Adi Kumbeshwara temple – Kumbakonam

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Adi Kumbeshwarar temple Kumbabishekam for all rajagopurams will be performed at june 5 th 2009 morning 7.45 AM to 8.15 AM .Nearly One lakh people are expected to attend the Kumbabishekam.

Sri Adikumbeshwara Temple

This is the largest and the oldest Shiva temple located in the centre of the town of Kumbakonam. The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Kumbeshwara and the presiding Goddess is Sri Mangalambigai. There is a shrine dedicated to Adi Vinayaka (Lord Ganesh).

A Chola King built the temple and the temple building itself would seem to have been renovated by the Nayak King. Some of the old images like Sri Ambal, Sri Durgaiamman and

Sri Kirathamoorti bear the impress of the antiquity about them.

The temple contains some wonderful pieces of sculpture and architecture. Its main Gopuram is 128 feet high and has many intricately carved sculptures on it. On a single block of stone in the Navaratri Mandapam all the 27 stars and 12 ‘Rashis’ (signs) have been carved out.
The image of Lord Subramanya, enshrined in this part of the temple, is a rare specimen. It has six heads but only six hands holding different kinds of weapons. There is an excellent collection of silver Vahanas (palanquins) used to carry the deities at festival times.
Legend Connected With The Temple

Tradition goes to say that during the “Mahapralaya” (Great Floods) after “Dwaparayuga”, a ‘Kumbam’ (Pot) full of Amritham (also spelt as Amrit) and seeds for creation was set afloat by Lord Shiva. It was proclaimed by Shiva Himself that the place where the pot touched theground and had its rest would be considered as the holiest places in the world.
Since the said Kumbam, as announced by the creator of the world, had its rest in this place, this ancient place is named as “Kumbakonam” after that Kumbam. Immediately after its rest Lord Shiva appeared in the guise of a hunter and broke thesaid Kumbam full of Amritham with his arrow.
The nectar settled at two places one of which became the famous Mahamaham Tank. Out of the pieces of the broken pot Lord Shiva made out a ShivaLinga and entered into it. This is now enshrined in the temple, and hence the name Adi Kumbeswara, meaning – one who entered the Kumba or vessel long long ago.
It is to be noted that this MahaLinga unlike other Lingas found in other temples, is not made of granite stone and as such Abishekams (also spelt as Abhisheka) cannot be performed with watery substances lest it should dissolve the shape of the Linga (also spelt as lingam).

Idol Of Kirathamoorti
The idol of Kirathamoorti is a special feature in the temple and it is a standing monument to commemorate the incidence that, Lord Shiva Himself has created the present MahaLinga.
The Shaivaite Saints, Appar and Sambandhar who flourished prior to the 7th century AD have sung devotional songs (”Thevarams”) in praise of the presiding deities of the temple.

Temple Timings:
The temple is kept open from 5:30 in the morning and stays so till 12:00 in the noon. The temple usually remains closed during the noon hours, and reopens in the evening at 4:00 p.m. The temple closes in the night after the last pujas are performed by 8:00 p.m.

The divine consort is Mangalambika. The amritham that got spilt and pooled in a place became the famous Mahamagham Tank.
This is an ancient temple dedicated to Shiva in the heart of the town. The Mahamakham tank where the Makham festival takes place once in 12 years is associated with this temple. The temple is said to be over 1300 years old. The Saivite Saints have sung its praise. The Chola and Naik Kings patronized this temple. The temple is in possession of two granite Nadaswarams (oboes). Adi Kumbeswarar temple is the major one among the Saivite temples and located in the centre of Kumbakonam at Big Bazaar Street.

This temple covers an area of 30181 sq.ft. with a length and breadth of 750 feet, and 252 feet respectively. This temple comprises of three Praharas and three Gopurams in the eastern, northern and western directions. It is believed that Govinda Theeksithan, the Chieftain of Achutha Nayakar of Thanjavur, renovated this oldest temple during 16th century. The East Gopuram consists of 9 stories with a height of 128-ft. Mangala Theertham, Marriage hall and small temples for Muruga, Ganapathi and Mangalambigai are other major constituents of this temple.

By looking at the entrance, it is hard to imagine the massive size of the temple, which covers more than 4 acres. It has a 9-tier gopuram, which rises to a height of 128 feet and is covered with several beautiful images. The four prakarams surrounding the temple are lined with local shops.

The east entrance is approached via a covered market. Beyond the flagstaff, a mandapa, whose columns feature painted yali (mythical beast) brackets, leads to the principal gopuram / entrance. A figure of Shiva’s vehicle, the bull Nandi, faces the main sanctuary. There’s also a fine collection of silver vahanas, vehicles of the deities, used in festivals, and pancha loham (compound of silver, gold, brass, iron and tin) figures of the 63 Nayanmar poet-saints. Moorka Nayanaar is one of the 63 Nayanars associated with this temple.

In the Navaratri Mandapam, all the 27 stars and 12 rasis / zodiac signs have been artistically carved in a single block of stone. The Kalyana Mandapam in the temple is the seat of the Tirukkalyana Utsavam. This temple also houses two nadaswarams made of stone. The images of Kiratamurthy and Subramanya are notable.

Shiva is known in this temple by other names like Amudha Kumbhesar and Amudheesar. The Kumbariya Vinayaka shrine is situated near the tank, while Adi Vinayaka is worshipped in the temple.
The Mahamagam festival is associated with the Mangalambika shrine, which is revered as a Shakti Peetham.

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Govinda Dikshitar’s contribution
Govinda Dikshitar who was the Minister of Raja Acchudappa Nayakkar of Tanjavur, served as the Minister to three Nayaka rulers from 1515 – 1636. Acchudappa Nayakkar is said to have given gold equal to his weight (Tulaabaaram), which Govinda Dikshitar used to renovate the Mahaamahm tank, the 16 mandapams and the tank steps. He constructed the vimanams for the mandapams. He was in charge of renovating the Aadi Kumbheswarar koil with a new Raja Gopuram and the kudamuzhukku took place during the reign of Sevappa Nayakkar.

Govinda Dikshitar who was the Minister of Raja Acchudappa Nayakkar of Tanjavur, served as the Minister to three Nayaka rulers from 1515 – 1636. Acchudappa Nayakkar is said to have given gold equal to his weight (Tulaabaaram), which Govinda Dikshitar used to renovate the Mahaamahm tank, the 16 mandapams and the tank steps. He constructed the vimanams for the mandapams. He was in charge of renovating the Aadi Kumbheswarar koil with a new Raja Gopuram and the kudamuzhukku took place during the reign of Sevappa Nayakkar.
He had done various charities following the rules laid in the sastras. As a tribute streets in Thiruvidaimarudur, Thiruvenkaadu, etc. were named mahadhaana streets (great charities). He had erected pushpa mandapams with a pair of vimanams in Thanjavur, Vennarangarai, Thiruvalanchuzhi, Kumbakonam, Thiruvidaimarudur. The siver rishaba vahanam & the siver chariot in Thiruvidaimarudur were his contributions.

He had also formed the Raja Kaavya Veda Paadasalai in 1542 to teach sishyas the three vedams Rig, Yajur & Sama in the gurukula system.
There is an idol of Govinda Dikshitar & his wife Nagammal in the Aadhi Kumbeshwara temple. Dikshitar was popularly knwon by the Ayyan in those days. Ayyan street, Ayyan kulam etc known to this by his name are a tribute to the great soul.

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