Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Gajendra Varada Perumal||Ambal / Thayar:||Shenbagavalli, Ramamani Thayar, Potramarayal|
|Vriksham:||Magizhamaram||Teertham:||Gajendra Teertam, Kapila Teertham|
|Timing:||7 to 12 & 5 to 7.30||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Divya Desam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Kabisthalam||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (18.1 km)||Thanjavur (28.1 km)|
|Ariyalur (35.7 km)||Mayiladuthurai (54.7 km)|
Kabisthalam is located about 15km from Kumbakonam, after Swamimalai and Umayalpuram.
Sthala puranam and temple information
It is said that this is one of the places where Perumal – as Lord Rama – gave pratyaksham (darsanam) to Hanuman (kapi = monkey, in Sanskrit), and therefore this place is called Kapisthalam or Kabisthalam. Another interpretation of legends says this was the home of many poets (kavi in Sanskrit), and the place is therefore also called Kavisthalam.
This is considered to be the place where the events of Gajendra moksham took place. King Indradyumnan was a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu, and used to forget himself when meditating upon the Lord. Once when he was in deep meditation, Sage Durvasa came to visit him. After waiting for a long time, the Sage lost patience and went and stood in front of the King. Even so, the King did not rise, which angered the Sage. He cursed the king to become an elephant. On hearing the curse, the King came out of his meditative state, and prayed to the Sage for forgiveness. The Sage relented and blessed him to continue with his worship to the Lord, and that the King would be relieved of his curse when a crocodile caught his legs and he sought the help of the Lord.
Demon Koohoo used to reside in Kabila Teertham and keep pulling the legs of the people who had a dip in the tank. Once when Sage Agastyar visited the tank, the demon pulled his legs. The Sage got angry and cursed him to become a crocodile. The demon sought pardon. Sage Agastyar told him that he would be relieved of his when he pulled the leg of an elephant.
Once the King, now in the form of the elephant, came to have a dip at Kabila Teertham. The crocodile caught hold of and pulled his leg. The elephant shouted Aadimoolame and sought the help of the Lord. Lord Vishnu appeared and killed the crocodile with his chakram. At this, both were relieved of their curses and the King attained salvation. Perumal is called Gajendra Varadar as he gave moksham to Gajendra, the elephant.
This is the only place where Lord Vishnu gave pratyaksham to non-humans (the elephant and crocodile). Perumal is in sayana kolam (bhujanga sayanam), facing east.
Tirumazhisai azhvar has sung in the praise of the Lord here as Attrankarai Kidakkum Kannan (Kannan / Krishnan reclining near the river-bank).
The temple is also one of the Pancha Krishna Kshetrams (also called Krishna Aranya Kshetram or Krishna Mangala Kshetram), which are Tirukannamangai, Tirukannapuram, Kabisthalam, Tirukovilur and Tirukannangudi. This is also one of the Vaishnava Navagraha Sthalams located near Kumbakonam, this one dedicated to Rahu.
The temple is located just off the main road (on the northern side) from Kumbakonam to Thanjavur. Just across the main road (southern side) runs the Kaveri river, where the events of the Gajendra moksham puranam (above) are said to have taken place.
Other information for your visit
Kumbakonam is a temple town, and there are a number of temples in and around Kumbakonam. Please visit the pages on Kumbakonam, Near: Kumbakonam, and Near 25: Kumbakonam, for more information on these.
Kumbakonam and its outskirts (including Swamimalai) have several accommodation options for all budgets, including some resorts.