In the evening, as is the routine, we went what I call “temple hopping”, and Kanchipuram is certainly the place to do it. Fortunately Seetharam is a fantastic guide and knows so many great places to visit. This temple above is very ancient and is made primarily of sandstone. The Indian government manages the temple and it has been very nicely restored which is important because sandstone wears aways.
The story of the temple is that Brahma came here and did the first puja for this shiva lingam. The lingam is called Mrytunjayeshwara (if I recall correctly) which means that those who visit here will conquer (jaya) death (mrytu). Since we have been doing mrytunjaya yagyas for the past 10 years this is an appropriate place for us to have a nice puja. It was the monthly shivaratri when we visited and the lingam was beautifully decorated.
When the temple was reopened the Shankaracharya came to bless the proceedings. The temple priest, who is quite a character, told us that the Shankaracharya was planning to do a lot of publicity to help bring more people to the temple. The local priest insisted that he not do it.
“Why,” asked the Shankaracharya, “More publicity means more people and better income for you.”
“More people means more money, and that always means more problems. Brahma has created this place, let him advertise it,” said the priest. So it remains quiet and peaceful here.
A small Rahu/Ketu area in the shade of a large tree.
Shiva subduing a demon.
Shiva as Nataraj….Lord of Dance. The age of the temple is apparent here with the wearing away of the sandstone surface
Nandi, Shiva’s bull, calmly looking over everything
Who says the ancients didn’t have a sense of humor?