Travel, especially the pilgrimage are the great pleasure for Sunil Kunnoth. He loves to wander with his spiritual sojourns.
If you ask me why I love Kumbakonam, I have several reasons to list out. Sure, it is best known as a pilgrim centre in South India. But more than that, why I vote for Kumbakonam, is its charm of antiquity, architectural excellence of the ancient age, spectacular greenery around, sleepy village life and of course its unique filter coffee.
While passing through the road that takes you to the temple and strolling through the temple lanes, what awaits you is a total calmness. You may feel you are living in an ancient era. You can see the bullock carts, houses of old fashion and the villagers in their simple dress. For the poets and photographers, it will be an apt location for displaying their creativity. The place is so rich with dozens of spectacular temples with towering gopuram showcasing the glorious heritage of the past. Not just that, it is a good place for making some wonderful shopping too. Silk saris, handicrafts and vessels made of bronze, copper and lead are the prominent items.
Kumbakonam being a major Hindu pilgrimage center, temples are the important attractions here. A specialty of the area is the presence of Nine Planet Temples. Each planet is having a separate temple in the jurisdiction of Nagapattinam and Thanjavur Districts.
These shrines are listed here:
1.Suryanar Kovil-Sun 2.Thingalur-Moon 3.VaitheeswKovil-Mars 4.Tiruvenkadu-Mercury 5.Aalangudi-Jupiter 6.Kanchanur-Venus 7.Thirunallar-Saturn (This is only in Pondicherry Union territory). 8.Thirunageswaram-Raghu 9.Keelapperumpallam-Ketu. These shrines are located between Mayiladudurai and Kumbakonam circle.
The other major temples are:
Adi Kumbeswarar Temple
This temple is a true example of Chola sculpture and believed to be built in the 7th century. Kumbeswarar’s consort is a 4 ft tall idol, which is done in gold plating. The attractions here are its walls and ceilings painted in the majestic Thanjavur style.
Dedicated to Vishnu, this temple is the biggest one in Kumbakonam. Of the 108 Divya Desams of the Vaishnavites, it is the third one in the line of importance after Srirangam and respectively.
‘He who holds the Chakra’ is what the meaning of Chakrapani. Vishnu here is a Sudarshana and has a third eye and eight arms with weapons. The temple’s specialty is that it is a place of healing.
Great! It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ornate carvings and the chariot shaped main sanctum are the attractions here.
Murugan Temple or Swami Malai
Murugan temple at the hilltop in Swami Malai, 10 km from Kanchipuram is another Murugan shrine attracting large pilgrims.
Srinivasa Perumal Temple or Nachiar Kovil, Gangai Konda Cholapuram, Tribhuvanam or Uppiliappan Kovil are other major temples in and around Kumbakonam. If you are willing to explore further, you can find more temples, some of them in a ruined stage and some being renovated.
Kumbakonam, the temple town is in Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu and located along the banks of the Kaveri and Arasalar rivers. It is about 40 km from Thanjavur.
Kumabakonam is well connected by road. Frequent bus services are available from all towns and cities of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur and Tiruchirapalli (Trichy) are the nearest major towns. Nagore and Velankanni are also nearby and major pilgrim centers of Muslims and Christians.
Kumbakonam has a railway station with the same name. Trains from various stations make services through the route. Thanjavur is the nearest important railway station.
The closest airport is at Thiruchirapally (Trichy), 100 km.
Since Kumbakonam is rich with temples at various locations, it is best to rent a cab for sightseeing.
Food & Accommodation
This being a Hindu pilgrimage center, vegetarian food is mostly served here. It is well prepared and tasty. Filter Coffee is a must try item as the place is so famous for this beverage. It is unique and inviting. Murali Cate’s is a good choice for your coffee venture. Idly, Dosa and Sambar are highly recommended.
Accommodation is never a problem here as the temple town has a good number of hotels suiting your budget.
My Other Articles on Temples & Pilgrimage Centers in Tamil Nadu
- Tamil Nadu- The Land of Temples
Tamil Nadu has the correct ingredients for a good travel destination. What makes it a different travel spot is the presence of a large number of temples in the state. Read this article for more.
- How to Reach Chidambaram Nataraja Temple, Tamil Nadu
Chidambaram Nataraja Temple in Tamil Nadu is one of the holiest Shiva sites. It is one of the very few temples that has both Shiva and Vishnu shrines. Arts, dance and music performed here by artists
- Thanjavur, A Classic Display of Arts and Ancient Dra...
Thanjavur is the 'Rice Bowl' of Tamil Nadu. It is also a temple city. The Brihadeeswarar Temple here is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thanjavur and the temple are related to art and architecture.
- Trichy, The All Religious Hub of Tamil Nadu, South I...
Trichy, a major city in Tamil Nadu in India is considered to be a great hub for all religious people. Hindus, Christians and Muslims have their important religious places in and around Trichy.
- Trichy, A Vibrant City of Tamil Nadu in South India
Trichy is one of the major cities in Tamil Nadu. It is an industrial and education hub. It has also some great temples and churches. The city can reach within 5 hours from Coimbatore. Read more...
- Kanyakumari: The Land's End of India And The Conflue...
Kanyakumari is the land's end of India and the confluence place of three sees. Swami Vivekananda got enlightenment from the medication he made on the rock here. A beautiful and must see place.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2015 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 21, 2020:
I am back here I know my ancestors are from the southern part of India. I hope to visit some day or learn more about the traditional Indian culture that is different in the Republic of South Africa.
Alex on June 13, 2015:
Most of the times I go somewhere, esp. all the times in tepmle tours, I always end up taking a few shots of kids. Some candid and some posed. I call it 'kid-luck' in my blog!!! :)He's absolutely adorable.
Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on February 11, 2015:
Devika, I am glad that you found this article informative and helpful. Thank you for reading, voting and leaving comments.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 11, 2015:
A beautiful place and the temple has a unique design. I like the photos and your explanations are clear and to the point. The trip would certainly be a worthwhile one. Voted up, interesting and useful.