Welcome to Arulmigu Kamakshi Amman Temple, Mangadu
Mangadu is known for the temple of 'Tapas Kamakshi" or the Kamakshi( The Goddess) performing penance. This is the place where the goddess performed her penance to marry and re-unite with Lord Shiva. All 32 types of Dharmic rituals were performed here by the goddess.The mythology is that when Lord Shiva and Parvati where in Mount Kailash the Goddess playfully closed the eyes of the Lord Shiva and as a result the whole universe fell into eternal darkness. So the Lord ordained her to perform Tapasya.The Goddess came down to this place and performed penance amidst "Panchagni" resting her left leg on the sacred fire and folding her right leg. She holds a "Japamala" or rosary in her hand as she meditated on Lord Shiva who asked her to come to Kanchipuram for marriage.After the goddess left the place, the heat of the fire that she had created caused great discomfort and became unbearable for all living beings there. The Adi Shankaracharya is believed to have visited Mangadu and installed a Sri Ardhameru Chakram at this place. This was done to calm down the heat of the fire created by the Goddess and at the same time make it into a place that is soothing for all living beings.We can even today see the 'Chakra" in the sanctum sanctorium of the temple and poojas are performed regularly to this Chakra. This Chakra is considered to be a Tantric form of the Goddess herself and hence Mangadu also finds a unique place amongst worshippers of the Tantric sect as well.
The Raja Gopuram
The temple sports the Chola style of Architecture and construction. The Raja Gopuram was a recent addition to the Temple. The Raja Gopuram or the Main entrance faces South and is 7 tiered with great sculptures on it, But the east entrance is still used by many devotees as there is a market along the road leading to the east gate. People buy the flowers, Lemons and other pooja items as they walk through the market into the Temple.As we enter the Temple, we find the Ganapati Shrine to the left of the main entrance. We pay our respects and as we walk further enter the Main Hall of the Temple. We straight proceed to the Sanctum where we can see the " Ardha Meru Maha Yantra " and an idol of Goddess Kamakshi in the Main Shrine.
The Ardhameru Sri Chakram
The Ardhameru Sri Chakram is the chief divinity in this temple. Only Kumkuma archana is performed and no abhishekam is done for Sri Chakram, as it is made up of herbs.The Artha Meru Chakra in the temple was installed by Acharya Sankara having 43 Trikonas-triangles. This is made of eight herbals called Astagandham. Hence no abishek is offered the Chakra. The pujas for the chakra is performed with sandal and other cosmetic powders and archana with kumkum. On the Vijayadasami day, last day of Navarathri, this Chakra is covered with gold, while on other days, it is with a silver cover.
Sri Chakra occupies great importance in the temple. This Artha Meru Sri Chakra is revered as Raja (Royal status) Yantra. The base is of Koorma (tortoise) design. There are three steps above the base. It is further built with 16 Lotus petals and 8 petals of Lotus still above. The Sri Chakra is drawn on this peeta-seat. No Sri Chakra is as big as the one in Mangadu. It is dressed with a 9 yard sari.
The Mangadu Temple & Shrine
After this we proceed to walk back, we came across the Shrine of 'Tapas Kamakshi" - This was installed at the behest of Kanchi Paramacharya. We can also see the various other deities like Lord Surya etc, in the outer courtyard. As we circumbulate the Temple, we can see Sapta Matrikas installed right behind in the Main outer courtyard and walk through to the Dwajastambha installed in the Eastern side. This completes the visit to the Temple. People come here to pray for Marriage, child birth etc.After completion of the visit to the Kamakshi Temple, people proceed to the Vaikunta Perumal Shrine or the Shrine of Lord Vishnu which is about 500 meters away. Here Lord Vishnu can be seen in a seated posture along with his 2 consorts Sridevi and Bhoodevi holding a ring in his palm that he has brought for the marriage of his sister Kamakshi. This is a small temple with separate shrines for Goddess Lakshmi, Sri Andal and Lord Hanuman.
The Mangadu Kamakshi Amman
The penance undertaken by Mother Kamakshi is of a highest order which none could imagine. She made five Agni Kundas – fire pits. She stood near the central pit keeping Her left toe touching the fire, placed the right leg on the left thigh. She kept Her left hand near Her naval part, held the right hand with a japa mala above Her head. Her beautiful eyes were closed to have the hands of Lord. She undertook this peanace in this holy Mangadu. This scene is beautifully sculptured in the temple.
Devotees have four Ambikas for darshan in the temple.
1) As Sri Chakra,
2) Adhi Kamakshi made of Panchaloka metals,
3) Kamakshi doing penance amidst the five Agni Kundas and
4) the small Lamp burning near Adi Kamakshi revered as Ambika Herself.
The darshan of all Ambicas can be had simultaneously from the mandap. Ambika in the sanctum sanctorum is holding a parrot in the right hand and the crescent moon on the head. It is noteworthy that the tradition of felicitating a person for his/her winning an exam with distinction or any tough competition with the success of standing on a single leg began from the penance posture of Mother Kamakshi. The condition of penance was not made easy or relaxed even for the consort of Lord. Mangadu has an added importance. When Emperor Mahabali offered three feet of land to Lord Vamana the dwarf, knowing the design of the Lord, planet Venus-Shukra intervened to stop Mahabali from the offering. 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 to a devotee. When Lord Shiva came to this place to acknowledge the penance of Mother, Lord Vishnu too came here with gifts to His sister the bride. When Lord Shiva and Mother Kamakshi left for Kancheepuram, Lord Vishnu too was to accompany them. But Maharshi Markandeya begged Perumal to stay in the place. Obliging the Rishi, Perumal stayed here as Vaikunta Perumal with His discus and a ring in a finger showing his coming with gifts for His Sister. He is praised as Seer Perumal – Gift Perumal. A Homa-Nava Kalasa Homa with nine brass pots-Kalasas is conducted in the temple on full moon days. Nine forms of Shakti are personified in these Kalasas. Pushpanjali is offered to Sri Chakra. Niraimani Darshan is another event celebrated in the temple on the Purattasi full moon day in September-October. Artha Mandap, Thapas Mandap and the front Mandap are decorated with sweets, fruits, vegetables and grains showing all prosperity. Devotees believe that this Niraimani Darshan would bring all prosperity to the family. Three Mothers in the temple bless and please the devotees in their daily procession in a golden car in evenings daily. Brahmmi, one of the Saptha Mathas is the driver (Sarathi) of the car. Nava Kannikas the nine virgins are around the car-rath. There is also a Kuthuvilakku perennially burning in the Mahamandap. Left of this is the shrine of Mother Thapas Kamakshi.