Jambukeswarar, Sembakkam, Kanchipuram

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:JambukeswararAmbal / Thayar:Azhagambikai
Deity:Historical name:

Age (years):

Timing:7 to 12 & 4 to 7Parikaram:

Temple group:
Sung by:

Temple set:



City / town:SembakkamDistrict:Kanchipuram
Maps from (click): Current location Chennai (54 km)Kanchipuram (61 km)

Tiruvallur (67 km)Viluppuram (136 km)


Sthala puranam and temple information

During the churning of the ocean, Vasuki the snake inadvertently spit out poison, and so sought forgiveness from Siva. The Lord advised Vasuki to worship at a place where He was present as Jala Swaroopam (in the water aspect), amidst naaval (black jamun) trees, at a place east of Tiru Idai Chaaram (modern day Tiruvadisoolam, also a Paadal Petra Sthalam for Gnanapureeswarar). Vasuki did so, and was rid of his sin. This incident is depicted in bas relief in a panel in the moolavar shrine of the temple.

According to one puranam, Kochchenga Cholan was childless, and worshipped Siva for begetting a child. He was advised by the Lord to make a Lingam, and carry it with him wherever he went, and to install it at the place where the axle of his chariot broke. Kochchenga Cholan (who is also regarded as one of the 63 Nayanmars in Saivism) was once traveling here, when the axle of his chariot broke, and he had the Lingam installed and a temple built here.

It is believed that Indra, Narada, Agastyar, Naga Kannis, as well as the nagas Adiseshan, Vasuki and Karkotakan, have worshipped here. Indra is said to have worshipped here in order to repent for not listening to Narada, when the latter told him about the greatness of this temple and the Lord here!

This old temple is regarded as an appu sthalam (for water), and so is also referred to as Vada Tiruvanaikkaa (north Tiruvanaikka, as compared to the Jambukeswarar temple at Tiruvanaikkaa, Trichy, which is regarded as the then, or south, Tiruvanaikkaa).

Siva is said to have given Azhagambigai Amman, the power of 72,000 crore mantras, to be given to devotees. Since the power of these was too strong and could not be directly withstood by devotees, its essence is said to have fallen into the temple’s tank in front of the Amman shrine.

Sembakkam is a derivation of Siram-bakkam, and according to the sthala puranam here, this is where Soorapadman’s head fell, when he was vanquished by Murugan. The flag-hoisting ceremony as part of the Tiruporur Kandaswami Murugan temple, is done by the residents of Sembakkam even today. At one time, Sembakkam is said to have had 32 temples each with its own temple tank, in addition to this Siva temple. Only a handful of these 32 remain today.

It is believed that siddhars lived here at one time, and visit this place for worship at midnight. Due to this, it is regarded that performing Kundalini yoga or other meditation at this temple yields very powerful results.

This temple dates back to the Chola period. As stated in the sthala puranam above, the moolavar Lingam is believed to have been installed by Kochchenga Cholan. The structural temple dates back to the 8th or 9th century, and was built by either Gandaradita Chola or his wife Sembian Madevi (it is not clear who built it, but likely to be the latter). Both are present in a carving on one of the pillars of the temple.

Some stories (including online resources) suggest that Gandaraditya Chola built this temple in honour of his late wife Sembian Madevi, and also that Sembakkam derives from her name. While the latter may be true, Gandaraditya pre-deceased his queen, and so that part of the story may not be accurate.

Other information for your visit

Adjacent to this temple is the Sree Bala Taruni Maha Lalitha Tripurasundari temple (which is a recent construction), visited mainly by followers of the Sri Vidya Upasana. The Chidambaraswami Matham is between the Jambukeswarar temple and the Lalita Tripurasundari temple.


Nagaraja Gurukkal: 044-27400117

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