Saturday, April 23, 2016

Ekambareswarar Temple, Kanchipuram - History

Ekambareswarar Temple, Kanchipuram – History
This ancient temple has been in existence even prior to 600 AD and has been sung by the revered Saivite Saints. Sangam Literature speaks of Kama Kottam, and the Kumara Kottam (currently the Kamakshi Amman Temple and the Subramanya Temple). The existing structure then was pulled down and rebuilt by the Pallava Kings. The Cholas who came in later also made several contributions to the temple. Adi Sankara, the 10th Century saint got Kanchipuram remodeled along with expansion of this temple along with Kamakshi Amman temple and Varadaraja Perumal Temple with the help of local rulers.
Dharmapala (Head of Nalanda University), Thinnanaakar (Famous Buddhist), Bodhi Dharma (Father of Shaolin Arts), Chanakya (Author of Artha Sastra), Parimelazhakar (Thirukural Commentator), Poigai Azhwar, Vedhandha Desikar, Vannakazhangiyam Nagalinga Munivar and Syama Sasthirikal. Kachiyappa Sivachariyar served as a priest at the temple. The Vijayanagar kings, during the 15th century, also made lot of contributions to the temple.
There are inscriptions dated 1532 CE (record 544 of 1919) indicating the gift of number of villages made by Achutharayar. Vira Narasingaraya Saluva Nayaka who was directed by Achutharayar broke the royal order by giving more lands to Ekambaranathar temple than the Varadaraja Swamy temple against the instruction of an equal gift to either of the temples. Achutharayar on hearing this equally distributed the lands to both the temples.
The Temple was also patronized by Vallal Pachaiyappa Mudaliar during British Period.  Vallal Pachaiyappa Mudaliar used to go regularly from Chennai to Kanchipuram to worship in this temple, he spent significant money he amassed during British rule on the temple renovation, Pachaiyappa Mudaliar seated at horseback can be seen in the temple pillar.
At a later stage, a similar temple with same name Ekambareswarar was constructed in Chennai by Pachaiyappa Mudaliar in order to avoid travelling time to Kanchipuram. The Archaeological Survey of India report of 1905–06 indicates widespread renovation activities carried out in the temple by Nattukottai Chettiars.