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Kumbakonam Temples

TTDC / Kumbakonam Temples

The name Kumbakonam means “pot’s corner”. It’s an ancient temple town, flanked by the Caurvery and Arasalar rivers. Kumbakonam rose to become prominent between the 7th and 9th Centuries, when it was the madeival capital of the Cholas. It reached great heights during the British Raj and was christened as Cambridge of South India for being prominent for both European education and Hindu culture.

Every 12 years the festival of Mahamagaham takes place here, where lakhs converge from all over the country to take a dip in the holy tank. In falls in the tamil month of Masi (February/March) on the day of the Magam star.

That apart, Kumbakonam is studded with around 188 temples of Shiva and Vishnu. The temples are ornate, imaginative and architecturally stimulating and replete with mythological tales.

Of the 12 temples of Lord Shiva connected with the Mahamaham Festival, this is one of them. The presiding deity is Adhi Kumbeshwarar and is represented by the lingam. The temple is considered to be one of the Saptha Sthana temples of Kiumbakonam. It has been revered in the Thevaram during the 7th Century and has been acknowledged as a Paadal Petra Sthalam.

The temple has 4 gopurams and numerous shrines, the most revered among them being the Kumbaleshwar and Mangalambigai Amman. Its sixteen pillared hall, built during the Vijayanagar period, has all 27 stars and 12 zodiacs sculpted on a single stone.

This is one of the 5 Vaishnava temples connected to the Mahamaham. It is one of the 108 Divya Desams glorified by the Andal & the Alwars in numerous verses of the Divya Prabhandam and is classified as a Pancharanga Kshetram. In fact it has the maximum number of Alwars singing praises of the lord after Srirangam and Tirupati.

This temple is believed to be around 2000 years old. It was here that that Vaishnavite Saint Nada Muni was inspired to compile the work of the Alwars, and Thamizisai Alwar spent his last years here and attained salvation.

The sanctum sanctorum is made of 12 columns and shaped like a chariot. Lord Sarangapani is believed to have appeared and blessed Saint Hemarishi here.

The Chariot Festival is one of the highlights of this temple and one of the most colourful ones, held in the month of Chittirai (April/May). The chariot is said to weigh 300 tonnes.

This temple is located on the south of Sarangapani Temple. It faces the North and there is abig tower or Gupuram on the eastern side. The architectural style and element of this temple resembles the Dravidian Architecture of the 13th Century of the Chola Regime. Aravamuthar and Thenar Mozhi thayar are the other deities enshrined in this temple complex.

This temple, built by Aditya Chola during the 9th Century, has a Pralaya Rudra Sannadhi and is a rahu parihara sthalam. It is said that Adisesha & Surya had worshipped Sri Nageswara here. The beauty of its architecture is such that sunlight enters the sanctum sanctorum and falls directly on the base only during the tamil month of Chitra (April/May). There is a local belief that visiting the Nageswaran Temple, Tirunageswaram and Thirupampuram temples in the morning, afternoon and evening has significant effect for those seeking rahu parikaram.

Built in the 16th Century by King Achutha Nayak of Tanjore, the temple has a 3 tiered gopuram and the shrine of Lord Rama with Vyakara Mudra seated with Sita Devi. Lakshmana, Bharata & Satruguna are standing next to the lord and Hanuman is in the kneeling posture holding manuscripts. The outer sculptures are beautifully sculpted with various sequence of the Ramayana and each pillar has been carved out of single rock. There are paintings of the pattabishekam of Vibishana & Sugriva; Hanuman playing the veena; Agalya getting relieved of a curse; and the entire Chitra Ramayana has been painted on the walls of the sanctum sanctorum.

This is the only temple for Sri Chakrapani, otherwise called Sakarathazhvar. It is believed that Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of the Sudarshana Chakra to put down the arrogance of Surya. This is the second largest Vaishnavite temple in Kumbakonam, and Lord Chakrapani is said to have the third eye like Lord Shiva. Agampara Vinayakar, Panchamukha Anjaneyar and Thayar Vijayavalli are enshrined here. There are two different entrances through which devotees enter to worship Sarangapani during Utharayanam (Thai-Aani) and Dakshinayanam (Aadi-Panguni).

This temple enshrines the presiding deities of Kambatta Viswanathar and Anandha Nidhiambigai, and is also known aas Malathivanam. The temple is called so because coin minting was done here during the Nayak period.

Though this is a relatively small temple complex located in the Panapuri Agraharam, it attains significance because Veda Vyasa is believed to have visited this temple and worshipped the lord.

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