Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Moongil Anai Kamakshi kovil-Theni


The following temple is a unique Dravidian Temple. It echoes that idol worship is not the only way to connect to ones creator.

Kamakshi Amman, lamp on either side is burning since 500 years

ghee pots at the temple storage

More Ghee

Kamakshi Amman in Chest form


The Temple is located in Devadanapatti, near Pariyakulam in Theni Dist.; TN. Devadanapatti is located at the foothills of Kodaikanal Hills. The place is beautiful, serene and unperturbed by the mans interference. Temple is surrounded with lush green forests, waterfalls, creeks and other wild animals & birds. Temple is unique in every sense. The uniqueness is that it has no Temple Towers, Doors or Idols. Yes, there are no Idols in the sacred sanctums here. The main deity here is Kamakshi Amman. The idol is replaced with a door. Yes, door is worshiped here and it is revered as goddess Kamakshi. The other difference is that whole coconut and unpeeled bananas are offered. The coconuts are broken after the Aarathi. In most of the temples, coconuts are broken in to two first, followed by abhishekam and only after that aarathi is taken. A lot of rituals are different. The lamps of this temple are lit only with clarified butter (ghee). A lamp that was lit some 500 years ago is still burning to this date in this temple. Devotees offer mainly ghee to the temple. There is a storage room with no doors and pots of ghee are accumulated. Some of the pots in this storage are as old has 500 years. The pots do not have coverlids; they are open and their aroma wafts around the temple complex. The ghee is still fresh, and has not gone off. They do not attract any insects either. Devotees believe this is because of Goddess Kamakshi’s blessings!

Mungil Anai Kaakshi Amman Kovil
A view of the temple
Outer view

Another view
Lizard similar to theone in Kanchi Temple

There is an interesting story behind this temple. ‘Amman Macchu’ is the moola-stanam of the temple. Amman Macchu is located farther away from this temple. When traveled from Devadanapaatti towards the Kodaikanal foothills one can find a Manjalaru Dam. Once crossed the dam, starts the beginning of a mud trail. While hiking further, we get two creeks namely olaiaru and majlaru, respectively. The trail leads to “Amman Macchu’’. This is the place where the goddess Kamakshi did penance to subdue her anger after killing ‘Asura’ a demon who tormented people of all lokas. Goddess came here and did penance in a bamboo bush. For the love of her devotees, goddess Kamakshi came here as a newborn baby, she was placed in a huge chest that was afloat in Manjalaru. She already communicated her arrival to her devotees in their dreams. As per her instruction devotees waited for her arrival. As the chest was floating, the bamboo trees of Manjalaru stopped it. The people understood that the baby inside it is the Kamakshi. Hence the goddess here is known as ‘Mungil Anai Kamakshi.’ Which loosely translates to ‘Bamboo fence Kamakshi’. During every temple festival, the procession being from ‘Amman Macchu’ the temple festival is celebrated in Maasi (Feb-March) month’s Amavasai (no-moon day) that coincides with Shiva Rathri. It was goddess's order that the temple should be built away from Amman Macchu. Devotees throng this temple for both to fulfill their wishes and to thank the goddess for the offerings received.

Hay Roof

Manjal Aru



Amman Maachu


Ant House, goddess penanced here

Just a few yards away, on a hill sits the Karupanna Swamy temple. He is the official caretaker of Mungil Anai Kamakshi Temple. He also considered as the brother of Goddess Kamakshi. Before visiting the Goddess temple, it is a rule to visit Karpanna Swamy Temple. It is believed that Karpanna swamy temple was closer to the Kamakshi temple. However, later he moved away from the temple. Karpanna Swamy is a stanch non-vegetarian while his sister Kamakshi is a pure vegetarian. Due to the differences, he moved away to the near by hill. However, he did not abjure is duty from guarding his sister’s temple and the village. Around the temple complex’s there are many small sanctums for many gods and goddesses, like said before there are no idols and doors in these smalls sanctums just the name plate.

Karupanna Swamy Sannidhi

Karupanna swamy temple at top

Karuppana Swamy


There is a reason as why the idols are not kept inside the sacred sanctums. The worshipping of door in this temple came in to practice after a tiff between the priest and the king. To express priest’s dissatisfaction, he locked the sacred sanctum and went home and never returned. The locked sanctum was never opened again, and all the prayers were offered to the door instead. She is in ‘chest’ form. The temple tower is replaced with a dome made out of hays called Nana Pull. When the temple sanctum was closed down, the goddess again appeared in her devotees’ dreams to watch out for her, she gave all the instructions as well. Like before, she again arrived in a chest form. This time the chest was stopped by the ‘Naananpull’ a type of grass. People weaved a hut using these hays. This replaced the usual sacred tower. Raja Kumbalathar are the ones who manage and maintain this temple. An elderly male (above 60) from Raja Kumbalathar Nayakanmar family changes the hay roof by weaving a new one. There are certain rituals that need to be followed before weaving a new roof. They have to fast for 48 days, should collect all the materials required from Murugamalai, a dense forest. When all the materials are gathered the elder person should climb upstairs blind folded from the backside of the sacred sanctum to the terrace and weaves it without looking in to it. Until they are done they are not supposed to leave and women are prohibited from entering the temple, till the weaving work is finished. Once it is completed, abishkam is done to the door.

Murugamalai
The Holy Chest
Sairaksha Pooja is done every evening. The prayers are carried out with blowing of conch, and beating of sekandi (kind of percussion instrument). After this pooja pin-drop silence is maintained at the temple. It is believed that Goddess kamakshi is still alive and meditates every evening. This is a temple that says idols are not the only way to come closer to god, one can still connect to the God/creator without having to worship idol. God is everywhere and it us who needs to realize this absolute truth!

30 comments:

  1. @ KVK,

    Thank you for the comments. I'm Kamala and I am the one who is writing and maintaining this blog. Thank you very much for your appreciations.

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  2. The detail description regarding this temple that you given is exemplary.i was astonished with each and every fact while reading.hats-off for your work.
    -anukrishnan

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for all your appreciations!

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  3. Thank you so much for the comments, i'm really humbled!

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  4. thank you for showing our ammbal to world wide

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. thanks for uploading and publishing for our kuladeivam to this world

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  7. Kamakshi is mother to all. May she bless this world with peace :) Thanks for the comments :)

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  8. Dear Kamala, I believe there is a Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva here or nearby, which is why the name Devadanam. Would you have any information on that?Regards.

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    1. Sorry I have no information :( Would appreciate anyone who can give more info on it. :) Also, please share your experiences too.

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    2. Yes. Indeed there is a temple which is almost destroyed.

      http://www.columbuslost.com/2007/04/goddess-kamakshi-temple-at.html

      Also, by the side of the river, there is a small Shiva temple.

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  9. Dear Readers,

    I am Arun from Chennai. I am a qualified Chartered Accountant. I heard about this ambal from a Tamil Magazine.By the time i waiting for my CA results. I prayed to god for my Clearing and i had cleared. The Point i want to say is,if you pray saying that you will offer(Venduthal) to god, pls do it without any delay. i had paid the price for that delay. Readers my humble request his Ambal his very powerful at the same time she will definitely make you to offer what you had prayed.By the time of this post i am starting to Theni.

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  10. நன்றி மேலும் ,கோவில் திருவிழா பற்றிய தகவல் மற்றும்

    தொடர்பு கொள்ள தொலைபேசி என் இருந்தால்

    மிகவும் பயனுல்லதாக இருக்கும்

    ஆனந்த் .........

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  11. thank u for information,& publishment,story, dharishanam, welcome to service. vv beauty full collection& interested story. thanks ....

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  12. im very proud.my family kula theivam moongil annai kamachi.

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    Replies
    1. My family also proud to be kula theivam kamachi

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  13. im very proud.bec my family kula theivam.

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    Replies
    1. 7708244733 can u plz contact me i need some detail

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  14. I have been trying the contact no but i could not get the same...If you have any contact no and having bank account details of the amman temple please provide.
    It will be very useful to donate.
    Bank details means: Bank Account no, Account Name and IFSC code.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, I do not have any info that you are looking for. Please call the temple to avoid any kind of scams.

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  15. FANTASTIC BLOG. Today I had a chance to see the power and story of this temple in ZEE TAMIL. I have at once decided to visit this temple. Thank u for ur information.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comments! Hope you get to visit her as soon as possible.

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  16. hi, am Kamatchi
    Now am in Coimbatore. But ennoda native Periyalulam tha. Monthly once na enga family oda kovil ku povan but epo ellam 6 months once or yearly once tha poga mudiyuthu. entha postings ellam parkum pothu na marupadium kovil ku pona santhisam kidachuruku. Thanks You So Much.

    ReplyDelete
  17. hi, am Kamatchi
    Now am in Coimbatore. But ennoda native Periyalulam tha. Monthly once na enga family oda kovil ku povan but epo ellam 6 months once or yearly once tha poga mudiyuthu. entha postings ellam parkum pothu na marupadium kovil ku pona santhisam kidachuruku. Thanks You So Much.

    ReplyDelete

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