Lord Siva is the God of five elements of nature namely Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space (in Tamil - Nilam, Neer, Neruppu, Kaattru, Aagayam). For each element, there are five different places in Tamil Nadu. They are:
Earth - Lord Egambaranathar at Kancheepuram;
Water - Lord Jambugeswarar at Thiruvanaikkaval;
Fire - Lord Annamalaiar/ Arunachaleswar at Thiruvannamalai;
Air – Lord Kalaththinadar at Sri Kalahasti;
Space - Lord Natarajar at Chidambaram.
For element of Water, there is a Lord Jambugeswarar Temple at Thiruvannaikkaval at Thiruchirappalli Distrit near the famous Arulmigu Ranganathar Temple. Likewise, the same incarnation of Lord Siva for Water element is situated at Sembakkam of Kanchipuram district as divinely called as Arulmigu Jambugeswarar. The name of the main deities and sthalaviruksham (divine tree “Naval Fruit tree”) are same in both the Temples. Likewise, Thiruvanaikkaval Temple is situated in the bank of river Cauvery and the Sembakkam Temple is situated on the bank of a lake. Therefore Sembakkam Temple is called as “North Thiruvanaikkaval” and uthara Jambugeswarar in sthalapuranam (sthalapuranam means History of the Temple).
Origin Of Sembakkam
According to Legend (puranas), when Lord Muruga killed the Demon Soorapathman (Soorasamharam), the head of the demon is said to have fallen here and hence the place was originally called as “Sirampakkam”. (Siram denotes Head and Pakkam denotes place). Gradually the name “Sirambakkam” has been known as “Sembakkam”.
Lord Muruga on his way to Thiruporur, gave war instructions to Navaveerargal (Nine brethren commandoes of Lord Muruga) by standing on the top of the hill at Sembakkam before proceeding to samarapuri which is known as Thiruchendur. Therefore this temple and place are very famous during the ancient period. In remembrance of these events, the Flag hoisting ceremony of Thiruporur Arulmigu Murugan temple is done by the people of Sembakkam every year, in addition to conducting Soorasamhara festival starting from Sembakkam and culminating at Alathur, Thiruporur.