Shiva Lingams in these temples of South India represent the FIVE elements of nature
Shiva, the most powerful of the Hindu trinity is often worshipped in his Linga form that symbolises the outward aspect of the formless.
The Shiva Linga is a symbol the formless power. The Linga is a physical manifestation of the Supreme Being, who is also referred to as Lord Shiva – the god, who is often associated with destruction. Interestingly, destruction doesn’t mean literal demolition of life but the annihilation of the vices that are inherent in humans.
Hinduism, traditionally referred to as Sanatana Dharma has close association with nature or creation that is infinite. And Shiva, the most powerful of the Hindu trinity is often worshipped in his Linga form that symbolises the outward aspect of the formless.
As we all know, nature is made of five elements – Agni (Fire), Vayu (Air), Jal (Water), Prithvi (Earth) and Akash (Space). And there are temples dedicated to Shiva with Lingams that represent each of the elements.
- Ekambareswarar Temple in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu has the Prithivi Lingam. It represents Earth.
- Jambukeshwarar Temple in Thiruvanaikaval near Trichy, Tamil Nadu is home to the Jambu Lingam. It represents Water.
- Arunachaleswara Temple in Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu is the abode of the Agni Lingam. It represents Fire.
- Sri Kalahastheeswara Temple in Kalahasthi, Andhra Pradesh has the Vayu Lingam. It represents Air.
- Thillai Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu is home to the Akasha Lingam. It represents Space.
These are collectively known as the Pancha Bhoota Sthala meaning places of the Five elements of nature.