Shiva is one of the principal deities in Hinduism, and there are numerous temples dedicated to him all across India and other parts of the world. However, there are eight ancient temples of Shiva which lie more or less on the same geographic longitude of 79° E 41’54”. Those well-known temples includes
Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand.
Kaleshwara Mukteeshwara Swamy Temple in Telangana.
Srikalahasti Temple in Andhra Pradesh.
Chidambaram Nataraja Temple in Tamil Nadu.
Jambukeswara Temple in Tamil Nadu.
Annamalaiyar Temple in Tamil Nadu.
Ekambaranatha Temple in Tamil Nadu.
Ramanathaswamy Temple in Tamil Nadu.
These Lord Shiva temples were constructed 4,000 years ago by ancient architects in an era of no satellite technology without any GPS or gizmos to measure exact latitude and longitude. The architects were also separated by hundreds of kilometer, yet these temples were accurately established at 79° longitudes.
Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand :
The Pandavas were supposed to have pleased Shiva by doing penance in Kedarnath. The temple is ” one of the four major sites in India’s Chota Char Dham pilgrimage of Northern Himalayas and is the first of the Panch Kedar pilgrimage sites”. Legend has it that the original Pandavas built the temple of Kedarnath and the present temple was established by Adi Shankaracharya, who restored the glory of the shrine in the 8th century A.D. The temple is said to be more than 1,200 years old. This temple is the highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas.
The temple of Kedarnath remains open for six months a year, from the end of April to the beginning of November, and is closed for the rest of the year due to heavy snowfall and harsh weather conditions.
Kaleshwara Mukteeshwara Swamy Temple in Telangana:
Kaleshwara Mukteswara Swamy Temple is a Hindu temple located in Kaleshwaram, Bhoopalpally, Telangana, India. This temple is significant because of the “Two Shiva Lingas that are found on a single pedestal”. These Linga are named Lord Shiva and Lord Yama. Kaleshwara Shiva temple is established and built by Rajaiah and Satyavati Devi Daram. The significance of Kaleshwaram is two Lingas on a single pedestal. One of the linga is Lord Shiva, and the other is Lord Yama, the deity who orders upon the death of mortals and time. Collectively, they are known as Kaleshwara Mukteswara Swamy. Kaleshwaram is one of three Shiva temples mentioned in Trilinga Desham, or “Land of Three Lingas.”
Srikalahasti Temple in Andhra Pradesh :-
Srikalahasti Temple is situated in Chittoor, Srikalahasti Temple is popular among devotees who visit the temple along with the highly revered Tirupati Temple, which is just 36 km away. Kalahasti temple is so famous for its Rahu-Ketu pooja. It is believed that performing this pooja will save the people of all the astrological effects of Rahu and Ketu. Also, this is the only temple of India which remains open during Solar and lunar eclipses, while, other temples remain closed. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kalahasti temple has immense religious importance for Hindus and was constructed in the year 1516 by Krishnadevraya, a king of the Vijayanagara empire. The best season to visit Srikalahasti is the winter season. The temperature remains comfortable and is apt for sightseeing. The best months to visit are October, November, December, January, February and March.
Chidambaram Nataraja Temple in Tamil Nadu :-
Chidambaram Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the heart of the temple town of Chidambaram,Tamil Nadu. The temple , 78 km south of Pondicherry and 235 Km from Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state of southeastern India. The Chidambaram temple complex proudly boasts of being one of the oldest temple complexes in Southern India. The most unique characteristic of the Nataraj Temple is the bejewelled image of Nataraj.Chidambaram Nataraja Temple is a prominent Shiva temple in South India. The word ‘chit’ means wisdom and ‘ambaram’ means ‘broad open space not measurable’. Thus, Chidambaram denotes a broad open space without an end.
This is situated around 78 kilometers from Pondicherry, situated on the banks of the Cauvery. Lord Shiva is the supreme manifestation of Lord Shiva, revered as the king of dancers.The temple is also an example of the unity between Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. At one particular spot, both the deities can be worshipped. This temple is highly revered by Tamil Saints and Nayanmars and is the prime reason for the thriving of Saivism in Tamilnadu. There is a special Sri Chakra, which was installed by Saint Adi Sankara in the Ambika shrine.
Jambukeswara Temple in Tamil Nadu :-
Jambukeswarar Temple, Thiruvanaikaval is a famous Shiva temple in Tiruchirapalli district, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Though it is that Kocengannan, one of the Early Cholas, have built this temple.The sanctum of Jambukeswara has an underground water stream and in spite of pumping water out, it is always filled with water.
Jambukeswarar temple is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, where all the four most revered Nayanars Saivite Saints have sung glories of the deity in this temple. It is located in the Srirangam island, which has the famous Ranganathaswamy temple. Jambukeswarar temple is representative of Jal- water element. This is a famous Shiv temple in Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu. Parvati is said to have made the lingam out of water of Cauvery river for worship and for her penance
Annamalaiyar Temple in Tamil Nadu :-
Arunachalesvara Temple is also called Annamalaiyar Temple. Arunachalesvara Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to the deity Lord Shiva, located at the base of Arunachala Hills in the town of Thiruvanamalai Temple in Tamil Nadu, India. The temple complex covers an area of 10 ha (25 acres), and is one of the largest temples in India. It houses four gateway towers known as gopurams. Thiruvanamalai Temple is significant to the Hindu sect of Shaivism as one of the temples associated with the five elements, the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, and specifically the element of fire, or Agni.
Shiva is worshiped as Arunachalesvara or Annamalaiyar, and is represented by the Shivalingam, with his idol referred to as Agni lingam. His consort Parvati Devi is depicted as Unnamalai Amman or Apithakucha Ambal. The tallest is the eastern tower, with 11 stories and a height of 66 m (217 ft), making it one of the tallest temple towers in India.
Mythologically, when there was a clash between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu regarding their supremacy, they surrendered to Lord Shiva. He challenged them to find his head or his feet as a test and they both accepted that whoever was successful would be deemed superior. Brahma moved upward and Vishnu went downwards. After a long time, Vishnu could not find the feet of Shiva and gave up, coming back and accepting that he was not superior. But Brahma appeared with a flower, claiming that he had taken it from the crown of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva exposed the deception, and laid a curse that Brahma. The presiding deity is revered in the 7th-century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the nayanars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. The 9th-century Saiva saint poet Manikkavasagar composed the Tiruvempaavai here.
Ekambaranatha Temple in Tamil Nadu :-
Ekambareswarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Shiva, located in the town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, India. Ekambareswarar Temple represents the element Earth where Shiva is worshipped as Ekambareswarar. The temple is thousands of years old with the current structure being a reconstructed one, around 600 AD and has a 172 feet Raja Gopuram which is a marvelous piece of architecture.
Ekambareswarar Temple is significant to the Hindu sect of Saivism as one of the temples associated with the five elements, the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, and specifically the element of earth, or Prithvi.According to legend, the lingam here was made and worshipped by Goddess Parvati herself and that we can still see a mark on the Lingam which holds this legend true. Legend states that once Lord Shiva’s eyes were covered by Goddess Parvati and the world suddenly filled with darkness. Lord Shiva asked Parvati to do penance to free her from wrong karma and she was born on earth as Kamakshi and started her penance. She constructed a Shiva linga out of sand and worshipped Lord Shiva in the form of Prithvi Lingam .
Ramanathaswamy Temple in Tamil Nadu :-
The shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve jyotirlinga temples in India. Ramanathaswamy temple is known for its imposing structure, majestic towers, intricate sculptural works and corridors, making it an architectural marvel. The main deity worshipped in the temple is in the form of lingam. Ramanathaswamy temple is known for its imposing structure, majestic towers, intricate sculptural works and corridors, making it an architectural marvel. The main deity worshipped in the temple is in the form of lingam.
There is also an idol of Nandi, which is a massive statue, about 17.5 feet tall. Other deities worshipped here include Goddess Vishalakshi, Parvathavardhini, Lord Vinayaka and Lord Subrahmanya, Utsava idol, Sayanagriha and Perumal.The legend behind the temple is associated with Lord Rama from the Indian epic Ramayana. It is believed that Lord Rama, after defeating the demon king Ravana, wanted to worship Lord Shiva as part of atonement. He asks Hanuman to bring him a Linga from Kashi. When Hanuman delayed his return, Goddess Sita made a Shivalinga using sand so that Rama could offer his prayers. It is believed that the self-same Shiva Linga, known as Ramalingam, is now worshipped at the Ramanathaswamy temple. The lingam brought by Hanuman from Kailash is called Vishwalingam.