On Sunday we were privileged to attend an official event by invitation of Swami Siva Sri Arumuga Paskarakurukal at the Kanchi Kamakshi Temple in Hamm-Uentrop. This temple is dedicated to Kanchi Kamakshi and is considered to be one of the largest Hindu temples in Europe. It is the only temple of Kamakshi Devi outside of India/South Asia.
Guruji was guest of honour for the Kumbha abhishekam taking place at the temple. Kumbha abhishekams normally take place once every 12 years when the temple or the main deity is repainted.
The temple tower in Hamm (of which there are two towers) No. One had been painted and completed and so the ceremony began around 9 a.m. with an abhishekam to the kalash (at the very top of the scaffolding of the painted tower).
Having arrived around 10 a.m. Guruji went straight into the temple and was greeted officially by Swami Paskarakurukal and garlanded. The temple was packed full - there were around 800 - 1000 people present. Shortly after Guruji had arrived the doors were opened to the inner temple so that the first darshan of the main murthi Kanchi Kamakshi Ambal could be viewed....everyone was squeezed together like sardines...trying to see Maa and catch a glimpse of Her as the doors were being opened. It is said that as the doors of the inner temple are opened on such an auspicious occasion the prayers of all those present are answered. Obviously there was quite a bit of pushing and cheering as the doors slowly opened to reveal Divine Mother sitting there in all her glory!
After this we were led outside so that all the Swamis present from Bhakti Marga (BM) could attend a yagna at the yagna shala just outside the main temple. There were 10 pujaris carrying out 10 yagnas simultaneously for us. After the yagna, Guruji, the Swamis and the BM musicians went inside the temple to "rock the house" with bhajans and kirtans!
Since this temple is from South India - a Tamil temple, the music is of a different style...but nevertheless Guruji "rocked" the house, the Indians and SriLankans there at first were not sure what do... but slowly some of them started moving and swinging to the music and ended up dancing and singing along! The last song was sung by Swami Paskarakurukal himself!
After the singing there was kalash puja conducted during which time Maa was given abhishekam. Liters and liters of milk were poured over Her - from where we were sitting (right in the middle of the temple) we had a perfect view of the whole occasion. Ma looked really happy! During this time there was some really loud traditional South Indian instrumental music being played which was charging the atmosphere with energy.
Following this we were then guided out of the temple to Swami Paskarakurukal's house for a late lunch. Pramod had the chance to practice his Tamil (he only knows a little!). We took one final darshan of Maa before jumping in the cars for a long drive home. All in all it was a great event and really enjoyed by all filled with prayer, atmosphere and the presence of Maa and our beloved Guru.