Ekambaranathar Temple, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu
Kanchipuram is one of the seven sacred cities of India. The skyline is dotted with gopurams (towers over the temple gateways) of temples. The city was the capital of the early Cholas during the 2nd century BC. It was the Pallava capital between the 6th and 8th centuries. Kanchipuram is also called as “City of 1000 Temples”. Almost every street is lined with at least one temple if not more. If you are ever there try doing a bicycle tour along the streets and mingle with locals to soak in the religious and cultural ambiance. Kanchipuram is famous for its silk weaves too(more about that in another post).
With barely two days in hand to tour the city (that includes time for silk shopping there), I targeted just five temples there. The first one was the Ekambaranath Temple, the largest in Kanchipuram dedicated to Lord Shiva. It also signifies Shiva’s forms in one of the five elements of Universe viz. earth. The Gopuram 59m high is covered with delicate sculptures, each with a story. I prefer to get lost in the beauty of the sculptures rather than try and find out their stories. Most of them are evocative in their own style.
The main attractions in Ekambaranathar temple are:
Inside the courtyard is a 3500 year old tree, nothing much is left of it, a small tree growing in its place. The tree is revered as God, and some believe it as a site of marriage of Shiva and Parvati. Today this site is chosen as marriage site of many couples. Interestingly the common belief is that each of its four main branches is said to bear fruit with a different taste, representing the four Hindu Vedas (sacred texts).