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Sri Pachaivannar and Sri Pavalavannar
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 The Famous Temple of Sri Kamakshi Devi
  Shri. Kamakshi - The Presiding Deity of Kanchi

 

Sri Kamakshi Devi inside the temple     According to the puranas, Goddess Parasakhi, with the name of Goddess Kamakshi showering Her blessings on her devotees, is the presiding deity of the city of Kanchi. The glory of Kamakshi is found described in Devi Mahatmya Adyaya of Markandeya Purana, Lalithopakyanam of Brahmanda Purana, Sanathkumara Samhita of Skanda Purana and Kanchi Purana. Among the idols of Sakthi, Sri Kanchi Kamakshi alone is believed to be replete with all the characteristic attributes of Sri Lalitha Tripura Sundari, worshipped by Sri Vidya hymns. Among the 64 Sakthi Peetas, Jagannatham is regarded as Odyana or Girdle Peeta. Jwalamuki as Jalandara Peeta and Kancheepuram as Kamaraja Peeta. Even among these three, Kancheepuram, regarded as the navel of the earth, is considered most sacred.

    Goddess Kamakshi is so called for two reasons: (1) She fulfils the desires of the devotees by just a glance of Her gracious eyes. (2) The letters 'Ka' and 'Ma' refer to Goddesses Saraswathi and Laxmi. She graced through her gracious glances of her right and left eyes on Brahma and Lord Vishnu respectively and blessed them with Saraswathi and Lakshmi to become their consorts. As a mark of showing their respect and gratitude to the Goddess Sri Kamakshi, Sri Lakshmi and Saraswati, each with a chowrie, stand on her two sides doing the sacred service of fanning. Sri Kamakshi is enthroned in Sri Kamakoti Peetam. This signifies two things: (1) She fulfills the desires of her devotees who worship her with a view to attain material prosperity by granting wealth and boons in crores or in plenty. (2) The four principal objects of human life, called Purusharthas, are Dharma Artha, Kama and Moksha. She grants not only the first three needed for life on earth but also the ultimate Purushartha Viz., Moksha or liberation leading to eternal bliss. The explanations follow from the meanings of the words "Kama" and "Koti". Kama means desire to object, 'Koti' means a crore or the end denoting the saturation point or the ultimate.

Sri Kamakshi Devi inside the temple     There are a number of temples for Goddess Kamakshi in India. The temples of kamakya in Assam, Kamachcha in Sri Kasikameswara temple in Varanasi, Jonnavada Kamakshion the banks of the river Pinakini near Buchireddipalayam in Kovur Taluk, Nellore District of Andhara Pradesh, Kamakshi Amman in Sri Ekambareswarar temple in the Thanga Salai Street at Madras, Mangadu Kamakshi in penance in Mangadu Village near Poondamalli, Sri Kamakshi Devi enthroned in Sri Kamakoti Peetam in Kanchi and Swarna Kamakshi called Bangaru Kamakshi in Thanjavur are all very famous. Besides these, there are temples for Kamakshi in Chingleput, Puducherry, Villupuram, Vishnampatti, Kallaperambur, Chettikulam, Cuddalore, Karuvazhakkarai near Mayuram, Edayatrumangalam near Pattukottai, Negeswarar Sannidhi in Kumbakonam, Trichy Tuticorin and Rameswaram. But the moment the name of Kamakshi is thought of only Kamakshi of Kanchi comes before our eyes.

    The glory of Sri Kanchi Kamakshi has been extolled in 2000 slokas by Saint Durvasa in Kritayuga, in 500 slokas by Parasurama in Threthayuga and in 500 slokas by Mooka Sankara in Kaliyuga. She has been eulogized as the one responsible for the creation, protection and destruction of the universe, evincing an innate compassion to take care of the welfare or yogakshema of the devotees, confering all the purusharthas. She chooses to dwell in the pure hearts of the devotees. She is the underlying theme of the Vedas.Agamas and Puranas helping her Bakthas to cross of the ocean of Samsara. The Trinity of Music, Saint Sri Thyagaraja, Sri Muthuswamy Dikshitar and Sri Syama Sastri have composed krithis in praise of Goddess Sri Kamakshi. It is said that Goddess Kamakshi sanctifies the shrine in Kanchi in the form of Cosmic space caned Bilakasa and in the Sri Chakra installed by Sri Adi Sankara and dwells in the Gayatri Mandapam with 24 pillars representing the 24 letters of Gayatri Mantra with padmasana, in a sitting posture with four arms, adorned with Ankusam and Pushpa Banam in the arms on the right and with Ankusam and Ikshukodandam or the Sugarcane bow in the arms on the left.

Puranic Origin:

Sri Kamakshi Devi inside the temple      Once upon a time, an asura called Bandakasura secured several boons from Lord Brahma by performing severe penances. Puffed up with pride, he tormented the devas and sages who sought refuge under Lord Siva. Realising that only Goddess Parasakthi could save them by destroying the Rakshasa, Lord Siva advised them to enter a chasm in the shrine Gomukha, situated to the north of Kailas and to come out through another chasm, called Kamakoti Peetam, in Kancheepuram and worship Parasakthi who dwells there in the form of Bilakasa. He further told them that for the earth, usually visualised as cow, Sripuram is its head, Himalayas its neck, Kedaram its belly, Benaras its back, Kanchi its hip and the chasm, Kamakoti Peetam, its navel.

    Learning this from Lord Siva, the Devas came to Kanchi and remained there taking the form of parrots and prayed to Goddess Kamakshi for the redemption of their sufferings at the Hands of Bandakasura. Showing mercy on them, She took the frightful form of Bhairavi, like the fire of Deluge, with 18 arms and 18 celestial weapons, came out of the chasm, reached Kailas, where the asura was sleeping, kept one foot on his neck and the other on his breast, killed him and returned to Kanchi through Bilakasa with his head, holding his flocks of hair, as a 5 year old girl. Seeing her ferocious form, the Devas swooned. To remove their fear, she then assumed a lovely form wearing silk garments and adorned with all ornaments. Recovering their consciousness and seeing her dazzling form, the Devas remained spellbound unable to comprehend her amazing powers. She then directed them to bury the body of Bandakasura there and erect a victory-staff, called Jayasthambam, as a mark of victory.

    While the Devas were digging the ground to bury his head, they found another Asura called Mallaka, performing penance beneath the earth. Sensing that he was invincible, they prayed to Lord Vishnu to kill him. Lord Vishnu attacked Mallaka but every drop of blood shed from his body was tansformed into a demon in the same form and soon there was an army of demons to fight with Lord Vishnu. Each demon in the huge army so produced was killed by Vishnu in that battle, only to see more and more demons emerge from the spilt blood-drops. Unable to vanquish them, Lord Vishnu prayed to Lord Siva to come to his rescue. At once, Lord Siva unlocked his long matted hair and struck it on the ground to produce two ghosts which drank all the drops of blood preventing the multiplication of demons. Then Lord Vishnu was able to annihilate all the demons with their aid.

Sri Kamakshi Devi inside the temple     The ghosts intoxicated by excessive drinking of blood began to attack Lord Vishnu Himself for whose assistance they were created. Lord Vishnu pushed them down and stood upon them. Showing resistance, they rose up. Again he pushed them down and sat upon them. Seeing them still resisting, He lay down upon their bodies and suppressed their arrogance. Hence his name "Bhootha Bandhana".

    Coming back to their senses, the ghosts prayed Lord Vishnu, to pardon them. In turn Lord Vishnu also felt sorry for having been forced to inflict pain on the Bhoothas which were sent by Lord Siva to assist him in battle with Mallaka.

    At this juncture, Lord Siva appeared on the scene, released Ganges from his matted hair, created a sacred tank called Pancha Theertham and asked Lord Vishnu and the ghosts to have their ablutions in it as atonement for their actions.

    Lord Vishnu consecrated the male and femal ghosts as guards for the Panch. Theertham and he himself began to dwell in their midst at a higher plane in standing, sitting, and reposing postures in commemoration of his fight with them, and proclaimed that those who are desirous of having progency, would cherish their desire by taking a holy dip in the Pancha Theertham. The Pancha Theertha tank is so counstructed that the Abhishekha Theertham of Goddess Sri Kamakshi falls into this tank adding sanctity to the holy waters of this sacred tank.

    In deference to the command of the Goddess Sri Kamakshi the Devas then buried Bandakasura, installed a Jayasthamba and constructed a passage from there leading to Bilakasa. They also constructued a mandapam with 24 pillars symbolising the 24 letters of the sacred hymn "Gayatri" and named it Gayatri Mandapam. They made an idol of the Goddess, resembling the form of which they were fortunate to have darshan and consecrated the same on a gembedecked throne symbolising the Pranava Mantra and worshipped her with great devotion. Then they closed the door, came out and spent that night chanting mantras in her prayer. The next day, just before dawn, they opened the door in deep reverence to find to their great astonishment, Goddess Rajarajeswari in her real from instead of that idol. It was on an auspicious Friday in the asterism Pooram in Krishna Pakhsa Prathama thidi in the month of Panguni in Srimukha Varsha in Krithyuga in Savitri Swayambu Manavanthara that Rajarajeswarai Sri Lalitha Thripurasundari manifested herself as Goddess Sri Kamakshi in Kamakottam of Kancheepuram.

    To celebrate the coronation of Goddess Sri Kamakshi, in the Gayatri Mandapam in the Kamakottam of Kanchi, Viswakarma, the Chief architect of the Devas presented a palanquin, while Lord Brahma offered a hair clip made of Pearls, Lord Vishnu a crown studded with the nine gems, and Lord Siva a necklace called Sri Chakra. They decorated the idol of Sri Kamakshi with all ornaments, worshipped her and prayed to her to sanctify this shrine in Kanchi and continue to shower her Grace on the devotees for all times to come.

Illustrious Recipents of the Lord's Grace:

Sri Kamakshi Devi inside the temple      For anihilating Tarakasura, the Devas felt the pressing need for Lord Subramnya's incarnation as the son of Lord Siva. To distract Prameswara from his penance and divert his attention towards Goddess Gowri, the Devas deployed Cupid for the job. When Lord Siva was sturck by his flower arrows, his penance was disturbed. Getting angry, he burnt Cupid to ashes by the fire of the third eye on his forehead. Having lost his physical frame, Cupid not only wanted to regain it but also register a victory over Lord Siva. With these objectives, he prayed to Goddess Kamakshi and regained his lovely form. He expressed to her, his desire to score a victory over Lord Siva. Assuring him of her full support, Sri Kamakshi directed Cupid to go to Kailash again and shower his flower arrows on Lord Siva. He did so; but this time, the fire of Lord Siva's third eye, could do no harm to Cupid. Not only was it unable to reduce him to ashes, but it began to shine like a gem on his head as an ornament.

    Then Lord Siva, infatuated with love, went into the harem to meet Goddess Gowri but she was not found there. This was because Goddess Kamakshi had imbibed the powers of all manifestations of Sakthi in all the holy places throughout and remained as a single store-house of power in Kanchi to save Cupid. Greatly disappointed Lord Siva visited all places and sacred shrines for his consort Gowri but to no purpose. Finally he came to Kanchi where he saw Goddess Kamakshi, the very personification of grace and expressed his love for her mistaking her to be the Gowri. But Goddess Kamakshi told him that she was not his consort, Gowri to appease his love and asked himto seek the assistance of cupid for the extinction of the fire of love from him.

    Lord Siva took it as a prestige issue, rejected her suggestion and was about to seize her hand forcibly. But Goddess Kamakshi foiled his attempt by generating, just by her looks a crore of cupids for attacking him. Lord Siva in turn generatd a crore of Rudras to fight with the cupids, but they were all defeated. Cupid, who emerged as a victor with the grace of the Goddess, made Lord Siva surrender unto her. Goddess Kamakshi then transformed these cupids into stars just above the Kamakoti Peetam and then, to facilitate the various manifestations of parasakthi so as to allow them to get back to their respective shrines as the consorts of Lord Siva in those forms.

Sri Adhi Sankara Charya     Goddess Kamakshi in Kanchi is seen bearing a sugarcanebow and five flower-arrows of red-lotus, Asoska Mango, Jasmine and Blue-lotus in her arms. Jagadguru, His Holiness Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Swami of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam once pointed out that Goddess Kamakshi seized these weapons of the cupid so that he might not exercise his influence over Her devotees and the gnanis.

    Bandakasura and Cupid, endowed with Tamoguna and Rajoguna respectively, are personifications of anger and lust. Unfulfilled lust leads to anger and Desire is the root cause of misery. One should strive to overcome these two qualities. Though both anger and desire cannot be completely effacted, they can be kept under proper check with out causing any hindrance to the practice of Dharma with the grace of Goddess Sri Kamakshi.

    The three gunas namely Sathvaguna, Rajoguna and Thamoguna signify judicious action, indiscriminate action, and inaction respectively. By vanquishing Bandakasura and subduing Cupid, Goddess Sri Kamakshi demonstrated to the entire world the futility of inaction the need for careful avoidance of indiscretection and the importance of inculdence in judulgence action.

    As Sri Lalitha Turipusundari, the Parasakthi herself has sanctified the Kamakottam in Kanchi the presiding Deity of Kancheepuram, and hence there is no separate sannidhi for Gowri the manifestation of Parasakthi in the temples of Siva in Kanchi. This is because the powers of the various manifestations of Parasakthi, who ought to find a place in these temples, are merged in Goddess Sri Kamakshi alone.

    Once Lord Brahma desired to perform the Tirukalayananotsavam, of the Goddess Gowri with Sri Ekamreswara. To fulfill his desire, Sri Kamakshi generated from the eye of her forehead a manifestation of Sakthi and directed Brahma to get a golden idol made in the form of that manifestation and perform the Kalyanotsavam of Sri Ekamreswara with that idol as his consort and Brahma acted accordingly.

    To make the celebration of Tirukkalyanotsavam a regular feature, He took a lotus used for worshipping Goddess Kamakshi and threw it up in the sky. It blossomed, and came down to the earth taking a human form and stood before him with folded hands. Brahma named him "Akasa Bhoopathy" and made him the ruler of Kanchi and directed him to look after the worship of Goddess Kamakshi on the same lines. Akasa Bhoopathi, his son Thundeeran and his descendants continued the tradition of celebrating daily, fortnightly and monthly festivals and the Brahmotsavam in the prescribed manner.

    There is a sanctum of Lord Vishnu called as 'Kalvar' within the inner prakara of the shrine of Sri Kamakshi in the Gayatri Mandapam. During the churning of the milky-ocean, Lord Vishnu with Svetavarna, bearing mountain the mandara onhis back in the form of tortoise was oppressed by the scorching radiation of Halahala which darkened his body. The Devas offered the hand of Goddess Lakshmi in marriage to Lord Vishnu. Goddess Lakshmi, renowned for her shining golden complexion, scoffed once at Vishnu saying for fun that he was no match for her because of his dark complexion. Irritated by her proud attitude caused by the thought of her lovely complexion, Lord Vishnu cursed her to lose her beauty forthwith. This is an instance to show to the world that playfulness may turn to misery at times and that one should be cautios while talking to people even if they are very near and dear. Lakshmi was very much distressed at this and prayed to Goddess Sri Kamakshi to grace her with the lost beauty. Sri Kamakshi consoled her and asked her to remain to the left of her sannidhi situated in Gayathri Mandapam of Kamakottam in Kancheepuram so that her devotees would receive her kumkuma prasadam and offer it to her and by its efficacy she would regain her lovely form. She asked Lakshmi that in return, she would bestow all prosperity on them. Goddess Lakshmi submitted to her will and regained her lovely form. Thus the Aroopa Lakshmi became Soundarya Lakshmi.

    Lord Vishnu, also realised his mistake in cursing His consort Sri Lakshmi in haste and came to Kanchi to appease her. He was delighted to see her in Gayatri Mandapam in her original beauty. But he wanted to look at Lakshmi without being noticed by her. Though he approached her stealthily, she took notice of him. Bold of being under the shelter of Goddess Kamakshi she even ventured to call Vishnu who was stealing a look at her as "Kalva" meaning 'a thief. Hence Lord Vishnu, dwelling adjacent to Soundarya Lakshmi in Gayatri Mandapam, came to be called "Kalvar". Kalvar's sannidhi is one of the 108 Sri Vaishnavite shrines and Tirumangai Azhwar has sung in praise of this deity.

    When Akasa Bhoopathy ruled over Kanchi, the city had once to face a severe drought and famine. The King under took a fast praying of Goddess Kamakshi to cause rains, for cultivation, relieve his subjects from hunger and thirst and also blessing him with progeny. With her grace, he got a son named Thundeera, who was Lord Vinayaka incarnate. There were also rains and the city of Kanchi turned prosperous. Filled with immense joy, the King arranged for mass-feeding. Goddess Kamakshi in the guise of a Sumangali - old married lady-sat in the row and began to take food. Immediately there were showers of gold outside the pandal. While all were wondering how this happened, they were further amazed to hear the child, Thundeera, coming out with an explanation that while the queen, his mohter, was herself winnowing the grains meant for the mass-feeding, a pearl of gold, getting detached from her golden ring got mixed with the food grains.

    This golden pearl entered into the stomach of Goddess Kamakshi when she consumed the food in the guise of a sumangali and in token of her gratification caused showers of gold in that region, the corns of paddy grown there also assumed a golden lustre. This place is now called "Pon Vilianda Kalathoor", King Thundeera spent his entire life in the service of Goddess Kamakshi. There is an image of King Thundeera in the temple of Sri Kamakshi seen with folded hands in deep meditation opposite to the sannidhi of the processional deity of Kamakshi. While circumambulating the mantap it is a custom of the devotees to keep silent and remain with folded hands as they pass by the idol as a mark of respect to King Thundeera.

    Goddess Sri Kamakshi also blessed many devotees with erudition and poetic-talent from time to time, the most promiment among them being Sage Durvasa, Parasurama Dhowmya, Adi Sankara and Mooka Sankara.

    Shri Sankara attained Videha Mukthi in the sanctum sanctorium of Goddess Kamakshi. To commenmorate this event, there is a sannidhi built for Sankara in the Kamakshi Temple. The fact that Adi Sankara incorporated the name of Sri Kamakoti Peeta in the name of Sri Kanchi Mutt throws light on the inseparable link between Goddess Sri Kamakshi and Sri Sankara Mutt. Sri Sankara not only consecrated Sri Chakra, but also renovated the Kamakshi temple which iteself is in the form of Sri Chakra. The ruler of Kanchi, Rajasena, under instructions from Adi Sankara, changed the modalities of town-planning so as to make the city itself resemble the form of Sri Chakra, with Kamakotta Garbagriha as its Bindu or pivotal point. Sankara then established the Sarvagna Peeta there and ascended the same.

    The 20th Acharya in the Guru Parampara of His Holiness Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetadipathy J agadguru Sri Sankaracharya Swami, called Sri Mooka Sankara, composed 500 tilting verses in praise of Goddess Kamakshi. The word 'Mooka' in Sankrit means a mute. In his poorvasrama he was a dull mute. He used to come and sit in the sannidhi of Goddess Kamakshi every day. Another devotee, Sri Vidya Upasaka, also used to come there praying for scholarship and eloquence. One day Goddess Kamakshi intending to bless that devotee, appeared before him in the guise of a damsel and asked him to open his mouth. Not knowing her identity, that devotee unfortunately drove her away in anger. At that time, by a stroke of good fortune, the dumb bachelor, sitting by his side, opened his mouth fortuitously when Goddess Kamakshi transferred her Tamboola Rasa into it. Immediately, he was transformed into a gifted poet who reeled off verses in praise of Goddess Kamakshi ! The 62nd Acharya of Sri Kamakoti Peeta, his Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Swamigal, has composed a work called "Siva Geetha Malika" giving an acount of the devine sports of Goddess Kamakshi and Lord Ekamreswara.

Description of the Temple:

Sri Kamakshi Devi inside the temple     The Temple has 4 big towers on the four sides, tall walled enclosures and artistic sculptures. A peculiarity of this temple is that on crossing the walled-enclosure and entering the temple we are unable to identify the 4 directions!

    On crossing the walled enclosure through the Rajagopuram, we see the flag-staff and an altar. Opposite to the flag staff, there is a stone-window in the sannidhi Parkara. Looking through this, we can have darashan of Goddess Kamakshi in Gayatri Mandapam even from outside. Opposite to the flag-staff there is an idol of Sri Vinayaka renowed as a giver of boons. Crossing the door-way of the tower and going in we come across the Sukravara Mandapam where the processional idol of Goddess Kamakshi is brought every Friday. Sri Anjaneya in a captivating form is portrayed in one of the pillars of this Friday mandapam.

    When we go in through the main door-way after the Sukaravara mandapam, we see a victory-staff called Jayasthambam. Going in through the entrance opposite to Jayasthamba and turning to the left we have darshan of Vigna Nivarana Ganapathi. Though the prakara is constructed circumambulating the Utsava Mandapam containing the processional-deity of Kamakshi, have dharshan of Saraswathi, Bangaru Kamakshi and Annapoorani and then reach the sannidhi of Goddess Kamakshi. Climbing up the steps leading to the Utsava Mandapam, we have dharshan of sage Durvasa.

    The sage Atri and his wife Anasuya had three sons, the Moon, sage Dattatreya and sage Durvasa who were glorified with the characteristics of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Siva respectively. All of them were devotees of Parasakthi the Devine Mother and were recipients of her grace. The Moon got the rare privilege of adoring her crown. Hence her name Chandramowleeswari. The sage Dattatreya who devised a method for his personal worship guided the entire humanity to worship her as the foremost in the Guru Pramapara with a view to attain mental sublimity essential for an understanding of the doctrine of Advaita. For enabling mankind to worship her according to Agama Sastras not only in private but in public and outlining the procedure for the same, the sage Durvasa wrote a treatise called Sowbagya Chintamani. Even today, the worship of Kamakshi is followed on the lines laid down by Durvasa. While circumambulating the Utsava Mandapam we see the Palliarai and the idol of Ishtasiddhi Vinayagar. Then we come to the Asthana mandapam containing the processional deity of Sri Kamakshi. Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi, with chowries in their hands, are seen engaged in rendering her fanning service. Standing in this mandapam, we can also have darshan of the presiding-deity of Kamakshi and Sri Chakra through a grill gate. After worshiping the processional deity and continuing through the mandapam, we see Thundeera Maharaja with folded hands in one of the pillars. On the other side of this mandapam, there are sannidhis of Saraswati and Swarna Kamakshi. At the entrance to these sannidhis there are the idols of Sowbagya Ganapati and Lord Subramanya on either side. The Swarnakamakshi, also called Bangaru Kamakshi which was consecrated by Lord Brahma in Kanchi, was later taken to Thanjavur via Gingee, Udayarpalayam and Tiruvarur by the ancestors of Sri Syamasastri one among the Music Trinity, during an invasion by foreigners. This golden idol is now worshipped as Sri Bangaru Kamakshi at Thanjavur.

    At the place where she once dwelt here, we now see a pedestal adorned with her foot prints. Descending down the Utsava Mandapam, we have the sannidhi of Annapoorani, opposite to the entrance of the Moolasthana.

    In the Moolasthana, Goddess Kamakshi is sanctifying the Gayatri Mandapam with 24 pillars signifying 24 letters of Gayatri Mahamantra. While going to her sannidhi, we see the Kalvar and Soundaryalakshmi. In the Moolasthana Sri Vidya Lalitha Tripurasundari dwells as Goddes Kamakshi in the form of cosmic space and in a penance performing posture. A third form of her in the Moolasthana is seen with four hands. The upper left and right hands are emblished by Pasa and Anhusa respectively. In the lower left and right hands, she has a sugarcane bow and flower-arrows respectively. Words will not be adequate to describe the captivating form of Sri Kamakshi. It is something to be experienced in person by every devotee.

    In front of Goddess Kamakshi, we see Sri Chakra consecrated by Sri Adi Sankara. Sri Chakra is the abode of Lalitha Tripurasundari who is also called 'Sri Vidya Swaroopini;. The word Sri refers to Srividya and the word 'Chakra' refers to a wheel shaped device called yantra. In the word 'Sri Vidya', 'Sri' means Parasakthi and 'Vidya' means knowledge. Hence Sri Chakra is a device to get enlightened about Goddess Parasakthi. Worship of Sri Chakra is equivalent to the worship of Parasakthi. In Kamakshi temple, Archanas are performed only to this Sri Chakra. In the Kavacham surrounding Sri Chakra, Goddess Lakshmi dwells in her eight forms called the 'Ashta Lakshmis'. It is customary for devotees to receive Kamakshi's kumkuma prasadam, offer it at the feet of Goddess 'Aroopa Lakshmi' remaining to the left of Sri Kamakshi in the walls of the Prakara of the Moolasthanam and then take the kumkumam from there to have it as thilakam on the forehead. Varahi and Santhana Ganapati are also seen in the Moolasthana Prakara.

    Coming out of the Gayatri Mandapam, we have darshan of Sri Sastha with his consrots Poorna and Pushkala. Adjoining to this sannidhi we have the sannidhi of Sri Adi Sankara. It is said that Adi Sankara ascended the Sarvagana Peeta here. In the mandapam, next to this sannidhi, we see pictures cut on black marble slabs depicting the life-history of Sri Adi Sankara. Coming out we have darshan of Varasiddhi Vinayakar near the Jayasthambam. Then coming out of the temple, we see in the eastern tower, sannidhis of Bairava and Durga. Circumambulating the Prakara, we come to Kasiviswanatha sannidhi, the sacred tank, Navarathri Mandapam. On its bank we see the Kanchi Vriksha which is the Sthala Viruksha. The outlet through which the sacred Abhisheka theertha of the Goddess falls into this sacred tank is known as "Karumuri Paichal". It is here that we come across the sannidhi of Lord Vishnu in standing, sitting and reposing postures, a Yagna mandapam and yagasala.

    There is a aslo a separate temple of Sri Adipeeta Parameswari Kali kambal just behind the prakaram of Sri Kamakshi Temple. By the side of this temple there is a Separate temple of Sri Kaleshwar, where special poojas are performed for Rahu preethi.

    It is worth mentioning that all the temples in Kanchi face the Kamakshi Amman temple. Whenever any festival is celebrated these deities are taken out inprocession round the Kamakshi temple.

Festivals:

    The Acharyas of Sri Kamakoti Peetam who are the hereditary trustees of Sri Kamakshi Ambal temple have renovated the temple whenever necessary. There are inscriptions which indicate that renovation was undertaken in 1761 at the instance of His Holiness Sri Chandra Sekharendra Saraswathi Swamigal of Sri Kamakoti Mutt. In 1942, his Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal the 68th Acharya, performed the Mahakumbabishekam of the temple and also got a silver car manufactured modelled after Sri Chakra and offered to the Goddess a golden Sahasranama mala, a garland of golden coins on which the one thousand names of the Goddess are inscribed. The Rajagopuram, constructed by Sri Krishna Devaraya was developed by Pallava Kings. Prakara Gopurams and Vimanas were renovated and Mahakumababishekam performed by His Holiness Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Jagadguru Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swami on the 5th April 1976 and in that connection, 75 music concerts were arranged speread over 48 days and a three-day Hindu Religious conference and a Vidwat sadas were also held. The Vimana of Sri Kamakshi sannidhi was gold-plated and Kumbabishekam performed on 1st Febraury in 1979 by His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Sankaracharya Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swami of Sri Kamakoti Peetam.

    Every Friday, Special Abishekams are performed to Goddess Sri Kamakshi. The devotees throng the temple on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. On every full-moon day, Navarana Pooja is performed. Brahmotsavam and Navarathri Festival are celebrated in the months of Masi and Purattasi respectively on a very grand scale. During Navarathri festival, the processional deity is brought to Navarathri Mandapam where music concerts are held for 9 days. These programmes are arranged by Sri Kanchi Kamakshi Ambal Sarada Navarathri Kalai Nigazhchigal Trust. During that period, special Poojas and Navavarana Pooja are performed. Swarna Rathotsavam - Golden Chariot Festivel is celebrated on the Vijayadasami and Sahasra Swarna Kalasabhishekam and Dolotsavam are performed on the Dwadasi Day following Vijaya Dasami by the S.K.K.A.D.S.N.K.N. Trust every year.

SAHASTRA SWARNA KALASABHISHEKAM
TO SRI KANCHI KAMAKSHI DEVI

    Sahasra Swarna Kalasabhishekam is performed to Goddess Ri Kanchi Kamakshi Ambal once in a year on the Dwadashi day following Vijayadasami during the Navarathri Festival. It is a rare occassion ocuring only once in every year on behalf of Sri Kanchi Kamakshi Ambal Sarada Navarathri Kalai Nigazhchigal Trust under the direct supervision and with the Bening Blessings of Their Holiness Sri Sankaracharya Swamigal of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Devotees desirous of contributing for the Sahasra Swarna Kalasabhishekam may kindly send their esteemed contributions by M.O./Cheque / D.D.drawn in favour of


S.K.K.A.D.S.N.K.N. Trust,
Kancheepuram.

and send the same addressed to

Managing Trustee
S.K.K.A.D.S.N.K.N. Trust
I5-A, Kalandar Street,
Kancheepuram 631502


and be recipient of the Bening Blessings of Sri Acharyas and the Devine Grace of Goddess Sri Kamakshi Ambal.

    It is the personal experience of every devotee who visits the temple of Sri Kamakshi in Kanchi that he derives peace by getting his ambitions fulfilled by the devine grace of the Mother Goddess Sri Kamakshi.

"GURU MURTHE THVAM NAMAMI KAMAKSHI"

Jaya Jaya Jagadamba Sive
Jaya Jaya Kamakshi
Jaya Jaya Adrisuthe
Jaya Jaya Mahesadayithe
Jaya Jaya Chidgagana Kaumudhidhare
Jaya Jaya Kamakshi Jaya Jaya Kamakshi