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).

Door in Ekambaranathar Temple, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Door in Ekambaranathar Temple, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Ekambaranathar Temple

Ekambaranathar Temple

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.

Ekambaranathar Temple

1000 pillars at Ekambaranathar Temple, Kanchipuram

Shiva Linga at Ekambaranathar Temple

1008 Shiva Linga at Ekambaranathar Temple

The main attractions in Ekambaranathar temple are:

“Aayiram Kaal Mandapam” or the hallway with a thousand pillars, then there’s this corridor with an array of 1008 Shiva Lingams and the gigantic Nandi, the bull.

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).

Tour time: Half an hour to 2 hours if you wish to see in detail.

Ekambaranathar Temple, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

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37 Responses

  1. Carver says:

    That's amazing how old the tree is. I love the towers and the whole tour for that matter. Your part of the world has so many beautiful and historical places.

  2. Sylvia K says:

    Always such marvelous photos and such interesting information! And it is always a real pleasure to visit your blog to see and learn about your world! Thanks for sharing with us, Indrani!


  3. ewok1993 says:

    another fascinating post. love the corridor image.

  4. Thank you for Sharing…Do you live around this place?

  5. What an incredible place!

  6. Martha Z says:

    Wonderful post. Your land is filled with interesting archetecture and history. Every posts brings new revelations.

  7. Amazing. India has such a rich culture.

  8. Ebie says:

    Look at the architecture (and carvings??) They are so exquisite.

  9. Anu says:

    kancheepuram is a city of temples.. impossible to see all of them in a lifetime…. the ekabaranathar temple is certainly amongst the most important… and its really beautiful! but i am surprised they allowed cameras inside… thanks to you,next time i shall take mine too 🙂

  10. Rajesh says:

    Beautiful shots of the temples. Even I visited around 5 temples for the city with dotted temples.

  11. Denise says:

    A fascinating look at your wonderful country and culture. Your photos are amazing. It is my hope that I will be able to travel to India one day and see some of these incredible sights for myself. Thank you for this view into your world Indrani.

  12. ladyfi says:

    Absolutely fantastic – especially the hall of a hundred pillars! Fabulous shots!

  13. Randi says:

    I always learn something new here. Very interesting post and lovely photos!

  14. Regina says:

    Truly an interesting world.
    Thank you for sharing.

  15. Wolynski says:

    India seems to have temples, more temples and still more temples. Love the Shiva Lingam photo, but don't know what it is – actually all the photos are great.

  16. Been there. Its such a lovely place.. And your pics bring out the essence so well…

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  17. radha says:

    Been there minus the camera. Lovely place. A temple every 100 yards it seems over here. And do they allow you to take pictures?

  18. radha says:

    Been there minus the camera. Lovely place. A temple every 100 yards it seems over here. And do they allow you to take pictures?

  19. radha says:

    Been there minus the camera. Lovely place. A temple every 100 yards it seems over here. And do they allow you to take pictures?

  20. Hi there,

    I love these pictures, especially the one of the hallway and bull. Well done.

  21. diane says:

    You have such an interesting and historic culture.

  22. The Nandi looks really special. I guess the barricade is to prevent vandalism. Love the corridor of pillars too.

  23. Trotter says:

    Hi Indrani! Another wonderful place shown here; my list is growing… 😉 Wonderful shots as ever!

    Blogtrotter 2 has moved to the Cayman Islands. Enjoy and have a great weekend!!

  24. Onkar says:

    Simply brilliant.

  25. Excellent shots…it exactly brings out Indian tradition. Thanks for sharing…

  26. thyme says:

    Beautiful! I am curious about the Shiva Lingams, must google what they are for. They look amazing.

  27. Babli says:

    Very beautiful temple with nice architecture. Very well written with lovely photos.

  28. YOSEE says:

    A wonderful temple, indeed . Loved your photo of the row of Lingams.
    But the monument in Kanch that never fails to mesmerise me time and again is The Kailasanathar Temple.

    Kanchi is an artlover's delight, but the only irritation is the relentless pestering by "Guides" from Silk shops, who offer to show you around only to drag you to their saree shops and try to force a sale on you.

  29. Oh, what a surprise: I like very much the gigantic Nandi and the hallway with a thousand pillars but also the other pictures are fantastic!!!
    A wonderful and interesting post as always!
    Thanks for sharing!

  30. Beautiful Blog
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  31. Loved that shot of cloister!

  32. Neha says:

    It’s Very interesting place

  33. Yogi Saraswat says:

    It is very interesting to know about this beautiful place . I always feel that there is a great difference between North India Temple and South India Temples . We would have to study a lot to know about these structures !!

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