Temples of Kumbakonam new

By Sanjeev Nayyar esamskriti@suryaconsulting.net | 2016

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Had visited Kumbakonam in 2003 and happy to visit again in 2016. This is the famous Sri Mahamaham Tank. It covers 6.2 acres of land and is in the shape of a pot. The tank is surrounded by 16 small Mandapams and a Nava Kannika Temple in the eastern side. "Govinda Theekshitan, the Chieftain of Achutha Nayaka of Thanjavur constructed 16 Mandapams and stone steps around the tank. The tank was being cleaned for the Mahagam Festival ie the Kumbh Mela of South India and held once in 12 years.

Did darshan of temple from outside during early morning walk. It is believed the Tank consists of 19 Holy Theerthams around the tank periphery and another at the centre. This temple on eastern side of tank, Kasi Vishwanathar temple on northern side. To read about Mahagam Festival Click here

This collections covers Sri Sarangapani Temple, Uppiliappan Kovil (both Divyadesams), Sri Adi Kumbeswarar Temple, Nachiyar Lovil and Sri Nageshwarar Temple. Gopuram of Sarangapani temple. This shrine is one among the 3 major shrines of Lord Vishnu, the first two being Srirangam and Tirupathi. It was renovated during the period of Naicks of 15th century. Gopuram is 150 feet.

Temple sanctum has elephant and horse on either side. When visiting temple always do a parikrama of outer wall before going for darshan. Elephant with wheels, note elephants foot is bent, how did artisans manage that in stone. Temple belongs to the 13th century.

One of the two wheels, women with musical instruments in dancing pose.

Can today''s machines sculpt a horse like this.

Images of Lord Vishnu. Words in Tamil are Podhu Darisanam meaning common darshan. This temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams in Tamil Nadu.

Other side of temple you see the horse and elephant. "The Karuvarai and Vimanam are made with 12 sculptured columns & shaped like a chariot. Temple gopuram is 150 feet and 5 Prakarams (inner walls) and a holy tank called Golden Lotus Tank also known as Lakshmi Theertham."

Hall that leads to the sanctum. Goddess Lakshmi performed penance here and Vishnu came down as Aravamudhan and married here.

Ceiling work.

Whilst coming out saw puja being done on temple chariot.

Rear side of chariot, note wheel size.

Thick ropes tied to chariot, devotees trying to pull.

A crane is called to pull the chariot.

A close up of images on gopuram.

Mithuna couples. To see different type of pics of temple Click here

Entrance to Uppiliappan Kovil 6 kms away. It is one of the 108 Divya Desams.

Pic of deity. The deity is known by various names as Srinivasan, Venkatachala, Uppliliappan, Oppiliappan. The Goddess is known as Bhoomi Devi.

Paintings along temple walls and ceiling are awesome.

U see Trivikram, the 5th avatar of Vishnu who came to earth as Vamana (hope it is correct description). Had seen similar Trivikram in stone in Badami caves.

Temple tank.

Right pic Lord Vishnu in reclining pose. Had seen stone sculpture similar pose in a restaurant in Chiang Mia Thailand.

Left is Narasimha Avatar of Lord Vishnu.

Left main gopuram, right temple tank.

Next to entrance of Sri Adi Kumbeswarar Temple saw a huge flower market so ran to click this pic. "The Kumbeswarar is in Shiva linga form which is a formless form called aaru (formless and uru form." It is a conical shaped lingam. The presiding deity is called Adikumbeswarara and his consort Mangalambika.

Entrance to Sri Adi Kumbeswarar Temple. It has I think two entrances so got a bit lost figuring out temple lay out. This is a major Saivite temple with 3 praharas and 3 gopurams. East gopuram has 9 stories with a height of 128 feet.

Board outside temple. "Kumbha means a pot and it is believed that an Amrit Kumbha ( Pot of nectar) with seeds of creation was set afloat by Lord Shiva during the Maha Pralaya ( floods) and it landed at this place. The divine nectar flowed out and it became the Mahamaham tank and every 12 years."

Pillars enroute to sanctum.

Flag post before entry to sanctum.

Horses mean influence of Vijayanagara kings. End is sanctum. The sixteen-pillared hall built during the Vijayanagar Period has all the 27 stars and 12 zodiac signs carved in a single stone. Missed seeing that.

Image of Nandi facing sanctum.

Ceiling - images of ladies in dancing posture, also see some animals.

Kirathamoorthi (Lord Shiva). Note the footwear in the image.

Outer wall of sanctum area.

East side gopuram, that was closed when we went. It has 9 stories with a height of 128 feet.

Images on gopuram - notice the lingams.

Devotee family with temple elephant in background.

Huge temple tank outside Nachiyar Kovil 10 kms away. We reached here about 6 pm. It is a Vishnu shrine dedicated to Srinivasa Perumal. Here the "Garuda Vahanam is made of stone. The divine consort is Nachiyar or Vanulavalli Thayar''.

Entrance to temple.

Huge pillars supporting temple, not seen such huge and rounded pillars in black in any temple. To read good blog on temple by Chitra Click here

Walkway to sanctum. Missed seeing the Ramaswamy Temple in Kumbakonam, excellent sculptures. To see pics Click here

Entrance to Sri Nageswara Temple. Adithya Cholan of Chola dynasty constructed temple during the 9th century. Adi Sesha and Surya had worshipped Sri Nageswara here. It is also a Rahu Parihara Sthalam.

Horse with wheel. Reminded me of the Vithhala Temple at Hampi which has a Stone Chariot. "The orientation is structured in such a way that it allows sunlight inside the temple, right on the sanctum sanctorum only during the Tamil month of Chithirai (April/May)."

Painting ceiling. "It is said that Sanctum Sanctorum of both Nageswaran temple and the Sarangapani Temple are similar in the form of a chariot. "