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Devi Kamakshi in Kanchi

A Short Historical Study


In stock

ISBN : 9788130718248


Author : K. R. Venkataraman


Pages : 110 pp


Year of Publishing : 2020


Binding : Hardbound



The evolution of a large temple-complex in South India is the resultant of several factors. Dynastic changes were reflected in its reshaping and enlargement in conformity with the political power and military might of the kings and their great achievements, and the affluence of merchant and trade guilds coupled with the cultural maturity of the age and the artistic and architectural norms which it established. The interaction of religious movements led to complexities in ritual worship, to the multiplication of agamas and other treatises on rituals, and to the considerable additions to the pantheon, evidenced in the set-up of the pariyara deities.

This book indicates the impact of three main movements of Saivism, which have relevance to the two Kamakshi temples in Kanchi. The earliest was the Lakulisa (Pasupata, Kalamukha etc.) cult. Then came the Lakshadhyayi-Golaki movements which established monastic centres, the heads of which wielded enormous influence in the royal courts, which they used to bring about radical changes in the organisation of temple rituals. The acharyas of the Golaki santanams, adopted Vedic rites of worship and claimed that their teachings contained “the essence of the Vedas, Puranas, Samhitas and Agamas”. The reforms they brought about completed Samkara’s work of modifying the extreme forms of Kalamukha worship. Even today there are Sivacharyas of the Golaki santanam.

The Sakta section of this santanam was strengthened by the migration to Kanchi of several families from the banks of the Narmada; an important section of them, who came to be known as Kamakottiyar, attached themselves to the present Kamakshi temple and served as archakas and tanattar, adopting a special kalpa of Srividya. All this illustrate but one phase in the growth of a complexity of monasticism on the one hand and ritualism on the other of the Saiva, Vaishnava and Advaita persuasions in the socio-religious history of South India from about the 13-S4th century.

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