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PLACES AROUND KUMBAKONAM

Mahamaham is a festival celebrated every 12 years in a town called Kumbakonam. There is an oft quoted popular saying in Sanskrit noting Kumbakonam as even as more sacred than Varanasi(Kasi). A sin committed at some ordinary place is washed off by a visit to a holy place, sin done in a sacred spot is washed off by going on a pilgrimage to Varanasi(Kasi). If one dares to commit a sin in that sacred city too, that sin is wiped off at Kumbakonam and any sinful act done at Kumbakonam is atoned for there itself.

This is the largest and the oldest Shiva temple located in the centre of the town of Kumbakonam. The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Kumbeshwara and the presiding Goddess is Sri Mangalambigai. A Chola King built the temple and the temple building itself would seem to have been renovated by the Nayak King. Some of the old images like Sri Ambal, Sri Durgaiamman and Sri Kirathamoorti bear the impress of the antiquity about them.

This temple is very close to the Mahamagham tank, and the lingam here is a swayambhu. The importance of this temple is the belief that it is here that the Nava Kannigais(nine maidens representing the nine rivers – Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Kaveri, Godavari, Narmada, Krishna, Tungabhadra and Sarayu) arrive to bathe in the Mahamagham tank once every 12 years.

One of the most ancient temples in Kumbakonam, the small Nageswara Swami – Shiva temple, one of the finest early Chola temples, is noted for the quality of its sculpture, thought to have been completed a few years into the reign of Parantaka I (907 – 940). Adisesha and Surya had worshipped Sri Nageswara here. When Adisesha was groaning under the weight of the world, he came to Kuvinvanam, the present Nageswara temple and did penance. Siva and Parvati appeared before Adisesha and blessed him with enough strength. A well in the temple is called Naga Theertham.

This temple is to the east side of mahamaga pond. Entrance is facing the west side. During the dooms day Siva took the form of hunter and broke the pot of nectar at that time the coconut fell here and swayambu linga & coconut plant came up hence the name Narikesaran. The temple is important place for thula rasi people. When nava kanniyar river goddess came siva turned around to give darshan for them so he is known as Abimukeswarar. The main deities of the temple is Lord Abhimugheswarar and Goddess Amirthavalli.

Somessar temple is situated in the southern portion of Sri Sarangapani temple. This temple is facing the northern side with a small Gopuram at the eastern portion near the entrance. The architectural style and element of this temple resembles the Dravidian Architecture of 13th century of Chola period. Arumugam and Thenar Mozhi Ammal are the other deities located in this temple complex. The main deities here are Someswarar and Soma Sundari Amman.

Sarangapani Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu, located in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the Divya Desams, the 108 temples of Vishnu revered in Nalayira Divya Prabandham by the 12 poet saints, or Alwars. This temple is along Kaveri and is one of the Pancharanga Kshetrams. The temple is believed to be of significant antiquity with contributions at different times from Medieval Cholas, Vijayanagar Empire and Madurai Nayaks. The rajagopuram has eleven tiers and has a height of 173 ft. The Potramarai tank, the temple tank, is located opposite to the western entrance of the temple.

Sri Chakra symbolizes Mahavishnu who adorns his right hand. Thus Chakrapani is also called Chakraroopa Vishnu, Hethiraja,Sudarsana Raja, Chakrathazhwar. This temple is dedicated to Chakrathazhwar and he is the presiding deity-Chakrapani. Surya also called Bhaskara requested that this hallowed spot should be named after him as Bhaskara kshetram. The spot where Srichakra appeared in Cauvery is called Chakra Theertham.

This temple, known as the southern Ayodhya, has beautiful idols of Rama and Seethadepicted in coronation posture. Lakshmana stands next to Rama, holding a bow and arrows; they are flanked by Bharatha holding an Umbrella and Shatrughna holding a fan. This is the only temple where we can see idols of Rama, Seetha and Lakshmana along with Bharatha and Shatrughna.

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