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 Kumbeshwarar. 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 (kancheepuram 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 litereture 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 Ramanujam. 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.
Betelnuts, Suparis are manufactured in Kumbakonam.
Brass ornamental Lamps (Kuthuvilakku) are also manufactured in Naachiyar Kovil. It is near by Kmbakonam just 8 km towards Tiruvarur.
The nearest airport is Tirchy Airport . Kumbakonam can be reached from Airport by Bus which will take 3 hours travel.
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.
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, Rameshwaram and Coimbatore. There are also direct tri-weekly trains from Tirpati and weekly trains from Bhubaneswar, Ayodhya and Varanasi.
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.
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.
There are several prominent temples in the town:
- Adi Kumbeshwarar Temple
- Airavatesvara Temple Darasuram (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Ayyavadi Pratyankara Devi temple
- Chakrapani Temple
- Ganapathi Agraharam Vinayaka temple
- Kabistalam Gajendra Varada Vishu temple
- Kasi Viswanatha Temple
- Koothanur Saraswathy temple
- The Mahamaha Kulam intricately carved temple tank where the Mahamaham is held once in twelve years
- Nachiyar Koil Vishnu temple (one of the 108 Divyadesams of Srivaishnavites)
- Nageswara Temple
- ThiruNageswaram Shiva temple
- Oppilliappan Vishnu temple (one of the 108 Divyadesams of Srivaishnavites)
- Papanasam 108 Shiva linga temple
- Patteswaram Durga Temple
- Ragavendra Mutt at Kumbakonam city
- Ramaswamy Temple
- The Sarangapani Temple (one of the 108 Divyadesams of Srivaishnavites)
- Someswara Temple
- Srinivasa Ramanujan House/Museum
- Swamimalai Murugan Temple (ARU PADAI VEEDU)
- ThirudevanKudi Shiva temple
- Thiruvidaimarudhur Shiva temple
- Thirukarugavoor Shri Mullaivananathar Kovil (Garbharakshambikai Temple)
- Tirubhvanam Kambahareshwarar Temple
- Tirucherai SaranathaSwamy Vishnu temple (one of the 108 Divyadesams of Srivaishnavites)
- Tirumangalakudi Shiva temple
- Tirupambupuram Shiva temple (Dakshina Kalahasti)
- Tiruvalanchuzhi Swetha vinayagar Temple
- Uthukaadu Krishnar Temple (Kalinga Narthanam temple) (Famous for major Carnatic songs)
- Valangaimaan Mariamman Temple
Surrounding Kumbakonam are the popular Navagraha temples. Although the presiding deity in all these temples are various forms of Shiva, the Navagraha Sannidhis are quite popular.
Navagraha Town Presiding Deity Phone Number Budhan (Mercury) Tiruvenkadu Swatharanyeswarar 04364 256 424 Chandran (Moon) Thingaloor Kailasanathar 04362 236 0936 Chevvai (Mars) Vaitheeswaran Kovil Vaitheeswarar 04364 279 423 Guru (Jupiter) Alangudi Aabhatsakayeswarar 04374 269 407 Kethu (South Lunar Node) Keezhaperumpallam Naganathar 04364 275 222 Rahu (North Lunar Node) Tirunageswaram Naganathar 0435 246 3354 Sani (Saturn) Thirunallaru Tharparaaneswarar 04368 236 530 Sukkran (Venus) Kanchanoor Agneeswarar 04435 247 3737 Surya (Sun) Suryanarkovil Kasi Viswanathar 0435 247 2349
The Mullaivananathan Temple at Thirukarukkavur is quite famous for the goddess Garbharakshambika who is the God's consort there.
- Tiruvalanchuzhi (Swetha Vinayagar Temple).
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), ☏ . 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), ☏ . 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, ☏ . good vegetarian hotel
- Taj Samudra Hotel & Restaurant, No:80 Nageswaran south st (Near Nageswaran Temple), ☏ . 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, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hotel Kasi International.
- Hotel Rayas, ☏ .
- Mantra Veppathur, Veppathur, ☏ .
- 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), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 1400hrs, check-out: 12 noon. Eco Friendly Traditional River side Resort,very clean & neat room,Swimming pool,known for the food,easy access,centrally located to visit all the navagraha temple,authentic ayurveda,yoga.on the bank of the river arasalar(branch of cauvery) Mobile or handphone +919943311354,9943311353 4000+.
- PL.A Residency (Hotel Habib Towers), 122, Kamaraj Rd (opposite the railway station, close to Navagraha Temples), ☏ . 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, 5,000 Sqt car parking area, free internet wifi, Curry Leaf Multi Cuisine Reasturant.
- Rama Cafe, mahamaham tank west, ☏ . Good vegetarian hotel
- Sivamurugan Hotels, 60 feet main Rd (near new bus stand), ☏ , . 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
- The Brihadisvara Temple of Gangaikondacholapuram (an UNESCO World Heritage site)
- 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.
- Vaitheeswaran Koil