At Kumbakonam the main attractions are the numerous temples for all Gods and Goddesses, the itemised being Kumbeswarar temple, Sarangapani Temple, Ramaswamy temple. My interest was in going to Swamimalai which is one of the 6 temples of Karthikeya. I went to Swamimalai which is 7 kms from Kumbakonam. The temple is beautiful, peaceful and has divine feel. It was raining and hence not much crowd was there. I had a peaceful darshan and went to Uppiliappan Temple nearby. Here MahaVishnu is holding Mahalakshmi on His chest and the pooja is for both of them together. Here again, due to the rains, there was no crowd and I had very peaceful darshan.
The hotels in all these places serve simple food. I was disappointed not finding a typical "mess" which used to be there 30 years ago, where home-made food will be served and the food taste used to be amazing.
I intend going to this place again to explore each and every temple in this city of temples.
Don't forget to have Panneer Soda and Kumbakonam vetrilai! Also have filter coffee and Ilai chappadu in vegetarian hotels. I had lunch in Venkatramana hotel, where in a board everyday an artist draws some episode from Hindu mythology. Don't miss this also.
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History of Kumbakonam
Kumbakonam, the famous temple city of South India, is one of the oldest towns situated in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. Picturesquely located and bound by two rivers, Kaveri and Arasalar, Kumbakonam is famous for the Mahamaham Festival that is celebrated once in 12 years. This festival attracts lakhs of devotees to the town. The destination is also well known for its prestigious educational institutions, betel leaf farming and brass vessels. The name 'Kumbakonam' in English means the 'Jug's Corner'. Kumbakonam is also spelt as Coombaconum in the British Indian accounts. It was formerly known by the name of Kudamukku in Tamil. The main things made here are brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, pottery, sugar, indigo and rice.
Things To Do in Kumbakonam
Kumbakonam is home to many temples and mathas. There are about 188 Hindu temples located here. The most important temples in Kumbakonam are the Sarangapani Temple, the Kumbeswara Temple and the Ramaswamy Temple. The city has two Vellalar mutts located in nearby towns and a Raghavendra mutt in Kumbakonam. There is also a branch of the Vaishnavite Ahobila Mutt in Kumbakonam.The 12 storey-high Sarangapani Temple was constructed by the Nayak kings in the 15th century. In the Ramaswamy Temple, the main idol of Lord Rama was made from a single piece of saligrama. The Kumbeswara Temple is considered to be the oldest shrine in the town. At the centre of this temple, is the Mahamaham tank where pilgrims from all over the country bathe during the Mahamaham Festival.The temple of Nagesvara has a separate shrine for the Sun god Surya, who is believed to have worshipped Lord Shiva here. Kumbakonam has one of the few temples dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma. Five km south-east of the town, at Patteeswaram, is Sri Thirupureeswarar Temple and around 8 km west of Kumbakonam is Swamimalai, one of the six abodes of Lord Murugan.The Govt. Arts College at Kumbakonam is among the oldest colleges in Tamil Nadu, which had received the title of 'The Cambridge of South India'. The famous mathematician Ramanujan studied in this town. A popular Sanskrit saying depicts 'Kumbakonam' as even more sacred than Varanasi or Kashi.
Food and Shopping in Kumbakonam
Kumbakonam has a lot of affordable restaurants that offer delicious food. Some of the popular ones include Raayas Hotel, Aachi Restaurant and Shanmuga. Having the local coffee is a must for all tourists as it is considered to be one of the best in South India. Kumbakonam is famous for carved Panchaloha idols, silk products, brass and metal wares.
Accommodation in Kumbakonam
The nearest airport to Kumbakonam is in Tirchy. Tourists can book a bus from the airport to get to the city. A six-hour bus ride from Chennai can also take tourists to Kumbakonam. The railway station in the temple city is connected to Chennai, Coimbatore, Bangalore and Thirunelveli. Getting around Kumbakonam is not difficult. Hiring an autorickshaw is the easiest option. However, haggling is a must or tourists can agree on a fare beforehand. The city has two taxis stands - one near the bus station and the other near Town Hall. Local buses can also be used to travel around the town.Accommodation option in Kumbakonam Tourists in Kumbakonam can avail various accommodation options, ranging from budget hotels to 5 star hotels.
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