The Lord who bears the moon colour
This temple of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Narayana is located inside the famous Ekambareswarar temple, the largest temple in the town of Kanchipuram, located in the northern part of the town.
The legend of this temple has to do with the pastime of Devi Parvati. Parvata is one of the Sanskrit words for "mountain"; Parvati derives her name from being the daughter of King Himavan (also called Himavat, Parvat) and Queen Mena. King Parvat is considered lord of the mountains and the personification of the Himalayas; Parvati implies "she of the mountain."
The Puranas tell the story of Sati's marriage to Shiva against her father Prajapathi Daksha's wishes. Daksha does not accept Shiva for his son-in-law and therefore he does not invite Shiva to his yagna (fire-sacrifice). Sati arrives at the yagna on her own. When Daksha insults Shiva, Sati immolates herself at the ceremony. This shocks Shiva, who is so grief-stricken that he loses interest in worldly affairs, retires and isolates himself in the mountains, in meditation and austerity. Sati is then reborn as Parvati, the daughter of Himavat and Mena, Parvati.
According to different versions of her chronicles, the maiden Parvati resolves to marry Shiva. Her parents learn of her desire and discourage her, but she pursues what she wants. Indra sends the demigod Kama or Cupid to awake Shiva from meditation. Kama reaches Shiva and shoots an arrow of desire. Shiva opens the third eye in his forehead and burns the Kama to ashes. Parvati does not lose her hope or her resolve to win over Shiva.
Goddess Parvati underwent severe penance to attain Lord Shiva as her husband. In order to test her devotion, Shiva originates a massive fire on the mango tree where Parvati is seated, engrossed in meditation. Parvati earnestly prays to Lord Vishnu – Sri Nilathingal Thundam – to cool down the environment. Lord Vishnu instructs Chandra (moon) who resides in the matted locks of Shiva, to shower his breezy air to control the scorching heat. At last, everything comes back to normal and Parvati continues her penance. Thus, Lord Vishnu in this temple is known as Thiru Nilathingal Thundam.
Thiru Nilathingal Thundam is one of the 108 divya desam of Lord Vishnu, situated within the precincts of Sri Ekambareshwarar temple; one of the Pancha Boothasthal of Lord Shiva, which represents Earth. Lord Nilathingal Perumal blesses the devotees in a shrine in the first prakara in standing form, under the Purusha Shuktha Vimana. The shrine is in the Easanya (North East) corner of the temple. Pujas to Perumal are performed in accordance with Shaivite codes. To reduce the excessive heat in His body, perfumed oil is applied, instead of abishekam.
The Lord bearing the light of moon, every Purnima day (full moon) is a festival in the temple. Purattasi Saturdays of September-October and Vaikuntha Ekadashi in December-January are other festivals observed in the temple.
Thirumangai Alwar in his Thirunedundandaham has sung in praise of the Supreme Lord in this temple.
Photo courtesy: Santhanakrishnan, Srirangam
One of the numerous vahanas in the temple
The temple prakaram and the shrine
The horse vahana of the temple
The vahan of the main deity of the temple who is lord shiva
The intricate pillars of the temple
The magnificently carved pillars of the temple
The temple boasts of one of the longest prakarams of the country
The shrine of nilathingal thundatham perumal
The Supreme lord of this divya desam nilathingal thundatham