Someswarar, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:SomeswararAmbal / Thayar:Somesundari, ThenarmozhiyaaL
Deity:SivaHistorical name:Tirukkudanthai KaaroNam
Vriksham:VilvamTeertham:Soma Teertham, Mahamaham Kulam

Age (years):

Timing:6.30 to 12.30 & 4 to 8.30Parikaram:

Temple group:Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)
Sung by:


Temple set:

, Mahamaham festival, Story of Kumbakonam



City / town:KumbakonamDistrict:Thanjavur
Maps from (click): Current location Kumbakonam (2 km)Mayiladuthurai (39 km)

Thanjavur (41 km)Tiruvarur (42 km)


Sthala puranam and temple information

The puranam of this temple is closely linked to the story of Kumbakonam. When pralayam happened, and before the start of Kali Yugam, Brahma gathered seeds of all living beings and put them in a pot (kumbham or kudam, made of sacred earth from the world) as advised by Lord Siva, and the pot was decoratively tied with string (even as we see today during functions). During the floods, the kumbham was floating and came to rest at Kumbakonam (konam=corner). Lord Siva appeared as a hunter and shot an arrow at the earthen kumbham. The pot shattered, and the different pieces that landed each became a Swambhu murti Siva Lingam. This temple is where the string fell. Some of the amritam in the pot spilled here and became the temple’s Teertham – Chandra pushkarini (which has dried up over time).

Chandran, also called Soma, worshipped Lord Siva here, and as a consequence, the moolavar deity here is called Someswarar.

The temple is also referred to as Kudanthai Karonam (Kudanthai referring to Kumbakonam, and Karonam from the following puranam). When the nine rivers (also known as the Nava Kannikas) came to Kumbakonam to take a holy dip in the Mahamaham tank, there was a lot of noise and confusion. Bewildered and afraid, Parvati embraced the Siva Lingam here. Kaya means body, and arohanam means embracing, and so Siva here became known as Kayarohaneswarar and the place became Kayarohaneswaram or Kayarohanam, which name has corrupted to Karonam over time. On the northern side of the Mahamaham tank is the Kasi Viswanathar temple, where the chief feature is a separate shrine for the Nava Kannikas.

There is another interpretation for the name Karonam being attached to this temple, which used to he a principal place of worship for the Pasupata sub-cult of Saivism. The Pasupata premise is to ascend to reach Siva’s feet with the devotee’s mortal body, and so Kaya-Arohanam could also be representative of this, where arohanam refers to ascending.

Parantaka Chola worshipped here in order to beget children, and as a consequence, Gandaraditya Chola (husband of Sembian Madevi) was born. Parantaka also installed a Lingam, which is worshipped as Chozheeswarar, today, in the prakaram.

There are three entrances to the temple, and each of them lead to Siva worshipped as a different deity in the temple. If one enters from the east (through the rajagopuram), the deities that are first worshipped are Maleesar (Mal = Vishnu; Maleesar is said to have been installed and worshipped by Lord Vishnu, in order to defeat the asuras) and Mangala Nayaki. Entering from the south (kattai gopuram) leads one to the shrines of Somanathar and Thenarmozhiammai, while entering from the north leads to the Someswarar and Somasundari shrines.

The temple is substantially Chola, with initial construction from the time of Parantaka Chola. Subsequent (but minimal) additions have been made by later kings, including the Nayaks. Kulothunga Chola III made several contributions to the temple, and these as well as others are recorded in the temple’s inscriptions. The frontage of this temple belies the beautiful temple and architecture inside, despite there being only one prakaram. It is possible this was a much bigger temple complex earlier.

Worshipping Vinayakar at this temple is believed to help unmarried people get married, and so is named Kalyana Vinayakar. Murugan is seen with footwear only on one foot, and on the day of Karthikai, devotees are blessed by placing a sadaari on their heads, which is typically a practice in Perumal temples. Natarajar here is called Kana Nattam Udayar, meaning that there is no loss (nattam or nashtam in Tamil) to devotees who do not worship Him, as long as the oversight was in error and not due to indifference.

Other information for your visit

The temple is adjacent to the Sarngapani Divya Desam temple on the northeast, and Adi Kumbeswarar temple is to its south. Given its central location in Kumbakonam, there are several temples of note and prominence within a very short distance.


Phone: 0435 2430349


Author: TN Temples Project

A personal project to catalogue information on temples (both mainstream and off-the-beaten-track), so that people can learn about them and visit those temples more regularly.

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