Hey guys, today we are going to look at the highlights of the Kailasanathar temple at Kanchipuram. This is an ancient temple, archeologists estimate it was built around 700 A.D, about 1300 years ago, although locals believe that it is much older. People here will tell you that this is the origin of all Hindu temples, the very first Hindu temple in the world.
Even before we enter the temple, we realize that the temple has some fascinating features. What is this giant square outside the temple compounds? It is a large bull, known as Nandhi, the mount of Lord Shiva, and he is placed outside, directly in front of the temple entrance. It is very rare to see Nandhis outside Hindu Temples, this is a sign that this is a very very ancient temple. Remember I showed you the largest monolithic bull in the world. That is in the ancient Lepakshi Temple, yes that one is also placed outside the temple.
And in one corner, there is the temple tank. This temple tank was created to store water, and is designed like an inverted pyramid. Today it is empty, but more than a thousand years ago, it was considered the source of providing sacred, healing waters.It is locked, and we cannot go inside today, it is kept locked because vandals are trying to destroy it.
Just outside the temple, there are several beautiful lingams, each placed in its own chamber. This one is the multifaceted lingam, it is always mesmerizing to watch this lingam. This onehas 8 sides, and the lingam inside the main chamber of the temple has 16 sides.Behind the lingam, you can see a carving showing Shiva, his wife and a baby. Remember, I showed you an identical carving in the Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram, and I had asked who this baby was, since Shiva has 2 sons Ganesha and Kartikeya.I had put this question to you and Most of you had answered that the carving shows Kartikeya, since the baby is shown with a human face, and we all know Ganesha has the head of an elephant. But here is the interesting information, if you ask the locals around both these temples, they will tell you that this baby is Ganesha.Ancient texts tell us that Ganesha was born with a regular head, and then he lost his head and afterwards an elephant’s head was transplanted on his body.Locals believe that this temple was built before Ganesha lost his head, which is why these carvings show Ganesha with a regular face. There is also another templeabout 150 miles from here called Adhi Vinayagar temple. It also shows Ganesha in a humanoid form, not with an elephant’s face. This temple is also said to be built before Ganesha lost his original head. Sorry, I sidetracked to a long story.
Now, there are several lingams like this.. and here is an empty pit where a lingam used to be in place, and now it is gone. But here is a lingam, seemingly made of artificial stones or geopolymers.
There are a series of these lingams and they are joined with the base, or the Yoni using some kind of glue.What is the reason for these multiple lingams placed outside the Kailasanathar temple? They were used as models to teach people, how to create different types of lingams. Remember I told you that even the Kailasa Temple at Ellora Caves, could have been modeled after this temple. Okay, so let us enter the temple now and see what’s inside.The temple is known for its brilliant carvings of Shiva, the details and the features you see here, cannot be seen anywhere else. Each carving tells us a different story. Look at this gigantic carving, the central figure with a mysterious smile is Lord Shiva. Shiva is a giant when compared to human beings. Look how is wearing very little clothes, but has shoes,foot wear with shock absorbers.
This content was originally published here.