Temples - Sri Ekambareswara Temple
The most famous Siva temple at Kanchipuram is the Ekambareswara temple where he is worshipped in the form of Earth Linga and its 11 storey structure temple tower which is adorned with beautiful sculptures is one of the tallest temple tower in south india.
The sthalapurana says that when Lord Siva was deeply immersed in the task of creating, protecting and destroying the Universe, Parvati, his consort, in a jocular mood, closed his eyes.This resulted in staying the process of creation and destruction as well as obstruction to the natural law of things. It was a serious matter and Siva became angry and cursed Parvati to go to the Earth and expiate her misdeed.accordingly Parvati came to the banks of the river Kampa under a single mango tree at Kanchi and made a Shivalinga out of sand and worshipped it
To test her sincerity Siva placed various obstacles and hindrances in the way of Parvati's penance. But with the help of Vishnu she could tide over all the difficulties. At last Siva hurled a deluge by taking out the Ganges from his matted hair, to wash away the Linga worshipped by Parvati. She clasped it with all veneration to her breasts and this pleased Siva who took her again as his consort. The temple is said to have been built at the spot where the lord forgave her.
In the month of Phalguni on the 10th day of Uttiram the marriage of Siva and Parvati is celebrated with great pomp and splendor.
Another version of the story is that Siva and Parvati fell out in a game of dice. Siva cursed Gowri to become ugly.With the help of Vishnu Parvati propitiated Siva by performing penance under a single Mango tree at Kancheepurarn on the banks of the Kampa River, and regained her beauty with dazzling eyes, from which the name of Kamakshi has been derived for the tutelary goddess of the temple. As Parvati regained Siva under the mango tree the name of Ekamranatha (Ekaone, amra - mango, and natha-Lord) was given to Lord Siva. It later became Ekambareswara. Another legend connected with the marriage celebration is that connected with Agastya being vouchsafed its darsan when he had come South from Kailas.
The ancient mango tree in the courtyard is worshipped by all even today with great veneration. It has got four branches representing the four Vedas. Each branch bears fruit with a different taste and the leaves are also different in appearance. It is a popular belief that if a childless woman takes the fruit of the tree she is blessed with children. In the prakaram round the mango tree is a lingam. Which is a composite of 108 small lingams and another one of 1008 small lingams. There are idols of the 63 Nayanmars also. There are two tanks in the temple, Kampa Nadi and Sivaganga. There is a Vishnu shrine in the Siva temple and the name of the Vishnu is Nilatingal Tundattan. The temple has silver and gold-plated vahanams of considerable value. Originally built by the Pallavas, this large Siva temple was later reconstructed by the Chola and Vijaynagara kings. Here, Lord Siva is worshipped as Earth or Prithivi, which is one of the five elements. The dimensions of this temple are reflected in its 20 - acre spread and its tall south gopuram which soars to a height of 58.5m.