May 13, 2018

Amareswarar Temple - Kanchipuram

Amareswarar Temple is one of the lesser known Pallava period temples of Kanchipuram. It is located in a small lane on the West Raja Street in the town.

The west facing temple, which is believed to be of Rajasimha Pallava's period, must have been the pride of the town once. But, it is no more the pride of the town. All those beautiful sculptures are replaced with the modern day stucco images which look laughable. When some of the other ancient temples in this town lost their grace due to neglect, this temple lost its grace due to maintenance and renovation.

The west facing sanctum enshrines Shiv Linga called as Amareswarar. Kanchi Puranam calls him as Tripurantakesa. The Somaskanda panel is also found in the sanctum. The vimana is two tiered Nagara vimana.

As per the legend, the Devas won the battle against the Asuras due to the blessing from Shiva. However, their victory turned them proud and ignorant. Shiva appeared to them as a Yaksha. He challenged them to cut a thin piece of straw. None of the Devas could do that and they all felt themselves very low in front of the Yaksha. Then, Shiva appeared in his own form along with his consort Uma and blessed them. They all installed a Shiv Linga in the same site and performed poojas. It is said that this Shiv Linga, which is called as Amareswarar, is the one installed by them.

Ganesh, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga are found as the niche images. All are new icons. Similarly the standing lions on the walls are also new.

The old icons of Brahma and Sukasana Murti are found in the greeva koshtams. Few original relief images of Ganesha are found above the niches. The Bhuta mala icons are definitely old, but they are painted badly.

Happy travelling.

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