Sunday, 14 October 2012

Ekambareswara Temple, Kanchipuram



Ekämbareçwara, Kanchipuram

Çré Ekämbareçwara Temple is one of the Panchabhüta Sthalas (signifying five elements – space, air, fire, water, and earth). Lord Çiva is worshipped here in the form of Påthivé (earth) Liìgam. Hence, Kanchipuram is considered as one of the Panchabhüta Sthalas.

Period & Builder
The Pallavas and the Cholas had contributed to the upkeep of this Temple. The Pallavas had pulled down the then existing structure, and rebuilt it. The present structure however, owes its existence to the Vijayanagara Kings.

Temple architecture/style/specialty
The Ekämbareçwara Temple is Kanchipuram’s largest Temple and most important Çiva shrine. It is also known as Ekämbranath, and is easily identifiable by its colossal white-washed Räjagopuram. The towering Räjagopuram can be seen miles away from Kanchi (I photographed it from far). It rises to a height of 194 feet, thus the 3rd tallest Gopuram  { i) Sri Rangam 240-feet, ii) Tiruvannamalai 217-feet, iii) Ekambareswara 194-feet, iv) 11-tiered Srivilliputhur 192-feet v) Southern Rajagopuram of Madurai 160-feet vi) Eastern Rajagopuram of Madurai 153-feet, vii) 12-tiered Rajagopuram of Sarangapani 146-feet, viii) Suchindram 134-feet} and was built by the great Vijayanagar Emperor Sri Krshnadeva Raya in 1509 CE, the first year of his rule.






The Räyas were great benefactors of this 40-acre Temple, building its towering gopuras, long corridors, and maëòapams, including pillared hall in front of the sanctum.

The entrance, through a high arched passageway beneath an elaborate gopura in the south wall, leads to an open courtyard and a majestic ‘Thousand-Pillared Hall’ - Kalyäëa Maëòapam, whose slightly decaying grey stone columns are modeled as nubile maidens, animals, and deities.





In the courtyard is a venerable mango tree under which Çiva and Kämäkñé were married. This union is celebrated during a festival each April, when many couples are married in the Kalyäëa Maëòapam.

Many ancient classics, including Maëimekalai refer about this temple. It finds mention in the hymns of saints Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar.

Legend
Siva, worshipped here in his form as Kämeçwara – ‘the Lord of Desire’. Legend connects it with the goddess Kämäkñé (having eyes of desire), Çiva’s consort, who angered Çiva by playfully covering his eyes, and plunging the world into darkness. Çiva reprimanded her by sending her to make a liìgam from the earth in his honour. Once it was completed, Kämäkñé found that she could not move it.




Famous Gopurams

Tier
Height
Builder
1
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Trichy

240 feet
1980
2
Arunachaleswara Temple
Tiruvannamalai

217 feet

3
Ekambareswara Temple
Kanchipuram

194 feet

4
Sri Andal Temple
Srivilliputhur
11-tier
192 feet

5
Southern Rajagopuram of Minakshi
Madurai
9-tier
-1511 sculptures
160
feet
Sevvanti Murty Chettiar in 1559 CE
6
Eastern Rajagopuram of Minakshi
Madurai

153 feet
Maravarman
Sundara Pandyan
7
Sarangapani Temple
Kumbakonam
12 tier
146 feet

8
Suchindram
Kanyakumari

134 feet

9
Rameswaram
Rameswaram

126 feet


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1 comment:

  1. OM NAMAH SHIVA

    Thank you for sharing . Great honour visited this temple December 2013

    ReplyDelete