Ekambareshwar temple is a Shiva temple which is located in Kanchipuram in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the five major Shiva temples or the Pancha Bhoota Sthalams. The Shiva linga here represents the element earth.
The story of this temple goes like this. Once, Parvati was performing austerities under the temple’s mango tree. This tree is very near to Vegavathi River. To test Parvati, Lord Shiva set her on fire. Parvati started praying to Lord Vishnu so that he could help her. Vishnu subsided the fire. Parvati again started performing her austerities. To disturb Parvati, Lord Shiva sent the river Ganga. But Parvati was successful in convincing Ganga that they were both sister and that she should not harm her. Subsequently Ganga went away. After that Parvati made a shivalinga out of mud to unite with Shiva. Here, Lord Shiva came to be known as Ekambareshwar or ‘lord of mango tree’.
There is another legend also regarding this temple. It is believed that goddess Parvati worshipped Shiva in the form of a prithvi linga under a mango tree. The nearby Vegavati River began overflowing and threatened to engulf the Shiva linga. But Parvati embraced the Shiva linga in order to protect it. Lord Shiva was so touched by this act that he materialized over there and married Parvati.
In this temple Shiva is worshipped as the Prithvi lingam. The Shiva linga here is made out of mud and represents the element earth. The mango tree here is also very important. The name Ekambareshwar is said to have been derived from it. It is believed that the branches of this tree represent the Vedas. It is also believed that the tree has unusual properties. Goddess Parvati and Lord Kartikeya are also worshipped here. Apart from being one of the Pancha Bhoota Sthals, this temple is also a part of the Paadal Petra Sthalas. It is believed that many Nayanar saints got liberated from the materialistic world here. One of the famous Shakti Peetha temples is also located nearby. The goddess is worshipped there as Kamakshi devi.
There are six different kinds of puja which are performed in this temple everyday.They are called ‘Ushadkalam’, ‘Kaalasanthi’, ‘Uchi Kaalam’, ‘Pradosham’, ‘Sayaratchai’ and ‘Ardhajamani’. There are many annual festivals which are celebrated in this temple. They are Ani Tirumanjanam(June-July), kritikai(July-August), Anani Moolam(August-September) and Panguini Uthiram(March-April).
The most important festival is the Panguini festival which lasts for thirteen days. During this festival the Lord Shiva’s wedding is celebrated.