Monday, 4 July 2011

Kanchipuram Kamakshi

Kanchi is verily the City of Temples. Poems composed in the 2nd century refer to a shrine dedicated to the love goddess (Kamakshi – eyes of love). It is located in the city Kanchipuram near Chennai. It is associated with Adi Sankaracharya one of the greatest Hindu saints The current Kamakshi temple (Sri Kanchi Kamakshi Peetham Sri Kamakshi Ambal) was built by the Pallavas in the 8th century.


Sprawled in an area of 5 acres, the temple complex has one spire. The 'shikhar' (spire) housing the deity is covered wholly in gold. The spectacular view of the golden spire can be taken from the outer part. In order to enter the main shrine, four entrances have been made on all the four sides. The structural layout of the temple is quite elaborated.
In the outer prakaram or part, there is a tank and numerous mandapams or halls like the 100 pillared hall, the dwajaarohana mandapam etc. Near the temple tank, various images of Lord Vishnu like Ninraan, Irundaan and Kidandaan are traceable. In the vicinity of the sanctum, there are several shrines dedicated to Ardhanareeswarar, Soundaryalakshmi, Kallar (who has been mentioned in the hymns of Tirumangaialwar) and Varaahi

About Goddess Kamakshi

Goddess Kamakshi is regarded as one of the incarnations of Goddess Parvati. As per the Hindu legend, Kamakshi made a Shivalingam out of the sand and offered worship to marry the great Lord Shiva. After a long duration of dedicated and devoted meditation to Lord Shiva, Lord Shiva appeared before her and married the Goddess Kamakshi, a divine form of Parvati. There are no traditional Parvati or Shakti shrines in the city of Kanchipuram, apart from this temple, which adds even more legend to this temple. In return, she got Lord Shiva as her husband. In the sanctum sanctorum, The Goddess Kamakshi is in a sitting posture in the temple. This posture is called the Padmasana posture.Goddess Kamakshi is depicted in a seated posture, which is also referred as Parabhrama Swarupini. The Padmasana posture is said to resemble a lotus. In the Yogic practice this resembles the form of meditation The Goddess holds a Sugarcane bow on her left upper arm and Lotus, Parrot in her right upper arm. The Goddess also has divine chakras called Pasa and Angusa in her arms.

The Goddess also has a Chandraperai (a shape of moon like structure) in her forehead. The Goddess Kamakshi is situated in the middle of temple premises.

A Sri Chakram has been placed just before the image and due worship is offered to it. The ancient shrine of Kamakshi Amman is always associated with Adi Shankaracharya, the great saint of India.

It is regarded that Goddess Kamakshi was initially an Ugra Swaroopini (Ruthless form of Shakti). Adi Shankaracharya placed a 'Chakra' before her and the goddess got personified as Shanta Swaroopini (Kind form of Shakti). The area is believed to comprise temples that have ruthless aspect of the Goddess, though Kamakshi Temple is an exception. Representing this, the image of the deity is taken out in procession at the time of festivals. It is said that the Goddess takes leave from Shankaracharya, at his shrine in the inner prakaram.

We got to the temple in early morning. After dharma darshan from the mahamandapa, we started to perform pradakshina before leaving the temple Working our way towards the front, we met a priest who lead us to be seated directly in front of the Shri Yantra. Imagine sitting on granite floors, where millennia ago great saints like Shankaracharya sat in meditation; a cave like darkness engulfing you; all eyes are directed to the stunningly beautiful Kamakshi. In the gentle light of oil lamps, her eyes and jewels flicker smilingly.

Oh god, how can i write in words the beautiful natural and very caring, affectionate smile of Kamakshi Devi. My throat choked, tears rolled down the cheeks, sweat drops appeared over his forehead; lips quivered. In such instances when I am in the presence of the divine, my worries melt away, forgotten, ceasing to exist, scrubbed by one darshan, and my heart lightens in relief. At these times, my brain freezes too and I am unable to even mouth a prayer.I asked mother, "You are the greatest of great. You are knower of known and unknown. Why don't you accept' my prayers? What are the short-comings in my wor­ship? Oh, goddess! Be benign unto me. Pardon my sins. . I really loved her from bottom of my heart and this moment also i bow to Goddess  for her kindness in blessing me with her smiling and powerful eyes. Its shows her love on innocent devotees. My Head bowed to my Mother. Chanting mantras, the priest offered flowers and kumkum to the yantra. He gave me flowers and Kumkum.Whatelse I want? . Oh, what an indescribable feeling! Like I had been patted by the divine!

We performed a namaskar and my eyes glued to the devi, reluctantly moved away. We were all overcome by this unexpected darshan and offered dakshina to the priest.In the stall I purchased Kamkshi Frame which now sits on our home shrine.

Shyaaama kaanchana chandrikaa thribhuvane punyaathmanaamaanane Seemaashoonyakavithvavarshajananee yaa kaapi jaadhambhinee Maaraaraathi mano vimohanavi dhov kaachitthamaha kandhalee Kaamaakshyaaha karunaakataakshalaharee kaamaaya me kalpathaam

This prayer to Goddess Kamakshi to get good education, poetic knowledge, music and all other wealth and success in life.


  1. Hi Madhuri,

    I am looking for the Kamaakshi shlokas that are displayed in front of th etemple entrance. The four lines of the stuti that you have written above are in Roman script and hence difficult to be pronounced. Do you have hte original text of these in devanagri script.

    Would be obliged if you can send it.

    May Goddess Durga bless you.

  2. ஸ்யாமா காசன சந்த்ரிகா த்ரிபுவனே புண்யாத்ம நாமனனே
    ஸீமாஸுன்ய வித்வ வர்ஷஜனனீ யா காபி காதம்பினீ
    மாராராதி மனோவி மோஹன விதௌ காசித்தம கந்தலீ
    காமாக்ஷ்யா கருணாகடாக்ஷலஹரீ காமாயமே கல்பதாம்!