The Ekambareswarar Temple is located in Kānchī, an important religious town in Tamilnadu also
famed for its exquisite silk sarees. The temple is part of the 5 shiva temples known as Pancha-
bhuta-sthalam, where each temple is dedicated to the 5 basic elements (fire, water, air, ether &
earth). Ekambareswarar is the Prithvi bhuta sthalam i.e. it represents ether or the whole
cosmos. The temple and its main deity are mentioned in several Thevaram (Ancient Tamil
devotional songs) composed by Nayanmars (Tamil Shaiva saints).
According to the Sthalapurānam of Kānchī, once Pārvatī came there to perform penance and
devote Herself to Shiva. Under a large mango tree, She made a Shivalingam of soil (Prithvi) and
started worshipping it. Shiva decided to take a test of her devotion. He ordered the nearby river
– Vedavati, to go and create disturbance in Pārvatīs penance. The river water started rising and
reached till the Shivalingam. Pārvatī saw this and panicked because the Shivalingam was made
of soil &. In a frenzy, She hugged the Shivalingam and pleaded with the Vedavati river to go back. Impressed with her devotion & strong emotions, Shiva himself appeared there & ordered the Vedavati river to turn back. He then reunited with Pārvatī and stayed there as the Prithvi -soil, lingam in petrified form.