- May 4, 2021
🛕 Kalikambal Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Goddess Sakthi located in George Town area of Chennai, the capital of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Presiding Deity is called as Kamateswarar and Mother is called as Kalikambal / Kamakshi. Though Presiding Deity is Lord Shiva, importance is attached to Mother Kalikambal. The temple is located in Thambu Chetty Street, a prominent financial street running parallel to Rajaji Salai.
🛕 It is believed that Maratha Emperor Shivaji worshiped this temple for his success. Indian Film Super Star Rajinikanth’s favourite temple and he worship this goddess for all his success. The temple was once located inside the St George fort and later shifted here during the British regime. The temple has the sanctity of the two Pancha Bootha Sthalams – Kanchipuram and Thiruvannamalai.
🛕 It is believed that the holy Meru image that is found in the sanctum was installed by Adi Shankaracharya.
🛕 It is believed that the sages Agastya, Pulasthiar, Parasara, Vyasa and Angirasar worshiped Kalikambal of this temple. Varuna, Indhra, Vishwakarma and Kubera are also said to have prayed to the presiding deity of the temple. Kalikambal bestowed Kubera with wealth and prosperity.
🛕 Kalikambal Temple is part of the tradition of naming the port cities of Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai after the goddess consecrated in a temple on the seashore. Chennamman lent her name to Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu. She was the presiding deity of Chennai Kuppam, an old settlement in the 17th century CE. The area where the temple now exists was called Maratta town. This changed to Muthialpet and Pavazhakaara Theru – Coral Merchant Street. This area was also called Chennamman Kuppam. The presiding deity of Chennamman Kuppam was Kali and now she is called Kalikambal. For more than 500 years Vishwakarmas (artisans and craftsmen’s community) worshipped Kalika as their family deity. The temple is being maintained by Vishwakarmas.
🛕 The temple was originally located closer to the sea shore and was relocated to the current site at 1640 AD. It was then built in 1678. Shivaji, the Maratha warrior and the founder of the Hindawi-Swarajya in the 17th century, had worshiped in this temple incognito on 3 October 1667. It is interesting to note that he came to be called as Chatrapati after worshipping the deity. It is believed that a fierce form of Goddess was held in worship earlier and that this form was replaced with the Shanta Swaroopam (calm posture) form of Goddess. The great Tamil poet, Subramanya Bharathiyar, when he was working for Swadeshi Mithran, used to visit this temple often. He song the famous “Yadumaki Ninrai Kali” song on this deity. The famous TMS’s song ‘Ullam Uruhuthaiya’ was sung for the first time here only, in 1952 by Sri Andavan Pichai.
🛕 The temple has two entrances. The east facing entrance is located in Thambu Chetti Street, which is used by most of the people. The west facing entrance is located in Armenian Street. Both the entrances have towers, with lot of stucco images depicting the Goddess in different forms. The temple towers are constructed in the 1980s and they are not very old structures. The south facing entrance leads into the innermost prakaram (enclosure) with the sanctum facing west. To its right is the shrine of Kamateswarar (Shiva).
🛕 Mother is called as Kalikambal / Kamakshi. She is also known as Neithal Nila Kamakshi / Chennamman / Kottai Amman (Kottai means fort in Tamil). She is housed in the sanctum facing west. She is found with four arms and in the sitting posture. Kalikambal sits in an Artha padmasana pose holding pasa and angusam. At her foot is the Ardha Meru said to have been consecrated by Sri Adi Sankara. It is also believed that a fierce form of Goddess was held in worship earlier and that this form was replaced with the Shanta Swaroopa (calm posture) form of Goddess Kamakshi.
🛕 The entrance of the sanctum has two big images of Dwarapalikas. (They are named as Jaya and Vijaya). The sanctum is surrounded by a cluster of sub-shrines. The enclosure that contains this sanctum and the other sub-shrines has the south facing entrance. The flag staff with Trishul and bali peetha are situated facing outside this enclosure and they face towards the direction of the sanctum. Brahma Vidya, Saraswathi, Vaishnavi, Maheswari and Lakshmi are found as the niche images around the sanctum.
🛕 Presiding Deity is called as Kamateswarar. He is housed in the sanctum in the form of small Shiva Linga. Presiding Deity is in a small sanctum compared to Mother and regular poojas are mainly for Mother only. Sanctum is located to the right side of the Kalikambal Shrine. Nandi is found facing towards Shiva Linga. The small prakara around this shrine has very small bas relief niche images of Ganesha, Dhakshinamoorthi, Vishnu, Brahma and Vishnu Durga. Chandikeswarar is also found in his usual location.
🛕 The enclosure which contains the sanctums of Kamateswarar and Kalikambal as well as the inner prakara has few more minor shrines such as Lord Subramanya with his consorts Valli and Devasena, Arunachaleswarar with his consort Unnamalai, Brahmendra Swamigal (Utsava Idol) and Navagraha. The idols of Ganesha, Subramanya, Shiva Linga, Nagas, Surya, Chandra and Bhairava are also located in this enclosure.
🛕 There is also a shrine for Ganesha along with his consorts Siddhi and Buddhi in the prakaram. To the backside of the sanctum, there is a big east facing mandapam. The bronze idol of Periya Nayaki with Saraswathi and Lakshmi on her either sides is found in this mandapam. The Utsava deity of Kalikambal is called as Periya Nayaki. This Shrine looks like a separate temple with sanctum and Arthamandapam.
🛕 There is a shrine for Vada Kathirkama Murugan in the Temple premises. Lord Subramanya looking like northerner holding a sheaf of grain. It is to be noted that the famous cine song Ullam Uruguthaya was written by Sri Andava Pichi in the year 1952 from this place. In the outer prakara, in a separate sub-shrine, eight-armed big image of Veerabhadra and four-armed Kali are found. It is not usual to find Bhadra and Kali together in a single shrine in and around Chennai.
🛕 There is a large shrine to Natarajar (dancing Shiva) and Sivakami (Parvathi) in the north-east corner of the outer prakaram. This shrine celebrates special events twice a year, once during Arudra Dharisanam (December-January, the day of Siva’s cosmic dance) and again during the annual Brahmotsavam. This shrine also serves as the Alankara mandapam (decorational hall) where the festival image of Kalikambal is exhibited during the annual Brahmotsavam.
🛕 The temple is administered by Vishwakarma community. According to them, the supreme deity is Virat Vishwakarma / Virat Vishwa Brahma. Virata Vishwa Brahmam, as per some beliefs, is believed to be the supreme God who created even Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The big idol of Virat Vishwa Brahma with five heads and ten arms is found in a separate shrine. As per Vishwakarmas, his consort is Gayatri. She is also found in small sub-shrine nearby.
🛕 The very big stucco idols of Dhakshinamoorthi and Prathyangira Devi seated on lion are new additions to this temple. They can be seen on the right side at east side entrance mandapam. Ganesh and Naga Subramanya are located at the entrance of the east facing mandapam in the outer prakaram. There is a shrine for Utsava Idol of Lord Shanmuga with his consorts Valli and Deivanai in the outer prakaram.
🛕 There is a unique sculpture of Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar sitting cross-legged, with some palm leaves in his hand in the temple premises. The Kalikambal temple also has a rare painting and a sculpture showing Goddess Kali blessing Chatrapati Shivaji. It is said that Shivaji visited the temple in the year 1677 and offered prayers to the deity. There are sculptures of the famous Tamil poet, Subramanya Bharathiyar and the great Guru/philosopher Adi Shankaracharya worshipping the goddess in the temple premises.
🛕 Yagasala (fire ritual) can be seen at northwestern corner of the outer prakaram. The Kinni Ther – a chariot lined with metal cymbals is unique to this temple, and the Kinni Ther procession in the month of Vaikasi attracts large crowds. It is said that the original location of this temple was closer to the sea shore and that it was relocated to its present location during the period of British rule in India.
🛕 The Temple remains open from 5:00 am to 12 noon and from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
🛕 The Vasantha Navaratri in March – April and the Navaratri festival (September-October) are occasions when the Mahamandapam (main hall) in front of the east facing shrine of the Utsavar (processional image) is uniquely decorated with metal cymbals like those used in the Kinni Ther, the chariot of cymbals. The 10-day Margazhi festival (December-January) has a procession of Manikkavacakar, the Tamizh Saint-poet. This culminates in the Shiva festival of Arudra Dharisanam, when Lord Nataraja is taken out in a procession in the early hours of the morning. The processional icon of Kalikambal is taken out in the evening.
🛕 The festival of Maasi Makam (February-March when the star Makam reigns over the skies) features a procession of the deity to the seashore. The ten-day Brahmotsavam in Vaikasi (May-June) begins with a traditional flag hoisting and concludes on Vaikasi Visakam (the day the star Visaka reigns over the skies). A procession of deities on brightly decorated mounts is the highlight.
🛕 Fridays in general are considered to be of significance here. Of greater significance are Fridays in the Tamil months of Thai (Capricorn) and Aadi (Cancer). On every Tuesdays and Fridays at Raagu kalam special poojas by lighting in lemon fruit cups is worth mentioning. The vows of the devotees with this light offering is believed to be heard and answered immediately. The turmeric paste got from the abishekams of Sri Moolavar is proved useful in treating diseases.
🛕 The Temple is located at Thambu Chetty Street, George Town Area. The Temple is located at about 500 meters from Chennai Beach Bus Stop, 700 meters from Parrys Corner Bus Stop, 500 meters from Chennai Beach Railway Station, 800 meters from Mannady Metro Station, 3 Kms from Chennai Central Railway Station, 5 Kms from Egmore Railway Station, 13 Kms from Koyambedu Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus and 21 Kms from Chennai Airport. The Temple is located very close to the Mannady Metro Station. You can proceed on foot to this Temple from the station. From other parts of the city, you can take a Cabs, Auto Rickshaw, Bus, Local Trains and Metro Trains to reach the Temple.
Kalikambal Kamateswarar Temple,
Thambu Chetty Street, Near Parry’s Corner,
Mannady, Chennai – 600 001
Phone: +91 44 2522 9624