Dr A K Chatterjee, a Gynecologist by profession, is an enthusiastic traveler, researcher on religious places, an author and blog writer.
Introduction to the relation between Hindu Religious sites and 79 degrees East meridian
79 degrees east Meridian and Hindu religious sites : Introduction
Today I'll discuss about a interesting geographical mystery -- and that is regarding the 79 degrees East meridian and its relation with important Hindu religious places. The discussion is long, and is divided into 5 sub-articles (Part I - IV plus an Appendix) which are to be read together.
Let us start with a few introductory things.
A meridian is an imaginary line drawn upon the globe extending from the North Pole to the South Pole thus constituting half of an imaginary circle on the Earth's surface. It is also called 'line of longitude' or simply 'longitude'. The length of the meridian is fixed, it is 20,003.93 kilometres (12,429.9 miles).
The meridian passing through Greenwich is called the Prime Meridian and it is taken as 0 (Zero) degree. Meridians are numbered 0 - 180 degrees East and West starting from the Prime Meridian.
So, the subject of our discussion "79 degrees East meridian" is the meridian situated 79 degrees east of the Prime meridian.
79 degrees East meridian and some important Hindu religious sites
Interestingly, many important Hindu temples, sacred places like rivers, lakes and mountains are situated on 79 degrees East meridian. Their lattitudes (parallels) are different, but longitudes are always 79 degrees East or very close to it.
Let us discuss about some of those.
Photos of PANCHKEDAR Temples
79 degrees East and PANCHKEDAR temples
Shiva temples and 79 degrees East meridian
Some very important temples dedicated to Lord Shiva are situated on 79 degrees East meridian (or very close to it). Let's see what are those.
A) PANCH KEDAR (The five Kedars)
"Panch Kedar" or five Kedarnath Shiva temples are a very important group of Shiva temples situated in the Himalayas. almost all Hindus nurture a dream of visiting these five temples at least once in his/her life.
The temples and their geographic co-ordinates are as follows :
1. Kedarnath -- 30.7352 degrees North, 79.0669 degrees East
2. Rudranath -- 30.5192 degrees North, 79.3185 degrees East.
3. Tunganath -- 30.4887 degrees North, 79.2170 degrees East.
4. Madamaheswar -- 30.6352 degrees North, 79.2217 degrees East.
5. Kalpeswar -- 30.5497 degrees North, 79.4491 degrees East.
Can you see the coincidence? These five very important Shiva temples are situated on the same longitude -- 79 degrees East.
Photos of PANCHBHUTALINGAM temples
79 degrees East and PANCHBHUTALINGAM Temples
B) PANCHABHUTA LINGAM (Lord of the Five Elements)
According to Hindu philisophy, the whole Universe is created out of 5 elements -- KHSITI (earth), APP (water), TEZ (Fire), MARUT (air) and VYOM (Space or vacuum). There are five manifestations of Lord Shiva which controls these five elements, and there are five temples dedicated to these five manifestations of Lord Shiva. The temples and their geographic co-ordinates are as follows :
1. EKAMBARESWAR (Lord of KSHITI or earth) -- 12.8459 degrees North, 79.7002 degrees East.
2. JAMBUKESWAR (Lord of APP or water) -- 10.8530 degrees North, 78.7057 degrees East.
3. ARUNACHALESWAR (Lord of TEZ or fire) -- 12.2316 degrees North, 79.0677 degrees East.
4. SRIKALHASTISWAR (Lord of MARUT or air) -- 13.7494 degrees North, 79.6983 degrees East.
5. THILLAI NATARAJA (Lord of VYOM or Space or vacuum) -- 11.3993 degrees North, 79.6935 degrees East.
Please note that of these five temples, only one (Jambukeswar) is not on the 79 degrees East meridian, though very close to it (78.7 degrees East), the other four are on 79 degrees East.
Photos of PANCHSABHAI STHALANGAL TEMPLES
79 degrees East and PANCHSABHAI STHALANGAL
C) PANCHA SABHAI STHALANGAL (Five Dance Halls)
PANCHA SABHAI refers to the five dance halls associated with five Shiva temples where as per the mythology Lord Shiva performed five different types of the TANDAVA Dance. These temples and their geographical co-ordinates are as follows :
1. "RATNA SABHAI" or Gem Dance Hall (BADA ARANYESWARAR temple at Thirubalangadu) -- 13 degrees 07 minutes 48 seconds North, 79 degrees 46 minutes 30 seconds East.
2. "KANAKA SABHAI" or Gold Dance Hall (Thillai Nataraja temple, Chidambaram) -- 11 degrees 23 minutes 58 seconds North, 79 degrees 41 minutes 36 seconds East.
3. "VILLI SABHAI" or Silver Dance Hall (Sundareswar Shiva temple, Madurai) -- 09 degrees 55 minutes 10 seconds North, 78 degrees 07 minutes 10 seconds East.
4. "THAMIRA SABHAI" or Copper Dance Hall (Nellaiappar temple, Tirunelveli) -- 08 degrees 43 minutes 41 seconds North, 77 degrees 41 minutes 43 seconds East.
5. "CHITHIRA SABHAI" or Picture Dance Hall (KUTRALANATHAR temple, Courtallam) -- 08 degrees 55 minutes 45 seconds North, 77 degrees 16 minutes 09 seconds East.
It is to be noted that of these five temples, two are on the 79 degrees East longitude.
Photos of ATHARA STHALAM TEMPLES
79 degrees East and ATHARA STHALAM TEMPLES
D) ATHARA (ADHARA) LINGAM
ATHARA (ADHARA) LINGAM refers to the six Shiva temples where the presiding deity of Lord Shiva controls the six "CHAKRA"-s of human bodies (Chakra-s, as per Hindu scriptures, are centres on the spinal cord and brain which control the different bodily functions of human body). The six CHAKRA-s and their associated Shiva temples with their geographical co=ordinates are as follows :
1. THYAGRAJA Shiva (Thiruvarur) -- lord of MULADHARA Chakra -- 10 degrees 46 minute North, 79 degrees 39 minutes East.
2. JAMBUKESWAR (Thiruvanaikaval) -- lord of SWADHISTHANA Chakra -- 11 degrees 23 minute 58 degrees North, 78 degrees 42 minutes 20 seconds East.
3. ARUNACHALESWAR (Thiruvannamalai) -- lord of MANIPUR Chakra -- 12 degrees 13 minute 53 seconds North, 79 degrees 04 minutes 19 seconds East.
4. SRI KASHI VISWANATH (Kashi) -- lord of ANAHATA Chakra -- 25 degrees 18 minutes 39 seconds North, 83 degrees 00 minutes 38 seconds East.
5. SRIKALHASTISWAR (Srikalhasti) -- lord of VISHUDDHA Chakra -- 13 degrees 44 minute 58 seconds North, 79 degrees 44 minutes 58 seconds East.
6. THILLAI NATARAJA (Chidambaram) -- lord of AJNAA Chakra -- 11 degrees 23 minutes 58 seconds North, 79 degrees 41 minutes 36 seconds East.
So, it is clear that of these six temples, four are on the 79 degrees East longitude.
Photos of ASHTA LINGAM temples
79 degrees East and the ASHTA LINGAM temples of Lord Shiva
E) ASHTA LINGAM (Eight Shiva Lingam)
There are eight temples of Lord Shiva in Thiruvannamalai in Tamilnadu which are situated along the eight cardinal points of the compass around the Arunachaleswar Shiva temple. These eight Shiva temples house eight Shiva Lingams which are considered as the controller of the 12 Zodiac signs. Collectively these eight Shiva Lingams are called ASHTA LINGAM (ASHTA = Eight).
These eight temples with their geographical co=ordinates are as follows :
1. INDRA Lingam (Controller of Taurus and Libra) -- 12.2296 degrees North, 79.0704 degrees East.
2. AGNI Lingam (Controller of Leo) -- 12.2242 degrees North, 79.0591 degrees East.
3. YAMA Lingam (controller of Scorpio) -- 12.1335 degrees North, 79.0239 degrees East.
4. NIRUTHI Lingam (Controller of Aries) -- 12.2340 degrees North, 79.0250 degrees East.
5. VARUNA Lingam (Controller of Capricorn and Aquarius) -- 12.1457 degrees North, 79.0204 degrees East.
6. VAYU Lingam (Controller of Cancer) -- 12.2576 degrees North, 79.0473 degrees East.
7. KUBERA Lingam (Controller of Sagittarius and Pisces) -- 12.2554 degrees North, 79.0611 degrees East.
8. ESHANYA Lingam (Controller of Gemii and Virgo) -- 12.2451 degrees North, 79.0473 degrees East.
Please see that all the eight Shiva temples are situated on the 79 degrees East Longitude.
Some other important Shiva temples on 79 degrees East
79 degrees East some other important Shiva temples
F) Miscellaneous Shiva temples :
Now let us see the geographical co-ordinates of some important Shiva temples.
1. RAMESWARAM : It is the 9th JYOTIRLINGAM of the 12 most important Shiva temples called DWADASHA JYOTIRLINGAM. It is believed that this Shiva Lingam was worshipped by Lord Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Laxmana.The co-ordinates of Rameswaram temple are 9.2881 degrees North, 79.3174 degrees East.
2. VRIHADISWARAR temple of Tanjavur : It is a very famous Shiva temple with the second largest monolithic statue of Nandi the Bull (the vehicle of Lord Shiva) and a huge Shiva Lingam. Its co-ordinates? 10.7828 degrees North, 79.1318 degrees East.
3. AIRAVATESWARA temple : This 12th century temple built by Rajaraja Chola II is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its geographical co-ordinates are 10.9484 degrees North, 79.3565 degrees East.
4. VRIHADISWARAR temple of Gangaikonda Cholapuram : It is an important Shiva temple. Its co-ordinates are 11 degrees 12 minutes 22 seconds North, 79 degrees 26 minutes 56 seconds East.
5. ADI KUMBHESWAR Temple, Kumbhakonam : It is an important Shiva temple. Its co-ordinates are 10 degrees 57 minutes 30 seconds North, 79 degrees 22 minutes 16 seconds East.
6. Maha Lingeswar temple, Tiruvidaimarudur : It is another important Shiva temple. Its co-ordinates are 10 degrees 59 minutes 40 seconds North, 79 degrees 27 minutes 01 seconds East.
7. NAGESWARA SWAMI TEMPLE, KUMBHAKONAM : It is another important Shiva temple. Its co-ordinates are 10 degrees 57 minutes 31 seconds North, 79 degrees 22 minutes 43 seconds East.
8. VRIDDHA GIRISWARAR temple, Vriddhachalam : It is another important Shiva temple. Its co-ordinates are 11.30 degrees North, 79.20 degrees East.
9. KALESWARA MUKTESWARA temple, Kaleswaram, Telengana : It is a unique Shiva temple where there are two Shiva Lingam in the sanctum, one representing KALA or YAMA, the God of Death and ESHWARA (Shiva). It is a rare combination of two deities, one giving Life (Shiva) and the other Death (Yama).
Its co-ordinates? 18 degrees 48 minutes 41 seconds North, 79 degrees 54 minutes 24 seconds East.
10. SAHASRA LINGESWAR : This important Shiva temple is situated near Sirsi in the Kannada district of the state of Karnataka. Its co-ordinates are 13.6908 degrees North, 79,7070 degrees East.
11. Jageswar in the state of Uttarakhand is famous for two very important Shiva temple -- Nageswar (arguably the original 8th Jyotirlingam) and Mahamrityunjoy Shiva (said to be personified Mahamrityunjoy Stotra). The co-ordinates of Jageswar are 29 degrees 38 minutes 14 seconds North, 79 degrees 51 minutes 16 seconds East.
12. Gopeswar, another important holy town in the state of Uttarakhand, is the home of GOPINATH Shiva, a very important Shiva temple. The co-ordinates of Gopeswar are 30.4095 degrees North, 79.3198 degrees East.
The list may be longer, but this is sufficient for us in this short article. The point is that all these important Shiva temples are situated on the same meridian -- 79 degrees East.
So, to conclude, definitely there is some hidden relation between the 79 degrees East meridian and a large number of important temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. What is that relationship?
Before going into that mystery, let us discuss some other importnat temples dedicated to other gods of Hinduism and some important pilgrimage sites as well as important geographical landmarks in India which are important to Hindus from time immemorial.
(To be continued in Part II)