Bhagwan Shiv is the representation of creation and is exemplified in the Panchabhootas or the Pancha Tatvas namely the five important elements necessary for survival of mankind. They are the Earth, Sky, Fire, Air and Water. Bhagwan Shiv manifests himself in these divine forms signifying that all life is made out of the Panchbhootas and later perishes and joins as the infinite particle in the
The Pancha Tatva nature of Bhagwan Shiv is worshipped in each of the five forms in the prominent temples of India which are called the PanchaBhoota Sthal of Bhagwan Shiv. Pancha means five, Bhoota means elements and sthal means place. Out of these five temples, four are located in Tamil Nadu and one is Andhra Pradesh.
The Ekambareshwar Temple in Kanchipuram beholds Bhagwan Shiv in the manifestation of the Element Earth. It is believed that Bhagawathi Parvathi in the form of Kali, wanted to get rid of her black colour and did penance here to please Bhagwan Shiv. Bhagwan Shiv put her to many tests which she passed and he appeared in the form of the Prithvi Lingam in this place under a mango tree which is present till date. The Chidambaram temple in Chidambaram is adorned with the Akash Linga form of Bhagwan Shiv representing the sky element. Chidambaram is famous for the incarnation of Bhagwan Shiv as Nataraj, the god of dance representing his cosmic dance done to tune the rhythm of the Universe.
The beauty of this place is that this temple is also one of the 108 Vaishnava Divya Kshetras too and
holds a sanctum of Bhagwan Vishnu just beside the sanctum of Bhagwan Shiv.
The Arunachaleshwar temple in Tiruvanmalai manifests Bhagwan Shiv in the form of the Agni Linga or the fire element. This form of Bhagwan Shiv emerged when Bhagwathi Parvathi once playfully closed his two eyes and unknowingly submerged the world into darkness. Bhagawathi Parvathi did penance to get back light and Bhagwan Shiv appeared in this divine place as a column of fire giving back light to the worlds. Hence, he is worshipped as the giver of light through the element of fire in this temple
The Kalahasti temple has Bhagwan Shiv as the Vayu Linga and is located in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. This temple mentions the legend of Kanappa, who is said to be the incarnation of Arjun, the Pandav. Once, to test the devotion of Kannappa, blood starts oozing out from one of the eyes of Bhagwan Shiv and Kanppa without any hesitation offers his own eye to treat the wound of Bhagwan Shiv. As he gave his kannu, (eye in Telugu) he came to be known as Kannappa and Bhagwan Shiv appeared to bless him the form of a Vayu Linga.
The Water element of Bhagwan Shiv is manifested in the Jambukeshwar temple in the Trichy district of Tamil Nadu.Once Bhagwathi Parvathi joked about the penance of Bhagwan Shiv over which he got upset and asked her to perform penance at Jambu forest. On reaching the Jambu forest, Bhgawathi Parvathi made a Linga from River Kaveri and propitiated Bhagwan Shiv and absolved her guilt. Hence, Bhagwan Shiv appears here in the form of the Appu Linga (meaning water form). These five temples are sources of the prime elements imbibed in Bhagwan Shiv and are worshipped by throngs of devotees all through the year with devotion and fervour.