Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Kumbakonam Town in Thanjavur District in Tamil Nadu. Presiding Deity is called as Adi Kumbeswarar /Amutheswarar and Mother is called as Manthra Peeteswari / Mangalambikai / Mantra Peeta Nalathal.The temple is one of 12 Shiva temples connected with the Mahamaham festival, which takes place in Kumbakonam every 12 years.
The presiding deity is revered in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work. the Thevaram. written by Tamil saint poets known as the Nayanmars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. This Temple is the I43rd Devaram Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalam and 26th sthalam on south of river Cauvery in Chozha Nadu. Lord Murugan of this Temple is praised by Saint Arunagirinathar in his revered Thirupugazh hymns. This Temple is considered as one of the Saptha Sthana temples of Kumbakonam.
According to Hindu mythology, at the end of every Yuga, there is a huge flood called Maha Pralayam occurs and the whole world immerses in a deluge on account of the wrath of Hindu god Shiva for the sins committed by humans in earth. Lord Brahma prepared himself for the next cycle of creation. He put all the seeds from which creation would sprout in amrita (the elixir of immortality) along with four Vedas and Puranas and kept them together in a clay pot. On top of the pot, he placed a coconut with mango leaves and wrapping around the pot’s neck a sacred thread. He then placed the pot on the peak of Mount Meru in the Himalayas.
When the Maha Pralayam started, it destroyed all living creatures on the earth.The Amutha Kalasa also got displaced and started floating on the seas for years. Eventually when the Pralayam stopped. the Kalasa settled in Kumbakonam. Then Lord Shiva took the form of a hunter (Kirata Murthy) and split open the pot with his arrow. The life on earth started flourishing again. It is believed that when Lord Shiva opened the pot with his arrow, the pot broke and fell in various places across the earth. Each of these items became Shiva Lingas and temple has been established later.
Kumbakonam roughly translated in English as the Jug’s Corner. Kumbakonam was also formerly known by the Tamil name of Kudamukku. Kumbakonam is also identified with the Sangam age settlement of Kudavayil.
It is believed that Nava Kannigas (9 divine maidens) had a dip in Potraamarai tank of this Temple after their bath in the Mahamagam tank. It is also believed nectar also got spilled in Potraamarai Tank during Pralaya.
Lord Shiva parted half of his body with Mother Parvathi, He had also parted 36 crores of his Mantra Shakti-power with her. Mother also has her share of 36 crore Shakti and the share of lord makes it to 72 crores. Thus, Mother is praised as Mantra Peeteswari. This temple is considered as one of the Shakti Peetas
Lord Vinayaka of the temple is praised as Aadhi Vinayaka as he had arrived here well before Lord Shiva and Mother Parvathi to the place.
Lord Muruga received the Mantra Upades from his Mother here
Lord Muruga had received the Mantra Upadesa from Mother Mantra Peeteswari before waging the war against Surapadma.
Conical Shaped Linga
The Kumbeswarar is in Shiva Linga form which is a formless form – called aaru (formless) + uru (form) = aaruuru.The shape of the Linga is of very special significance as it is of conical shaped Lingam.This is a unique Linga nowhere to be seen in the world.
Moorka Nayanar (Narchuthar), one of the 63 Nayanmars, is believed to have offered foods to devotees before attaining salvation here.
Lord Mahavishnu worshiped the Lord Shiva here and was bestowed with the disc (Chakkaram) by Lord Shiva. Hence Lord Mahavishnu is praised as Chakrapani.
Lord Vishnu was also bestowed with the bow (Sarangam) by Lord Shiva. Hence, Lord Vishnu also came to be called as Saarangapani.
Holier than Kasi
There is a popular saying in Sanskrit – Kumbakonam is more sacred than Varanasi (Kasi). A sin committed at some place can be washed away by visiting a nearby holy place. A sin committed in one of the sacred places is washed away by going on a pilgrimage to Varanasi. However, if one commits a sin in Varanasi itself, it can only be washed off in Kumbakonam. Similarly, any sinful act done at Kumbakonam is washed away there itself.
People Worshipped Lord Shiva here
It is also believed that Lord Brahma, Indra, Kamadhenu, Sages Kashyapa and Hema Rishi have worshiped Lord Shiva of this Temple.
Adi Kumbeswarar Temple History
The temple is in existence from Chola times of the 9th century, and has been maintained by Nayaks during the 15-17th century. The present masonry structure was built during the Chola dynasty in the 9th century, while later expansions are attributed to Vijayanagar rulers of the Thanjavur Nayaks of the 16th century. Govinda Dikshitar who was the Minister of Raja Achuthappa Nayakkar of Thanjavur, served as the Minister to three Nayaka rulers from 1515 — 1636.
He was in charge of renovating the Adi Kumbeswarar Temple with a new Raja Gopuram and consecration ceremony took place during the reign of Sevappa Nayakkan There is an idol of Govinda Dikshitar and his wife Nagammal in the Adi Kumbeswarar Temple. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu.The last consecration ceremony took place on 12.12.1999.
The Temple is the largest Shiva Temple of Kumbakonam. It is facing towards east with 9 tiered Rajagopuram (gateway tower). The Rajagopuram is about 128 ft tall. Kumbeswarar temple complex covers an area of 30.181 sq. ft (2.803.9 m2) and houses four gateway towers known as gopurams. There is a 3 tier second level Rajagopuram. There is an unfinished main tower (Rajagopuram) here which is called Mottai gopuram.This is a well-known land mark of the temple.
The temple has 3 corridors, elongated along an east-west axis has triple set of gopurams. The temple is approached by a corridor 330 ft (100 m) long and 15 ft (4.6 m) wide.The flag mast is located in the second precinct, directly on the axis of the presiding deity. Beyond the flagstaff. a hallway whose columns feature painted brackets representing Yali (a mythological creature) leads to the gopuram.
Nandi and Bali Peetham can be found facing the sanctum in the inner prakaram.The sanctum sanctorum consists of Sanctum, Antarala, Artha Mandapam and Maha Mandapam. Presiding Deity is called as Adi Kumbeswarar /Amutheswarar and is facing eastThe central shrine (sanctum) of the temple houses the image of Adi Kumbeswarar in the form of lingam. It is believed that Linga had been made by Lord Shiva himself when he mixed nectar of immortality and sand.
The base of the Linga is broad at the bottom and narrow at the top as a needle point Since the lingam is made of sand, the abhishekam is performed only to the base (Avudayar). Only Punugu (civet) is applied to the lingam once in a while. The lingam is big in size (Mahalingam) and it is in an inclined position. It is always covered with gold sheets (Kavasam).
Mother is called as Manthra Peeteswari / Mangalambikai / Mantra Peeta Nalathal. She is housed in a separate south facing shrine. Her shrine is situated parallel to the left of Kumbeswarar Shrine and Somaskanda is located to the right. She wears the yellow sari with turmeric on the face and the Kumkum on the forehead. She glitters with all mercy.
The temple complex houses many halls; the most notable is the sixteen-pillared hall built during the Vijayanagar period, Navaratri Mandapam. Navaratri Mandapam (Hall of Navratri celebration) has 27 stars and 12 Rasis (constellations) carved in a single block. The temple has a colonnaded hall and a good collection of silver vahanas (sacred vehicles used to carry deities during festival processions).The temple is in possession of two granite Nadaswarams (a musical instrument).
A lion carrying some stones on head in the front hall of the temple stands as an example of the Tamil sculpture art.There is a separate shrine for Lord Kirata Murthy / Vetta Murthy. This is unique to this temple as it commemorates the legend that Lord Shiva himself reinstated life back on earth. Kumbamuni Siddhar Shrine is situated in the outer corridor of the temple. Devotees pray here for relief from the adverse aspects of planets.
Lord Vinayaka of the temple is praised as Aadhi Vinayaka.There is an idol of Govinda Dikshitar and his wife Nagammal in the Temple premises. There is a shrine for Lord Murugan called Karthikeyan here. The uniqueness of this lord’s idol is that he is seen with his consorts and his peacock mount. He is depicted with six faces but with only 6 hands instead of 12.
There are shrines and idols of Vinayakar, Murugan, Gajalakshmi, 63 Nayanmars (both stone and procession idols). Nataraja, Somaskandar, Kirata Murthy, Nalvars, Virabhadrar, Sapta Kannikas, Visvanathar with Visalakshi,Valam Chuzhi Vinayakar. Dakshinamurthy, BrahmaNishnu, Bikshadana,Arukala Vinayakar, Sabha Vinayaka, Annapoorani, Mahalakshmi, Saraswathi, Jeshta Devi, Durgai and Chandikeswarar in the first prakaram.
There are shrines and idols of Navaneetha Vinayakar, Sattainathar. Bhairavar, Jwarahareswarar, Chandran, Suryan, Vallabha Ganapathi, Navagrahas, Adhikara Mandi, Lakshmi Narayana Perumal. Vanni Vinayakar, Mutra Veli Vinayaka, Bala Dhandayudhapani, Kumarappar, Adhi Linga and Kumbha Muni Siddhar in the second prakaram. Chamber of repose, decoration hall, Sacrificial hall, grand kitchen, marriage hall. elephant shed, Vasanthamandaparn, cattle shed, garden and four-pillared hall are other notable parts in the temple.
The Car Street is beyond the outermost wall and festive processions with the deities in the special chariots are taken on this route. On either side of the eastern Rajagopuram there are bazaars and the shed that houses the chariot. There are five silver-plated chariots in the temple used to carry the temple deities during festive occasions. Sthala Vriksham is Vanni Tree.
The Mahamaham tank, Potraamarai Tirtha, Varuna Tirtha, Kashyapa 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 Potramarai tank (tank with golden lotus flowers) is situated in front of the temple.The Potramarai tank separates the Kumbeswarar temple from Sarangapani temple. Those visiting the temple during the Mahamagam festival (famous festival celebrated once in 12 years as the Kumbh Mela in North) take bath in the tank.
Adi Kumbeswarar Temple Opeining Time
The temple remains open from 05.30 AM to 12.30 PM and from 04.00 PM to 08.30 PM.
Adi Kumbeswarar Temple Pooja Timing
The temple priests perform the puja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. Like other Shiva temples of Tamil Nadu, the priests belong to the Shaiva community, a Brahmin sub-caste. The temple rituals are performed six times a day; Ushathkalam at 5:30 a.m., Kalasanthi at 8:00 am., Uchikalam at 10:00 a.m., Sayarakshai at 5:00 p.m., Irandamkalam at 7:00 p.m. and Ardha Jamam at 8:00 p.m.
Each ritual comprises four steps: abhisheka (sacred bath), alangaram (decoration), naivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Kumbeswarar and Mangalambikai.The worship is held amidst music with Nadaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (percussion instrument), religious instructions in the Vedas (sacred texts) read by priests and prostration by worshippers in front of the temple mast.
Devotees enter the temple through the Rajagopuram, pass the long Mandapam, Bali Peedam and the Kodi Maram (flag post), seek the blessings of Nandi and worship Lord Kumbeswarar. Then, they go through the prakara worshipping the 63 Nayanmars, Saptha Mathas, Kamadhenu, Bhava Linga, Mahalinga, Lord Dakshinamurthy and Lord ValanchuzhiVinayaka.
Then, they have to proceed to Mother’s shrine through the shrines for Lords Bikshadana, Muruga, Akshaya Linga, Sahasra Linga, Mothers Annapoorani, Gajalakshmi, Mahalakshmi. Saraswathi and Lord Brahma.There is a glass room where Lord is in a reclining posture.
Then are the shrines of Mother Ashtabuja Durga, Navaneetha Vinayaka, Kirathamurthy. Bhairava, Kala Bhairava, Jurakeswarar, Sastha, Govinda Dikshithar, Nagambal. After worshipping Mother Mangalambikai, devotees leave the temple after worshipping at the Navagraha (nine planets). It is believed that following this worship procedure would bring all the boons wished by the devotees.
Adi Kumbeswarar Temple Festivals
The Temple has twelve yearly festivals on its calendar, with the Masi Magam festival celebrated during the Tamil month of Maasi (February – March) being the most prominent Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is famous for the Mahamagam Festival that takes place once every twelve years in Masi (February-March when the star Magam reigns over the skies). Lakhs of pilgrims from various parts of India visit Kumbakonam to take a holy bath in the sacred Mahamaham tank that is in the heart of the town.
Processional figures of deities from all the temples in Kumbakonam arrive at the tank. At noon, all the deities bathe along with the devotees in a ceremony called Theerthavari (bath of purification).After the dip, pilgrims donate liberally to the temple. The Ther (temple cars) of major temples in Kumbakonam come around the city on the festival night. Sapthasthana festival is celebrated in Chithirai (April-May) when the Lord and Mother visit 7 places at a distance of 20 Kms.
Thirukalyanam (wedding festival) in Vaikasi (May-June),Thirumanjanam in Aani (June-July),Aadi Perukku & Aadi Pooram (July-August), Panguni festival (March-April) with special pujas. Butter pot festival on the Aswathi star day in Masi (February-March) on the 8th day, and the procession of Panchamurtis are the festivals grandly celebrated in the temple.
Aavani covering August-September is the Malayalam New Year Day when Sun will be in Leo that determines the weather of the year throughout The practice of fasting during the Sundays of this month praying to Sun and Nagaraja for protection of the crops from creatures as rat etc. is followed since ancient days. Special pujas are performed in this temple on Aavani Sundays in August-September.
Adi Kumbeswarar Temple Prayers
Those coming for the bath in Mahamagam tank bathe in Potramarai tank also. After their bath in the former tank, it is said that the Navakannikas bathed in this tank also. Hence, this is practiced. Kumbamuni Siddha is in the outer corridor of the temple. Devotees pray in Kumbamuni Siddha shrine for relief from the adverse aspects of planets.
Devotees pray to Mother Mangalambikai for distinction in education and seek wedding and child boons. for progress in trade and profession and prosperity.They worship mother with red flowers on Sundays in Aavani month-August-September. Devotees perform abishek, archanas and offer vastras to Lord and Mother.
How to Reach Adi Kumbeswarar Temple?
The Temple is located at about 300 meters from Mottai Gopuram Bus Stop, 3 Kms from Kumbakonam Railway Station and 3 Kms from Kumbakonam Bus Stand. Kumbakonam is well-connected by road and rail with the rest of India. Kumbakonam is located at about 6 Kms from Thirunageswaram, 8 Kms from Patteeswaram, 9 Kms from Thiruvidaimarudur, 9 Kms from Nachiyar Koil, 15 Kms from Papanasam, 34 Kms from Mayiladuthurai. 35 Kms from Thiruvaiyaru, 40 Kms from Thanjavur, 42 Kms from Thiruvarur, 88 Kms from Trichy, 101 Kms from Trichy Airport and 283 Kms from Chennai.
There are regular government and private bus services to Chennai, Thanjavur, Mannargudi, Trichy, Chidambaram, Tiruppur, Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam, Coimbatore, Palani, Thoothukudi, Madurai, Sivagangai, Puducherry and Tirunelveli. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates daily services from Bengaluru and Mysuru to Kumbakonam. Private Town buses are available from bus stand & Govt bus route no’s – 11,12, 14, 15, 25, 29, 48, & 61 to reach this temple.