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97. Tirukkudamookku


Location: Kumbhakonam near Kumbhakonam
(Chola Naadu-South of Kaveri)
Shiva: Kumbeswarar
Ambal: Mangalanayaki
Patikam : Sambandar, Appar
Travel Base: Thanjavur
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Description: The most important shrine in the temple town of Kumbhakonam (Kudandai, Kudamookku). The Mangalambikai shrine here is revered as a Shakti Peetham (Mantra Peetham). The Kumbheswara temple in Kumbhakonam (Kudandai - Kudamookku)  is considered to be the 26th in the series of Tevara Stalams in the Chola kingdom located south of the river Kaveri.  The Mahamagam festival associated with this temple attracts crowds from all over India. 

The major Shivastalams in Kumbhakonam are the Kumbheswarar Temple, Kudandaikkaronam, and the Nageswarar Temple (Kudandaikkeezhkottam). Other temples in Kumbhakonam include the Ramaswamy temple and the Vaishnava Divya Desam Sarangapani temple.

The Saptastanams of Kumbeswarar are Kalayanallur, Valanjuzhi, Darasuram, Swamimalai, Kottiayur, Melaikkaveri and Kumbhakonam.

Legends: During the great deluge, it is believed that Shiva caused the Amritakalasam (the pot holding the divine nectar) to stall here. This shrine is said to have been established built and consecrated by Bhrama.

The Temple:  This  temple covering an area of about 4 acres   in the heart of the temple town of Kumbhakonam. The Rajagopuram rises to a height of 128 feet and is endowed with several images of great beauty. Four prakarams line this temple and are lined with local shops, that it is hard to visualize the spread of the temple by looking at its entrance.

The huge Mahamagam tank is surrounded by 16 picturesque mandapams, dating back to the 16th century..

The Kalyana Mandapam hall in the temple, is the seat of the Tirukkalyana Utsavam. The Navaratri mandapam bears a carvings of the 12 zodiac signs and the 27 asterisms. This temple also houses two nadaswarams made of stone. Many images in this temple deserve mention, especially those of Kiratamurthy and Subramanyar.

Kumbeswarar is represented as a Shivalingam fashioned out of earth - (said to have been made by Shiva in the guise of a hunter - Kiratamurthy). Shiva is also known as Amudha Kumbhesar and Amudheesar. The Kumbariya Vinayakar shrine is situated near the tank, while Aadi Vinayakar is worshipped in the temple.

Moorka Nayanaar is one of the 63 Nayanars associated with this temple.

Festivals: Six worship services are offered each day here. The annual festival in the month of Masi is well attended. The Mahamaham tank is the center of great festivity once every 12 years - when Jupiter is positioned in the zodiac sign of Leo, and the sun is positioned in Aquarius and the moon is in the asterism of Magam (Maasi Magam) -   when Kumbeswarar is taken in procession there. Thousands of pilgrims converge for a dip in the Mahamagam tank during that time.  Several other minor festivals are celebrated each month here.

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