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Kamakshi Amman Temple
About Amman  -  Amman Image Gallery
Pooja Cost : US$ 9.00 Leadtime : 3 Days
Location : Kancheepuram.
Main Deity : Kamakshi Amman.
Nearest Town : Kancheepuram District : Kancheepuram State : Tamil Nadu
In our land of Bharatha Kanda, there are 64 Sakthi peetas. Out of them, Jagannathan of Odiyana peeta. Jwalamuhi of Jalandara peeta and Kanchi of Kama peeta are the most important. The names of Kamakshi, Meenakshi and Visalakshi are all based on the term denoting eyes. ‘Akshi’ means eyes. Even their shapely forms are suggestive of the same meaning. The usual pose of one hand bestowing Abaya and the other Varada cannot be seen in these forms, as they bestow bliss through their eyes.

The Devas prayed to Siva to destroy Bandakasura who harassed them. Siva told the Devas to enter the tunnel at Mount Kailas, get up at Kanchi, and worship Kamakshi. Kamakshi tread upon the neck of Bandakasura who was sleeping at Kailas and returned to Kanchi. At Kanchi she changed her form into a benign figure and stayed there for devotees to her darshan. She presents herself in the same pose to this day. To prevent Eros from harassing the sages with his qualities of amour, she took away the Lotus, Asoka, Mango, Mallikai and Nilotpalam (five flowers) and kept them herself.
The temple faces east and has a big beautiful tank inside. The temple’s plan is quite unlike that of other temples, and the circuit is such that one cannot go round the sanctum but has to retrace the way in the same path after a darshan. The sanctum is located in the middle of the Gayatri Mandapa supported by 24 pillars. Wielding Pasa, Ankusa, Bow of Sugarcane and flowers arrows in her four arms, she is seated in padmasana.

The very temple is built in Chakra peeta form. But the chakra instituted by Adi-Sankara is in the basin like structure opposite to the Devi. The circuit ends a little to the north of the sanctum. A figure called Aroopa Laxmi is in that north circuit facing north. Puranas declare that she got this ugly form as she mocked the black colour of Vishnu. Vishnu thus having rendered his wife ugly in a moment of hasty indiscretion showered the red kumkumam of Kamakshi on Laxmi resulting in restoration of her beauty. Vishnu is also seen here enjoying this transformation. This place is called ‘Kalvan Sannadi’. Thirumangai Alvar in his hymns has praised this deity.

Nearby are the cells of Varahi and Santana Ganapati. The festival idol of Kamakshi is placed in Sukra Vara mandapam on Fridays and worshipped. On the steps is Duruvasa Munivar. He has composed as eulogy of 2000 slokas on Parasakti. Next to him are sage Atri and his spouse Anusuya. Today the daily worship to Kamakshi is conducted adhering to the canons of Duravasa.
Proceeding further we see Ishta Siddi Vinayagar, in the Asthana Mandapa where the Utsava Kamakshi is placed. The Moola (main) Kamakshi can be seen here through a window. In a pillar of this, Mandapa is Tundira King with folded hands. It was this king who ruled Tondai mandalam. On the opposite sides are Saraswati and Swarna Kamakshi. In the entrance of the Sannadi, Sowbagya Ganapathi and Lord Muruga are seen.

This Swarna Kamakshi subsequently became Bangaru Kamakshi. At the time when war was raging, it was feared that this Swarna Kamakshi would be taken or destroyed. An ancestor of the Musical Trinity, Syama Sastri took the idol to Tanjore through Chenji, Udayarpalayam and Tiruvarur for safe custody. The then Naick King of Tanjore sheltered it in a special temple and Swarna Kamakshi became Bangaru Kamakshi and now remains in that shrine.

Alighting in the Utsava mandapa if we look towards the entrance, we can see Annapurni Parasakti before who came to Kanchi, performed penance in Kasi as Annapoorni. And for 12 years there was no hunger in that city. In a pillar of Utsava Mandapa is carved the figure of Anjeneya. While circumambulating Annapurni, we can have darshan of Shasta. Next to it is the sanctum of Adi Sankara with pictures showing his life. It was at this place that Sankara established the Sarvanja peeta.
The holy tree of this temple is Kanchi, which can be seen on the banks of the holy tank Ulagani. Durgai, Bairavar and Kasi Visvanatha are all near the eastern gopura. In a niche with three compartments near the tank is Vishnu in 3 poses, Ninran (standing), Irundan (seated), and Kidandan (recumbent). In the town of Kanchi itself, Vishnu can be seen in 3 poses. Ninran in Uragam, Kidandan in Sonnavannam seitha perumal and Irundan in Padagam.

The Navarana puja on full moon days, the Annual Brahmotsavam during the month Masi and the festival of Navaratri are magnificent festivities. Epigraphs about Thula Purusha danam, Sahasra Godanam, Mahabooda Kati danam, Nitya dhanam are very interesting.