Things to do in Kumbakonam

Each of our temples is an expression of our testimony that life beyond the grave is as real and as certain as is our life here on earth. I so testify’ – Thomas S. Monson 

With over 20 temples it is no surprise why Kumbakonam is popularly known as a temple town. Kumbakonam is also home to one of the most fascinating great living Chola temples.

There majestic gorampuras with stunning carvings here. Kumbakonam is the perfect destination for history buffs and architectural enthusiasts. This town is also known for its unique bronze items, artwork, silk, and pottery! 

To ensure you make the best of your time in this lovely town in South India, we have created a list of things to do while you are in Kumbakonam.

Nageshwara – Kumbakonam’s oldest temple 

The Nageshwara temple was built in the 9th century by the Cholas and is dedicated to Lord Shiva as Nagaraja the serpent king. The temple comprises 3 majestic gorampuras and stunning stone and wood inscriptions that tell us more about the Chola empire!

Also, the sanctum in which the Nagaraja is kept is built in the shape of a chariot that is inspired by the  Cholas. However, what adds to its beauty is the sunlight that reflects right on the sanctum only during the Tamil month of Chithirai (April/May).

Walking around this marvelous structure, taking in the history and the spiritual atmosphere is something you should not miss out on.

VISITING HOURS: 06:30 to 12:30 hours, 16:00 to 20:30 hours

ESTIMATED TIME: 1 – 2 hours

COST: Free 

Nageshwara temple, Temples of Kumbakonam The colourful gorampura of Nageshwara temple (Photo Credit – Richard Mortel)

The Great Chola Temple, Airavatesvara

A must-do when you are in Kumbakonam is a visit to the Airavatesvara Chola temple. Located just 5 km from the main town, the Airavatesvara temple was built by Raja Rajai in 1146 A.D.

And is mainly dedicated to Lord Shiva but also includes several shrines that are dedicated to Agni, Varuna, Surya, Vishnu, Durga, Saraswati, Ganga, Yamuna, Lord Shiva’s spouse, and many others!

The steps and 108 pillars of the Raja Gambhira hall are adorned with stunning carvings of dancers. The 5 in one beast, elephant, and hose pulling chariots will surely leave you in awe! 

VISITING HOURS: 06:00 to 20:00 hours, 06:00 to 13:00 hours to visit the inner shrine, 16:00 to 20:00 hours to visit the inner shrine

ESTIMATED TIME: 2 hours

COST: Free 

Airavatesvara Chola temple, Places to visit in KUmbakonam Stunning architecture on the Airavatesvara Chola temple (Photo Credit – Vinoth Chandar)

Mahamaham Tank 

Located right in the heart of Kumbakonam is Mahamaham Tank is one of the largest temple tanks in Tamil Nadu. This tank has 21 wells inside it and is surrounded by temples that include shivling and Vedic and Puranic deities.

The tank is considered to be a confluence of 9 holy rivers and it is of great importance to the people of South India, especially during the Mahamaham festival that takes place every 12 years.

Thousands of Hindu devotees come to Kumbakonam and take bath in Mahamaham tank. They believe that taking a bath in the tank would get rid of sins according to the Hindu religion. 

VISITING HOURS: 06:00 to 20:00 hours

ESTIMATED TIME: 2 hours

COST: Free 

Mahamaham Tank, Why visit Kumbakonam Temples around Mahamaham Tank (Photo Credit – Ryan)

Local Wholesale Market 

Start your day early morning and spend your time exploring the bazaars (markets) of this temple town as each lane and street has a story to tell.

A walk through the bustling market will give you the opportunity to witness the local life, the culture of the place. You can also interact with the locals and farmers selling their products. 

VISITING HOURS: 06:00 to 18:00 hours

ESTIMATED TIME: 2 hours

COST: Free 

TEMPLE HOPPING in KUMBAKONAM

Heard of island hopping or club hopping? It’s now time to go temple hopping in Kumbakonam! As this town is known as the temple town of India you have to visit as many as you can. Each of them will have a different story to tell. Standing in front of those temples and staring at their architecture and detailing will make your mind go wooww! So what are you waiting for, get ready for a temple adventure. Here are a list of temples that are a must visit.

  • Adi Kumbeshwara Temple – This is probably one of the the oldest temples Shiva temple in Kumbakonam. It’s dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple has numerous shrines and the complex houses many halls. You have to stop by and visit this temple complex.
  • Nageswaran Temple – This temple is an architectural marvel. It really showcases the skills of the Chola dynasty. It is a Shiva temple constructed in such a way that the sunlight enters the temple only in the months of April and May. The intricate wok done on the pillars of these temples and the outer walls is marvelous.
  • Sarangapani Temple – Dedicated to Lord Vishu this temple again is an architectural delight. The temple is just too beautiful to not look at. It has several layers of  well carved mythological sculptures and images. The colors and detailing’s are difficult to miss. The  temple is located on the banks of river Kaveri and it is believed if you dip yourself in this river and seek blessings in the temple your sins will be washed away. Why not give it a try?

Temples in Kumbakonam Detailed work of gods and goddess on the walls of Adi Kumbeshwara Temple. (Photo Credit – Arian Zwegers)

Planning your trip but can’t choose what to do after Kumbakonam or before? Don’t worry we can help you plan your trip to India, one that is tailor-made to suit your travel style. Be it an adventure, basking in the midst of nature or spotting rare wildlife, South India has it all and so much more!The temple has numerous shrines, with those of Kumbeswarar and Mangalambigai Amman being the most prominent. The temple complex houses many halls; the most notable is the sixteen-pillared hall built during the Vijayanagar period

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