January 23, 2015

Kumbakonam Temples and Navagraha Temples


Kumbakonam is in Tamil Nadu and is called Temple Town and there are hundreds of big temples in and around this city. Mahamaham is one of the famous landmarks in the town. Many of the temples here are very old and having big towers. Just the temple towers alone is an interesting things to check. They are so big and have thousands of small colorful sculptures.

There is a saying in Tamil "Gopura Darisanam Kodi Punniyam" which means  the sight of a Temple tower is worth 10 million pious activities. Few temples have great sculptures and carvings inside.

I have mainly covered the historic and very important temples only in this blog.

In Kumbakonam, apart from Degree Coffee, the betel leaf is famous (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betel). Brass vessels are also famous here. Plus when you visit Thiruvaiyaru, try "Halwa (Ashoka Halwa - Sweet)" from Andavar shop that is famous.

The temples and other places covered in this blog are as follows:
  1. Adi Kumbeswarar Temple 
  2. Ramaswamy Temple 
  3. Sarangapani Temple 
  4. Chakrapani Temple
  5. Nageswaraswamy Temple
  6. Kasiviswanathar Temple and
  7. Mahamaham Tank
  8. House of Srinivasa Ramanujan - The mathematical genius
Apart from the above, you can also visit the following UNESCO World Heritage sites / temples that are very close from here. Click the links below to read my blog posts with photos. 

 Gangaikondacholapuram TempleDarasuram Airavatesvara TempleThanjavur Brihadeeswarar Temple

  1. Gangaikonda Cholapuram Peruvudaiyar Temple (35 kms from Kumbakonam)
  2. Darasuram Airavatesvara Temple (4 kms from Kumbakonam)
  3. Thanjavur Brihadeeswarar Temple (41 kms from Kumbakonam)
Nearby Kumbakonam Temples covered in this blog are

  1. Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple (36 kms from Kumbakonam) (Speciality: Echo Prakaram or Saptha Oli Prakaram, See below the video which captures the echo)
  2. Pateeshwaram Thenupuriswarar Temple (8 kms)
  3. Thirukkadaiyur or Thirukkadavur Temple is just 55 Kms from here and refer my blog post to see photos and details. 
Apart from all the above, there are Nine Temples for Navagraha darshan. Find the details at the end of this blog. 

Route and Other Details

Nearest Air port: Trichy or Trichirappalli, Tamil Nadu
Nearest Railway station: Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu

Incase if you want to start from Bangalore, there is a train available which starts from Mysore via Bangalore and goes till Mayiladuthurai. Train no: 16231. The same train (Train no: 16232) comes back to Mysore via Bangalore. You can get down at kumbakonam station. 

If you are driving from Bangalore then you can go via the route given below:


Bangalore-Salem-Namakkal-Thuraiyur-Kannanur-Pulivalam-Mannachanallur-Trichy Tolgate-Lalgudi-Anbil-Poondi-Thiruvaiyaru-Kumbakonam. Road is good in this route. Avoid Namakkal-Musiri-Thottiyam-Trichy road as the road is very bad. Tanjore to Kumbakonam road is not good and has many potholes, so the above might help. There are plenty of routes and options, so choose your own convenient route options. 

Stay / Food options

There are plenty of options in Kumbakonam and Thanjavur. Refer the review sites to checl for best options. We stayed at "Hotel Athithya" which is right behind the hotel Aryaas. Refer my review for full details.

For Food, Hotel Venkata Ramana in Kumbakonam is pretty good. This is right next to Gandhi Park. You can also try Hotel Aryaas which is ok. Don't forget to try "Kumbakonam Degree Coffee" which is famous here. See photos at the end of this post.

Trip Planning

In two days with one night stay in Kumbakonam you can cover all the temples listed above (8 + 3 + 2 = 13 places/temples) except for Navagraha Temples. Incase if you want to see Navagraha Temples as well, then you need two extra days to cover all of them in a relaxed way.

Start early morning to visit the temples at around 5:45AM. This time no one will be there and you can peacefully have darshan. If you start early in morning, you can cover more temples in a day.

For planning your visits, feel free to ask the hotel reception, they will be happy to help and give you a guide map as well. You can also contact me.  All the kumbakonam temples and places listed in this blog can be covered in 6 hours. (6AM to 12PM) and after that have lunch in Kumbakonam and head to Thanjavur. 

1. Adi Kumbeswarar Temple


The main temple tower or Rajagopuram rises upto 128 feet and facing east. There are four towers here including the main tower. There are three inner prakarams with high walls. The main deity Kumbeswarar idol is never bathed but only coated with punugu (scented oil of civet cat).


Kumbakonam Adi Kumbeswarar Temple2
Kumbakonam Adi Kumbeswarar Temple View from the Tank 


Kumbakonam Adi Kumbeswarar Temple
Kumbakonam Adi Kumbeswarar Temple Tower


Kumbakonam Adi Kumbeswarar Temple7-2
Kumbakonam Adi Kumbeswarar Temple Tower from Inside

Kumbakonam Adi Kumbeswarar Temple8
Kumbakonam Adi Kumbeswarar Temple Tank Inside the Temple

2. Chakrapani Temple


Not so big or ancient, but this is a temple for Vishnu. Chakra means discus and Chakrapani means he who holds the discus. Before the entrance of the main deity, there are very big brass statues of Maratha King Sarabhoji and his queen who are great devotees of Chakrapani. 


Kumbakonam Chakrapani Temple
Kumbakonam Chakrapani Temple Side view

Kumbakonam Chakrapani Temple
Kumbakonam Chakrapani Temple


3.  Sarangapani Temple


This is the huge temple of all in Kumbakonam.  The main tower is close to 44 meter tall and 11 tiered. Also this is one of the 108 Divya Desams forVishnu. This temple has five prakarams. The tank shown in the picture below seperates this temple and Adi Kumbeswarar Temple. 

Kumbakonam Sarangapani Temple View
Kumbakonam Sarangapani Temple View

Kumbakonam Sarangapani Temple
Kumbakonam Sarangapani Temple

4.  Nageswarar Temple


The king Aditya Chola built this temple and yes it is an ancient temple. The important thing in this temple is that the sun rays fall directly onto the main deity that is lingam during April and May months through an opening in the eastern tower.  I also see that the Chariot mantap which is drawn by horse is also found. See photos below. 
Kumbakonam Nageswaraswamy Temple Inside view
Kumbakonam Nageswaraswamy Temple Inside view

Kumbakonam Nageswaraswamy Temple

Kumbakonam Nageswaraswamy Temple

Kumbakonam Nageswaraswamy Temple



Kumbakonam Nageswaraswamy Temple

Kumbakonam Nageswaraswamy Temple

Kumbakonam Nageswaraswamy Temple

Kumbakonam Nageswaraswamy Temple

Kumbakonam Nageswaraswamy Temple



Kumbakonam Nageswaraswamy Temple


5.  Ramaswamy Temple


This has a large mantap with exquisitely carved pillars. The Raghunatha Nayak built this temple during 16th century. There are murals using vegetable dye illustrating stories from Ramayana. I have captured almost all those beautifully carved pillars. Outside the temple tower entrance on right side you get to see the shops where they do bronze sculptures. The pillars are so dirty and if they clean, it will be so beautiful. 

Kumbakonam Art and Craft shops near Ramaswamy Temple
Kumbakonam Art and Craft shops near Ramaswamy Temple

Camera Fees in Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple
Camera Fees in Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple - To take the pillars alone...

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars
Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars


Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars


Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars



Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars



Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

Kumbakonam Ramaswamy Temple Pillars

6.  Kasiviswanathar Temple


This is right next to Mahamaham tank.  They say the lingam in this temple is made by Shiva himself with sand and nectar. 



Kumbakonam Kasiviswanathar Temple
Kumbakonam Kasiviswanathar Temple

7. Mahamaham Tank


This is the largest temple tanks in Tamil Nadu spread across 3-acres. Once in 12 year between Feb-March, the festival "Mahamaham" is held here and it attracts millions of visitors. This Mahamaham festival is considered equivalent of the sacred Maha Kumbha Mela.  Last this festival happened during March 2004, so the next one will be on Feb-March 2016. There seem to be 21 wells or Theerthams within the tank and 16 lingams on 16 mandaps.  

Kumbakonam Mahamaham Tank
Kumbakonam Mahamaham Tank

8. House of Srinivasa Ramanujan - The mathematical genius

When you visit Sarangapani Temple, on the same street ask for this house and everyone can show you. This is the memorial for Srinivasa Ramanujan who is the mathematical genius. This was opened by Former Indian President Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam.

Kumbakonam Degree Coffee

Kumbakonam Degree Coffee
The famous Kumbakonam Degree Coffee (from VenkatRamana hotel)


Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple

Thiruvaiyaru is situated on the banks of river cauveri and the river is so beautiful. This a very big temple with 5 big Prakarams. One of the unique thing about this temple is that, from the inner prakaram if you shout "Aiyarappo" once, it is echoed 7 times. Try that. See the photo of the prakaram below. This Prakaram is called "Saptha Oli Prakaram". Play the video below.






In one of the cloister mandap walls, you can see beautiful murals. Plus the Halwa - Sweet dish locally called "Ashoka Halwa" is famous here. Particularly from the shop "Aandavar". Try that. 

In Thiruvaiyaru, Saint Thyagaraja along with Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri comprised the Trinity of Carnatic music. Hence yearly music festival called "Thyagara Aradhana" is held during January month here. 


Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Tower Inner
Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Tower Inner View

Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Tower
Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Tower 

Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Amman Temple Entrance
Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Amman Temple Entrance Arch - Do you see the big Garland ? 


Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Amman Tower
Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Amman Tower

Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Arch
Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Arch

Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Echo Prakaram Or Saptha Oli Prakaram
Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Echo Prakaram Or Saptha Oli Prakaram  - Your voice will be echoed 7 Times (make sound from that corner). Shout "Aiyarappo" once.

Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Echo Prakaram Or Saptha Oli Prakaram
Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Echo Prakaram Or Saptha Oli Prakaram - Your voice will be echoed 7 Times (make sound from that corner). Shout "Aiyarappo" once.

Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Inner Tower
Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Inner Tower

Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Murals
Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Murals

Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Nayanmar Info
Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Nayanmar Info Board - 64 Nayanmar

Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Nayanmar Info Board
Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Nayanmar Info Board - 64 Nayanmar

Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Tank
Tiruvaiyaru Aiyarappar Temple Tank

Tiruvaiyaru Thiyagaraja Mandap Entrance
Tiruvaiyaru Thiyagaraja Mandap Entrance - Yearly Music festival happens here...


Pateeshwaram Thenupuriswarar Temple

This temple has five towers and three prakarams. It seems the Nandi is moved a little so the Lord could see Gnanasambandar coming for Darshan. Plus the Durga is also famous here. Also this is very old temple, worshipped by Rajaraja chola. 

Pateeshwaram Thenupuriswarar Temple
Pateeshwaram Thenupuriswarar Temple Tower

Pateeshwaram Durga Temple Tower
Pateeshwaram Durga Temple Tower

Pateeshwaram Thenupuriswarar Temple Side View
Pateeshwaram Thenupuriswarar Temple Side View

Thiruppanandal ArunaJadeswarar Temple

This is on the way to Kumbakonam from Gangaikonda cholapuram. This temple was built during Chola period. During the Tamil month of Chitrai (April Mid), it seems the sun rays falling on the main deity on the inner sanctum.

Thiruppanandal ArunaJadeswarar Temple Tower and Moon
Thiruppanandal ArunaJadeswarar Temple Tower and Moon - Great combination !!!

Thiruppanandal ArunaJadeswarar Temple Tower
Thiruppanandal ArunaJadeswarar Temple Tower

Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu

The below table assumes that you start from Kumbakonam and keeping Kumbakonam as a base.

S.No
Planet (local name) - Temple name
Place
Temple timings
Route and other details
1
Sun (Suriyan) – Suryanar Temple
Thirumangalakudi
6AM to 12:30PM and 4PM till 8PM
15 kms from Kumbakonam. Very close to Aduthurai.
2
Moon (Chandran) - Kailasanathar Temple
Thingalur
7AM to 8PM
18 kms from Kumbakonam, on the way to Thiruvaiyaru.
3
Mars (Angarahan) – Vaitheeswaran Temple
Vaitheeswaran Koil
6AM to 12:30PM and 4PM till 8PM
49 kms from Kumbakonam, near Sirkazhi.
4
Mercury (Budhan) – Swetaranyeswarar Temple
Thiruvenkadu
6AM to 12:30PM and 4PM till 8PM
60 kms from Kumbakonam, near Sirkazhi
5
Jupiter (Guru) – Aabathsahayeswarar Temple
Alangudi
6AM to 12:30PM and 4PM till 8PM
17 kms from Kumbakonam near Needamangalam railway station
6
Venus (Sukran) - Agneeswara swamy Temple
Kanjanoor
6AM to 12:30PM and 4PM till 8PM
17 kms from Kumbakonam and near Aduthurai
7
Saturn (Sani) – Saneeswaran Temple
Thirunallaru
6AM to 12:30PM and 4PM till 8PM
53 kms from Kumbakonam and near Karaikal
8
North Lunar (Raagu) – Naganathaswamy Temple
Thirunageswaram
6AM to 12:30PM and 4PM till 8PM
6 kms from Kumbakonam, near Oppiliappan temple
9
South Lunar (Kedhu) - Naganatha Swamy Temple
Keelaperumpallam
6AM to 12:30PM and 4PM till 8PM
62 kms from Kumbakonam and near pombuhar (Poompukar)


Hope you liked this post, please add your comments and share with your friends !

6 comments:



  1. One Day Tirupati Tour Package From Chennai in shadhanasricabs.We offer different Tirupati Packages.Book Tirupati holiday packages in shadhanasricabs .
    One Day Tirupati Tour Package From Chennai in shadhanasricabs.We offer different Tirupati Packages.Book Tirupati holiday packages in shadhanasricabs .
    One Day Tirupati Tour Package From Chennai

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was great reading your blog post. Kumbakonam is a beautiful temple town, set between the tranquil waters of river Cauvery and Arasalar. It is famous for religious significance for Hindus. You can check out many other places to visit in kumbakonam..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your blog is a great read and a beautiful visual treat. I would love to visit Thanjavur and Kumbakonam soon for the first time and your blog has got me really excited about my impending trip. Also, you have listed down everything very clearly. Thank you and keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a ton for the feedback, very happy to know you liked it and found this useful.

      Delete

Thank you for your comments