Around Kumbakonam Tourist Places
Kumbakonam Mahamaham Tank:
Kumbakonam gets its name from the presiding deity Lord Aadhi Kumbeshwarar. The cradle of South Indian Culture, the town is known for its temples, intricately carved panchaloha idols, exquisite brass wares especially lamps, silk and betel leaves. The place, like many other sacred places spread across the country, is known for the Mahamaham festival. The festival celebrated once in twelve years coincides with the entry of Sun and Jupiter into constellation of Aquarius and Leo respectively. People from all walks of life have a dip in the Mahamaham tank along with the presiding deities of the town. This occasion is said to absolve the people of their sins.Many intellectuals, musicians, sthapathis (people well-versed in design and construction of temples and carving of idols) and silk weavers hail from in and around Kumbakonam. Located on the banks of river Cauvery, this place can be reached from Chennai, either by rail or by road in about six hours.
It is located 4 km(2.5 Miles) west of Kumbakonam, was built by the Chola King,
Rajaraja II. This temple is dedicated to Shiva, who is Airavateshvara, the “Lord
of Airavata”. Legend claims that after Airavata, the white elephant of Indhra,
the God of the Heavens, regained his lost colour, he worshipped Shiva at this
spot. The four-tiered temple
has a Sanctum and three halls, of which the finest is the Raja-Gambira
Mandapa conceived as a stone chariot drawn by caparisoned horses with
Brahma as its driver. The outer walls have fine friezes and carvings of
musicians, dancers and acrobats as well as depictions from the Periya
Puranam, a Tamil treatise on 63 Shaivite poet-saints, the Nayannars.
It is located 8 km (5
miles) Northeast of Kumbakonam, is dedicated to Kumbheswara, the “God who
removes Fear”. This is also an old silk weaving centre. Kambaharesvarar
Temple was built by the King Kulothunga III (1179 AD - 1216 AD). There are
two Gopurams and two Praharams,the Karpagraham, Artha Mandapam, Maha
Mandapam, Muha Mandapam and Somaskandar Mandapam.
The Karpagraham is in
the shape of square. It's both sides are having Karnathuvara steps.
Dhakshinamoorthy, Lingothbhavar and Bramma reside on the wall of Sri
There are six base of Srivimana. One can see sculptures of the scenes of Puranas on
the wall of Srivimana. Some of other shrines are in the temple. It is the 13th
century Chola temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
It is one of the very ancient temples of Tamil Nadu, built in the Chola style.
Gangai Konda Chola Puram, “The City of the Chola who took the Ganges”, was the
capital of powerful Chola dynasty during the reign of Rajendra I.Rajendra I, was the
first Tamil ruler to venture Northwards and a great military commander
like his father Rajaraja I. He built this city to commemorate his
successful campaign across the Ganges.
According to an
inscription, he then ordered the defeated rulers to carry back pots of
sacred Ganges water on their heads to fill the Chola-Ganga tank, a victory
It is 35 km North of Kumbakonam. It was built by the Chola emperor Rajendra I.
Later additions were made in the 15th century by the Nayaks. It was built as a
replica of Thanjavur’s Brihadishvara temple by his father Rajaraja I, the
towered sanctum of this granite Shiva temple is shorter than the one at
Thanjavur. It is indeed a great feat of engineering. All the more as the
construction, was done in such a way that the shadow of the cupola never falls
on the ground.
The sanctum sanctorum has a four meter high lingam with a circumference of 7
meters. The inner walls of the temple have the many mudras (poses) of
Bharatnatyam (classical Indian dance) portrayed by dancing damsels. Perhaps the
sculptors did this as Shiva, the presiding deity is also the God of Dance (Natraja).
About 80 km south of Chidambaram, Tranquebar was a Danish post, established
1620. The seafront Danesborg Fort was occupied by the British in 1801. It houses
a small but fascinating Museum on aspects of Danish history here. It takes 2 ½
hours from Chidambaram to reach this place. There is no accommodation here.
Timing : Saturday to Thursday from 10 am -1 pm & 2 - 5.45 pm
Velankanni is the site
of the Roman Catholic Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health. Thousands of
Christian pilgrims file through the impressive white Neo-Gothic structure,
which was elevated to the status of basilica in 1962, during the Pope’s
The annual nine-day festival culminates on 8th September, the celebration
of Mary’s birth. Velankanni is considered as "Mecca of South Asian
Christianity", 89 kms from Thanjavur. Velankanni is renowned to cure
sicknesses and maladies, thus also known as the 'Lourdes of the East'.
Calimere Wildlife & Bird Sanctuary:
This 333 sq km
sanctuary also known locally asKodikkarai, 90
km southeast of Thanjavur.
It is noted for its vast flocks of migratory waterfowl, Calimere’s tidal
mud flats are home to teals, shovellers, curlews, gulls, terns, plovers,
sandpipers, shanks and herons from November to January. The easiest way to
get to Calimere is from Vedaranniyam, 12km away and the nearest town
linked by frequent buses to Nagapattinam or Thanjavur.
Sacred Chidambaram, where Shiva is
believed to have performed his cosmic dance, the tandava nritya, is a
triditional temple town where history merges with mythology to create a deeply
religious ambience. All ancient Hindu beliefs and practices are zealously
observed here, mainfested in an endless cycle of rites and rituals.
focal point of the town is the awe - inspring Nataraja
Temple, built by the Cholas in the 9th century to honour their
patron deity, Shiva as Nataraja, the "Lord of Dance". The temple has an
unusual hut - like sanctum with a gold - plated roof, the huge,
colonnaded Shivaganga Tank, and four colourful gopuras.
The most interesting is the eastern gopura which features detailed
sculptures the 108 hand and feet movements of Bharat Natyam and is
considered a veritable encyclopaedia of this classical temple dance.
Within the temple's three enormous enclosures are five major halls (sabhas),
each conceived for a speacial purpose. In the outer encloser, next to
the Shivaganga Tank, is the Raja Sabha ("Royal Hall"), a beautiful
thousand - pillared hall, built as a venue for temple rituals and
Chola kings were crowned here in the presence of the deity. In the
central enclosure is the Deva Sabha ("Divine Hall"), where the temple
bronzes are housed, and administrative functions performed. The adjacent
Nritya Sabha ("Divine Hall") has a superb collection of sculptures, the
finest being the Rudhra
Tandava. The innermost enclosure, the holiest part of the
complex, contains the Chit Sabha or Chitambaram ("Hall of Bliss"), from
which the town derive its name. This is the main sanctum, housing one of
the five elemental lingas of Shiva the akasha linga, which represents
ether, the all - pervading element central to human existence.
inner santum containing the linga is hidden behind a black curtain,
symbolizing ignorance, which is removed only during prayer time. There
is a certain aura of mystery to this valied sanctum and it is often
called the Sacred Secret of Chidambaram (Chidambara Rahastam). Finally,
the fifth hall, in front of the Chit Sabha, is the Kanaka Sabha ("Golden
Hall"), where Shiva is supposed to have performed his cosmic dance.
Other areas of interest in the complex are theGovindarajaswamy
Shrine, housing the reclining Vishnu, theShivakamasundari
Shrine, dedicated to Shiva's consort,Parvati,
and Subramaniyam Shrine, in which Murugan is worshipped. Religious traditions
in the temple are preserved by a group of hereditary priests whose ancestors
came to Chidambaram 3,000 years ago. Known as the dikshitars, they are easily
recognized by their top - knots. Chidambaram's other claim to fame is the
modern Annamalai University, which is located to the east. Founded by a
philanthropist over 50 years ago, it is Tamil Nadu's first residential
university, specializing in South Indian studies.