|Facts and Figures|
|Best time to visit||October to March|
Kumbhakonam is located at 40 km north east of Thanjavur. The town is 90 km east of Thiruchirapally and 315 km away from Chennai (Madras). Kumbhakonam is a prominent place in central Tamil Nadu, the South Indian state. This beautiful place is situated on the shores of River Cauvery.
Kumbhakonam enjoys a moderate tropical climate. The maximum rainfall is during the period from October to December. The average temperature is 34-38 degree Celsius.
The temple city of Kumbhakonam is a busy tourist destination and commercial center on the shores of River Kauvery on the North, and River Arasalar on the South. The Kumbhakonam temples are specially noted for their semi-erotic sculptures. The mythological origin of the Kumbhakonam town gives a totally varied story apart from the tales related to the birth of other places. A Kumbh (pitcher) that contained the “seeds of creation” was reached here on the occasion of a great flood. When Lord Siva broken the pot, its contents sprouted out into “lingas” all along the countryside. It is widely believed that the reason of the presence of large number of temples in this region is the sprouted lingas. It is stated that Kumbhakonam was the Capital of Chola dynasty in the early centuries. The British government also confirmed the view and stationed a New Zilla Judge here from 1806 to 1863 for further studies on its historical details.
SITES TO VISIT
Being a land of temples Kumbhakonam houses innumerable temples both belong to Vaishnavite and Shivite Cults of Hinduism. Sharangapani Temple is a Vaishnavite temple of Kumbhakonam, the largest of its kind here. The Nayak kings built it on the 15th Century AD. It has a height of 147 feet and having 12 stories. The Ramaswamy Temple, which depicts the paintings of Ramayanam, is another Prominent Vaishnavite Temple.
Kumbeswara temple is a famous Shivite temple of Kumbhakonam and it situates on the central part of the town. Thirunageswara Temple is another Shivite Temple that worth mentioning which is 8 kms East of Kumbhakonam.
Sri Thiruppureswarar Temple at Pateeswaram is 5 km Southeast of Kumbhakonam was built at the time of the famous Nayak king of 16th Century named Achathappa for which the initiative have taken by his efficient and enthusiastic minister Govinda Dikshithar.
Temple of Swamimalai, is situated at a distance of 8 km west of Kumbhakonam which is one of the six abodes of Lord Muruga. Many ‘Nayanmars’ are sung in praise of this temple.
Mahamaham Tank situates just 600m Southeast of the town is in the form of Palindrome. This holly tank holds a legend that much of the contents of the holy pitcher flowed into this tank. Still the people believe that in the completion of every 12 years the waters of River Ganges flows into this tank. At this time a spectacular and most enthusiastic festival will be held to commemorate the unique occasion. A flock of devotees from various parts of South India comes here.
The presence of Navagraha temples (temples of nine planets) is a specialty of Kumbhakonam. Among Hindus there is a peculiar kind of worship of the heavenly bodies, those are believed to have a great influence on human beings. These celestial bodies are directly connected with the age-old Astrology. All these nine temples are easily accessible from Kumbakonam. Suryanar Kovil is dedicated to Sun that situates 3 km away from Aduthurai on the Kumbhakonam - Mayiladuthurai road. Thingaloor Koil is worshipping the Moon, 1.5 km away from Thirupayahanam on the Thiruvaiyyaru road. Vaitheeswaran Koil is dedicated to the planet Mars is 4 km from the Myladuthurai on Chidambaram road. Trivenkadu temple worships the planet Mercury that is 10 km on the South East of Sirkali. Alangudi is the temple for Jupiter situates 15 km away to Kumbhakonam on the way to Needamangalam. Kanjanoor temple is dedicated to the Venus situates in a remote village on the Mayiladuthurai - Kathiramangalam road. Thirunallar temple is famous for its main deity of Saturn is on the way to Peralam - Karaikal road about 5 km away to Karaikal. Thirunageswaram temple enshrines the deity of ‘Rahu’ situates 7 km from Kumbhakonam. Keezhaperumbalam temple is dedicated to ‘Kethu’ near Poompuhar on the Mayiladuthurai - Poompuhar road.
Darasuram is a small town 4 km west of Kumbhakonam. Darasuram is located in between Chennai and Thanjavur line. Here one can visit the famous Airavatheswara Temple; a marvelous piece of architecture built by King Raja Raja Second in the 12th Century. The temple is having columns with unique miniature sculptures. Later an array of large statues was replaced, made of baked bricks and concrete statues like those are seen in the Thanjavur temples. The engraved sculptures are telling the epic stories. Visit of the temple is possible from 8 am to 8 pm.
Gangaikondacholapuram temple situates 35 km north of Kumbhakonam was originally constructed at the time of the Chola Emperor Rajendra 1st. It is based on the same style of construction of Brihadiswara Temple at Thanjavur. The Nayaks of 15th Century have done major additions in this temple. The tower is 55 meters of height and weighs about 80 tones. To the east a huge statue of Nandi (holly Bull) can be seen.
A small museum in Gangaikondacholapuram exhibits the excavated remains of a palace that is believed to be there in the surroundings. The museum will be closed on all the Fridays.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
Mahamaham Festival occurs in every 12 years on the Tamil month of Masi, which will be either at the end of March or at the beginning of February. Mahamaham festival is concentrated on a particular day. The main activity of the festival is having a dip into the holly tank. The festival is also centered on the particular tank. The tank covers an area of five and half acres with a depth of 10 feet. The legend goes that when Lord Siva darted on the Kumbha (pitcher) of Lord Brahma the nectar that has followed have created this rectangular pond. The next Mahamaham festival is going to be celebrated on 2004.
WHERE TO SHOP
As the famous city of Thanjavur situated 40 kilometers away to Kumbhakonam, most of the shopping possibilities are scattered around there. Thanjavur is famous for its traditional fine arts, sculptures and renowned “Thanjavur paintings”.
WHERE TO STAY
Many mid-range hotels are available here. These hotels are near the Ayikulam road, TSR big street, and Post Office road. The rooms are well equipped with attached bathrooms and communication facilities.
HOW TO REACH
By Air: The nearest domestic airport is at Thiruchirapally, 90 km east of Kumbhakonam. The nearest international airport is at Chennai, 315 km away which is connected with many international sectors.
By Rail: Quilon Express, Thirupathy Express, Thanjavur passenger, Sethu Express, Shenkotta Express, Cholan Express are main trains passed through Kumbhakonam. From Kumbhakonam there are four Express trains go to Chennai. There are daily trains goes to Madurai and Thiruchirapally.
By Road: In every 5 minuts there are frequent buses available to and from Thiruchirapally, Thanjavur, Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam, Mannargudi, Neyveli, Pondichery, Villupuram, Coimbatore, Madurai, Erode etc are running both by the Tamil Nadu transport Corporation and Private transporting companies.
In Kumbhakonam foreign money exchange facilities are available in the State Bank of India. STD, ISD, FAX, Internet are also available in the town.
|Adventure Tours of India|