The Kanchipuram Kamakshi temple is situated at nealy about 5 acres of land and has four entrances. The Temple was built in the 14th Century by the great Chola artisans.
Video - In and Around Kamakshi Amman Temple
Significance of the Temple
This Kanchipuram Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kamakshi. Goddess Kamakshi here is workshipped in the form of a chakra, placed in front of the idol. There is also an image of Sankaracharya, whose statue is also been worshipped. It is in this particular temple Sankaracharya defeated the Buddhist philosophers who had a debate about the goddess. Shakti in India is worshipped in three places – Madurai, Varanasi and Kanchipuram. There exists a golden tomb in the centre of the shrine. The annual chariot festival is held in this temple.
The main entrance of the Kamakshi temple has a Kalabhairavar deity onto its left and the Mahishasura Mardini deity onto its right. On the centre of the temple complex one can see a huge Dwajasthampa. Moving further from entrance of the Kamakshi deity there is a view of Vinayaga deity. Moving on further, the great Goddess Kamakshi is visible. Goddess Kamakshi is been surrounded by deities of Ayyapan, Saraswati, Annaporani and Adisankaracharya on its outer prakaram. The Goddess also consist of Varahi, Arupalakshmi Kalvarperumal (one of the 108 Divya Desam of Vaishanavities), Roopalakshmi and Arthanariswarar deities surrounding the sanctorum of Goddess on its Gayatri Mandapam. There is even the Santhanasthampam inside the prakaram of Goddess which is called the Nabisthan of the Goddess. There is a Srichakra Yantra (Sri Kamakoti Peetam) which is established by Jagadguru Sri Adisankaracharya in front of the Goddess deity.
Devotees can also find a temple tank inside the premises. The great Kamakshi temple has a close relation with the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam and also its successive Sankarcharyas. The temple has a gallery of Adisankarcharya's life history inside the temple premises itself. Goddess Kamakshi is the main deity and the temple is one of the fifty one Shakti peetas. The temple is spelled as Nabisthana - Ottiyana peetam. The temple also has a golden Gopuram on the sanctorum of the Goddess Kamakshi deity which is visible to all devotees.
India has three main cities where the Goddess Shakti is been worshipped. Kanchipuram holds the most important rank among all the three. In the same order, the three places are Kanchipuram, where the Goddess Kamakshi is worshipped, Madurai, where the Goddess Meenakshi is worshipped, and Kashi, where the deity is 'Visaalakshi'.
The Kamakshi Amman temple serves as a hub of all religious activities in Kanchipuram. The temple is also in closer control of the Shankara Mutt, unlike the other temples, which are governed either by the Department of Archeology, Government of India, or the Hindu Temples Department of the Tamil Nadu Government. The kings of the Chola Empire built the temple in 14th century AD.
The main tower near the sanctum (Vimanam) of the temple is gold plated. Also there is a great significance is the Golden Chariot in this temple. The Golden Chariot is taken in a procession around the temple on Friday evenings around 7.00 p.m. This temple also features an Art Gallery with pictures depicting the history of Sri Adishankaracharya and the Shankara Mutt. This imposing temple is also in the site of the annual car festival which is held on the 9th lunar day in February/March.
Rules and Rituals of the temples
The pooja procedure in this temple is as follows:
Abhishekam which is done 3 times a day. Starting in the Morning at 5:30 a.m. In the Afternoon - at 10:30 a.m and in the Evening at 4:30 a.m. There are special darshan called Santhana Kappu (Sandal Darshan) which is on every Wednesday and Saturday evenings.
Temple does Pournami Pooja / Navavarna Pooja (Full Moon day) which is held at Night 9:30 p.m. onwards every month
Saharsranamam Archana (Daily) is done daily in the Morning - 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and in the Evening - 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Ashtothram Archana is done in the Morning - 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and in the Evening - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Thanga Ratham (Golden Chariot) is the chariot festival done only on specific days. In the month of 'Maasi' there is an annual festival of the temple. On the 7th day of this month there are processions which are taken out in a silver chariot. Festivals like Navratri, Aadi, Aippasi Pooram, Sankara Jayanthi and Vasanta Utsavam in Vaikasi are been celebrated with full fervor. Like other temples of Tamil Nadu, the Fridays here falling in the month of 'Adi' and 'Thai' are observed with grand ceremonies.