KAMAKSHI AMMAN TEMPLE, KANCHIPURAM
Temple Name – Kamakshi Amman Temple
Main deity – Goddess Kamakshi/ Kamakshi Amman
Location – Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu, India
Located in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, the Kamakshi Amman Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kamakshi, a divine manifestation of Goddess Parvati. The meaning of the word Kamakshi is ‘one who has eyes full of Love’. The Kamakshi Amman Temple is one of the 51 Shakthi Peethas or the famous temples of the Mother Goddess. Goddess Kamakshi is also worshipped as Parashakti or the supreme power and Parabrahma Swarupini.
The presiding deity of the Kamakshi Amman Temple is Goddess Kamakshi. The principal deity of Goddess Kamakshi is seen in the Padmasana posture, signifying peace and prosperity. The deity of Goddess Kamakshi is placed inside the Gayatri Mandapam. There are three forms of Goddess Kamakshi in the temple i.e. Sri Kamakshi, Sri Chakram and Sri Bilahasam.
Adi Sankaracharya and ‘Shri Chakra’
Goddess Shakthi was earlier recognized as the angry Goddess and regular human and animal sacrifices were offered to her. Adi Shankaracharya, attempting to pacify the Goddess, composed Soundarya Lahiri and then established the Shri Chakra (also known as Kamakotti Peeta) right in front of the main deity of Goddess Kamakshi. After the establishment of the Shri Chakra, Adi Shankaracharya attained Sarvagnya Peetam and ensured the presence of the benign form of Goddess Kamakshi.
As per archaeological evidence, Kanchipuram has been a hub of Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic settlements. Numerous temples have been excavated from the area and Kanchipuram is also popularly known as the City of Thousand Temples. The Vaishnavite Tiruvekka or the Yathokthakari Temple was the first temple mentioned in literary references. The temples of Kanchipuram are widely believed to uphold the glorious history of this region.
The Kamakshi Amman Temple was built by the Pallava Kings to glorify the Hindu religion. After being built in the 7th century A.D., the temple was again renovated during the 14th by the Cholas.
The Old Kamakshi Devi Temple
Located adjacent to Kumarakottam, the Old Kamakshi Devi Temple is presently known as Adi Peeta Parameswari or the Adi Peeteswari. Adi Shankaracharya established the Shri Chakra at this very temple and even the 12th Century Saiva saint, Sundaramurthi Nayanar, has mentioned the existence of Kamakottam in one of his books.
The modern Kamakshi Devi Temple
As per references of Siruthondar Puranam by Sekkilar Peruman, the present Kamakshi Devi Temple was then known as the Bhoga Peetam. The Shri Chakra in the present temple was established by Nrusimhadvari of the famous Dathamanji family.
As per references from scriptures, Goddess Kamakshi is essentially a reincarnation of Goddess Parvati. Once, Goddess Kamakshi built a Shivalingam out of sand and meditated. After some duration, Lord Shiva appeared and Parvati proposed marriage to him, to which Lord Shiva agreed. The Kamakshi Amman Temple is the only Goddess Parvati or Goddess Shakthi temple in the city of Kanchipuram.
All the Devathas sought the help of Lord Shiva for protecting them from the rampage of Bandasura demon. Lord Shiva advised the Devatas to pray to Bala Tripurasundari Devi. The Devathas followed Lord Shiva’s advice and came to Kanchipuram disguised as parrots. They prayed to Bala Tripurasundari Devi for help. The Goddess heeded their call and burst out of a Bila. She killed Bandasura and brought him from Kailasam to Kanchipuram. As per the Goddess’s wish Bandasura was buried there and the Gayatri Mandapam was built. The Goddess said that she would be blessing all the devotees with her eyesight, hence the name Kamakshi.
The city of Kanchipuram is of tremendous historical and religious significance. The city has been a hub for all the major religions of the ancient times i.e. Saivism, Buddhism, Vaishnavism and Jainism, so much so that the prominent scholars of the religions made the city their headquarters. Numerous significant temples are also present in the city and one of the most important amongst them is Kanchi Kudil.
Encompassing almost 5 acres of land, the Kamakshi Amman Temple has four entrance points. The Shikaram or the spire of the temple is enveloped in gold and is visible from outside the temple. The main entrance of the temple greets the visitors with Kalabhairava on the left side, Mahishasura Mardini on the right side and a massive Dwajasthambham at the very center. Before the darshan of the main deity of Kamakshi, there is the deity of Lord Vinayaka. The main deity of Goddess Kamakshi is surrounded by the deities of Annapoorna, Saraswathi, Adi Shankaracharya and Ayyapa, on the outer prakaram of the temple. The outer prakaram of the temple also hosts the dwajaarohana mandapam or the hundred pillared hall of the temple. The Kamakshi Amman Temple also houses the shrines of Ardhanareeswar and Soundaryalakshmi. The main tank of the temple is known as Panch Ganga or the five streams of Ganga. The legendary deity, Arupa Lakshmi or Ugly Lakshmi is also worshipped in the Kamakshi Amman Temple. Kumkum Archana offered to Goddess Kamakshi is actually dedicated to Arupa Lakshmi.
The most important festival of the Kamakshi Amman Temple is the Sankara Jayanthi festival celebrated in the month of Chithrai. On this occasion Soundarya Lahari is chanted on all the ten days of festivities. The other major festivals of the Kamakshi Amman Temple are Aadi, Navaratri, Vasanta Utsavam and Aippasi Pooram. The Fridays in the months of Adi and Thai are also celebrated with great fervor.
Address & Contact Details
Sri Karyam, Sri Kamakshi Ambal Devasthanam,
Timing of Temple
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.