The Kamakshi Temple is an ancient Hindu Temple dedicated to Kamakshi, the ultimate form of Goddess Lalitha Maha Tripurasundari (Parvati). It is located in the historic temple city of Kanchipuram, in South India. The Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, the Akhilandeshwari temple in Thiruvanaikaval near Tiruchirappalli, and the Kanchi Kamakshi temple are the important centers of worship of Goddess Lalitha in the state of Tamil Nadu. The Temple was built by the Pallava kings, whose capital was Kanchipuram.
The Image of the main Deity, Kamakshi, is seated in her majestic Padmasana posture, a Yogic posture signifying peace and prosperity, instead of the traditional standing pose. Goddess holds a sugarcane bow and bunch of five flowers in the lower two of her arms and has a Pasha (lasso), an Ankusha (goad) in her upper two arms. There is also a parrot perched near the flower bunch.
There are no other Goddesss (Devi) temples in the city of Kanchipuram, apart from this temple, which is unusual in a traditional temple city that has hundreds of traditional temples of Hindu Deities.
Adi Shankaracharya, the great Advaithic philosopher and a renowned Saint of India, re-established the Sri Chakra in this Kamakshi Devi temple.
As per Hindu legend, Goddess Kamakshi is considered in line with Goddess Meenakshi at Madurai and Visalakshi at Varanasi. Kamakshi is the only Shakti shrine centered across all Shiva temples in Kanchipuram which do not have separate shrines for Devi. Kamakshi is worshipped thus as Parabrahma Swaroopini ( Supreme Power ) in this temple.
She was initially extremely violent and furious and was depicted in the temple as Ugra Swaroopini. She became Shanta Swaroopini at the request of Adi Shankara who installed Sri Chakra in the in the Sanctum Sanctorum of the temple. The Utsava Moorthy (festive image ) of the temple is symbolically taken from the shrine of Adi Shankara following this legend.
The temple occupies an area of 5 acres. The Sanctum houses the image of Kamakshi in sitting posture and is flanked by the Hindu Trinity of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. There are smaller shrines of Bangaru Kamakshi, Adi Shankara and Maha Saraswathi around the Sanctum.
Four worship services are offered each day. The annual festival falls in Spring season in the Tamil month of Masi, which runs from mid-February to mid-March. During this time the chariot festival and float festival are held. Other festivals include Navaratri, Aadi and Aippasi Pooram, Sankara Jayanthi and Vasanta Utsavam in the Tamil month of Vaikasi.
All Fridays in the temple are considered very sacred to the Goddess, though the Fridays in the Tamil months of Adi (mid-July to mid-August) and Thai (mid-January to mid-February) are celebrated in a real grand way.
Kamakshi as Lalitha Maha Tripura Sundari :
Sri Kamakshi is the main deity of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetha seated in the centre of the inner Sanctorum of the shrine in Kanchipuram known as the Gayatri Mandapam. According to KamakshI Rahasya, this Mandapa was built by the celestials with the four walls representing the four Vedas and the twenty-four pillars representing the twenty-four syllables of the sacred formula of Gayatri. She is seated on Pancha Brahmasana .
Lalita Sahasranama ( A Sanskrit Stotra on Lalitha MahaTripuraSundari, from Brahmanda Purana )
Saundarya Lahari ( A Sanskrit Stotra on Goddess Lalitha MahaTripuraSundari, Composed By JagatGuru Shri Adi Shankaracharya )
The Kanchi Kamakshi Amman Temple as a Shakti Peetha :
Shakti Peethas are divine temples of Adiparashakti. The cause of the presence of Devi‘s presence is due to the falling of body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi. The naval part of Sati Devi’s body is believed to have fallen here. There are 51 Shakti Peeth linking to the 51 alphabets in Sanskrit. There are also arguments that the old Kanchi temple is the Shakti Peetha, where the great world teacher Adi Sankaracharya has installed the Shri Chakra.
Temple Pond and Elephant Shed
The picture provides a glimpse of Temple Pond and elephant Shed. Everyday the temple rituals start with Go Pooja and Gaja Pooja. There is a separate shed with Elephants, which performs Pooja to the deity by trumpeting every day early morning 5.AM.