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Kumbakonam is a town in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. The town is popular for the Betal Leaf Combination (Vettrilai Cheeval) and for the thick-strong coffee. Nearby Darasuram is famous for Airavatesvara Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Airavatesvara Temple

The town is bounded by two rivers - " River Cauvery" on the north and "River Arasalar" on the south. Kumbakonam gets its name from the deity Lord Aadhi Kumbeswarar. A traditional representation of South Indian culture, the town is known for its temples, intricately carved panchaloha idols, exquisite brass wares especially lamps and silks (Kanchipuram and Kumbakonam are the very well known silk producers). The place, like many other sacred places has a unique festival known as the Mahamaham festival. The festival celebrated once in twelve years coincides with the entry of Sun and Jupiter into constellation of Aquarius and Leo respectively. People from all walks of life have a dip in the Mahamaham tank along with the presiding deities of the town.

Kumbakonam is full of temples. Every street, road, locality has a prominent temple. Better read some literature on them before your visit them. The Sankara Matam and associated institutions preserve and represent all that is great about the Hindu ancient scholarly tradition.

Some of India's world renowned scholars and intellectuals hail from Kumbakonam including the genius mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. The Town High School and the Kumbakonam Arts College are the grand old centres of education with the latter built on the banks of River Cauvery (kaveri) sometimes referred to as the Cambridge of South India.

It has an excellent road link to all the navagraha temples (gods representing nine planets).

The town which was originally a religious town become an industrial center during last quarter of the 19th Century and early period of 20th century. Predominance was gained for Silk Industries and Metal manufacturing.

The major supplier of silk sarees to the Indian market is the Kumbakonam silk industry.

All the South Indian Brass Pooja articles and utensils are manufactured in Kumbakonam and these articles are manufactured nowhere in South India other than Kumbakonam. Kuthuvilakku and Statues are the famous articles. Stainless Steel utensils are manufactured.

Brass ornamental Lamps (Kuthuvilakku) are also manufactured in Naachiyar Kovil. It is near by Kmbakonam just 8 km towards Tiruvarur.

Get in


By plane


The nearest airport is Tirchy Airport. Kumbakonam can be reached from Airport by Bus which will take 3 hours travel.

By bus


Kumbakonam is well connected to all the major towns and cities. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka state transport corporations operate buses to Kumbakonam. A highlight in Kumbakonam is its central bus stand, which is served with AC waiting halls and waiting shades. This was the first full AC bus stand in India.

From Chennai the city is 6-8 hours of travel by bus. There are excellent bus services provided by both government and private travel services. For more comfortable travel it is better to choose a private travel service. From Tirchy it's about 90 km and about 40 km from Thanjavur.

By train


Kumbakonam is connected through the "Main Line" from Chennai Egmore to Tiruchirapalli, bifurcating at Villupuram and is one of the important stations on the section. Regular dailies are available to Chennai, Bangalore, Mysore, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Tiruchendur, Rameswaram and Coimbatore. There are also direct tri-weekly trains from Tirupati and weekly trains from Bhubaneswar, Ayodhya and Varanasi.

Get around

Map of Kumbakonam

By auto rickshaw


The cheapest mode of hired transport. Autos ply to small towns in and around Kumbakonam (less than 10 km). As with any other town in Tamil Nadu, negotiate the price before making the trip.

You can negotiate an auto for half-day or full day rates for the nearby places and temples within Kumbakonam. Charges range from 500/- to 750/- approximately for half-day, depending on the places you need to visit. For a 1.5 days I paid ~₹900/- in total.

By taxi


There are two prominent taxi stands in the town. One near the bus stand and the other near town hall. As with any tourist place, the prices are hiked up once they know you are from out of town. For the Navagraha trip, one can base the trip from Kumbakonam. It takes 1.5 days to cover the 9 temples. Taxis charge approximately ₹10 per km. For covering 250 km, one can pay ₹2,500, including driver charges

It's a good idea to check with locals on the average fare for autos and taxis.


  • 1 Adi Kumbeswarar Temple. A temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, where he is worshipped as Adi Kumbeswarar. Adi Kumbeswarar Temple (Q4682610) on Wikidata Adi Kumbeswarar Temple, Kumbakonam on Wikipedia
  • 2 Airavatesvara Temple, Darasuram. A temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built during the Chola era, the temple is named after Lord Indra's elephant Airavata. Airavatesvara Temple (Q3437182) on Wikidata Airavatesvara Temple on Wikipedia
  • 3 Kasi Viswanathar Temple. Named after the famous temple in Varanasi, this temple worships Lord Shiva as Vishvanatha and his consort Parvati as Vishalakshi. Kasi Viswanathar Temple, Kumbakonam (Q6374500) on Wikidata Kasi Viswanathar Temple, Kumbakonam on Wikipedia







There are lots of budget restaurants in Kumbakonam. Although food in general will be tastier all around the city, it might not be hygienic. Check out the hotels around as some also have good restaurants. Hotel Raayas is better for Non Vegetarian and if you are after some quality Parottas and tasty Non-Veg, Hotel SHANMUGA seems to be the place as it is the LOCAL'S Favourite. Hotel Meenatchi Bhavan, Archanas and Venkatramana are all good for a veggie.

Sterling Resorts provide excellent food for the rich. But if a simple home style food of the local cuisine is what you want, try out one of the 'mess'.

  • Gowrishankar Hotels, Upstairs to New Bus Stand (New Bus Stand Shopping Complex), +91 435-2401220. 05:30-22:30. A Vegetarian Restaurant in the premises of Kumbakonam New Bus Stand
  • Indeco Hotels, Thimmakudi (Swamimali Road). 7AM-10PM. Multi cuisine vegetarian food. ₹350.
  • Murali, No 40 Narasojee Rao st (Walajapet), +91 4172-645261. Kavitha Hotel - Thirumanjana Veethi Near Kumbeswarar temple
  • Meenatchi Restaurant. Good veggie food.
  • Paradise Resort. Try it for over the top stuff. ₹420/- Lunch.



Coffee. You'll be missing the essence of the trip if you didn't taste the coffee here. Kumbakonam filter coffee is one of the best in India.

  • Kannan Cafe, Near SRVS (after nall road).
  • Mangalambiga Coffee & Tiffin Center, 99.kumbeswarar north st, +91 4352400228. good vegetarian hotel
  • Taj Samudra Hotel & Restaurant, No:80 Nageswaran south st (Near Nageswaran Temple), +91 435-2401332-2332. Lunch Meal ₹60/-



There are quite few good hotels that one can stay in. It is better make an advanced reservation to save time from running around to find a good place, especially when you have the family with you.

  • Adithya Hote, +91 435 2421794, .
  • Hotel Kasi International.
  • Hotel Rayas, +91 435-2001712.
  • Mantra Veppathur, Veppathur, +91 484 4261711.
  • Murugan Cafe. Very comfortable stay. Has A/C rooms as well.Rooms are neat and clean. Well maintained. Also has a vegetarian restaurant.
  • Paradise Resort (kumbakonam), 3/1216 Tanjore main road, Darasuram (near Swamimalai ) (towards Thanjavur), +91 4353291354, . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Eco-friendly traditional riverside resort, very clean & neat room, swimming pool, known for the food, easy access, centrally located. Mobile or handphone +919943311354,9943311353 From ₹4000.
  • PL.A Residency (Hotel Habib Towers), 122, Kamaraj Rd (opposite the railway station, close to Navagraha Temples), +91 4352403181. Check-in: 24 hours, check-out: 24 hours. A star class business hotel. A competitive and luxurious hotel having all rooms with A/C, spacious lobby, car parking area, free internet wifi, Curry Leaf Multi Cuisine Restaurant.
  • Rama Cafe, mahamaham tank west, +91 435-2402940. Good vegetarian hotel
  • Sivamurugan Hotels, 60 feet main Rd (near new bus stand), +91 435-2425276, +91 435-2426276. Check-in: 24 hours. Hotel with a vegetarian restaurant. ₹800, ₹900, ₹1300,1500.
  • Sterling Resort (Swamimalai). This is on the outskirts of the town, but easily commutable if you take an auto or hire a taxi



Go next

  • Gangaikonda Cholapuram
  • Konerirajapuram - an ancient Chola temple about 1/2 hour drive off the Kumbakonam Karaikal road. The world's tallest bronze Nataraja is housed in this temple, the statue is bigger than that at Chidambaram. There are also ancient inscriptions and frescoes from various periods in Tamil history. Well worth a visit.
  • Rajaghiri
  • Thanjavur
  • Thiruvaiyaru
  • Vaitheeswaran Koil
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