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Tamil Nadu: Kumbakonam
The City of Temples, Kumbakonam, on the banks of the Kaveri River, houses 39 temples
which are marked for their architectural panache. Kumbhakonam was the capital of Chola
dynasty once upon a time. Mahamaham reservoir, located at the south-eastern side of the
town, is the prime attraction of Kumbakonam. A festival is celebrated during Magh (Month
of Bengali calendar) every year. Pilgrims assemble in Kumbakonam for taking a holy bath
in every 12 years. The bath eradicates the sins of the pilgrims. More than 60 pilgrims had
lost their lives in 1992 due to the presence of large crowds.
The oldest Shiva temple of Kumbakonam, Kumbheshwar, showcases impressive
architecture which allows the sunlight to touch the chief lingam directly. The carriers of the
deities are made up of silver.
Brahma temple is another imperative attraction of Kumbakonam. The Chakrapani temple,
the largest one in the proximity, looks marvelous for its excellent and admirable Kamod
architectures. The use of color in the temple proves the dexterousness of the artists. The
deity of the temple has eight arms and is a combination of Shiva and Vishnu. 44 meters
tall and 11 storied Gopuram which has a pagoda type structure is worthy of mention for its
stunning carvings. The architectural elegance on the inner walls will fascinate temple lovers.
Various sculptures of the dancing and singing women are engraved elegantly on the walls of
the temple. The ceiling of the main temple is also well decorated and bejeweled with superb
sculptures. The idol of Nagraj is also there in the temple. The walls outside the temples also
look majestic for their fine arts.
The chain of temples, located at the western side of the chief temple, have praiseworthy
architectures as well. A museum is also there at the North- east corner of the temples. Get
into the museum through a hall, base of which is placed on 100 pillars.
The Ramswami temple, built in 1620, is another famous temple which deserves a visit for
its mind blowing architectures. The carvings of the temple are also notable. The walls of the
temple are decked with the tales of Ramayan.
The trip of the temple city will remain incomplete if you forget to watch the fine looking
sight of the Mageshwar temple, located adjacent to the bus stand.
A matha (ashram) of Shankarachayra is also there for the spiritual people. Ramanujan centre, situated
at the birth place of the saint, SriNivas ramanujan, is another imperative enticement for the
Tourists can buy silk garments, woven textiles, Brassware, items made up of Gold and silver
from the markets of Kumbhakonam.
Darsuram, about 4 km towards the south- western side of Kumbhakonam, is famous for the
fine looking Airabateshwar Shiva temple. The impressive architectures of the ancient temple
are worth seeing. The pillars of the temple are well adorned with the striking carvings
of various deities. The temple, built with the granite stones, resembles the structure of
Brihadeshwar temple of Tanjor. The temple can be accessed after crossing two Gopurams or
entrances. The chief temple is nestled in a terrain of 241*122 meters.
Enthusiasts should watch the adjoining Savitri temple. Innumerable architectural sculptures
are kept in the palace museum of Tanjor.
Located at a distance of 4 km from Kumbhakonam in Pattishwaram, is the temple of Devi
Durga. The deity resides as a mother of good wishes.
Temple lovers should also visit Tirubhubanam, about 8 km from Kumbhakonam, to watch
the special architectural gracefulness of Kampahareshwar and Mahalingaswami Shiva
Tirubhubanam produces silks which are renowned for their impressive quality.
Gangaikondacholapuram, located at the north- eastern side of Kumbakonam, houses
a Shiva temple of primeval edge. The temple depicts majestic architectures and the
impressive temple resembles the structure of big temple which was built by the father of
the Chola king Rajendra-1. The 9 storied temple of Gangaikondacholapuram which has
an imposing pyramid like structure is smaller to that of Tanjor temple. The weight of the
squat dome of the temple is 80 tons. Two entrances of the temple are well protected with
two guards. The hall which is standing tall on 1000 pillars looks excellent for its architectural
panache. Get into the temple through the eastern Gopuram to watch the holy Durga deity
at the left hand side of the Gopuram. The reservoir, called Cholaa ganga, located at the
back side of Gopuram, used to reserve water of the River Ganges for the worship of the
Almighty. The magical arts on the surrounding walls of the path through which the devotees
enter into the temple will fulfill emptiness. The Nabagraha idol and bronze idol are carved
on the stones at the north- eastern side of the temple. The idol of Karthika and dancing
Ganesh look striking as well. Garbhagriha, the small unlit shrine of the temple, has a 4 feet
tall Shiva Lingam and also has an idol of the deity, Nandi. The picture panel, located at the
north- eastern side of the temple, depicts striking Chola fine arts.
Another foremost attraction in the proximity is the Chandikeshwar temple, situated at the
northern tip of the temple. Take a pleasing walk for 2 minutes towards the eastern side of
the temple to watch the interesting items in the museum.
The ancient town of Chola dynasty is in ruins but the grandeur of the temple is still quite
prominent. It was the capital of the Chola king, Rajendra. Watch ruins of the ancient palace
to witness the old glory. The palace was located at a distance of 2 km from the temple.
The name of Gongaikondacholapuram was included in the list of the world heritage sites in
How to reach: Take a train from Chennai Egmore to Kumbakonam. Kumbakonam can
also be reached from Coimbatore and Bangalore by railways or by road.
Where to stay: The New Diamond Lodge, Lodge Elite, Hotel Green Park, The Hotel Palace,
A R K International and Hotel Shiva International.
Check our hotel booking links below for photos, rates, options and online bookings.