Pancha - Five; Bhoota - Elements; Sthala - Places!
This is a journey through the five temples dedicated to Lord Shiva who manifests himself through the five main elements of nature. There can be no beginning or an end to narrate the tale of Shiva. Each structure or temple dedicated to the Lord is attached with an incredible legend; a myth; the forming of history; a making of story. Each story has taken its own shape over the course of time; but each story is worth told a thousand times over!
Lord Shiva can be seen in different forms across India. The Panchabhoota Sthalas are no different. The lingas enshrined at the five temples embody the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and space. Four of the lingas are located in Tamil Nadu and one in Andhra Pradesh.
Here's a close look at the five marvellous temples, the Panchabhoota Sthalas, which is in continuation to the inspiration aroused by the heritage of the South!
Ekambareswarar Temple, Of Prithvi or Earth
Set in Kanchipuram, Ekambareswarar temple has a 59m tall temple tower - one of the tallest in Tamil Nadu. The linga here is made out of sand and was worshipped by Parvathi, Shiva's consort, herself!
Jambukeswarar Temple, Of Jala or Water
A water stream flows through the sanctum throughout the year in spite of efforts in flushing the water out. The temple is located in the island of Srirangam and was built in the early part of the Chola dynasty.
Annamalaiyar Temple, Of Tejas or Fire
Annamalaiyar temple is placed atop the picturesque Annamalai hills in Thiruvanamalai. The place is most famous for its annual Karthigai Deepam festival in November and December during which a tall fire is lit symbolizing the Shiva lingam merging with the sky.
Srikalahasti Temple, Of Vayu or Air
Located in Andhra Pradesh, Srikalahasti temple is 36 km away from Tirupati. It is also considered to be the Kailash of the South. A lamp constantly flickers inside the sanctum of the temple despite the lack of air.
Thillai Nataraja Temple, Of Akasha or Space
This cosmic dancer was revered by a long list of rulers and writers. The sculptures and bronze images of the dancing shiva which is not foreign to our eyes was first seen here in the "ananda tandava posture". Lord Shiva is worshipped with no idol for God is beyond human comprehension.