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Kumbakonam – Temple Town

Kumbakonam is known as the temple town due to the prevalence of a number of temples here and is noted for its Mahamaham festival which attracts people from all over the globe. The main products produced are brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, pottery, sugar, indigo and rice. Kumbakonam is located 40 km from Thanjavur and 273 km from Chennai and is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district. The town is enclosed by two rivers, the Kaveri River to the north and Arasalar River to the south. Kumbakonam is considered to be the place of the ancient town of Kudavayil where the Early Chola king Karikala held his court. Some scholars recognize Kumbakonam as the site of the fabulous prison of Kudavayir-kottam where the Chera king Kanaikkal Irumporai was imprisoned by the Early Chola king Kocengannan. Kumbakonam is famous with the town of Malaikūrram which had served as the Chola capital as early as the 7th century and with the town of Solamaligai which had also served as a Chola capital.According to the Sinnamanur plates, Kumbakonam was the site of a battle between the Pallava king Sri Vallabha and the then Pandya king in 859 and between the Pandya king Srimara Pandya and a confederacy of the Cholas and Gangas.

Kumbakonam came into attention during the rule of the Medieval Cholas who ruled from the 9th century to the 12th century. The town of Pazhaiyaarai, 8 km from Kumbakonam was the capital of the Chola Empire in the 9th century.Kumbakonam was occupied by the Pandyas in 1290 following the decline of the Chola kingdom. Kumbakonam is famous for its temples and monasteries. There are about 188 Hindu temples within the municipal limits of Kumbakonam.In addition to these, there several thousand temples around the town Ramaswamy Temple has scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana depicted on its walls, it was founded by Govinda Dikshitar, the minister of successive Nayak rulers, Achuthappa Nayak. Sarangapani Temple is the largest Vaishnava (3rd among the 108 Divyadesams ) temple in Kumbakonam. Nageswaran Temple has a separate temple for the Sun god , Surya Bhagwan who is believed to have worshipped Shiva at this place. Adi Kumbeswarar Temple and Kasi Viswanathar Temple are the temples got recited  in Thevaram, a Tamil Shaiva canonical work of the 7th–8th century.

Kumbakonam has one of the few temples dedicated to the Lord Brahma Devar. Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is considered to be the oldest Shaiva temple in the town. It is believed to be constructed by the Cholas in the 7th century. Darasuram Airavatesvarar Temple was built by Rajaraja Chola II (1146–73) during 12th century is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Brahadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the Gangaikonda Cholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram. Thenupuriswarar Temple in  Patteeswaram, Sree Oppiliappan Kovil, Swamimalai Murugan Temple, Thiruvidaimaruthur Mahalinga Swamy temple, Thirubuvanam Sarabeswarar Temple, Thirunageswaran Raghu Bhagwan Temple, Suryanar Koil – A temple dedicated to Lord Surya Bhagwan are located in the environs of Kumbakonam.Kumbakonam is well connected with major cities of Tamilnadu both by rail and Road. The nearest Airport is Trichy – about 100 KM and Chennai is about 300 KM.