Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Adi Kamakshi Devi Temple, Kanchipuram

Adi Kamakshi Devi Temple, Kanchipuram
The original Kamakshi Devi Temple is what is now known as Adi Peeteswari or the Adi Peeta Parameswari. This temple is just adjacent to the Kumarakottam, and is near to the Kamakshi Devi temple. The Devi in this Adi Kamakshi temple is called by various names like Kirtimati, Devagarbha in extant Tantric works like Tantrachudamani. She has four hands containing in each of them respectively, Ankusa, Pasa, Abhaya and a Kapala. This description corresponds to those extant old tantric works. Further, Girvanendra Saraswathi describes precisely this Swaroopa as Kameswari.

Adi Shankaracharya, the famous 8th-century CE scholar and saint, established the Sri Chakra at this original Kamakshi Devi temple in the trough-like structure in that shrine. The Acharya changed the fierce form of worship into a Sowmiya form. This Sri Chakra soon became the All India famous Kamakoti Peeta. The Acharya's Lalitha Trishati Bhashya comments Kamakoti Peetam as Sri Chakra.

Sundaramurthi Nayanar, the Saiva saint of the 12th century is aware of the Kamakottam. He in fact mentions that the Kamakottam has come in existence just at that time. Arunagirinathar mentions the Sri Yantra installed by Adi Shankara in Kamakshi Ambal temple apply only to the original Adi Peeteswari Kamakshi Devi. Arunagirinathar, a 15th century Tamil Saint sings in praise of the Goddess as Devi of dark emerald complexion and the Madhai of Muruga of Kumarakottam and does not make any reference to the new Kamakshi Temple. The present Kamakshi temple too, has a Sri Chakra which was established during the 16th Century by Nrusimhadvari, of the famous dathamanji family. There is a stone inscription inside the new temple near this Sri Chakra which states this fact.

Legends
Devas, a privileged community in the upper world came to Earth and prayed Mother Ambica to protect them from the harassment of the demons Mother took the form of Mahakali and destroyed the demons and agreed to stay here itself as requested by the Devas. As Mother was furious during her war with the demons, to calm her down from the fury, the Sri Chakra was installed in the temple. Mother was named Adi Kamakshi. As the Mother was Kali earlier, the place also has the name Kali Kottam.

Greatness of Temple
Poornima-New Moon Pooja:
Mother Sri Adikamakshi graces in a sitting form on a lotus throne facing south.  There are Angusa, Pasa and a rice bowl in her hands. The heads of three demons are under her feet.  Srichakra Yantra is there in the shrine.

The first puja is performed to Sri Chakra. Special pujas are performed to Mother on Full Moon nights. Devotees pray during the Rahu kalam time on Sundays (from 4.30 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.) and Tuesdays (from 3.00 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.) with milk abishek and light deepas.  While traditionally there are only women Dwarapalakis in Shakti temples, there are Dwarapalakas also in this temple in the front mandapam while the former are in the Artha Mandapam.
Worship for wedding:
Shakti Lingam is in the front Mandap of the shrine with the face of Ambica.  Hence, this is called Ardhanareeswara Lingam.  Girls of marriageable age worship here on Fridays in the Rahukalam time (10.30 a.m. to 12.00 a.m.) with abishek to Shakti Lingam and Mother Adi Kamakshi and light lamps. Couples separated due to difference of opinion pray for reunion.  They offer sweet preparations to Shakti Linga as Nivedhana.

Worship for Wealth, Courage & Education:
Mother Adi Kamakshi represents the three powers of Shakti, Mahalakshmi and Maha Saraswathi offering the devotee courage, wealth and education.

The Temple
The original Sri Chakra established by Adi Shankaracharya can be found in a narrow depression in the temple. The murti of Goddess Kamakshi that was originally worshiped in the temple was a fierce form. It is said that Adi Shankaracharya changed the fierce form and made her the all providing Mother in a loving form.

The murti of Goddess Kamakshi has four hands and she holds Ankusa, Pasa, and a Kapala. One hand is in Abhaya Mudra posture. The murti is more related to Tantric worship and the murti is also known as Kirtimati and Devagarbha. There are shrines for Madaleeswarar Lingam, Saptha Kannikas (seven virgins), Nagar, and Mahishasuramardhini in the prakara-corridor.  There is also the sculpture of Mother Annapoorani.  Mother Veerya Lakshmi, once in the sanctum sanctorum is in a separate shrine now.

Along the compound wall of the temple there are shrines for Nardana Ganapathi, Maheswari, Vaishnavi, Brahmmi and Mother Durga. There is a Shakti Lingam in the front mandapam of Mother’s shrine. It has the merciful face of Mother Sri Adi Kamakshi, hence called Ardhanareeswara Linga.

Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.
Festivals
Navarathri (September-October) is celebrated for 13 days in the temple. Mother Adi Kamakshi is dressed differently during the first nine days. She is covered with sandal paste on the 11th day and taken in procession on the last day in a palanquin decorated with flowers.
Prayers
People pray for marriages that are delayed and for unity among the couples. Devotees perform abishek with milk during Rahukalam time (one and half hour a day covers the Rahukalam. The time varies from day to day). They light ghee lamps.
Contact
Sri Adi Kamakshi Temple,
Kancheepuram-635 501
Phone: +91 44 2722 2609
Connectivity
The temple is very near the bus stand in Kancheepuram. The famous Kamakshi Temple also is too near.
By Bus:
Kanchipuram which is 75-km away from Chennai is well connected by a network of roads. There are frequent buses from the city to Chennai, Bangalore and other places. For local transportation bicycles can be hired from the shops near the bus stand. Cycle Rickshaws and auto rickshaws are also available on hire to move in and around the city.
By Train:
The nearest railway station is Kanchipuram station. There are various Trains for Kanchipuram which are available from Chennai, Chengalpattu, Tirupati, and Bangalore.
By Air:
The nearest airport to reach Sri Aadhi Varaha Perumal temple is Chennai International airport.

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