Kamakshi Amman Temple

Infobox Mandir


creator = Pallava kings
proper_name = Kamakshi Amman Temple
date_built = unknown
primary_deity = Kamakshi(Parvati)
architecture = Dravidian architecture
location = Kanchipuram

Kamakshi Amman Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to goddess Kamakshi, one of the forms of the goddess Tripura Sundari. It is located in the historic city Kanchipuram, near Chennai, India and is popularly associated with Adi Sankaracharya, one of the greatest Hindu saints. Along with Madurai Meenakshi, Thiruvanaikaval Akilandeswari, Vishalakshi Varanasi, Kamakshi is an important part of worship of Parvati.

The main deity is seated in a majestic Padmasana posture, an yogic posture signifying peace and prosperity, instead of the traditional standing pose in most other temples of Parvati. The goddess holds a sugarcane bow and lotus and parrot in the lower two of her arms (Many of the Hindu god forms generally have four arms) and has the two divine instruments "Pasa" and "Angusa" in her upper two arms. There are no traditional Parvati or Shakthi shrines 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 attributed to it. One of them according to "Kamkshivilasa" is that the Goddess had to absorb all the other shakthi forms to give boon to Manmatha (the Hindu god of fertility and love). [cite web
url =http://www.kamakoti.org/souv/3-10.html
title = Kamakoti peetam on Kanchi
] Another legend attributes it to the Raja Rajeswari pose of the deity that signifies an absolute control over the land under its control, leaving no other forms of Shakthi. [cite web
url = http://www.hindunet.org/god/Goddesses/kamakshi/index.htm
title = Hindunet's article on kamakshi
] 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.

Kamakshi and Adi Sankaracharya

Adi Sankaracharya is significantly associated in the rich history of the Kamakoti Peetam. In fact literary sources refer to the Sri Yantra established by him at the vicinity of the Goddess as Kamakoti Peeta. Like many other ancient goddesses, the form of Kamakshi was less benign than the current form. There used to be various forms of animal and human sacrifices in ancient Shakthi temples and it is believed that Adi Sankaracharya led to the more peaceful representation of the goddess by placing a divine Chakra before it.

Adi Shankaracharya established the Sri Yantra at what is presently known as 'Adi Peeteswari' temple, where the Goddess is with four hands with "Ankusa, PAsa, Abhaya and a KhaphAla" in them respectively. This Adi Peeteswari Kamakshi temple is the original Kamakoti Peetam. It is noteworthy that the presently famous Kamakshi temple was a Tara Devi temple at the Acharya's time. It is here at the Adi Peeteswari temple that Adi Shankaracharya, by establishing the Sri Yantra, changed the earlier fierce form of worship into "Sowmya" form.

The present Kamakshi Temple too, has a Sri Yantra which was provided at its place by one NrusimhAdvari, during the 16th Century. There is a stone inscription inside the new temple, near to this Sri Yantra, which clearly states this fact. It is noteworthy that "Arunagirinathar" a 15th Century Saint, sings in praise of the Goddess as devi of dark emarald complexion and the mother of Muruga of "Kumarakottam". The "Adi Peeteswari"Kamakshi Devi temple is just adjucant to the "Kumarakottam". He mentions the Sri Yantra in the Kamakshi Devi temple, which can apply, during the 15th century, only to this "Adi Peeteswari"Kamakshi Devi, as the present Kamakoti Sriyantra has been installed only during the 16th Century by NrusimhAdvari. Arunagirinathar does not make any reference to the new temple.

"Sundaramurthi Nayanar", the Saiva saint of the 12th Century is aware of the Kamakottam. In his "Siruthondar Puranam" Sekilar sings about both the Old and the New Kamakottams. The reference to the Original Kamakshi Devi as "Aram Purappaval"(bestower of boons)is note worthy, as the present name of the street in which this temple is located in Kanchipuram is called "ArapanakAra Theru".

Festivals

Four worship services are offered each day. Like most other Hindu temples, the start of the spring (March-April), the Tamil month of Masi is when the annual festival is celebrated. During this time the chariot processions (Ther) and lake processions (Theppam) are done. Other festivals include Navaratri, Aadi and Aippasi Pooram, Sankara Jayanthi and Vasanta Utsavam in Vaikasi. Generally all fridays are considered to be holy, though the Fridays in the Tamil month of Adi (July 15 - Aug 17) and Thai (Jan 15 - Feb 15) are celebrated with great pomp.

Other Kamakshi Temples

Apart from this temple, there are a few other temples that have Kamakshi shrines, probably due to the popularity of this temple.

There is Kamakshi Amman temple at Nerul, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. This temple is situated inside SIES complex at Nerul. The temple is having a car (Ther) that will be used during festival times. The car is i6 feet tall and is made of teak wood. The ar is made by artisan from mangalore with very fine artistic wood work. The photos are included below. Click on the photo to see a larger picture

* [http://www.indiantemples.com/Tamilnadu/maangaadu.html/ Mangadu Kamakshi Amman Temple]

References

External links

* [http://www.srikanchikamakshi.org/ Temple Information Website]
* [http://www.templenet.com/Tamilnadu/kamakshi.html Templenet entry for temple]
* [http://sss.vn.ua/india/tamilnadu/kanchipuram/kamakshi_en.htm Photos of Kamakshi temple of Kanchipuram, 1280x960]


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