Kamakshi Amman Temple, Mangadu – Legends
Mother Kamakshi penance on Lord Shiva:
Once Parvathi Devi closed the eyes of Shiva for fun which resulted in total darkness of the whole universe. Shiva was displeased by her act and she had to come down to earth and do penance to join Shiva once again. Here She penanced standing on tip of her left leg on fire and so she is known as Tapas Kamakshi. At the same time, Shukra was also doing penance to get back his eye sight when he intervened to stop Mahabali from the offering of three feet of land to Lord Vamana, the dwarf. He blocked the Jal Patra the water bowl.
Lord Vamana used a Darba grass to remove the block and thus made Venus blind in one eye. To get back his eyes, Shukra-Venus also performed penance on Lord Shiva in this place when Kamakshi also was on a penance. Lord Shiva appeared before Shukra the devotee first and granted his eye back. Priority was given to his devotee first. Then, Lord Shiva asked Kamakshi to end her penance and go to Kancheepuram (Kamakshi came to Kanchi, made a Shiva Linga of mud and started her pooja once again. She was then married to Shiva at Kanchipuram where she is known as Kalyana Kamakshi).
While going in an anxiety, she did not put down the Yagna fire and so all the living beings around were suffering due to the heat generated. When Aadhi Shankara was passing through, he installed a Srichakra called Artha Meru made of 8 herbs and reduced the heat. Still people feared with the Kamakshi idol in penance and so the later Sankaracharya’s shifted this idol to the side of the temple and installed another Kamakshi in Santha Roopam, called Aadhi Kamakshi, with Sugarcane stick in one hand and Parrot in the other.
The term Mangadu means "Mango Forests or Mango Grooves" and as the term implies this must have been a thickly wooded Mango groove in times of yore.
Mother fondness for Milk:
There is an interesting story about her fondness for milk. When Kamakshi was in deep penance in Mangadu with no one around only the cows were her food givers. The cowherds used to graze the cattle near the place where Kamakshi was meditating. The divine intervention is discernible at this juncture. At least one cow used to feed her milk every day. For many years this was her staple food. Thus, she grew fond of milk and it is offered to appease her.