Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Ekambareswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Kamakshi, Kannika Parameswari|
|Timing:||7.30 to 12.30 & 4 to 7.30||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 (42 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This is one of 12 temples directly associated with the origin of Kumbakonam and the Mahamaham festival. According to that puranam, Brahma put together the seeds of all living organisms and also the Vedas and Puranas, in a pot which came to be called the Amrita Kalasam (pot of nectar). Kumbham is the Sanskrit and Kudam the Tamil, for a pot of this type. This was decorated with various items like flowers, vilvam, auspicious cloth, chandanam (sandal paste), and sacred thread, a coconut was kept on top of it. The whole thing was tied together, similar to the kalasams we see today at domestic functions and in temples. The pot was kept on the top of mount Meru. When the pralayam began, it destroyed all creatures on earth. The Kumbham prepared by Brahma was also displaced, and floated on the flood waters for years and years. Finally, it settled at a spot (which is regarded as modern day Kumbakonam). Siva, in the guise of a hunter, broke open the kumbham with his bow and arrow (banam, in Sanskrit). The various decorations adorning the kumbham fell here. (Read the full story of the origin of Kumbakonam, and about the related Mahamaham festival.)
This temple has two Ammans – Kamakshi Amman, the consort of Ekambareswarar, and Kannika Parameswari, who nowadays goes by the title of Rahukala Kali, and is seen sporting eight arms.
Locally, this temple is famous more for this Rahukala Kali, for whom special puja is performed every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, during rahukalam time. In fact, the concept of rahukala puja is said to have originated at this temple. Women devotees perform Sumangali Puja and worship Kannika (or Kalika) Parameswari to find a good groom in marriage. Adjacent to the Kali shrine is a separate shrine for Kasi Viswanathar, and elsewhere in the temple is also a shrine for Visalakshi Amman; however, these are not principal deities of this temple.
Interestingly, being located in the heart of Kumbakonam and almost bordering the Mahamaham tank, this temple does not have a Chola connection. The structural temple is said to have been built by the members of the Viswakarma community (stapathis, temple builders), for whom Kamakshi Amman is a kula deivam, generally.
The temple’s frontage is unassuming, and when seen from the road, one can be forgiven for assuming it to be one of the small, roadside shrines that are ubiquitous in the state. Once we enter the temple, its full size becomes apparent.
This is a very old temple, and it is regarded by many, all temples in Kumbakonam were built after this temple only after first installing an image of Kamakshi Amman / Kali.
Kamakshi Amman is regarded more than Ekambareswarar here, and so it is She alone who attends the Mahamaham festival. Interestingly, a lion (simham) and not Nandi is present opposite Kamakshi Amman. Worshipping at this temple is considered equivalent to worshipping at Kanchipuram Kamakshi Amman temple.
Another interesting aspect of this temple is that pradosha puja takes place every single day, at this temple.