History records that the temple of Sri MahaLakshmi Ankamma was established prior to the year 1900. In the earlier days, the temple became significant when the villagers used to pray to the goddess (Sri MahaLakshmi Ankamma) of this temple, when the cattle of the village suffered due to metabolism related diseases. The cattle are cured of diseases when the offerings to the deity like turmeric and saffron (Pasupu & Kunkum) are applied on the skin of the cattle. In this way the villagers recognized and believed in the power and protection given by the goddess to the cattle and the crops cultivated in the village. During the days of governance by the merciless Razakars of Nizam Government, people were harassed under the trees nearby the temple, which was then in the shades of palm trees. During those days the people of the village decided to build a temple for the goddess, so as to receive her grace and protection. Residents of the village Sri Davarapalli Seetarami Reddy and Sri Konda Chinna Bakkulu decideded to construct the Temple and initiated the construction process with great determination.
They were the first people to come forward by donating rupees 30 and by offering sacrifices to the Goddess. They prayed to the goddess to look after the temple. The other villagers also started donating money and they all carried on the work of constructing the temple.
At the same time another donor,Sri Marakanti Murappa donated two acres of land for a meager amount and Sri Erraboina Mallaiah used to perform Pooja in the temple. Lime stone and other stones were used to construct the temple. With the help of villagers, the construction of the temple was completed in just two years of time from the year 1945 to 1947. To celebrate the completion of temple construction, a five day festival called “Panchanmika” was organized during auspicious days from the day of pourmani (full moon day) to bahula chaviti (fourth day after full moon day).
Significance of the Temple.
In the temple the deities of Mahalakshmi, Ankamma, Maddi Ravamma and Nagendra Swamy were consecrated and established. Another significance of the temple is that every year Sri Maha Lakshmi and Ankamma are worshipped as Lakshmi Devi and Durga Devi and also Maddi Ravamma is worshipped as Goddess Saraswathi. Also the people belonging to Yadava community had established their kula devata Sri Peddamma Talli’s deity in the temple.
The goddesses in this temple were offered pulses and Jaggery on every Friday and the same was distributed to people as sacred prasadam. After completion of construction of the temple, Sri Erraboina Mallaiah and Sri Venkatravamma used to perform Pooja. From then onwards people used to call Sri Mallaiah as Godly Mallaiah (Davudu Mallaiah). He passed away in the early hours of Friday the 20th of August 1980. His demise caused great grief to the villagers. After his death Sri Venkatravamma used to take care of the temple.
Highlights of Festival and Procession
The festival of Sri Mahalakshmi and Ankamma has great significance.After construction of temple, “Panchanmika” festival was celebrated.The youth of the village formed as a committee and organized the events of the festival.The present day youth of the village are still following the same tradition and are organizing the festival.Thousands of people from various regions of Khammam district visit Kamalapuram during this festival. The people of Kamalapuram celebrate this festival as a major occasion.As Telugu people celebrate the festival of Sankranti as a major festival by decorating their houses, in the same way the people of Kamalapuram celebrate the five day festival of “Panchanmika” by decorating the houses.In the earlier days, there used to be a fight among the oxen and then the winning ox used to be gifted ornaments made Silver. People belonging to various communities participate in the festival without any distinction of caste,creed or religion.Various skilled people offer their services during the festival.
First Day – Ankurarpanam:It has been a custom to begin the festival with this activity. The bull cart of Sri Peddakapu was used to bring the Prabha from Ayyagaripally Dargah to the temple with a procession.This Prabha has great significance. For any major event happening in any house,Prabha is offered to the goddess. In the earlier days, Prabha used to be of 25 feet height and it used to attract many viewers. In the present days,due to the electrification the height of Prabha has been minimized.The procession of Prabha happens for 12 hours and people from all the streets of the village participate in the procession and offer Prabha to the Goddess.This procession begins the festival.
Second Day – Jalabindalu:This is the second day activity of the festival.Yadava’s collect water in pots from each house of the village for performing Abhishekam to the goddess.And so this activity is named as Jalabindalu (water pots). After getting the water pots to the temple, the Yadava’s tie 4 Kgs of rice in a cloth and place it in the Garbhagudi (inner chamber) of the goddess.In the early hours the Yadava’s get the rice placed in the Garbhagudi and weigh it.It is believed that if the weight of the rice is more than the weight when it was placed inside,then there will be good cultivation and prosperity in the village,and vice versa.
Third Day- Kalyana Mahotsavam:This starts with offering of smaller Prabha from every house hold of the village. Before performing marriage of the goddess,marriage of holy fig tree (Raavi Chattu) and Neem tree (vapa chattu) is performed. Marriage of goddess Sri Maha Lakshmi and Sri Narayana Swami is then performed. Women devotes are overwhelmed by joy by participating in this wedding. After performing the marriage,the goddess is taken into the streets of the village as a procession.
Fourth Day- Bonalu:Women carry Bonalu (cooked rice in pots) on their heads and offer it o the goddess After Peddakapu’s Offerings, all the villagers present their offerings to the goddess.
Fifth Day- Chandrapatanam:This is the concluding event of the festival.The deity of the goddess is placed on Rangavalli (a design on the floor with colors,turmeric and saffron) and all devotees pray goddess. Meanwhile the people feel the presence of goddess in Poonakam (a spiritual state of mind).The goddess speaks through the people about the prospects of village and her wishes.After this the festival is declared concluded.