There are many groups of pilgrimage sites coming from a specific Hindu mythology. Groups such as 51 Shakti Peethas, Char Dham, 12 Jyotirlingas and more exist in India. Let’s discuss about a very major set of temples known as the “PanchaBhootaStalam”. Pancha means five and Bhoota suggests elements. Shiva – the ultimate divine God who is made of the major five elements of existence, depicts these PanchbhootaSthalas. All these temples are located in the South of India.
Chidambaram, East-central Tamil Nadu (Akasa – Ether)
This temple signifies Akasha or the sky. The unique thing about the temple is that there is no deity which is worshiped. An idol of Nataraja – the Tandava position of Lord Shiva is kept. Behind this is a black screen which is considered to be the sky. The idol of the Nataraja enshrined in the Chit Sabha. The embossed images of the saints Vyagrapada and Patanjali, are to be seen on the doors. These saints are said to be blessed with the sight of the cosmic dance of Shiva.
Prithivi Lingam, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu (Earth)
This temple signifies Earth. It is also known as Ekambareswarar. Mythology says that there is a mango tree here where Parvati used to penance to attain Lord Shiva as his husband. The temple is one of the tallest temple towers in South India, having a total of 11 stories which are adorned with beautiful sculptures.
Appu Lingam JambukeshwararTemple, Thiruvanaikaval, Tamil Nadu (Water)
This temple represents water. It is also known as Jambukeshwarar Temple. It is located in Srirangamisland. The sanctum of Jambukeswara has an underground water stream and in spite of pumping water out, it is always filled with water. This temple has beautiful inscriptions in its wall belonging to the Chola period.
Agni Lingam, Arunachaleswara Temple, Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu (Fire)
This temple represents agni or Fire. AnnamalaiyarTemple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Shiva, located at the base of Annamalai hills in the town ofThiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, India. Here Lord Shiva is worshiped as Annamalaiyar and his consort Parvati is depicted as Unnamulai. This is said to be worshiped since the 7th Century.
Vayu Lingam Sri KalahastheeswaraTempleKalahasthi, Andhra Pradesh (Air)
This temple represents Air or Vayu, one of the five elements of existence of life. Srikalahasti Temple is located in the town of Srikalahasti, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. This sacred place is famous since there is also a very interesting story associated with it. It is said to be the site where Kannappa was ready to offer both his eyes to cover blood flowing from the Siva linga before Lord Shiva stopped him and granted him mukti. This is also a piece of the Chola architecture where the inner temple was constructed during 5th century and the outer temple was constructed during 12th century.
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