Adi Kumbeswarar Temple of Shiva Thanjavur Main Rd, Valayapettai Agraharam, Kumbakonam -612001
Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, IN

The Hindu festival of Mahamaham is associated with this temple. The temple is revered by the Tevaram hymns of 7th century Saiva nayanars - Tamil saint poets and is also classified as a Paadal Petra Sthalam. It is believed that after the deluge and just before the advent of Kaliyuga the celestial pot containing the nectar containing the seeds of life came to rest here.Lord Shiva in the garb of a hunter, shot an arrow at the pot held by Brahmaand broke it, making it contents spill resulting in the revival of life. Kumbham means the pot and Konam means crooked - the pot the broke when Shiva's arrow hit it. The place where the nectar fell is the Mahamaham tank.The name of the town Kumbakonam is thus derived from Kumbeswaran temple.

Temple Etiquette

  • Footwear not allowed inside

    Footwear not allowed inside
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    Footwear to be left outside the temple. In summer be careful of the hot paving stones.

  • Prasad and donation

    Prasad and donation
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    Use your right hand to accept prasad and give donations. The left hand is considered unclean in India.

  • Dress conservatively

    Dress conservatively
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    Avoid shorts, skirts, tanktops and do not expose legs.

  • Restricted entry

    Restricted entry
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    Entry is normally restricted to temple priests in the sanctum sanctorum. Some temples restrict the entry of non-Hindus

  • Avoid cellphones

    Avoid cellphones
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    Use of cell phones is restricted normally. Photography is restricted in some temples.

  • Circumambulation or pradakshina

    Circumambulation or pradakshina
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    Devotees are to walk around the sanctum sanctorum in a clockwise direction


About Adi Kumbeswarar Temple

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located at the center of the Tamil Nadu town of Kumbakonam, India.

The Hindu festival of Mahamaham is associated with this temple. The temple is reported to be more than 1300 years old. The temple is revered by the Tevaram hymns of 7th century Saiva nayanars - Tamil saint poets and is also classified as a Paadal Petra Sthalam (temple revered by the nayanmars).

It is believed that after the deluge and just before the advent of Kaliyuga the celestial pot containing the nectar containing the seeds of life came to rest here.Lord Shiva in the garb of a hunter, shot an arrow at the pot held by Brahmaand broke it, making it contents spill resulting in the revival of life.

Kumbham means the pot and Konam means crooked - the pot the broke when Shiva's arrow hit it. The place where the nectar fell is the Mahamaham tank.The name of the town Kumbakonam is thus derived from Kumbeswaran temple.

The temple is in existence from Chola times of 7th century.  Adi Kumbeswara Swami Temple  is the presiding deity of the temple and the shrine is located in the centre. Kumbeswarar is in the form a lingam believed to have been made by Shiva himself when he mixed nectar of immortality and sand. Sri Manthrapeeteswari (Sri Mangalambika )is his consort and her shrine is present parallel to the left of Kumbeswarar shrine. Beyond the flagstaff, a hallway whose columns feature painted brackets representing yali (a mythological creature) leads to the gopuram.

The Navarathiri Mandapam (Hall of Navrathri celebration) has 27 stars and 12 rasis (constellations) carved in a single block. The idol of Subramanya having six hands instead of 12, stone nagaswarams (pipe instrument) and Kiratamurti are main attractions of the temple. The central shrine of the temple houses the image of Sri Adi Kumbheswarar in the form of Lingam. The shrine of Mangala Nayaki is located parallel to the of left of Kumbeswarar and Somaskanda is located to the right. The images of Nalvars (Appar, Sambanthar, Sundarar and Manickavasagar), images of the sixty three Nayanmars, Virabhadra, Saptakannikas, Visalakshi, Visvanatha, Valam Chuzhi Vinayaka, Bhikshatana, Karthikeya, Annapurani, Gajalakshmi, Mahalakshmi, Saraswathi, Jasta Devi, Durga, Chandikesa, Kuratirtha, Arukala Vinayakar, Nandi, Bali peetham, Sabha Vinayaka, Kasi Visvanatha, Nataraja are located in the first precinct around the sanctum.

The temple also has images of Navaneetha Vinayaka, Kiratamurti, Bhairava, Jvarahareswara, Chaota Sri Govinda Dikshits-Nagammal, Chandra, Surya, Adikara Nandhi (the sacred bull of Shiva), Vallabha Ganapathi, Shanmukha, Navagraha , Nandhi, Lakshmi Narayana Perumal, Mutra Veli Vinayaka, Bala Dandayutapani, Nandhi, Vanni Vinayakar, Kumbha Munisiddhar, Kumarappar, Adilinga and Sattananthar.

The
Mahamaham tank, Potramarai Tirtha, Varuna Tirtha, Kasyapa Tirtha, Chakkara Tirtha, Matanga Tirtha and Bhagavad Tirtha (bathing ghats along the river Cauvery) are the seven outlying water bodies associated with the temple.

Mangala Kupam Asva, Naga tirtha, Kura tirtha are the three wells, while Chandra tirtha, Surya tirtha, Gautama tirtha and Varaha tirtha are the four tanks located inside the temple.

The Mahamaham festival takes place once every twelve years during the Tamil Month of Masi (February - March), when lakhs of pilgrims from various parts of India visit Kumbakonam to take a holy bath in the sacred Mahamaham tank which is located in the heart of the town. The festival has archaeological and epigrahical evidence. Tulapurushadaram, the practise of weighing oneself against gold and donating to the temple was effected by Govinda Dikshitar and the funds were utilised for funding the construction of the 16 mandapas around the tank.

Krishnadeva Raya (1509–1529 CE) is believed to have witnessed the Mahamaham festival during this time. He made donations to the temple on this occasion is found in another inscription. Literary Mention Appar, the 7th century Tamil saivite saint poet and nayanar has revered Erumbeeswarar and the temple in his verses in Tevaram, compiled as the Fifth Tirumurai. As the temple is revered in Tevaram, it is classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam, one of the 276 temples that find mention in the Shaiva canon.

The temple is counted as the seventh in the list of temples in the southern banks of Cauvery. Appar has glorified the temple in nine poems referring the place as Erumbiyur and the deity as "Kumbesar". The Puranic basis of the history of this kshetra When in days of yore lord Brahma had the fore-knowledge of the approaching deluge of the universe, became perplexed and much concerned as to how to recreate all the species of beings that would soon be annihilated at the deluge. He extolled Sri parameswara and acquainted him with the inpending deluge and how the entire universe would be obliterated. He was also concerned with the problem as to how he would be able to engage himself in the creation of the universe. Sri Parameswara asked some nectar and make a pot out of it.

Sri Parameswara said that he would supply him with the nucleus seeds of all the species of beings to perpetutate the art of creation of the worlds. After filling the pot with the seeds of all species, he should decorate the same with coconut, mango leaves, Kusagrass and sacred thread and place the Vedas and Agamas on all sides and worship the pot with bael leaves-Bilwa-then he should deposit the pot at a suitable spot at the top mount. During the deluge the pot would float and move towards the south along with the floods. When the pot retains its stationary position after the deluge, Sri Parameswara said that he would visit the place. Brahma Deva did accordingly and waited for the deluge and the floods to sweep the world. Soon deluge overwhelmed the entire universe with the oceans merging together and ravaging all alike. There was torrential rains and excruciating commotion in land and atmosphere and hurricanes enveloped and ravaged the entire area, the south and Brahma began to move towards stagnant at Kumbakonam.

Brahma Deva was happy to see the pot still and stagnant at a place without any movement. Sri Parameswara who was observing this from the Himalayas took his followers. Arriving at Thirvidaimarudur the hunter said that his intention was to hit the pot with an arrow and cause the ambrosai drain on all sides Chasta who was nearby offered him an arrow which could not serve the purpose. Yet the hunter aimed the arrow but did not hat the target. Advancing westwards the Lord took up a dart and aimed at the pot where upon it split the target into two and the ambrosia flowed on all sides upto a distance of five miles. The materials that adorned the pot like bael, coconut, kusagrass and the sacred thread scattered on all sides and soon they materialized as lingas, The linga that appeared from the suspended network of fibre was called Chikkesa, from the bael Vilvanesa, from the coconut Narikelesa and from the sacred thread Yagnopaveetesa.

The place from where the dart was aimed came to be called as Bhana Puresam. The neck of the pot which was separated from it and hurled to a distance of more than a crosa (A distance) fell at a place to be called Kodavasal. Sri Kiratamurthi determined that the earth should form as two curvatures to support the gathering ambrosia as receptacles. Those two spots are the Maha Magham Tank and the Potramarai ambrosia to make it as a linga and soon with a flash of efflorescent flame he merged into the linga. Thus the Lord established himself in this kshetra even before the creation of living beings of the universe and hence he is called Sri Adi Kumbheswara. How Brahma Deva worshipped Witnessing the spectacular way in which Sri Parameswara merged into the pot to become the linga, Brahma Deva began his rigorous penance to inaugurate the creation of the universe. Soon Sri Parameswara along with Sri Ambal appeared before Brahma Deva and blessed him. Greatly delighted to celebrate a grand festival was blessed, Brahma Deva decided to clebrate a grand festival to honour Sri Adi Kumbeswara. He inaugurated the festival on the Asvati constellation of the first part of the lunar month of Masi with the ceremonial hoisting of the flag. The Lord and Sri Ambal were taken in ceremonial processions both in the mornings and the evenings on sacred mounts like, Karpagam, Bhoota, Chandr aprabh, risabha, Mountain, chariot and horse for about eight days. On the ninth day the Lord and Sri Ambal were decorated to got in procession in a Chariot fashioned like Mt. Meru. On the tenth day the Panchamurthis went in a grand procession to Maha Magham Tank to take the ceremonial bath.

This is the Masi Magham festival as inaugurated by Brahma Deva and it is being continued even today. How Skanda (Lord Muruga) got Mantrashakti Before making ready for the warfare with Surapadma, Kanda decided to tattain the blessings of his parents. he thought that Kumbakonam the place of origin of the vital energy of human beings should be the suitable place for getting their blessings. Soon he reached the kshetra and prayed to Sri Ambal for a suitable tirtha for purificatory bath and Sri Ambal created a location is just beside the Rajagopuram to the north east. After taking the ceremonial bath in the tirtha, Kanda worshipped the Lord and Sri Ambal. they in turn extended to him the vision of the Eternal spirit- the divine from as mani fested as the universe and blessed him for victory in the adventure. Kanda also appeared in his manifestation with six faces and twelve hands and requested Sri Ambal for some of her mantrasakti by way of equipment for the war with Surapadma. Sri Ambal bestowed him with all the appurtenances requested of her. this incident is inscribed just at the enterance of the Kattagopuram to the right side.

Boons that Brahma Deva requested the lord for the humans The expert artisan of the Fine Art of creation of the universe became exceptionally compassionate towards the humans and entreated the lord Adi Kumbeswara for several boons towards the redemption of the humans from the clutches of sins enveloping them.
1. He who worships you once shall have all prosperity in life and he who ever worships you shall get all prosperity and eternal liberation, reaching the abode of the Supreme as well.
2. He who lights a ghee-fed lamp[ at your shrine shall have Sarupyaform of liberation-becoming the form of the Supreme.
3. He who undertakes renovation work in your temple shall have anything and everything to his hearts content.
4.He who worships you at the Masi Magham festival shall be redeemed even frm Brahmahatti Desha.
5. He sho worships you at the Masi Magham festional shall live like Lord Vishnu. He who has contributed to this festival shall reach at-one-ment with the Supreme-Sayujya-identity with the supreme.
6.He who laid the first step towards the Maha Magham tank to have a ceremonial bath at the tank, but could not, due to his sudden and unexpected death, shall derive the merit of having performed an Asvamedha yaga.
7. He who worships you from the flag-hoisting day until the Tirthahavari, however violent and tyrannically rude and unjust he may be, you should be gentle and gracious and compassionate towards him.

Those who attained blessedness In order that Brahma Deva should pursue his work of creation of the universe, Sri Parameswara destined that the sacred pot containing ambroa\sia and the nucleus and primal seeds of all the species stayed at this place and subsequently got destroyed and flowed on all seides thereby rendering the Vicinity of this place as the most sacred kshetra. The pre-eminent among those who worshipped in this kshetra was Brahma Deva. One Chandi who perpetrayed several crimes and sustained enormouse sins because of his violent and unjest behaviour atlast reached the Maha Magham tank, took the purificatory bath and worshipped the Lord and attained liberation. Once when the ruler of Kalinga, Viravarman got violent conclusions of grief as his consort begot a child sans eye sight, he was advised by the sage Chandilya to visit this kshetra and the king did accordingly and worshipped the Lord here and the child gained its eye sight. Once Kartavirya, the king of Kekaya was much prosperous though otherwise he had a great regret, he had no son. The sage sakalya advised him to visit this kshetra and worship the Lord here. As advised by the sage, the king visited this Kshetra, had the purificatory bath at the punya tirtha and worshipped the Lord. Soon a son was born and he was much delighted and finally he attained liberation. So also a brahmin Sudharman by name and Dharma Bhahu and his wife sulochana, worshipped in this kshetra and attained beatitude. The Saivaite saints like Thirugnana Sambandar, Thirunavukkarasar, Sundaramurti, Sekkizhar who sang the praise of the Lord had been blessed. Arunagirinathar and Meenakshisundaram Pillai were also blessed here.

Those who worship the lotus feet of the self-originated Lord and the Sakti peetesvari Sri Ambal are sure to sustain a good lot of efficacious merits in life.
1. He who adorns Sri Ambal on Fridays of Avani month with flowers and vermillion, shall have all prosperity in life.
2. He who adorns Sri Ambal with a garland of flower shall have uninterrupted descendents in his clan.
3. Bhavishyotara and Brahmanda Puranas aver that should anyone in his lifetime decorate Sri Ambal with a crown made of Hibiscus shall attain majesty and grandeur of Kubera.
4. Brahma Deva worshipped the pot containing nectar with bael-Bilva and was blessed by the Lord of this Kshetra. He who worships the Lord, originated from the pot of nector, with bael leaves, shall be blessed like Brahma Deva. He who adorns the Lord with a garland of bael and worships with all his heart will be absolved of all his sins.
5. He who takes bath at the Kura tirtha created by Kamadhenu and anaoints Sri Ganapathi with butter and worships Sri Ganapathi and Sri Adi Kumbeswara shall be absolved of all curses and other disabilities.
6. By anointing Sri Ganapathi with butter and worshipping Sri Ambal and Sri Kirtamurti, one can beget progeny.

Other Specialties of this Temple

1. Sri Parameswara as Kiratamurti aimed and hit the pot containing nectar and the nectar began flowing and drenched and washed the entire area .He himself mixed the white sands and the flowing nectar and carved a linga out of it and established it by just pouring some vital forces into it by making it a svayambhulinga.
2. After the great deluge Brahma Deve began his Fine Art of creation of the uneation of the universe with the residual seeds of all kinds of species supplied by Sri Parameswara.
3. In order to commemorate the event of the benediction endowed by Sri Parameswara favouring the inauguration of the crreation of the universe, Brahma Deva made all the arrangements to celebrate the Masi Magha festival honouring the Presiding deity of this temple and perhaps it was the maiden festival ever tobe celebrated on earth.
4. Just in the same way as Sri Paramesswara extended half of his body to Sri Ambal at Tiruchengode .He conferred His 36000 crores of manatrashakti to Sri Ambal at this Kshetra.
5. Along with the Shiva mantrashakti, Sri Amdal added Her 36000 crores of mantrashakti thereby making it to become 72000 crores of mantrashakti and this illumines as Mantra Sakti Peeteswari.
6. This temple is famous in all the three aspects of Murti Stala and Tirtha-[deity-place-holy water]
7. Once in every twelve years when Jupiter and the moon are in the Simharasi and the Sun in Kumbha rasi on the Masi full-moon day Maha Magham fastival is celebrated .It is considered to be the most sacred and efficacious and hence synonymous to the Kumbha Mela celebrated in the north.
8. The nucleus seeds of all the species -of creation-stagnated at the pot as sediments. As the Lord entered into the pot with all the vital energy and appeared as the presiding deity of this place ,it is considered to be the pre-eminent kshetra ,the most ancient of its kind ,the seed -bed of all the other kshetras.
9. Chaturmukha of Satyaloka and papresa of patalaloka worshipped at this temple.
10. The nine maidens of the nine sacred rivers took their cerenonial bath at the Maha Magham Tank of this temple.
11. This Kshetra is situated on the Southern banks of the river cauvery.
12. Just before Surasamhara, Kanda took the ceremonial bath at the tank created by Sri Ambal by scatching of on the earth and then worshipped the Lord and Sri Ambal and acquired the required mantrasakti for the welfare.
13. Lord Muruga with six faces and six hands abiding on the peocock along with Valli and Devayani-a rare phenomenon-and extending grace to all.
14. Vishnu worshipped Sri Parameswara and got the Samga bow and the Discus.
15. Kamadhenu once sustained a curse from the easily irritable sage Durvasa to the effect that she would be deprived of everything including milk. Kamadhenu got dispelled of the curse by worshipping the Lord and Sri Ambal of this kshetra.
16. The Saivaite Saints Gnanasambandar and Appar Syamingal have sung the praise of the deities in their Thevarams.
17. Sri Arunagirinathar has sund six padikams on Sri Arumukha of this kshetra.
18. According to the Puranas some of the great personages like Chandi, Kirudhaman, Sudhaman, Viavanman, Sulochana, Kasyapa, Jnanavan, Sudhamannn and Karumasanman have worshipped in this stala.
19. The most pre-eminent of the siddhas Sri Kumba Sambhava abides here in a state of intense meditation on Sri Adi Kumbheswara and Sri Mangala Nayaki. Also he blessed Sri Rama when he visited this place.
20. Marti Nayanar of the Sixty three Saivaite saints worshipped the deities here and attained beatitude.
21. Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam seated himself just in front of Sri Kiratamurti shrine, simultaneously observing the Lord and Sri Ambal, entered into a profound meditation. The place where Sri swamigal sat in meditation is marked in an encirclement and the entire sculpture of the meditation posture is inscribed on the pillar nearby, on the left side.

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