Share This Post


Pancha Bhootha Temples

Pancha Bhootha Temples

Trip to Pancha Bhootha Temples

Five Shiva Temples in the southern states of India are known as Pancha Bhoota Temples or Sthalas. Sthala means place. These five temples represent the five elements of the nature Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Sky (Ether). There are five syllables in the Om Nama: Shivaya mantra – na, ma:, shi, va and ya. When chanted properly, these syllables activate the energy centres in our body. The Nama: Shivaya mantra is used for meditation to invoke the energy of Lord Shiva.

Lord Shiva is supposed to be self manifested (Swayambhu) and the most powerful of the Hindu Trinity who controls the destruction. He is a great yogi, artist and a Trikala Jnani (who knows all about past, present and future). He is also the lord of all mystics in hindu practice. He is the Lord of meditation and therefore it is very good if we meditate upon him by chanting the Nama: Shivaya mantra.

Visiting and praying Shiva in these temples is considered a blessing in life time that too when one can visit in the order of the five temples. Starting first with the Ekambareswara (Earth/Land) Temple in Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu move on in the order as shown here.

  1. Ekambareswara Temple (Earth/Land) – Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
  2. Jambukeswara Temple (Water) – Thiruvanikaval/Trichi, Tamil Nadu
  3. Arunachaleswara Temple (Fire) – Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu
  4. Sree Kalahasthi Temple (Air) – Sree Kalahasthi, Andhra
  5. Chidambaram Natarajar Temple (Sky/Ether), Tamil Nadu

The installations (Prathishtha) of the diety in these temples are known as Prithvi (Earth) Lingam, Appu (Water) Lingam, Agni (Fire) Lingam, Vayu (Air) Lingam and Akasha (Sky) Lingam respecrtively.

The greatest mystery (and fact) about these temples are that they are situated in the same straight line. The construction of these temples were done at a time when GPS/Satellite Technology was not available. They are constructed according to yogic science and placed in a certain geographical alignment between each other so that the entire region receives the maximum positive vibration. They are located almost at 79 degrees East (Longitude). I am only providing summary of our trip here. But shall talk in detail about each temple in separate articles.

Trichur – Chennai about 618 Kms by bus took about 10 hours

In 2017, I and my wife had a chance to visit the Panchabhootha Temples in the order. We started our journey from Trichur on 31st January taking the Luxury Coach Sleeper Bus – Orange Bus. The bus started from Trichur at 10:00pm and reached Chennai around 7:30am on February 1st. We had arranged our uncle’s car hiring his driver for the rest of the journey.

01/02/2017 – Ekambareswara Temple – Prithvi Lingam – Kancheepuram

Chennai – Kancheepuram – 75kms, 1 hour 45 minutes by car

Started our journey to Kancheepuram from Chennai around 2:45pm in the evening. Traveling a distance of 75 kms, in about 1 hour 5 minutes, we reached Kancheepuram. Checked-In at MM Hotels in Nellukara Street, which is very near to the Ekambareswara Temple.

The temple timing is from 6am to 12:30pm and then 4pm to 8:30pm on all days. Reached the temple and had a good darshan of the dieties. The temple complex covers about 25 acres of land. It is possible to take camera inside the temple complex by paying a nominal fees. But photography inside is very much controlled.

There is a sacred mango tree within the temple complex under which the Devi Kamakshi did penance and the marriage between Lord Shiva and Devi Kamakshi took place under this tree. It is aged above 3500 years and has four branches. Each branch gives a different mangoes of different shape and taste. Ekambaram is the join of two words “Eke” meaning “One” and “Amara” meaning “Mango Tree”.

We also visited the Kanchi Kaamaakshi Amman temple and the Karchapeswar Temple near to our hotel. Kanchi Kaamaakshi Amman temple was undergoing rennovation and hence the entry was restricted. In the Karchapeswar temple, Vishnu is believed to have worshiped Shiva in the form of a Tortoise and hence the name. We had the opportunity to participate in the night poojas at this temple, something which is worth experiencing.

02/02/2017 – Jambukeswara Temple – Appu Lingam – Thiruvanikkaval

Kancheepuram – Trichy – 290kms, 4 hours by car

Got up early in the morning to head straight to Trichi. We had to cover a distance of 290 kms from Kancheepuram to Trichi to reach Thiruvanikkaval. Took about 4 hours driving on the national and state highways.

The temple timing is from 6:30am to 12pm and then 5pm to 9pm on all days. We reached Jambukeswar Temple by around 9am. It is possible to take camera inside the temple complex by paying a nominal fees. But photography inside is srictly controlled.

The temple is built by the King Kochenga Chola around 1800 years, which is situated in the Sri Rangam island where we have the famous Ranganatha Swamy Temple. We had enough time to visit the Ranganatha Swamy as well before we started our journey to Thiruvannamalai by the afternoon. This was a bonus for us, which was not in our original plan.

02/02/2017 – Arunachaleswar Temple – Agni Lingam – Thiruvannamalai

Trichy – Thiruvannamalai- 185kms, 2 hours 50 minutes by car

After having darshan at Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple, we continued our journey to Thiruvannamalai via Velloor – Thoothukudi highway and reached there around 4pm. Checked-In at Ramana Towers at Chengam Road, which is opposite to the Ramanashramam.

The temple timing is from 5:30am to 12pm and then 5:30pm to 9pm on all days. It was the periodic maintenance time at Arunachaleswar Temple during our visit and hence the main temple was closed for entry.  We were very much worried that our wish of completing darshan at the Pancha Bhootha temples will not be fulfilled. But later we came to know that during such maintenance periods, the regular poojas are held at a make-shift shamiana where the idol will be brought and kept for the poojas.

Around 5:30, the shamiana was opened for the public and we got the very first row to sit and watch the aarathi.  Sets of Preists were chanting mantras and performing poojas there. By 6, the aarathi started and we got all the blessings from the lord.

After the aarathi, though it was already dark, we thought of doing the Girivalam which is a very famous activity in Thiruvannamalai. It is about 16kms circling a hill (Giri), which you have to walk ideally. The full moon day is very auspicious to do the Girivalam. On your way you have to worships Shiva Lingams at different spots. There are eight such Lingams located at the eight directions which provides an octagonal structure to the Thiruvannamalai. We were advised by the locals not to walk during night, so took the car and worshiped all the Lingas. The temple complex covers about 10 hectare of land was originally built by the Chola Dynasty.

03/02/2017 – Sri Kalahasthi Temple – Vayu Lingam – Andhra

Thiruvannamalai – Sri Kalahasthi – 229kms, 4 hours 40 minutes by car

We started from Thiruvannamalai at 4am heading towards Sri Kalahasthi. It was a long drive and in between we halted at some point for breakfast. Driving on the National Highway was quite smooth and reached around 9am at Kalahasthi temple. It was quite crowded there. By God’s grace, one of the temple security staff approached us and took initiative in taking us inside. He was there with us throughout and helped us in having a very good darshan very near to the diety and had special aarathy.

Tuesdays and Sundays are important to do the “Rahu-Kethu” pooja at Sri Kalahasthi templend will be over-crowded on these days up to 1pm. The security officer himself booked for the pooja for us and arranged a guy to help us in completing the pooja. After the pooja, he took us once again inside the temple to get a good darshan.

Offered prayers at a Hanuman Temple outside the Temple Complex, had light food and started our journey.

Sri Kalahasthi – Chidambram (via Chennai and Puducherry) – 333kms – 7 to 8 hours

The second leg of the journey was more tiring as we had to reach Chidambaram by 10pm. We started around 12pm from Sri Kalahasthi. The driver took a shortcut through some village route. It was about 333 kms to Chidambaram and we took the route via Chennai, halting there for having lunch. Left Chennai around 5pm. Reached Puducherry around 7 in the evening. The traffic within and around the limits of Puducherry was horrible and we somehow managed to reach Chidambaram at 10:30pm.

We were booked in at Vandayar Hotel, VGP Street at Chidambaram, which is only walking distance from the Natarajar Temple. Had dinner at the hotel and good sleep in the night.

04/02/2017 – Chidambaram Natarajar Temple – Akasha (Sky) Lingam – Tamil Nadu

Got up and ready by 5am. Walked to the temple which is about 10 minutes from the hotel. It was only time for the Prabhata (Morning) Poojas to start and there were a lot of people waiting already. The shrines of Natarajar (Lord Shiva) and Sri Sivakama Sundari got opened and the priests started with the poojas.

We can go very near to the diety only if we go through one of the priests. There were three or four priests sitting there and we approached one of them. His name is Somakanthan Dikshitar, who is one of the Trustees of the Temple. He took us inside and we had a great darshan of both Natarajar and Sivakama Sundari.

The priest asked us if we are interested in some contributions towards daily poojas and we agreed to it and paid him 5000 rupees. The prasadam comes to us by postal mail every month and even now we are continuing with it. Whenever there is an event at Chidambaram, we get notified by Mr. Somakanthan Dikshitar and we have even done sankalpa poojas at Natarajar Temple sitting in Dubai on special occasions.

In all the five temples, we had the opportunity to sit and recite the Shiva Sahasranamam in peace and completing the worship at Chidambaram, we thanked god for making our trip a success and for all his blessings without which we could not have done this. Wherever we went, there was someone to help us so that we can have a peaceful darshan.

Chidambaram – Chennai – 245kms –  7 hours

Coming back from the temple, we had breakfast at the hotel and started our journey back to Chennai around 10am. Reached Chennai around 5pm, stopping in between for having lunch and light refreshments.

04/02/2017 – Chennai – Kochi and Trichur – By Air

We had reserved for the Indigo flight at 10:20pm on 4th and flew back to Kochi on the same day to save one full day which otherwise we would have wasted.

All together we traveled about 2500kms in 5 days by road and air. We were not tired after this hectic trip. We haven’t done one like this before and all credit goes to Lord Shiva, our uncle and his driver, and all others who helped us directly and indirectly for successfully completing this trip and having great darshan at all temples.

Pin it for later

Pancha Bhootha Temples

Share This Post

Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


Thank you for visiting this page. As you may notice there are some links on this page that redirects you to another website. These links are affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and purchase/sign up for that item/service I will receive a small commission from that purchase at no added cost to you. I have only shared links to those products that I would use personally. The money that I earn through this method is just a small income to help me continue my blog through which I want to help enlighten you all on various topics. I am extremely grateful to you if you choose to purchase any of the items through the affiliate links on this page.

1 Comment

  1. Must visit

Leave a Reply