TOURIST PLACES IN KUMBAKONAM
Kumbakonam is the temple city of South India situated in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. It is a fertile area on the banks of river Cauvery and one of its tributaries Arasalaru.
The city is famous for the MAHAMAHAM festival that is celebrated once in 12 years in the Mahamaham tank located in the heart of it. Kumbakonam is flooded with temples of large size. There are as many as sixty temples, in and around Kumbakonam within 40 Kms. of radius.
Brahma, the creator after the Prilaya Era, to continue with his work of creation wanted to have a Peetam. Lord Shiva asked him to make a pot made of “Amirhtam” and sand. The pot had a Peetam in it, with the vedas around it on four sides. A coconut was kept over the pot and garlands of Poonul ( Sacred Thread ) and Tharpai were decorated and Brahma worshipped it.
During a flood, the pot floated and moved towards south from Kailash. Lord Shiva in the disguise of a hunter, broke the pot with an arrow and the amirtham spilled as “AMIRTHA THEERTHAM”. Mixing the amirtham of the Kumbha with sand Lord Shiva emerged as LINGAM. The sacred place where he gave darshan as “KUMBESWARAN” is now called as KUMBAKONAM.
Though rituals and archanas are done daily for the god, some special festivals are celebrated annually, which make the people gathered in large numbers and make their minds purified. Among the various festivals MAHAMAHAM that is celebrated once in twelve years is of very great importance.
The modern Kumbakonam is the nerve – centre of all the commercial activities in Tanjore District. Plenty of diverse small scale industries thrive in this town, chief among them being Silk, Scented & Shredded Supari, Chewing Tobacco, Brass & Stainless Steel Wares, Icon & Pith ware, Cosmetics etc.
Swamimalai 6 Kms. In West of Kumbakonam, is one of the six abodes of Lord Muruga, standing on the banks of river Cauvery. The deity is called Swaminathan, as Lord Muruga preached the meaning of “pranava mantra” to his father Lord Shiva. The sixty steps to reach the shrine represent the sixty years of the Tamil Calender.
0.4 Kms. It is believed that in Mahamagam tank, the holy stream of water from the rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswathi, Sarayu, Godavari, Mahanadi, Narmatha, Payoshnl and Cauvery are mingle together and is also believed that taking bath would get rid of sins according to Hindu religion at the time of Mahamagam festival.
6 kms.The temple is 3 km away from Darasuram.The Temple gopurams on all 4 sides and a beautiful tank adorn this vast temple with 3 prakarams. Gnanambikai and Durga are housed in separate temples.Durga’s shrine here is of great importance. Looks similar to Madurai Meenakshi Temple.
7 Kms. Vishnu shrine & Ragu Shrine. All food offerings at the Vishnu temple are strictly and completely saltless. Salt or any food item containing salt is not allowed in the temple beyond Garuda’s Sannidhi. It is a sin to carry salt inside the temple.
28 kms. One of the very ancient temples of Tamil Nadu.Shiva Shrine. This temple was built by Rajendra Chola. The City of the Chola who took the Ganges. Gangai Konda Cholapuram is UNESCO World Heritage monument.
8 Kms. Thirubuvanam Kambaharesvarar Temple was built by the King Kulothunga chola III (13th Century) dedicated to Lord Shiva.There are two Gopurams.One can see sculptures of the scenes of Puranas on the wall. Thirubuvanam is also very famous for Silk weaving (saris) for several centuries.