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Kumbakonam Travel Guide
Kumbakonam is a beautiful, spiritually rich city and it is also the municipal corporation of the Thanjavur district, from which it is located at just 40 km. The Thanjavur district is in Tamil Nadu, India. Kumbakonam is a mere 293 km from Chennai, which is a metropolitan city and is very well known in South India.
The Temple Town is another name for Kumbakonam because of the sheer number of temples within the town and in the nearby areas as well. The famous Mahamaham festival is celebrated only once in 12 years and is eagerly waited for by both locals and visitors. It is usually celebrated at the Mahamaham tank present in the city. The splendor of this town lie in its temples, intricately carved panchaloha idols, exquisite brass wares including lamps, silks and betel leaves.
The origin of the name of the place comes from a folk lore that a pot of nectar and the seeds of creation were placed in a pot (kudam) and set adrift in the deluge. The drifting pot settled at Kumbakonam and hence the name.
The history of Kumbakonam could be traced to the capital of the Chola Empire in the 9th century A.D. to the beautiful town of Pazhaiyaarai which is 8 km from Kumbakonam. At around the same time records mention the beauty of the town nearby Kudanthai which grew into the present-day Kumbakonam.
The modern Kumbakonam is the centre for all the commercial activities in the Tanjore District. A lot of diverse and also unique small scale industries thrive in this town. Silk, Scented & Shredded Supari, Chewing Tobacco, Brass & Stainless Steel Wares, Icon & Pith ware, Cosmetics etc are some of the small scale industries making name here.
Temples to Visit:
The most striking of the many Temples in this town is the Lord Sarangapani Temple, a Vaishnavite temple. This really tall Temple has twelve stories and reaches an altitude of 147 feet or 45 m. This temple was built by the Nayak Kings during 15th century.
The Ramaswamy Temple is a very magnificent and also an important Temple which depicts the paintings of Ramayana. It is a Vaishnavite Temple in Kumbakonam. This is the only temple in which Lord Rama, Goddess Sita are in the same platform and Lord Hanuman is playing the veena instead of reading the Ramayana which is the reason for the popularity of this spectacular Temple. The Saligrama monolith has been used to build the entire deity. Another striking feature of this Temple is that it is filled with intricate carvings in its pillars.
Situated about 1.5 km North of Ramaswamy Temple is the gorgeous Chakrapani Temple. The main deity, here is Chakraraja. Also present is the famous Sudharshana Chakra. The temple is an ideal example of the exquisite exponent of the early temple architecture. Another important but unusual 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).
Another important contribution of this town is the towering Saivite temple situated in the centre of the city. The presiding deity of Kumbakonam is Shri Adhi Kumbheswara and Manthrapeeteswari Mangalambika is the lord's Consort. The temple has lovely artwork which is known worldwide, and the complex in which it is situated is huge and has beautiful artwork. A very creative and colorful festival is celebrated in this town which is called the Mahamaham festival. Lakhs of pilgrims from various parts of India visit Kumbakonam as this festival takes place only once every 12 years during the Tamil Month of Masi (February/March). The pilgrims also take a holy bath in the sacred Mahamaham tank which is located in the heart of the town.
Best Season to Visit
Summers are very hot and humid in this part of the country. The months of November- December is the ideal time to visit this culture rich and magnificent town.
How to get to there
All the transport serving Chennai can be utilized to get to Kumbakonam. Daily flights from International locations and trains from different parts of the country are for present for the convenience of travelers. Buses and car rentals are also available to reach Kumbakonam from the mainland.
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