|Kamakshi Amman temple,Kanchipuram, S.India. www.kamakotimandali.com|
The Kamakshi Amman temple, Shakti shrine at Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu once the capital of Pallava is a well-known temple in South India. An interesting feature is, unlike many Shiva temples of India, in particular Tamil Nadu, there are no shrines to Ambal (Goddess), in any of the temples of Kanchi, and this temple is considered to be the only temple dedicated to Kamakshi Amman here. The Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, the Akilandeswari temple in Thiruvanaikaval near Tiruchirappalli, Kasi Visalakshi temple and also the small temple of Bangaru Kamashi temple at Thanjavur are the important centers of worship.
Legend has it that Kamakshi worshiped a Shivalingam (a form of Shiva) made out of sand, under a mango tree and at last gained Shiva's hand in marriage. Kamakshi in a seated posture - Padmasana, an yogic posture signifying peace and prosperity, instead of the traditional standing pose in the sanctum, is referred to as the ''Parabhrama Swarupini,'' seated with Brhama, Vishnu, Rudra Eswara and Sadasiva.
|Kamakshi Amman temple, Kanchi. Tamilnadu Tourism - blogger|
Adi Sankaracharya is closely associated with the rich history of this temple. The original form of Kamakshi was less benign than the current form - Ugra Swaroopini,(in rage) and it was felt out side the temple limits and Aadi Sankaracharya of Kalady, Kerala (8th century Hindu exponent and philosopher), requested her not to leave the temple. Upon establishing the Sri Chakra here to calm her down, he personified her as the Shanta Swaroopini, an embodiment of peace and tranquillity, just the reverse of what she was. Symbolic of this change of mind, the festival (urchavar) idol of Kamakshi, starts from Sankaracharya's shrine in the inner prakaram, each time she is taken out in a procession, a part of temple ritual. A Sri Chakram is installed in front of the image and worship is offered to it.
|Relief work on the stone wall Kamakshi Amman Temple -Flickr|
This Sri Chakra soon became the all India famous Kamakoti Peetam, a Hindu religious institution, headed by His Holiness Sri. Sankarachariar of Kanchi.
Shrines to Bangaru Kamakshi, Maha Saraswathi and Aadi Sankaracharya are in the inner prakaram while the outer prakaram has a temple tank, and several mandapams (halls) such as the 100 pillared hall, the dwajaarohana mandapam.
|Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. Maps-india.com|
The other small temples in Tamil Nadu dedicated to Parvati (Kamakshi):
01. Aadhi Kamakshi Amman Temple, Thiruvarangam, near Paramakudi(16 km from paramakudi bus stand), Ramanathapuram District
02. Sri Kamakshi Amman Temple, Arappothu, near Paramakudi, Ramanathapuram District
03. Sri Ekambareswar Kamakshi Amman Temple, Keelaeral (near Ettaiyapuram, Kovilpatti, Tuticorin district), Tamil Nadu,
The important annual festival falls in the Spring, in the Tamil month of Masi (mid-March to mid-April). During this time the chariot (Ther) and float festivals, (Theppam) are held. The Chitrai temple festival attract people in thousands. Navaratri, Aadi and Aippasi Pooram, Sankara Jayanthi and Vasanta Utsavam (festval) in the Tamil month of Vaikasi are other important temple festivals. Normally Fridays are considered auspicious days and on Friday lots of people, especially women worship at the Amman temple for the welfare of their familes.