Adi Kumbeswarar Temple
Adi Kumbeswarar Temple -Kumabakonam.

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple, is dedicated to the deity Shiva, located in the town of Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. Aathi Kumbeswara swamy is the main deity of the temple. Shiva is worshiped as Adi Kumbeswarar, and is represented by the lingam. Aaru (formless) + uru (form) = aaruuru. The shape of the linga is of very special significance it is of conical shaped lingam, this is a unique linga in the world. The Pururanas derives the meaning of the shape and the name. This temple was built more than 1300 years old with an area of 30181 Sq ft, a length and breadth of 750 feet and 252 feet respectively.There are many halls in the temple complex which were built back during the Vijayanagar period. The temple is the largest Shiva temple of Kumbakonam and has a 9-storeyed rajagopuram gateway tower 125 ft tall it is spread over 4 acres in the centre of the town. The structure of building is monumental and carries the glory of historical period.  The temple is beautiful in structure and of art. The Rajagopuram is fantastic and is rich in structure and height.

This temple comprises of three Praharas and three Gopurams in the eastern, northern and western directions. In the east side Amman temple is located and the deity is Mangalambigai. This temple is considered to be the 26th in the series of Thevara Sthalams or Paadal Petra Sthalams (temples revered in the Tamil scripture Tevaram) in the Chola kingdom that spread south of the River Cauvery.

History

The temple is located at the time of the 7th century Chola period and has been widely expanded by Nayaks during the 15-17th century.

Adi Kumbeswarar temple is connected to the story of the deluge. When the earth is closed by water, existing even before the arrival of Kaliyuga, a celestial pot that had been filled with the nectar containing the seeds of all forms of life was floating. When the waters receded, the ‘kumbh’ (pot) came to rest in this place, a ‘konam’ (triangle). Lord Shiva was a hunter and shot the arrow at the pot and break it,and so acquired the name  Kumbeswaran. The nectar spilled out and thus life was revived on the earth and this place got its name – Kumbakonam. A few drops of the nectar fell into a natural cavity in this spot and it became the Mahamagam (Mahamaham) tank.

These rivers are all mixed in their water from the rituals of the devotees. Legend says that these rivers want to remove their sins that were accumulated in their waters from the ritual bath of devotees. They are going to Lord Brahma for a solution he advised that these rivers should meet and take a bath in the Kumbakonam Mahamaham tank which would wash away all the sins. Hence, during the Mahamaham Festival, thousands of people come here to take a bath.The sacred water of the tank (sacred water) is 20 holy wells called Theertham. Every well is named after the 20 holy rivers of India. A bath in the tank, like Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswathi, Saravu, Godavari, Mahanadi, Narmada and Kaveri is considered equal to the integrated dips of all the holy rivers of India.

Specialty

Adi-Kumbeswarar-Shiva-Temple-Kumbakonam
A beautiful view of the Adi Kumbeswarar Temple tower

The Navarathiri Mandapam (Hall of Navrathri celebration) has 27 stars and 12 rasis (constellations) carved in a single block. The idol of Subramanya having six hands instead of 12, stone nagaswarams (pipe instrument) and Kiratamurti are main attractions of the temple. The central shrine of the temple houses the image of Sri Adi Kumbheswarar in the form of Lingam. The shrine of Mangala Nayaki is located parallel to the left of Kumbeswarar and Somaskanda is located to the right. The images of Nalvars (Appar, Sambanthar,Sundarar and Manickavasagar), images of the sixty three Nayanmars, Virabhadra, Saptakannikas, Visalakshi, Visvanatha, Valam Chuzhi Vinayaka, Bhikshatana, Karthikeya, Annapurani, Gajalakshmi, Mahalakshmi, Saraswathi, Jasta Devi, Durga, Chandikesa, Kuratirtha, Arukala Vinayakar, Nandi, Bali peetham, Sabha Vinayaka, Kasi Visvanatha, Nataraja are located in the first precinct around the sanctum.

The temple also has images of Navaneetha Vinayaka, Kiratamurti, Bhairava, Jvarahareswara,Chaota Sri Govinda Dikshits-Nagammal, Chandra, Surya, Adikara Nandhi (the sacred bull of Shiva),Vallabha Ganapathi, Shanmukha, Navagraha , Nandhi, Lakshmi Narayana Perumal, Mutra Veli Vinayaka,Bala Dandayutapani, Nandhi, Vanni Vinayakar, Kumbha Munisiddhar, Kumarappar, Adilinga and Sattananthar.

The image of Lord Subramanya, enshrined in this part of the temple, is a rare specimen. It has six heads but only six hands holding different kinds of weapons. There is an excellent collection of silver Vahanas (palanquins) used to carry the deities at festival times.

Mangala Kupam Asva, Naga tirtha, Kura tirtha are the three wells, while Chandra tirtha, Surya tirtha, Gautama tirtha and Varaha tirtha are the four tanks located inside the temple.

Pooja

The worship in the temple is scheduled six times daily.

Opening Timing

Morning 6.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.

Evening 4.00 a.m. to 9.30 p.m.

Festival

The Masi Magam festival celebrated during the Tamil month of Maasi (February – March), when lakhs of pilgrims from various parts of India visit  Kumbakonam to take a holy bath in the sacred Mahamaham tank which is located in the heart of the town.The festival has archaeological and epigrahical evidence. Tulapurushadaram, the practise of weighing oneself against gold and donating to the temple was effected by Govinda Dikshitar and the funds were utilised for funding the construction of the 16 mandapas around the tank. Krishnadeva Raya (1509–1529 CE)

Is believed to have witnessed the Mahamaham festival during this time. He made donationsto the temple on this occasion is found in another inscription. Masimagam is the biggest festival in Tamilnadu. Theerthavari festival is celebrated in the Mahamagam tank on Masi Magam (February-March).  Sabthasthanam festival in Chithirai (April-May) when the Lord and Mother visit 7 places at a distance of 20 kilometres. Tirukalyanam (wedding festival) in Vaikasi (May-June), Tirumanjanam in Aani (June-July), Aadi perukku and Aadi Pooram (July-August), Panguni festival (March-April) with special pujas, Butter pot festival on the Aswathi star day in Masi (February-March),  on the 8th day, and the procession of Panchamurthis are the festivals grandly celebrated in the temple.

By Bus

There are regular government and private bus services to Chennai, Thanjavur, Mannargudi,Tiruchirapalli, Chidambaram, Nagapattinam, Coimbatore, Madurai, Pondicherry, and Tirunelveli. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates daily services from Bangalore and Mysore to Kumbakonam.


 By Train

Kumbakonam is connected by rail with most important towns and cities in South India.The Mysore- Mayiladuthurai Express connects Kumbakonam with Mysore and Bangalore.There are regular express trains that connect Kumbakonam with major cities in the state like Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchirapalli.


 By Air  

The nearest international airport is at Tiruchirapalli, which is 91 km from Kumbakonam.

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