Harihara and such innumerable forms.
Besides the above aspects we face unusual devatas like Jesta, Dikpalas, Yama, Varuna, Vayu, Soma, Pusha, Isana, Ekadasa Rudras, Kowsiki and so on. If we stand in the corridor and look at the Vimana, it looks like a huge pyramid rising but with a difference. Several sub shrines about the sides.