Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Kasi Viswanathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Visalakshi|
|Vriksham:||Veppa maram||Teertham:||Mahamaham tank|
|Timing:||7 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Kumbakonam||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (1 km)||Mayiladuthurai (39 km)|
|Thanjavur (41 km)||Tiruvarur (41 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
While not a Paadal Petra Sthalam, this is an important temple in Kumbakonam. It is connected to the story of Kumbakonam and the Mahamaham festival, and indeed, has the Mahamaham kulam as its Teertham. In the story of Kumbakonam, this is generally not regarded among the 12 main temples, but is considered to be one of the places where a shard of the kumbham fell, and a Siva Lingam manifested itself here.
In the Ramayanam, Rama consulted Agastyar about invading Lanka to bring back Sita. The sage advised Rama that Ravana was a great devotee of Siva, and so, without the benediction of Siva Himself, it would not be possible to defeat Ravana. To this end, Rama first bathed in the Mahamaham kulam, and then worshipped at this temple, thereby imbibing Rudramsam into Him (which process is called aarohanam), which enabled Him to defeat Ravana. Due to this, the place is also referred to as Karonam.
Karonam is how the temple is sometimes referred to. This has caused a difference in view among some, as to whether it is this temple or the Someswarar temple, that is the Kudanthai Karonam.
Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Narmada, Godavari, Krishna, Tungabhadra, Kaveri, and Sarayu rivers are regarded as the nine sacred rivers of Bharatam. These rivers had a complaint, that they were getting polluted by the sins that devotees sought to wash away, by bathing in these rivers. The river goddesses themselves therefore wanted to be cleansed. They worshipped Siva at Kasi, and were directed to bathe in the Mahamaham kulam, worshipped at the Aadi Kumbeswarar temple, and then at this temple where Siva as Viswanathar from Kasi, manifested Himself.
Although the temple is believed to have existed since ancient times, a structural temple (of which there is evidence inside the temple) can be dated to about 1400 years ago. The current temple we see is a Nayak temple from the 16th century. According to a local belief, the Siva Lingam of this temple – which is under a neem tree – is said to grow in size over time. The raja gopuram of this temple, though small in comparison to many other temples, is richly populated with stucco work depicting scenes from the story of Kumbakonam, and other puranams. The entrance arch also depicts the nine river goddesses, connected with the sthala puranam.
Other information for your visit
Also read about the story of Kumbakonam, and the Mahamaham festival, both of which are closely connected with this temple.