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  Sankara Matam
  Kanchi - A brief sketch
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Sri Adi Sankara & Sri Kamakoti Peetam
Sankara History By Art
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Sri Pachaivannar and Sri Pavalavannar
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Sri Adi Sankara and Sri Kamakoti Peetam (Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam)
 

Introduction:

     Sri Sankaracharya, reverentially called Sri Sankaracharya, Sri Sankara Bhagavathpadacharya, and Sri Adi Sankara is renowned for establishing the doctrine of Advaita and is considered as a paragon amongst the Spiritual guides of Hinduism. The recognition that all living beings in the universe are the reflected images of the Paramathman the Supreme being and the realisation of the oneness of the Athman and the Paramathman is the essence of Advaitha Siddhantha.Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Sankaracharya Math This realisation, is called the realisation of the 'soul' or the 'self' or Athmagnana and the person attaining this Athmagnana is called the Athmagnani or the jeevanmuktha. The Athmagnani is the jeevanmuktha who has attained the state of mind which enables him to extricate himself from the harmful influence of the feeling of 'I' and 'Mine' and is thus enabled to free himself from egoism and attachment and get released from the net of illusion or Maya. The guidance of a guru or Preceptor, who is in the state of Jeevanmuktha, is essential for a spiritual aspirant to be in the right path. The most important teaching of the Veda is the oneness of the Supreme-being, called Brahma, whose three characteristics are Sath (eternally existing entity), Chit (True Knowledge) and Ananda (Bliss). Hence the form of Brahma is aptly described as "Sachithananda".

    Our scriptures enunciate a number of great propositions called Mahavakyas. One of them is "Tat Tvam Asi". The word 'Tat' refers to the immanent Supreme-Being without any limiting characteristics such as form, colour etc. Further the very definition 'Tat' as an eternal entity leads to the logical conclusion that it should be unique without a second one. In other words 'Tat' refers to Pramatma also called Nirguna Brahmam.

    When we say that the Superme-Being is immanent, it goes without saying that all living-beings, called Jeevatmas are only manifestations of the Pramatma. The word, "Tvam" refers to the Jeevatma. So the import of the Mahavakya is "That Thou Art" or in other words "You are Thatself-the Paramatman". There is no distinction between Jeevatma and Paramatma as between a water bubble and water. The former owes its origin to temporary survival, dissolution and final union with water itself. In the same way, Jeevatma and Paramatma are inter ralated. The basic postulate of Advaita Philosophy is "Brahma satyam Jagath Midya" which means "Brahman alone is real and enternal while the universe is illusory". But the influence of Maya or illusion, giving rise to ignorance, creates a misconception that Jeevatma is different from Paramatma. As a result, one begins to identify his body and the world as somthing real. This leads to egoism, feelings of 'I' and 'Mine', indulgence in wordly actions with a view to attain their fruition and get subjected to bondage which results in a cycle of births and deaths, called "Janana Marana Valaya" with fruits of actions which result in a cycle of births and deaths without liberation.

    On the other hand, a person initiated into the right path by a guru, gets the realisation "Aham Brahmasmi" meaning "I am Paramatma myself". Such an Atmagnani overcomes the influence of Maya, realises the temporal nature of worldly things; controls the mind and sensory organs by spiritual exercises, checks anger and lust, looks upon others as his own self, performs all actions without expecting any fruit, becomes free from bondage of fruits of action and secures liberation.

    The spiritual guides preach and practise Dharma and by their righteous conduct set an example to all generations, to follow their foot-steps. They are thus responsible for the evolution and sustenance of an ordered society. Sri Adi Sankara is one among such Gurus or Acharyas who stayed in Kancheepuram.

    Whenever there is social decadence and anarchy, God steps in to re-establish righteousness and restore Dharma.

    "Yada Yadahi Dharmasya Glanirbhavati Bharata
Apurthanamadarmasya Thadatmanam Srujamyaham
Parithranaya Sadhunam Vinasayacha Dushkrutham
Dharma Samsthapanardaya Sambavani Yuge Yuge "

    There arose an occasion centuries ago, when there was almost a complete spiritual bankruptcy. People began to forget vedic injuctions. Hindu tenets were attacked and as many as 72 sects raised their banners.

    It is a matter for concern that in KaIiyuga even learned people who are to interpret dharma and who are supposed to tread the path of dharma and lead the poeple the right path unfortunately do not interpret the principals of dharma in the proper perspection and cause so much of confusion, complicate the issues in such a way that at all most becomes impossible to distinguished between the real and the falsehood, good and the bad and thereby leading to the abuse of dharma and giving rise to a graves situation of detoriating dharma and the urgency to restore and uphold dharma. Saints and seers appear time to time to corret this disorder and impart true knowledge as Jagadgurus. Guru is an exclusive concept in our religion, literally meaning the remove of ignorance, showing the disaples the right path, impart true knowledge, guiding the disciples to the path of realisation. Vedas are eternal. They are the truth. The religions based and vedic principles or are in confirmity to the realities laid down in vedas and are considered to advocate the sanathana dharma.

    The religions that are not in confirmity to vedas are considered to be non vedic, veda bahya or avaidika matas. The world' Matham indicates the perception by the mind and vaidika matam means disciplinig the mind to on the lines of vedas. It is believed that Lord Siva Himself incarnated as Sri Adi Sankara then to stem the crisis and to restore Hinduism to its high position and established the sanatana dharma.

    Even before the advant of Sri Sankara, there were many Acharyas who taught the doctrine of Advaita, notable among them being Brahmanandi, Dravidacharyar, Saint Patanjali, Gowdapadacharya and Sri Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya. Still it was Adi Sankara who popularised it far and wide so much that the has come to be reckoned as the founder of Advaita Philosophy.

 
Sri Sankara's Life and Achievements:

     Sri Sankara, was born in the sacred village of 'Kaladi' in Kerala on the vaisakha, sukla, panchami in the year Nandana corresponding to the year 509 B.c., the date as well established by the researchers with reference to a number of insriptions, epigraphs, literature and astrological calculations.

    Sri Adhi Sankara Bagavatpadhacharya 2510 JayanthiHis mother was Aryamba and his father Sivaguru. The purpose of his incarnation was to stabilise the vedic religion. At the tender age of five, he began his vedic studies. Even while young, he had mastered the vedas, vedanta, puranas, epics and kavyas to become an eminent scholar. While in his gurukula, according to the custom in vogue, he used to go round seeking biksha. Once on an auspicious Dwadasi day, he went to a house of a poor Brahmin. Seeing the boy Sankara at the door-step and finding nothing available to be given to him, the poor woman searched her house thoroughly and found just two amla fruits kept by her husband for breaking the Ekadasi-fast on that day. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she put her share of just one amla fruit into his almsbowl and went inside the house ashamed at her inability to do something more. Sankara, deeply moved by her generosity even in abject punury, extolled Goddess Mahalakshmi to shower Her grace on that poor house. In response to his prayers, there was a heavy shower of golden berries in their house immediately. The collection of slokas rendered by Sri Sankara then in praise of Goddess Sri Mahalakshmi came to be called as 'Kanakadhara Sthothram'.

    On return from the Gurukulam, Sri Sankara managed to get the permission of his mother to become a sanyasi and left Kaladi. He trod the entire distance from there upto the banks of the river Narmada at Omkarnath where he met Sri Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya doing penance in a cave. Seeing the lad's rare dispassionate nature (Vairagya), Guru Sri Govindabhagavatpadacharya initiated Sri Sankara into sanyasa and taught him the import of the Mahavakyas and the doctrine of Advaita contained in Vedas, Upanishads, Brahmasutra and Bhagavat Gita and expounded the theory of Advaita Adi Sankara travelled the entired country by put and vanquished 72 non vedic and irreligious cults.

    Adi Sankara wrote his elaborate commentaries for Brahma Sutra, Isa, Kena, Kata, Munda, Mandookaya, Taithireeya, Chandokya and Brihadaranyaka Upanishads, Bhagavat Gita, Vishnu Sahasranama Stotra and Lalita Trisyathi. To enable readers to follow their import, he wrote 35 explanatory works, called Prakaranas of which Vivekachoodamani, Atmabhodam Praboda Sudhakaram and Satasloki are noteworthy. Realising that worship of the formless abstract viz., Nirguna Brahmam is difficult for laymen, he also advocated the worship of Saguna Brahman. The regularised the methods of worship both indivisual and temple worship by streamlining worshiping methods and the six major orders known as shanmathas. Thus he came to be known as shanmatha sthapakacharya - the founder of shan matas, the six schools of religion advocating worship of Siva, Vishnu, Sakti, Kumara (Subramanya), Ganapti and Soorya. these are called Saivam, Vaishnavam, Saktam, Kaumaram, Ganapatyam and Sowram. He also composed as many as 67 stotras in praise of these dieties to facilitate recitation by way of worship by the common man to develop devotion towards the Almighty which would kindle the thirst to know the Supreme. Sivanandalahari, Sowndaryalahari, Anandalahari, Dakshinamoorthy Sthotram, Bhajagovindam etc., are among them. There were fiftysix kingdoms in our country at that time and yet all people were bound together by sanathana dharam and sanskrit was the commong language in usage and were able to presere the unity and integrity of the country. In Bhajagovindam, he commends the association of fullevolved souls for developing a dispassionate nature and mental equanimity free of tribulations and desires.

It is set there are several episodes to mention about the miracles performed by Sri Adi Sankaracharya.

    When Sri Adi Sankaracharya was bathing in the Ganges, his disciple was on the other bank. Sri Adi Sankaracharya called the disciple to bring the clothes. The Ganges was in full floods. Unmindful of the ferocious flow of water with currents, the disciple walked across the Ganges to handover the clothes to the Guru. Sri Sankara asked disciple as to how he crossed the river. The disciple replied that he didnot notice anything except to fix his dhyan on Gurucharan. Sri Sankara asked the disciple to look back. To his astonishment, the disciple noticed a strech of lotus flowers on which he walked over to cross the Ganges. The disciple was named as Sri Padmapada after the incident.

    When Sri Adi Sankara was camping in Karnataka a couple brought a dumb boy and pray to Acharya to bless the boy with speaking power. The Acharya made the boy to speak. The boy not only began to speak but also to speak vedanta. After this miracle the boy became his disciple and came to be called as Hasthamalaka.

Sri Adi Sankara retrieved the idol of Sri Badrinarayan and reinstalled at Badrinarayan Kshethra.

    Sri Adi Sankara visited Kedarnath on way to Kailas and had Darshan of Lord Siva and was blessed with five spatika lingas. These spatika lingas was installed at five kshethras. Mukthi Linga at Kedarnath Vara linga at Neelkanth kshethra in Nepal, Bhoga Linga at Sarata Peetam, Sringeri, Moksha Linga, Chidambaram and retained Yoga Linga for his worship at Kanchipuram. This Yoga Linga is being worshiped even today by the Sankaracharyas of Sri Kanchi Kama Koti Peetam.

    He travelled throughout India preaching Advaita and came to Kanchipuram, where he consecrated Goddess Kamakshi in Sri Chakra Peetam and worshipped her. Of the five crystal Lingas brought by him from Kailasa, he kept the Yogalingam for his private worship. He later installed it in Sri Kamakoti Peetam of Kanchi with the name Sri Chandra Mouleeswara. It was in Kanchi that Sri Adi Sankara Bhagavatpadacharya celebrated the" Sarvagna Peetarohanam".

    Sri Adi Sankara Bhagavatpadacharya established four peetams in the four directions headed by is four principal disciples: Sri Padmapada at Sringeri, Sri Hastaamalakar at Dwaraka, Sri Totakacharya at Puri and Sri Sureshwaracharya at Badrinath. Sri Adi Sankarabagavatpadcharya established Sri Kanchi Kama koti peetam at Kanchipuram and the lineage of disciples who took over the reins of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam in succession after him came to be called in general as "His Holiness Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetadhipathi Jagadguru Sri Shankaracharya Swami". Their Sanyasa Asrama names are embellished by the ending "Indra Saraswati". These Acharyas Continue in the tradition of Sri Sankara worshipping Sri Chandra Mouleeswara and Goddess Kamakshi for the welfare of mankind. Among the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetadhipathis, who adorned this mutt, Sri Mooka Sankara is well-known as the author of "Mooka Panchasathi", a collection of 500 verses in praise of Goddess Kamakshi, whose grace transformed the author, an innate dumb person, into an illqstrious poet.

    Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam has reached the heights of glory during the period of His Holiness Jagadguru Pujyasri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamigal the 68th pontiff who was glorified as the incarranation of Sri Dakshinamoorthy, Sri Adi Sankara's reincarrate and a living God moivng amongst us. The Poravashrama name of Sri Mahaswami was Sri Swaminathan. He was born at Villupuram. On 28th May 1894. He came to Kalavai in is 13th year when he was studying at Tindivanam. Suddenly and to the universal bless Sri Swaminathan was initiated in to sanyasa by His Holiness Sri Mahadevendra Saraswathi (V) Swamigal in the year 1907 and was given the dikshanamam Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswathi swamigal.

    Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswathi Mahaswamigal adorned Sri Kanchi Kama Koti Peetam on 13th February 1907. His formost concern was preservation of Vedas, tradition and dharma. He advocated simplicity, and shunned pomp, ostentation and extravagance. His exposition of Vedanta, sastras and the dharmic duties attracted scholars and laymen alike, from far and wide. Sri Kanchi Kama Koti Peetam has reached its hights during the period of Sri Mahaswamigal and flourished with international reputation. Sri Mahaswamigal was noted for his patriotism and National sentiments.

    Several sages like Sri Ramanamaharshi were shown the path of realisation by Sri Mahaswamigal and were brought to light by grace of Sri Mahaswamigal. Desciples from all over the world use to have darshan of Sri Mahaswamigal and Cherised their desires by His graceful sight. Even a common man who had the darshan of Sri Mahaswamigal use to carry a personal impression of being personally blessed. One could only experienced the bliss of the darshan as a personal experience and no words could explain the satisfaction and derival of peace.

    I take this opportunity to express my heart felt gratefulness for having been benifited by the abundance of the kindness and benign blessings and grace of Sri Swamigal. My Second daughter Shanti was not speaking even at the age of Four. I took the baby to His Holiness Sri Mahaswamigal and prayed His blessings. His Holiness showered His grace on the baby and blessed the baby with power of speech. The Child started speaking at once to our astonishment and happiness. His Holiness has also showered His graced on this humble self by ordaining me to render the Kainkaryam of organising cultural programmes at Sri Kamakshi Ambal Temple Kanchi and at Sri Bangaru Kamakshi Amman Temple, Thanjavur during the Navarathri Festival, and at Sri Kanchi Sankara Matam from the year 1968. I could have the unique personal experience of the abundence of the grace and kindness of Sri Mahaswamigal on a number of occassions and scrores of devotees will be carrying with them the experience bliss of the grace of His Holiness Sri Mahaswamigal.

    His Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarawathi Swamigal who assended as the 68th Peetadhipathi in the year 1907 was leading the universe in the Path of Sanathana Dharma for nearly 87 years and was held in high esteem as Jagadguru Paramacharya by all sections of people throughout the world. The Mahaswamiji attained external Bliss on 8th January 1994.

    It is our good fortune that the successors of this great Acharya, the 69th and 70th Acharyas are of international reputation for Their concern for the humanity and wolrd peace. His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal, the 69the Acharya became the 69th peetadhipathi of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam in the year 1954 and His Holiness Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamigal became the 70th pountiff in the year 1983. The peetam belongs to Rig Veda Shaka.

    The Porvashrama name of His Holiness Pujya Sri Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal is Sri Subrahmanyam. He was born at lrulneekki In Thanjavur District on 18 July 1935. He had is Veda Adyayanam at Kanchi and was initiated in to the Peetam on 22 March, 1954 by Sri Mahaswamigal with the Dikshanamam : Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Sankaracharya Swamigal. The reputation of Sri Kanchi Kama Koti Peetam has reached its hights by the abundance of kindness and the concern for the poor and down trodden and several social welfare schemes run by Sri Kanchi Sankar Mutt and various Social Welfare Organizations and institutions established by Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal. He attracted people from every nook and corner and made Kamakoti a household holy name. He intensified the activities of the Matam to cover several social objectives like education, health, employment, rehabilitation of he handicapped, uplift the women, along with the traditional temple renewation and restoration of daily puja at the temples. His Holiness has travelled the country intensively and also visited Nepal. The only Sankaracharya after Sri Adi Sankarabhagavatpadcharya to visit the sacred Manasarovar is Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal in 1999.

    His Holiness Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamigal was drafted to Sri Kanchi Kama Koti Peetam as 70th Peetadhipathi by His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal on 29th May 1983 while he was studying Vedas at Polur. His Poorvashrama name was Sri Sankaranarayan. He had the rare the previlage of having tutelage under is Guru Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal and His Paramaguru His Holiness Sri Chandra Sekharendra Saraswathi SwamigaI. He has also travelled throughout the country including remote places and also meghalaya. He is deeply concerned about the deteriorating moral ethical values in the youth and has intiated a number of measures to draw the youth, train them in all these aspects of our culcural ethical values along with the modern education including the developments in the field of Information Technology. He also taking keen interest in preserving our hence ancient literature and bringing out a number of publications through the mutt and other associated organisations.

    The Acharyas are taking immense interest and or taking untiring efforts to bring the Kanchi Ghatikasthan to its former ancient glory inspirational learning. The city of Kanchi is renowned for its greatness of ancient culture. The city has been a centre of literary eminence with its Ghatikas i.e. the eminence as centres of educations offering instructions in Vedas, Sastras and Arts since the fourth century A.D. The literary, religious and cultural advancement of Kanchi has been much enhanced by its close connection with great spiritual preceptors, particularly Sri Adi Sankara. The Acharyas of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam have resolved to establish a Ghatisthana as an all comprehensive educational centre and have established the Ghatisthanam adjacent to Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamigal Vishwa Mahavidyalaya (Deemed University) at Enathur.

    The Acharyas have dedicated themselves for the preservation of Vedas, upholding Sanathana Dharma. Their contribution towards consoliding Hindu Religion is very remarkable evoking the feeling of universal brotherhood amongst us to enable us to live in harmony understanding each other, leading the world towards universal peace. These Acharyas of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti peetam are reputed for their social service and are undertaking a number of social welfare schemes for the uplift of the poor and the needy. The Acharyas of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti peetam are held in high esteem and devotees from all over the world carry the satisfaction of a unique experience of contentment, peace of mind cherishing their desires by the Benign Blessings of Their Holiness Sri Sankaracharya Swamigal of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.

    As always been in the four front in pioneering several social causes, besides the protection of Vedas, Dharma and Sastras. They have dedicated themselves for the proectection of the cow. Besides running Goshalas by the mutt, they are also advocating and encouraging the establishement of Goshalas by other social organisations. They are also striving hard in enlightening public about the sacredness and importance to proect the cow and to ban the slaughter of the cow. They are also striving hard in fostering unity among the people by organising various socio - cultural activities even in the rural areas through the Janakalyan Organisation. They are also encouraging village artists by organising programmes of folk arts. Their efforts in concentrating for the promotion of community services like health care and education is highly remarkable. They have established innumerable educational institutions, running several Veda Pathsalas Oriental, primary, Higher Secondary Schools, Ayurvedic colleges for science and arts for both boys and girls and engineering courses through Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamigal Mahavidyalaya.

     The role of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti peetam inconsolidating Hindu Religion is remarkable. The Math is running Vedic Patasalas at various places in our country. Veda Dharma Paripalana Sabha, has been established in Kumbakonam. Vedic conferences are held throughout the country by Sri Kanchi Kamakoti peetam often. Sri Adi Sankara Advaita Research Institute in Madras has been established to take up the task of publication of Sri Adi Sankaracharya's works.

    A Kannikadana trust has been formed to help poor families to celebrate marriages according to sastric guidelines by providing them new clothes and Tirumangalyam. They also advise the people to desist from demanding dowry.

    His Holiness has advised people to save a handful of rice daily and handover the collections to temples needing resources to help them prepare food, offer as Nivedanam to the dieties and then feed the poor. This scheme has received a great deal of public support. Similarly Kshetra Paripalana Sangam is providing assistance to temples lacking in resources to meet the expenses for lighting lamps twice a day and preparing Nivedanams. Arrangements have also been made in selected centres to provide free medical aid through Hindu Mission Hospitals. A number of social welfare schemes are also being implimented through Janakalyan organisations thourghout the country.

    To bring about the unification of Hindus the world over and spread the teachings of the Hindu religion, His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal convenced a World Hindu Conference in 1976. With His blessings, a college for Hindu Dharma has been started in Gejjal Naickenpatti in Salem under the auspices of Geeta Charitable Trust and an Ayurvedic College in Coimbatore. In Kanchi and Madras, Gosalas have been formed to take care of old and unyielding cows and save them from being cruelly sent to slaughter houses. In Kalahasti, Poonamalli and Kalavai rehabilitation homes for the old age people have been started. They are provided with shelter and free board with facilities for anushtana or prayer. In riviving the past glory of Ghatika Sthanams, Their holiness Sri Kanchi Acharyas have established Sri Shakara Arts & Science College, and the Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Vishwa Mahavidyalaya - a Deemed University providing qualitative higher education to the rural masses along with spiritual background. A number of educational institutions, colleges, vedic patashalas and hospital for the poor are run by Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam at number of places in the country.

Sri. Kamakshi Ambal Devasthanam in Kanchi, Sri Bangaru Kamakshi Ambal Devasthanam in Tanjore, Sri Panchamukheswarar Temple in Tiruvanaikoil and Sri Viswanatha Swami Devasthanam in Tiruvidaimarudur, are under the direct control of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. The temples of Sri Sankara Matha in Haridwar and Sri Adi Sankara, Jayadeva and Chaitanya in Puri and Sri Adi Sankara Mandapam in Nepal, Rishikesh, Kurukshetra, Badrinath and Tirupati, Mandapams containing Adi Sankara's holy sandals in Kanyakumari and Trivandrum, the house where Thirugnana Sambandar was born now serving as his memorial in Sirgazhi and Sri Adi Sankarar's Keerti Sthambam in his birth-place Kaladi are also maintained by Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Thiruppavai - Thiruvempavai conferences and Religious Training classes are also held under the auspices of the Mutt to foster the Hindu religion.

    Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam is encouraging Artists in Music, Dance and Drama by counducting cultural programmes at Sri Kanchi Sankara Mutt., Sri Kamakshi Ambal Temple at Kancheepuram, Sri Bangaru Kamakshi Temple, Thanjavur and at Tiravarur.

    They are much concrned about the welfare of the poor and backward and are arranging financial assistance for the uplift of the Rural Poor masses aiming at the overall progress of the socity besides leading the world in the path of Sanathana Dharama for world peace.

    Let us pray our humble obeisance to the Lotus feet of Their Holiness and get Their Blessings in our pursuit for true knowledge and Bliss.



HARA HARA SANKARA JAYA JAYA SANKARA
HARA IIARASANKARA KALADI SANKARA
HARA SANKARA KAMAKOTI SHANKARA
SARVE JANA SUKHlNOBHAVANTHU!
OM SANTHI OM SANTHI OM SANTHI


Contact Address of Sri Kanchi Kamkoti Peetam


Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam
Sri Sankaracharya Mutt
No.1, Salai Street, Kancheepuram-631502
Tel.: 04112-22115, Fax: 04112-24305
Email: kmkanci@md3.vsnl.netin


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