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Kumbakonam
Kumbakonam
Location of Kumbakonam
in Tamil Nadu and India
Coordinates 10°58′N 79°25′E / 10.97°N 79.42°E / 10.97; 79.42
Country  India
State Tamil Nadu
District(s) Thanjavur
Municipal Chairperson Su. Pa. Thamizhazhagan[1]
Population
Density
140021 (2001)
11,130 /km2 (28,827 /sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Area
Elevation
12.58 km2 (5 sq mi)
24 m (79 ft)

Kumbakonam (Tamil: கும்பகோணம்) (kumpakōṇam), also spelt as Coombaconum in the records of British India, is a town and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 40 kilometres from Thanjavur and 273 kilometres from Chennai and is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district. Kumbakonam is known as the "temple town" due to the prevalence of a number of temples here and Cambridge of South India on account of its emergence as an important education centre in the latter half of the 19th century. The town is also famous for the Mahamaham festival which attracts people from all over the globe.

Kumbakonam derives its name from the mythological mud pot or "kumbha" of the Hindu god Brahma that was believed to have been washed to a particular spot in the town during a pralaya. Situated between the rivers Arasalar and the Cauvery in the region known as the "Old Delta", Kumbakonam has a comparatively mild climate than the rest of the Cauvery delta. The soil is alluvial facilitating cultivation of rice on an extensive scale. Betel production, metal vessels and silk weaving are Kumbakonam's main industries.

Kumbakonam has a long history going back to the Sangam Age and was ruled by the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas. It rose to be a prominent city between the 7th and 9th centuries AD when it served as a capital of the Medieval Cholas. The town reached the zenith of its prosperity during the British Raj when it was a prominent centre of European education and Hindu culture.

Contents

Etymology

A 1955 map of Kumbakonam municipality and surrounding areas

The name "Kumbakonam", roughly translated in English as "Jug's Corner",[2] is believed to be an allusion to the mythical pot, the Sanskrit kumbha of the Hindu god Brahma, which according to Hindu legend, contained the seed of all living beings on earth.[3] The kumbha is believed to have been displaced by a pralaya or deluge and ultimately came to rest at the spot where the town of Kumbakonam now stands.[3] This event is now commemorated in the Mahamaham festival held every 12 years.[3] Kumbakonam is also known as Baskarashetram[4] and Kumbam[5] from time immemorial and as Kudanthai in ancient times.[6] Kumbakonam is also spelt as Coombaconum in the records of British India.[7] Kumbakonam was also formerly known by the Tamil name of Kudamukku.[8]

Kumbakonam is also identified with the Sangam age settlement of Kudavayil.[9] Winslow, in his 1862 Tamil-English dictionary, associates negative connotations with Kumbakonam.[5] However, Winslow, later, apologized for his erroneous claim.[5] In common parlance, "Kumbakonam Brahmin" is also used as a slang term to refer to a "refined fraud".[10]

History

Sri Ramamswamy temple, Kumbakonam, ca 1847

The region around Kumbakonam was inhabited as early as the Sangam Age. The present-day Kumbakonam is believed to be the site of the ancient town of Kudavayil where the Early Chola king Karikala held his court.[9] Kumbakonam is identified with the town of Malaikūrram[11] which had served as the Chola capital as early as the 7th century[3] and with the town of Solamaligai which had also served as a Chola capital.[8] Kumbakonam was the site of a battle between the Pallava king Sri Vallabha and the then Pandya king in 859[12] and between the Pandya king Srimara Pandya and a confederacy of the Cholas and Gangas.[8]

Kumbakonam came into limelight during the rule of the Medieval Cholas who ruled from the 9th century AD to the 12th century AD. The town of Pazhaiyaarai, 8 kilometres from Kumbakonam was the capital of the Chola Empire in the 9th century.[13][14] Records from around the same time mention the nearby township of Kudanthai which grew into the present-day Kumbakonam. Kalki's Ponniyin Selvan; a semi-historical novel bring out the 10th century, gives a detailed description of Kudanthai and elevates it to the status of a regional headquarters of the Chola governors.

Following the decline of the Chola kingdom, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Pandyas in 1290.[15] Following the demise of the Pandya kingdom in the 14th century, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Vijayanagar Empire.[15]Krishnadevaraya, the emperor of Vijayanagara visited the town in 1524 and bathed in the famous Mahamaham tank during the Mahamaham festival.[15] Kumbakonam was ruled by the Madurai Nayaks and the Thanjavur Nayaks from 1535 to 1673 when it fell to the Marathas.[16] Each of these foreign dynasties had a considerable impact on the demographics and culture of the region.[17] When the Vijayanagar Empire fell in 1565, there was a mass influx of poets, musicians and cultural artists from the kingdom.

According to the chronicles of the Kanchi matha, the Hindu religious institution was temporarily transferred to Kumbakonam in the 1780s following an invasion of Kanchi by Hyder Ali of Mysore.[5][18][19][20]The matha was the centre of Hindu spirituality in the town until it was transferred back to Kanchipuram in the 1960s.

In 1784, when Tipu Sultan invaded the east coast of South India, Kumbakonam bore the brunt of his invasion.[21][16] The produce fell sharply and the economy collapsed.[21][16] Kumbakonam did not recover from the calamity till the beginning of the 19th century.[21]

Kumbakonam was eventually ceded to British in 1799 by the Thanjavur Maratha ruler Serfoji II[16] and reached the zenith of its prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th century[22] when it emerged as an important center of Brahminism,[23] Hindu religion and European education in the Madras Presidency.[16] The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 fostered trade contacts with the United Kingdom.[16] In 1877, railway lines were completed linking Kumbakonam with the ports of Madras, Tuticorin and Nagapattinam.[16]

Kumbakonam continued to grow even after India's independence though it fell behind Thanjavur in terms of population and administrative importance.[24] However, its growth rate began to fall sharply after 1981.[22] This decline has been attributed to limited land area and lack of industrial potential.[22]On July 16, 2004, a devastating fire in the Saraswathi English medium school killed more than 80 children.[25][26]

Geography

Kumbakonam is located at 10°58′N 79°25′E / 10.97°N 79.42°E / 10.97; 79.42.[27] It is situated 273 km south of Chennai,[28] 96 km east of Tiruchirappalli, and about 40 km north-east of Thanjavur.[29] and lies in the region called the "Old delta" which comprises of the north-western taluks of Thanjavur district that have been naturally irrigated by the waters of the Cauvery and its tributaries for centuries in contrast to the "New Delta" comprising the southern taluks that were brought under irrigation by the construction of the Grand Anicut canal and the Vadavar canal in 1934.[30][31]It has an average elevation of 24 metres (78 ft). The town is bounded by two rivers, the Kaveri River on the north and Arasalar River on the south.[8]

Although the Cauvery delta is usually hot, the climate of Kumbakonam and other surrounding towns is generally healthy[32] and moderate.[33]Kumbakonam is cooler than Madras, the capital of Tamil Nadu.[34] The maxiumum temperature in summer is about 40 degrees Celsius while the minimum temperature is about 20 degrees Celsius.[35]Kumbakonam receives an annual rainfall of 114.78 centimetres every year.[36]The region is covered with mainly alluvial or black soil which is conducive for rice cultivation.[11][30]Other crops grown in Kumbakonam include mulberry, cereals and sugarcane.[37][38]

The flora of the Cauvery Delta mostly comprises of palm trees.[30]The town of Kumbakonam is surrounded by extensive paddy fields.[30]Methods of irrigation were considerably improved following the opening of the Mettur Dam in 1934.[30][16]The fauna of the Cauvery Delta is limited to cattle and goats.[37]The town is situated at the western flank of the Kumbakonam-Shiyali ridge which runs along the Kollidam river[39] basin separating the Ariyalur-Pondicherry depression from the Nagapattinam depression.[40][41] This granular ridge projects further eastwards penetrating the Pondicherry depression and forms a hard layer of cretaceous rock underneath the sedimentary top soil.[42][41]

Residential areas make up 32.09% of the town's total area while commercial enterprises and industrial units make up 2.75 and 1.21 percent respectively.[43] The non-urban portion of the town constitutes about 44.72 percent of the total area.[43]Kumbakonam has a total of 45 slums with a population of 49,117.[44] The town has around 141 kilometres of roads, 544 municipal roads[45] making up 122.29 kilometres.[46] There are also around 18.71 kilometres of state highways running through Kumbakonam.[46]Over 87% of the municipal roads are paved.[46] The town gets its water supply mainly through the Valayapettai headworks across the river Cauvery and the Kudithangi headworks across the river Coleroon.[47]

Temples

Gopuras or ornamental gateways of a Kumbakonam temple
 
The Adhi Kumbeshwarar temple at Kumbakonam

Kumbakonam is known for its temples and mathas. There are around 188 Hindu temples within the municipal limits of Kumbakonam.[22] Apart from these, there several thousand temples around the town thereby giving the town the sobriquets temple town[3] and City of temples.[48] The most important temples present in Kumbakonam are the Sarangapani temple, the Kumbeswara temple and the Ramaswamy temple.

The Sarangapani temple was constructed by Nayak kings in the 15th century and is twelve storeys high.[49] The Ramaswamy temple, which has scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana depicted on its walls,[49] was constructed by the Nayak ruler Raghunatha Nayak in the 16th century.[50] Its principal idol of Lord Rama is made from a single piece of saligrama.[49] The Kumbeswara temple is considered to be the oldest Saivite shrine in the town.[51]It was constructed by the Medieval Cholas in the 7th century AD.[52] At the centre of this temple, lies the Mahamaham tank where pilgrims from all parts of India bathe once every 12 years during the Mahamaham festival.[51][22] The temple of Nagesvara has a separate shrine for the Sun god Surya who is believed to have worshipped the God Shiva at this place.[53] Kumbakonam has one of the few temples dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma.[3]

Kumbakonam also has a number of Hindu monastic institutions or mathas. The Sri Sankara mutt of Kanchipuram was moved to Kumbakonam during the reign of Pratap Singh[18] and remained in Kumbakonam until the 1960s. There are also two Vellalar mutts in the nearby towns of Dharmapuram and Thiruppanandal[54] and a Raghavendra mutt in Kumbakonam.[55]There is also a branch of the Vaishnavite Ahobila mutt in Kumbakonam.[56]

The Thirupureswarar temple of Patteeswaram,[57] the Oppliyappan Sannadhi,[57] the Swamimalai Murugan temple[57] and the Airavateswarar temple at Darasuram[58] are located in the vicinity of Kumbakonam.

Demographics

Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1871 44,444
1881 50,098 12.7%
1891 54,307 8.4%
1901 59,673 9.9%
1911 64,647 8.3%
1921 60,700 −6.1%
1931 62,317 2.7%
1941 67,008 7.5%
1951 91,648 36.8%
1961 92,581 1.0%
1971 113,130 22.2%
1981 132,832 17.4%
1991 139,449 5.0%
2001 140,021 0.4%
Mahamaham festival at Kumbakonam, c.a. 1921

According to the 2001 census, Kumbakonam has a population of 140,021.[59] The male population is 69,607 while the female population is 70,414.[59] Kumbakonam has a literacy rate of 78% with a male literacy rate of 82.18% and a female literacy rate of 73%. It stands eleventh among 148 municipalities in terms of population.

Kumbakonam has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.[60] Among Hindus, Kallars,[17][61] Thondaimandala Mudaliars,[62] Brahmins[63][64] and Dalits[65][60] are the numerically dominant Tamil-speaking groups.[63] Brahmins are more numerous and affluent in Kumbakonam than in other parts of Tamil Nadu.[64][23][66] There are also large populations of Moopanars,[17] Vanniyars,[17] Konars[61]and Nadars.[61] In 2001, the Dalits or Scheduled Castes numbered 7,539 individuals while Scheduled tribes numbered 70 individuals. Amongst Muslims, the Sunnis are dominant. However, there is also a significant Shia minority. Most of the Muslims are Marakkayars or Labbays.[60]The majority of Muslims in Kumbakonam are involved in commerce or maritime trade.[67] Kumbakonam also has a large population of Protestant Christians largely due to the efforts of the German missionary Christian Friedrich Schwarz.[60] The Catholics in Kumbakonam are mainly affiliated to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kumbakonam which was separated from the Archdiocese of Pondicherry in 1899.[68][69]

The population of Kumbakonam is predominantly Tamil-speaking. The commonly used dialects are the Central Tamil dialect[70] and Brahmin Tamil. There are significant minorities speaking Thanjavur Marathi,[71]Telugu, Kannada[71] and Saurashtrian as their mother tongue.[62][17]

Municipal administration and politics

Municipality officials
Chairperson
Su. Pa. Tamizhazhagan[1]
Municipal Commissioner
Poongodi Arumaikkan[72]

The Kumbakonam municipality was officially constituted in the year 1866.[16][45] Initially, the municipality exercised its jurisdiction over an area of 7.68 Sq.Km and its affairs were administered by a town-level committee or municipal committee.[45] Later it was constituted special-grade municipality[73] and currently, exercises its authority over an area of 12.58 Sq. km[45] out of the town's total area of 64.02 Sq. km.[43] It comprises 45 wards [45] and is the second biggest municipality in Thanjavur district.[22]

A flag mast with the CPI (M) electoral symbol at Darasuram near Kumbakonam

The functions of the municipality are devolved into six departments: General, Engineering, Revenue, Public Health, Town planning and the Computer Wing.[74]All these departments are under the control of a Municipal Commissioner who is the supreme executive head.[74]The legislative powers are vested in a body of 45 members, one each from each of the 45 wards.[45] The legislative body is headed by an elected Chairperson who is assisted by a Deputy Chairperson.[75]

Kumbakonam is a part of the Kumbakonam Legislative Assembly constituency and elects a member to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly once every five years.[76][77] Despite being a hub of militant Communism in the 1950s,[16] Kumbakonam voted for the Indian National Congress in the first five state elections held between 1952 and 1977.[77][78][79][80][81][82][83] The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam won the elections in 1977[83] and between 1977 and 1989, the seat was alternatively held by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or the Indian National Congress.[83][84][85] Since 1989, barring an interregnum of five years between 1991 to 1996,[86] the seat has been held by Ko. Si. Mani of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.[87][88][89][90]Kumbakonam was a part of the Kumbakonam Lok Sabha constituency from 1952 till 1977, when the constituency was disbanded.[77][91] The assembly segments in the erstwhile Kumbakonam Lok Sabha constituency were included in the Mayiladuthurai Lok Sabha constituency and have remained so ever since.[76]

Economy

The important products of Kumbakonam include brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, sugar, indigo and pottery.[11]Kumbakonam is considered to be the chief commercial centre for the Thanjavur region.[92] As of 1991, around 30% of the population was engaged in economic activity.[93]Rice production is an important activity in Kumbakonam.[93] Of 194 industrial units in Kumbakonam, 57 are rice and flour mills.[93] Kumbakonam is also a leading producer of betel leaves and nuts; the betel leaves produced in Kumbakonam are ranked amongst the best in the world in terms of quality.[94][93]The A. R. R. Agencies, a leading manufacturer of arecanut slices has its factory in Kumbakonam.[95]The main administrative offices of T. S. R. & Co., a cosmetic company, are also based in Kumbakonam.[96] Kumbakonam is also famous for its metal works.[93] The Tamil Nadu Handicraft Development Corporation had been established in the nearby town of Swamimalai in order to train bronze artisans.[93] Kumbakonam is an important silk-weaving centre and more than 5,000 families were employed either directly or indirectly in silk weaving.[93] Silk weaved in Kumbakonam is regarded as one of the finest in the subcontinent.[97] They are largely used in the manufacture of Thirubuvanam silk sarees.[93] Kumbakonam was also an important salt-manufacturing area during British rule.[98] In recent times, Kumbakonam has emerged as an important manufacturer of fertilizers.[16]

Apart from its manufactures, tourism is also a major source of income for the town. The Hindu temples[99][100][101] and colonial-era buildings have been recognised for their tourism potential.[102] The 12th-century Airaveswarar temple in the town of Darasuram near Kumbakonam is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.[103] Kumbakonam is also frequented by art collectors interested in handloom cloth and other curios.[104] Banks such as the Bank of Baroda,[105] State Bank of India,[105] Tamilnad Mercantile Bank,[105] Canara Bank,[105] Indian Bank,[105] Indian Overseas Bank,[105] Bank of India,[105] Union Bank of India,[105] Corporation Bank,[105] Lakshmi Vilas Bank,[105] ICICI Bank,[106] ING Vysya Bank,[107] Karur Vysya Bank,[105] Punjab National Bank,[105] Syndicate Bank[105] and Vijaya Bank have their branches in Kumbakonam. The City Union Bank was founded in Kumbakonam in 1904 as the Kumbakonam Bank Limited[108] and is based in Kumbakonam.

Transport and communication

Kumbakonam is well-connected by road and rail with the rest of India. The nearest international airport is at Tiruchirapalli, which is 94 kilometres from Kumbakonam.[109] The nearest seaport is located at Nagapattinam whch is about 50 kilometres away. There are regular government and private bus services to Chennai,[92][58]Thanjavur,[92][58] Tiruchirapalli,[92] Chidambaram,[58] Nagapattinam,[58] Coimbatore,[58] Madurai,[58] Pondicherry,[92][58] and Tirunelveli.[45] The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates daily services from Bangalore to Kumbakonam.[92][110][111]On March 1, 1972, the Cholan Roadways Corporation was established by the Government of Tamil Nadu[112] with its headquarters in Kumbakonam in order to improve transportation facilities in the districts of central Tamil Nadu.[113] The organisation acquired the buses earlier owned by private operators - Sri Ramavilas Service, Raman and Raman Limited and Sathi Vilas.[112] On July 1, 1997, the organization was renamed Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation, Kumbakonam and presently forms divison no. 1 of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation.[112][113]The corporation runs a reconditioning unit and a tyre re-threading unit in Kumbakonam.[113] Kumbakonam is connected by rail with most important towns and cities in India.[92] The Mysore-Kumbakonam Express which has been recently extended to Mayiladuthurai connects Kumbakonam with Mysore.[114]The train also halts at Bangalore on its way to Mysore and back.[115] The Tiruchirapalli-Kumbakonam passenger train connects Kumbakonam with Tiruchirapalli[114] while the Chidambaram passenger train runs regular services between Kmbakonam and Chidambaram.[58] The Rock Fort Express plies between Chennai and Kumbakonam on a regular basis.[58]

The traditional modes of transportation are bullock carts. It is recorded that as late as the 1950s, landlords and rich farmers travelled mostly by bullock carts with the exception of rare long journeys which they undertook by buses or motor vehicles.[116]Kumbakonam has an efficient local bus transportation system. The mofussil bus stand is located in the south-east of Kumbakonam and is situated just opposite to the Arignar Anna Bus Stand where the long-distance buses are stationed.[92] There are occasional ferries that transport people and goods across the Cauvery.[117]Till the beginning of the 20th century, undergraduates of the Government Arts College in Kumbakonam used to cross the Cauvery on coracle ferries in order to attend college.[117]

Education

Kumbakonam emerged as an important centre of education in the late 19th century and was known as the "Cambridge of South India".[118] The Government Arts College, established in Kumbakonam in 1867, was one of the first educational institutions in the Madras Presidency outside Madras city.[119]It was originally started as a provincial school on October 19, 1854 before being upgraded to a government college in 1867.[119][120]It was affiliated to the Madras University in 1877.[11] One of the early principals of the college was William Archer Porter, a Cambridge Wrangler, who was instrumental in its elevation to a government college.[119]He is also credited with framing the college's acclaimed educational policy.[121] In 1881, it became a full-fledged college and high school courses were ceased to be taught.[121] Notable faculty members included U. V. Swaminatha Iyer[122] while the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan who studied from 1904 until 1906 when he dropped out, was one of its noted pupils.[119] The Government Arts College for Women was started in 1963[123][124] and had a total strength of 2,597 pupils in February 2006.[125]The college offers 11 undergraduate courses and one post-graduate course and is affiliated to the Bharathidasan University.[125] Other notable colleges in Kumbakonam include Idhya Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Annai College of Arts and Sciences and Arasu Engineering College.[126] The Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy has a satellite campus based in Kumbakonam where arts and sciences are taught.[126]

The Native High School, founded in 1876,[127] and the Town High School, one of whose students was Srinivasa Ramanujan, were some of the oldest schools in the Madras Presidency.[128]At present, there a total of 36 government and private schools in Kumbakonam.[129]

See also

Notes

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  43. ^ a b c TNUIFSL Report, Pg 7
  44. ^ TNUIFSL Report, Pg 14
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References

External links

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Kumbakonam [1] is a town in Thanjavur District of Tamil Nadu. The town is popular for the Betal Leaf Combination (Vettrilai Cheeval) and for the thick-strong coffee.

Understand

The town is bounded by two rivers - " River Cauvery" on the north and "River Arasalar" on the south. Kumbakonam gets its name from the deity Lord Aadhi Kumbeshwarar. A traditional representation of South Indian Culture, the town is known for its temples, intricately carved panchaloha idols, exquisite brass wares especially lamps and silks(kancheepuram and kumbakonam are the very well known silk producers). The place, like many other sacred places has a unique festival known as 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.

Kumbakonam is full of temples. Every street, road, locality has a prominent temple. Better read some litereture on them before your visit them. The Sankara Matam and associated institutions preserve and represent all that is great about the Hindu ancient scholarly tradition.

Some of India's world renowned scholars and intellectuals hail from Kumbakonam including the genius mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujam. The Town High School and the Kumbakonam Arts College are the grand old centres of education with the latter built on the banks of River Cauvery (kaveri) sometimes referred to as the Cambridge of South India.

It has an excellent road link to all the navagraha temples(gods representing nine planets).

The town which was orginaly a religious town become an industrial center during last quarter of the 19th Century and early period of 20th century. Predominance was gained for Silk Industries and Metal manufacturing.

The Major Suppliers of Silk Sarees to the Indian Silk Saree Market is Kumbakonam Silk Industry.

All the South Indian Brass Pooja articles and utensils are manufactured in Kumbakonam and these articles are manufactured nowhere in South India other than Kumbakonam. KuthuVilakku and Statues are the famous articles. Stainless Steel utensils are manufactured.

Betelnuts, Suparis are manufactured in Kumbakonam.

Brass ornamental Lamps (Kuthuvilakku) are also manufactured in Naachiyar Kovil. It is near by Kmbakonam just 8 Km towards Tiruvarur.

Get in

By plane

The nearest airport is Tirchy Airport . Kumbakonam can be reached from Airport by Bus which will take 4hours travel.

By bus

Kumbakonam is well connected to all the major towns and cities. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka State Transport Corporations[2] operate buses to Kumbakonam.

From Chennai 5-6 hrs of travel by bus.There are excellent bus services provided by both government and private travel services. For more comfortable travel its better to choose a private travel service. from Tiruchy it's about 90Kms and about 40kms from Thanjavur.

for online bus reservision visit to ticketgoose.com [3]

By train

Rock Fort Express connects Kumbakonam to Chennai, JanShatabthi express Connects the town with Coimbatore, while the Mailaduthurai-Mysore Express connects the town with Bangalore and Mysore. There are various passenger trains to Thirunelveli and to other towns nearby.

Janashatabthi express Reaches by 13.30 and leaves to Coimbatore by 14.30

The Train from Bangalore starts @ 19:15 from Bangalore and reaches Kumbakonam early morning at 05:30.

Auto's from the Kumbakonam Station charge a minimum of Rs.40/- even for the nearest Hotel. If you can move out of the Station and get a 'running' auto and talk as if you have visited the city a zillion times :)

Get around

Auto Rickshaw: The cheapest mode of hired transport. Autos ply to small towns in and around Kumbakonam (less than 10 km). As with any other town in Tamil Nadu, negotiate the price before making the trip.

You can negotiate an Auto for half-day or full day rates for the nearby places and temples within Kumbakonam. Charges range from 500/- to 750/- approximately for half-day, depending on the places you need to visit. For a 1.5 days I paid ~Rs.900/- in total.

Taxis: There are two prominent taxi stands in the town. One near the bus stand and the other near town hall. As with any tourist place, the prices are hiked up once they know you are from out of town.

Its a good idea to check with locals on the average fare for autos and taxis.

Bus: State and private operated buses ply to all towns in the vicinity.

See

There are several prominent temples in the town:

  • The Kumbeswara Temple (the town's namesake)
  • The Sarangapani Temple (one of the 108 Divyadesams of Srivaishnavites)
  • The intricately carved Mahamaha Kulam where the Mahamaham is held once in twelve years
  • Chakrapani Temple
  • Ramaswamy Temple
  • Patteswaram Durga Temple
  • Thiruvidaimarudhur Shiva temple
  • ThirudevanKudi Shiva temple
  • Oppilliappan Vishnu temple (one of the 108 Divyadesams of Srivaishnavites)
  • Nageswaram Shiva temple
  • Ayyavadi Pratyankara Devi temple
  • Nachiyar Koil Vishnu temple (one of the 108 Divyadesams of Srivaishnavites)
  • Tirucherai SaranathaSwamy Vishnu temple (one of the 108 Divyadesams of Srivaishnavites)
  • Kabistalam Gajendra Varada Vishu temple
  • Ganapathi Agraharam Vinayaka temple
  • Swamimalai Murugan Temple
  • Darasuram Shiva temple ( The temple is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage monument)
  • Tirubhvanam Sarabeshwara Temple
  • Koothanur Saraswathy temple
  • Tirupambupuram Shiva temple ( Dakshina Kalahasti)
  • Nageswara Temple
  • Kasi Viswanatha Temple
  • Someswara Temple
  • Ragavendra Mutt at Kumbakonam city
  • Tirumangalakudi Shiva temple
  • Papanasam 108 Shiva linga temple

Surrounding Kumbakonam are the popular Navagraha temples. Although the presiding deity in all these temples are various forms of Shiva, the Navagraha Sannidhis are quite popular.

  • Navagraha - Town - Presiding Deity - Phone Number
  • Surya (Sun) - Suryanarkovil - Kasi Viswanathar - 0435 247 2349
  • Chandran (Moon) - Thingaloor - Kailasanathar - 04362 236 0936
  • Guru (Jupiter) - Alangudi - Aabhatsakayeswarar - 04374 269 407
  • Rahu (North Lunar Node) - Tirunageswaram - Naganathar - 0435 246 3354
  • Budhan (Mercury) - Tiruvenkadu - Swatharanyeswarar - 04364 256 424
  • Sukkran (Venus) - Kanchanoor - Agneeswarar - 04435 247 3737
  • Kethu (South Lunar Node) - Keezhaperumpallam - Naganathar - 04364 275 222
  • Sani (Saturn) - Thirunallaru - Tharparaaneswarar - 04368 236 530
  • Chevvai (Mars) - Vaitheeswaran Kovil - Vaitheeswarar - 04364 279 423

Navagraha Temple Tour Route Map

Here is the link to temple route map for the travellers visiting Navagraha temples in Tamilnadu. [4]

The Mullaivananathan Temple at Thirukarukkavur is quite famous for the goddess Garbharakshambika who is the God's consort there.

Do

Most of the cinema halls in Kumbakonam are in pretty bad state:

  • 1. Vasu A/c Dts - This is probably the best theatre in the town. It is pretty decent for a middle class standard.
  • 2. Kasi A/c Dts - This theatre looks very old with shabby interiors. The maintenance also is quite bad. Fortunately the A/c works, and the movie is shown in digital format which makes it pleasant to watch.
  • 3. Vijaya A/c Dts - It is quite moderate, ranking third in line.
  • 4. Baranika A/c Dts - It is also quite moderate, not so clean, but provides the basic amenities.
  • 5. Selvam Dts - This theatre is in a pretty bad condition, but it features only new movies.
  • 6. Diamond Mahal - One of the worst cinema halls in the town featuring new movies.
  • 7. Meenatchi Theatre - This is on the verge of closing down. This theatre often screens old movies.

Eat

There are a lot of restaurants in Kumbakonam. But most of them are not hygenic, and some are of poor quality. Check out for good hotels around the place. Hotel Raayas is better for Non Veg, whereas Hotel Meenatchi Bhavan, Archanas & Venkatramana is good for a veggie.

Sterling Resorts provide excellent food for the rich. But if a simple home style food of the local cuisine is what you want, try out one of the 'mess'.

  • Meenatchi Restaurant. Good veggie food.  edit
  • Paradise Resort. Try it for over the top stuff. Rs.300/- Lunch.  edit

Drink

Coffee. You'll be missing the essence of the trip if you didn't taste the coffee here. Kumbakonam filter coffee is one of the best in India.

Sleep

There are quite few good hotels that one can stay in.

  • Hotel Rayas, 0435-2001712, [5].  edit
  • Sterling Resort, (Swamimalai). This is on the outskirts of the town, but easily commutable if you take an auto or hire a taxi  edit

Sleep

Sterling resorts which is located just outside the town is one of the best place to stay and eat. There are other medium budget hotels around the city like Raayaas.

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