Nagareshu Kanchi- Part 2 ( Kanchi Kamakshi Temple)
Kanchipuram is one of the seven sacred cities in India .The word Kanchi literally means the gold ornament worn round the waist by women (girdle or oddanam).Puranas, Kavyas, inscriptions and historical works point out to the importance of the city from different angles. The Bhagavata Purana refers to Kanchi as ‘Kamakoti-Puri Kanchi’ (in the southern recensions of the Purana). Vallabha- charya, in his ‘Subodhini’ commentary on the Purana, styles the city as ‘Kamakotipuri’.History proclaims that Kanchipuram was ruled by the Pallava Kings. The city is most famous for its silk production and old temples. The city is located on the Palar river. The city has all types of people from weavers to Vaishnavites. The city has many big temples. One of the famous temples is Sri Kamakshi Devi Temple; it also attracts tourists especially foreigners in plenty due to its rich culture and heritage. Poems composed in the 2nd century refer to a shrine dedicated to the Kamakshi as love goddess (Kamakshi – eyes of love).
Kanchi Kamakshi temple is situated in about 5 acres of land and has four entrances in Kanchipuram city. The ‘shikharam’ (spire) housing the deity is covered wholly in gold. The spectacular view of the golden spire can be had 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 elaborate. The main entrance of the temple has a Kalabhairava on its left and the Mahishasura Mardini on the right. One can see a huge Dwajasthambham at the centre of the entrance. Moving further to the entrance of the Kamakshi deity we can have the darshan of Lord Vinayaka. Moving on a straight line further, Goddess Kamakshi is visible. Goddess Kamakshi is surrounded by deities of Ayyapa, Saraswathi, Annapoorna and Adisankaracharya on its outer prakaram. In the outer prakaram or part a tank and numerous mandapams or halls like the 100 pillared hall, the dwajaarohana mandapam etc are located. Near the temple tank, various images of Lord Vishnu can be found. In the vicinity of the sanctum, there are several shrines dedicated to Ardhanareeswarar, Soundaryalakshmi etc.
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 under a mango tree to marry the great Lord Shiva. After a long duration of devoted meditation to Lord Shiva, He 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 the sanctum sanctotrum, The Goddess Kamakshi can be seen 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 Parabhramha 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 Ankusam 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.
There is Santhanasthambham inside the prakaram of Goddess which is called the Nabisthanam of the Goddess.The name Kanchi given to the city signifies that the city is in the central part of the Universe. The Meru Tantra speaks of Kanchi as the naval spot(Nabhisthana). A Sri Chakram has been placed just before the image and due worship is offered to it. The ancient shrine of Kamakshi Devi is always associated with Adi Shankaracharya, the great saint of India. It is regarded that Goddess Kamakshi was initially was an Ugra Swaroopini (Ruthless form of Shakti). Adi Shankaracharya placed a ‘ Sri 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.
Source Courtesy: Various books
Listen to the divine voice of Bharat Rathna Smt. MS. Subbu Lakhshmi Sri Kamakshi Suprabhatam
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