Kamakshi Amman Temple
|Kamakshi Amman Temple|
The Kamakshi Amman temple has gopurams with gold overlays.
|Proper name||Kamakshi Amman Temple|
|Primary deity||Kamakshi (Parvati)|
|Architectural styles||Dravidian architecture|
|History and governance|
The Kamakshi Temple (Tamil:அருள்மிகு காமாட்சி அம்மன் திருகோயில்) is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Kamakshi, one of the forms of the goddess Parvati. It is located in the historic city of Kanchipuram, near Chennai, India and is popularly associated with Sankaracharya, one of the greatest Hindu gurus. The Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, the Akilandeswari temple in Thiruvanaikaval near Tiruchirappalli and this Kamakshi are the important centers of worship of Parvati as the mother goddess, in the state of Tamil Nadu. The temple was most probably built by the Pallava kings, whose capital was Kanchipuram, around 6 C.E.
The main deity, Kamakshi, is seated in a majestic Padmasana, an yogic posture signifying peace and prosperity, instead of the traditional standing pose. The goddess holds a sugarcane bow and bunch of flowers in the lower two of her arms and has a pasha (lasso), an ankusha (goad) in her upper two arms. There is also a parrot perched near the flower bunch. There are no other Parvati temples in the city of Kanchipuram, apart from this temple, which is unusual in a traditional city that has hundreds of traditional temples. There are various legends that account for this fact. One of them according to Kamakshivilasa is that the Goddess had to absorb all the other shakthi forms to give a boon to Kama, the Hindu god of love. Another legend attributes it to the Raja Rajeswari pose of the deity that signifies an absolute control over the land under the deity's control. Legend has it that Kamakshi offered worship to a Shivalingam made out of sand, under a mango tree and gained Shiva's hand in marriage.
Four worship services are offered each day. The annual festival falls in Spring, in the Tamil month of Masi, which runs from mid-March to mid-April. During this time the chariot festival (Ther) and float festival, (Theppam) are held. Other festivals include Navaratri, Aadi and Aippasi Pooram, Sankara Jayanthi and Vasanta Utsavam in the Tamil month of Vaikasi. All Fridays are considered sacred, though the Fridays in the Tamil months of Adi (mid-July to mid-August) and Thai (mid-January to mid-February) are celebrated.
The Old Kamakshi Devi Temple
The original Kamakshi Devi Temple is what is now known as Adi Peeteswari or the Adi Peeta Parameswari. This temple is just adjacent to the Kumarakottam, and is near to the Kamakshi Devi temple.
Adi Shankaracharya, the famous 8th-century CE scholar and saint, established the Sri Chakra at this original Kamakshi Devi temple in the trough-like structure in that shrine. This Sri Chakra soon became the All India famous Kamakoti Peeta. The Acharya's Lalitha Trishati Bhashya comments Kamakoti Peetam as Sri Chakra.
The Acharya changed the fierce form of worship into a sowmya form. The Devi in this original Kamakshi temple is called by various names like Kirtimati, Devagarbha in extant Tantric works like Tantrachudamani. She has four hands containing in each of them respectively, Ankusa, PAsa, Abhaya and a Kapala. This description corresponds to those extant old tantric works. Further, Girvanendra Saraswathi describes precisely this swaroopa as Kameswari.
The modern Kamakshi Devi Temple at Kanchi
The Siruthondar Puranam of Sekkilar Peruman, written during this time, is aware of both the temples and mentions the original temple as the Yoga Peeta and the present Kamakshi devi temple as Bhoga peetam. The reference to the present Kamakshi Devi as Aram Purappaval (bestower of boons)by Sekilar Peruman is noteworthy, as the present name of the street in which this new temple is located in Kanchipuram is called ArapanakAra Theru.
The present Kamakshi temple too, has a Sri Chakra which was established during the 16th Century by NrusimhAdvari, of the famous dathamAnji family. There is a stone inscription inside the new temple, near this Sri Chakra, which states this fact. It is noteworthy that Arunagirinathar a 15th Century Tamil Saint, sings in praise of the Goddess as devi of dark emarald complexion and the mother of Muruga of Kumarakottam. The Original Kamakshi Devi temple i.e. Adi PeeteswariKamakshi Devi temple is just adjucant to the Kumarakottam. Arunagirinathar mentions the Sri Yantra in the Kamakshi Devi temple, which can apply, during the 15th century, only to the original Adi Peeteswari Kamakshi Devi, which contained the Sri Chakra installed by Adi Shankara. Arunagirinathar does not make any reference to the new temple.
Also noteworthy is the fact that this new temple's legend considers the Bangaru Kamakshi at Thanjavur as Dharmadevi This is the metallic counterpart of the stone image of Dharmadevi, which is at present at Thiruparuthikunram (Jina Kanchi) to where it was removed from this present Kamakshi (Tara Devi) temple after the conversion of the Jain Tara Devi temple into Hindu Sakta tradition has become stronger. There is a stone inscription at the Jina Kanchi temple which explains this fact. There are strong evidences that Dharadevi was worshipped in the present day main shrine.
The Kanchi Kamakshi Amman Temple as a Shakti Peeth
Shakti Peethas are divine temples of Adiparashakti. The cause of the presence of Devi's presence is due to the falling of body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi. The eyes/back of Sati Devi is believed to have fallen here. There are 51 Shakti Peeth linking to the 51 alphabets in Sanskrit. There are also arguments that the old Kanchi temple is the Shakti peetha, where Sankaracharya has installed the Shri Chakra. It is reverred world wide as Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham.
In the shrine of Kamakshi Amman close the sanctum, the Tirukalavanur Divya Desam, the temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu glorified by the 7th-10th century alwars (Tamil saint poets) is present. The temple faced west went to ruins and the deity is now placed inside the Kamakshi Amman temple. There are shrines over the vimana.
Other famous Kamakshi temples in Tamil Nadu
- Sri Aadhi Kamakshi Amman Temple,Thiruvarangam,Near to Paramakudi(16 km from paramakudi bus stand),Ramanathapuram District
- Sri Kamakshi Amman Temple, Arappothu, near to Paramakudi, Ramanathapuram District
- Sri Ekambareswar Kamakshi Amman Temple, Keela eral(near Ettaiyapuram, Kovilpatti, Tuticorin district), Tamil Nadu, India. Sri Chakra made here and praying 51 gods.Every year festival will be done attracting people all around the world getting blessings from the Kamakshi.
- "Kamakoti peetam on Kanchi".
- "Hindunet's article on kamakshi".
- (Translator), F. Max Muller (June 1, 2004). The Upanishads, Vol I. Kessinger Publishing, LLC. ISBN 1419186418.
- (Translator), F. Max Muller (July 26, 2004). The Upanishads Part II: The Sacred Books of the East Part Fifteen. Kessinger Publishing, LLC. ISBN 1417930160.
- "Kottiyoor Devaswam Temple Administration Portal". http://kottiyoordevaswom.com/. Kottiyoor Devaswam. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
- South Indian shrines: illustrated P.539.P. V. Jagadisa Ayyar
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kamakshi Amman Temple.|