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Kumbakonam (Tamil: கும்பகோணம்) (kumpakōṇam), is a city and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 40 kilometres from Thanjavur and 273 kilometres from Chennai. It is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district.
Adi Kumbeswarar temple is the major one among the Saivite temples and located in the centre of Kumbakonam at Big Bazaar Street. Shri Adhi Kumbeswara is the presiding deity of Kumbakonam and Manthrapeeteswari Mangalambika is the lord's Consort. The temple complex is huge and has beautiful artwork. This temple covers an area of 30,181 sq ft (2,803.9 m2). with a length and breadth of 750 feet (230 m), and 252 feet (77 m) respectively. This temple comprises three Praharas and three Gopurams in the eastern, northern and western directions. It is believed that Govinda Theeksithan, the Chieftain of Achutha Nayakar of Thanjavur, renovated this oldest temple during the 16th century. The East Gopuram consists of 9 stories with a height of 128 ft (39 m). Mangala Theertham, Marriage hall and small temples for Muruga, Ganapathi and Mangalambigai are other major constituents of this temple.
Thirucherai is a beautiful village which is 15 km from Kumbakonam, this temple has a historical background, this temple has a historical details of more than 2000 years Lord Vishnu is the main god he is name as Saranatahan.Thirucherai
In Koothanur village which is very near to Nannilam, an extremely rare temple for Saraswati exists. During examination times, many students come to worship Goddess Sarashwathi, the goddess of Wisdom. Reaching the temple is convenient because of ample transport facilities from Kumbakonam, about 30 km away.
The Ramaswamy Temple which depicts the paintings of Ramayana is another important Vaishanavite temple in Kumbakonam. The greatness of Ramaswamy Temple is said to be the only temple where Lord Rama, Goddess Sita are in the same platform and Lord Hanuman is playing the veena instead of reading the Ramayana. The entire deity is said to be made from Saligrama monolith. The Temple is filled with intricate carvings in its pillars.
Chakrapani Temple is situated about 1.5 km North of Ramaswamy Temple. Here the main deity is Chakraraja. The Sudharshana Chakra is also here. The temple is also an exquisite exponent of the early temple architecture. The important and peculiar point about this temple is that Vilva (Bilwa) archana which is normally performed in Shiva temples is also performed here for the Perumal (Lord Vishnu).
Kasi Viswanathar Temple is situated very close to the Mahamaham tank and another one temple is placed in Solaiyappan street. Here the main deity is Kasi Viswanathar/Visalakshi. The important and peculiar point about this temple is the navakanniyar, which are the 9 holy rivers. It is believed that the mahamaham function is closely associated with the 9 presiding deities namely Ganga, Yamuna, Narmada, Saraswati, Kaveri, Godavari, Tungabhatra, Krishna and Sarayu. Another important part is the stala lingam present in the southern part of the temple. It was worshipped by Ravana and is believed to grow with ages. The temple can be accessed by alighting at the Head post office bus stop.
Nageswaran Temple, is dedicated to Shiva in the guise of Nagaraja, the serpent king. Also known as "Koothandavar Kovil", it is located near the Kumbakonam old bus stand. Aditya Chola constructed this temple during the 12th century. It stands as a great marvel of Chola architecture, building technology and astronomy. The design and orientation are structured in such a way that it allows sunlight inside the temple only during the Tamil month of Chithirai (April/May), therefore, it bears another name called Surya Kottam or Keel Kottam. The Karuvarai (Sanctum Sanctorum) of Nageswaran temple is similar to that of Sarangapani Temple, as it is made in the form of a Chariot. The temple consists of three gopurams in the eastern western and southern directions.
This vast temple known is for its shrine to Rahu, one of the nine celestial bodies in the Navagraha. A legend has it that the mythological serpents Adiseshan, Dakshan and Kaarkotakan worshipped Shiva here. Legend also has it that King Nala worshipped Shiva here as in Thirunallar
Of the many temples in Kumbakonam, the most striking is the Lord Sarangapani Temple, a Vaishnavite temple. This famous pancharanga kshetram is in the midst of the busy market place. Before the Sri Rangam Temple gopuram (tower) was built, this temple used to hold the place for the tallest Temple Tower in South Asia. This twelve storied 147 feet (45 m) high temple was built by the Nayak Kings during the 15th century.
Someswar Temple is situated in the southern portion of Sri Sarangapani temple. This temple faces east with a 5-tier Gopuram at the entrance. It also has an entrance in the south. The architectural style and element of this temple resembles the Dravidian Architecture of the 13th century of the Chola period. Arumugam and Thenar Mozhi Ammal are the other deities located in this temple complex.
Thirunageswaram is located 8 km east of Kumbakonam. There are two major temples at Thirunageswaram. One the famous Vaishnavaite temple of Oppliyappan (Oppliyappan Sannadhi) (the Venkatesh Perumal of Tirupathi), the other the ThiruNageswarar or NagaNathaswami (Naga in Tamil/Sanskrit means Snake and Natha means God) temple for Shaivaites. An important rite of this temple is that of Rahu bhagawan sannathi where milk abhishekham is performed daily during Rahukaalam. At this time, milk that is poured on the statue is supposed to turn blue when it passes over the body, and back to white after it reaches the floor. This is watched by many daily during the raahu kaalam. This is also the only place wherein one can view Rahu bhagawan with his consorts.
Sri Thenupureeswarar temple at Pateeswaram, 5 km south-east of Kumbakonam, was constructed during the 16th century by Govinda Dikshithar, a Minister of Nayak King Acchathappa.
The temple at Darasuram, 4 km west of Kumbakonam is Airvatesvara (Airavat is the holy white elephant) Temple, constructed by Rajaraja Chola II (1146–63), is a superb example of 12th-century Chola architecture. Many statues were removed to the art gallery in the Thanjavur Palace, but have since been returned. The remarkable structures depict, among other things, Shiva as Kankala-murti - the mendicant. Stories from epics and Hindu mythology are depicted. Adjoining the Airavatesvara temple is the Deiva Nayaki Ambal temple.
In 2004 the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) excavated and restored the temple.
The area surrounding Kumbakonam is home to a set of Navagraha temples dating from the Chola period.
The Lord Murugan temple is located in Swami Malai, which is around 10 km from kumbakonam. It is located on the main road connecting Kumbakonam and Thanjavur. It is one among the six famous temples (Arupadai Veedu) of Lord Muruga. This is the place where the Lord murugan in childhood taught the meaning of mandra "OM" to his father Lord Siva. Lord Murugas Fourth home.
This siva temple is famous for vinayakar sculpture which has been carved from white foam while churning the milky sea. So the name of the god in Tamil is "Vellai pillayar" meaning that "White vinayakar". This temple is located in small village "Thiruvalansuzi" which is 4 km from Kumbakonam and 2 km from Swamimalai. The name "Thiruvalansuzi" has come because the Cauvery river prayed the lord Siva by doing pradhaksana from right hand side to left hand side. (Usually it will be left to right). The name for lord Siva in this temple is "Sadai mudi nathar".
We can find the moola brindavanam of Sri Vijayeendra Tirtha (Raghavendra Swamy guru's guru) here. It is in Solaiyappan Street. The great Vijayeendra Tirtha's Aradhana falls on Jyeshta Trayodashi. He was one of the greatest scholar what India has produced. He was a staunch Vishnu bhakta and a great philosopher. He was an exponent of 64 vidyas.
This temple is situated at Solaiyappan street on the banks of the Cavery river (Nangam Thirunal Padithurai). This private temple is supposed to be more than 200 years old built by Achalpuram Shri.Lakshmna shrowthigal's (great scholar of Krishna Yajur veda)son Indore Shri.Suba rao dravid. In this temple deities are Sri Rama, Shiva (sankara) in the form of Bhana lingam and Parvathi (Bhavani) are in separate sannithis. Rama, lakshmana, sita and hanuman are made of marbles. This ramar (called Solaiappan Agraharam Ramaswamy) is one of the twelve deities in the Akshya thirthi celebrations in Kumbakonam. This temple was managed by Late.Smt. Rajalakshmi(Ramarkoil Rajalakshmi ammmal, great grand daughter of late Shri.Subba rao lakshmana) till 2013 & currently managed by her family. This temple is a good shiva vishnu temple on the banks of Cauvery river. Several Hindu religious saints use to come here to do chaturmasya. Great His Holiness paramhmasa Anandagiri swamigal stayed in this temple did his tapas and puja for quite number of times and got information at the entrance of the temple to travel to Thiruviyaru to attain mukthi. Similarly he did and attained mukthi at Thiruviyaru. Hanuman in this temple have knife, gatha, bow, arrow at back and japamala in his hand doing rama japam. Rama with jadamudi and knife(valkaram)at hip and marauri (dress) and kothdhandam in his hand.
Sri Rama Bhajanai Sabha founded and nurtured by Venuganam Sri Sarabha Sastri about 125 years ago. It is in Solaiappan Street. Every year sabha celebrates Sri Rama Navami Utasavam and Sri Radha Kalyana Mahotsavam and committed to its various cultural and religious needs of the Hindu society with the grace of Lord Rama.
Sri.Kambakareswarar is the main deity,Sarabeswarer, a form of Shiva is the presiding deity of the temple. Particularly worshiping at 4.30-6.00 pm[RAHU KAALAM] on Sundays is special.