Origin of name
When it was time for the destruction of this world a huge Pralaya came up. In order to save the vedha’s Amirtham (Tamil language) and tools necessary to create lives on earth, Lord Brahma collected all these things and put them in a mud pot and kept the pot safety on the top of the Mount Meru (mythology).
Pralaya kalam (ie) the period of non stop heavy rain came and the pot of Brahma was washed away by the flood. In due course moving in the south direction it came to halt at a particular place. Then for the wish of all Devar’s (ie) heavenly people Lord Shiva broke the pot with an arrow. Immediately Amudham (ie) the liquid given eternity flowed from the pot and formed two tanks. One is known as Mahamaha kulam and the other is Potramarai kulam. The remains of the pot and Amudham joined together to form Lord Kumbeswarar otherwise called (Shiva) in the Adi Kumbeswarar Temple. In the name of the broken pot (ie) Kumbam (Tamil language) that place was called Kumbakonam. The city of Kumbakonam, is linked to several instances & puranas in the Hindu mythology. Mythological legend has it that there was a deluge after the Dwapara Yugam; a pot of nectar and the seeds of creation were placed in a pot (kudam) and set adrift in the deluge. The drifting pot settled at Kumbakonam giving its ancient name Kudamookku. Kumbakonam is also colloquially known as Kudanthai, Thirukudanthai and Baskarashetram from time immemorial.
The earliest history of Kumbakonam could be traced to the town of Pazhaiyaarai, 8 kilometres from Kumbakonam which was the capital of the Chola Empire in the 9th century AD. Records from around the same time mention the nearby township of Kudanthai which grew into the present-day Kumbakonam. Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan; a semi-historical novel bring out the 10th century A.D., gives a detailed description of Kudanthai and elevates it to the status of a regional headquarters of the Chola governors.
During the Chola Empire rule this place had a local sabha with political autonomy to decide the administrative matters of the town. Krishnadevaraya, the emperor ofVijayanagara visited the town to attend the famous Mahamaham festival.
During the Maratha’s rule Sankaracharya came as a refugee because of Hyder Ali and the person who gave asylum to him was Kabir. A ghat and a street in Kumbakonam were named after Kabir. The societal pattern formed in this town and the supremacy of the Brahmin community during the Maratha and the British rules were documented in the Encyclopædia Britannica.
Research on the name Tirukkudantai with other equivalents such as Kudavayil and Kumbam forms part of a chapter. It also mentions the negative connotations attributed to the place Kumbakonam as “a cheat” and “a crooked person” in the Winslow’s dictionary (1862) and the Tamil lexicon. Later this was corrected and the historical reason behind this was also explained in the book.
The town which was originally a religious town become an industrial center during last quarter of the 19th Century and early period of 20th century. Predominance was gained for Silk Industries and Metal manufacturing.The Major Suppliers of Silk Sarees to the Indian Silk Saree Market is Kumbakonam Silk Industry. All the South Indian Brass Pooja articles and utensils are manufactured in Kumbakonam and these articles are manufactured nowhere in South India other than Kumbakonam.KuthuVilakku and Statues are the famous articles. Stainless Steel utensils are manufactured.Betelnuts, Suparis are manufactured in Kumbakonam.
Kumbakonam is primarily a market city for surrounding smaller towns and agricultural villages. The town is surrounded by small villages of great historical importance. The agricultural region around the town is famous for its betelnuts and betel leaves. It is a market town where people from all over the Kaveri delta region (Composite Thanjavur District) come for business purposes. The town is also home to many goldsmiths and ornament makers. And the city is world famous for sculpture because of the workshop in Swamimalai.
Kumbakonam is known as the City of temples as there are around thousand of temples in and around Kumbakonam.
Lord shiva temples
1. Adi Kumbheswarar Temple.
2. Nageswara Swami Temple.
3. Someswarar Temple.
Temples to the East/North East of Kumbakonam
Temples to the SouthEast of Kumbakonam
13. Thiru Chivapuram(Sivapuram).
16. Penu Perundurai.
18. Penu Perundurai.
21. Narayur Chitteswaram.
22. Nalur Mayanam.
Temples to the Southwest of Kumbakonam
29. Pazhayarai Vadathali.
30. Tiru palathurai.
Temples to the west of Kumbakonam
Temples to NorthWest of Kumbakonam
Temples to the Northeast of Kumbakonam
Lord Vishnu Temples
1. Sarangapani Temple.
2. Chakrapani Temple.
Temples to the SouthEast of Kumbakonam
3. Tiruvinnagar(Uppiliyappan Koil).
Temples to the West of Kumbakonam
Temples to the SouthWest of Kumbakonam
8. Nandipura Vinnagram
Temples to the NorthWest of Kumbakonam
Temples to the NorthEast of Kumbakonam
The Government Arts College at Kumbakonam (Autonomous), known as the “Cambridge of South India”, is one of the oldest colleges in the Tamil Nadu State, well known Prestigious educational institution which has turned out eminent stalwarts in diverse spheres. This College’s Porter Hall was built in the memory of a former principal of the college in 1885. This college was established during the time of the British rule in India. This college is located on the banks of the Kaveri River and a narrow bridge connects the institution and the city on either banks with the river flowing between them.This college has got Prestigious Victoria Jubilee Hostel which is more than 100 years old now and it is also located in the banks of the Kaveri River.The College has got one Bell Tower which is more than 150 years old.Most of the buildings in the college are more than 100 years old.The only college in Kumbakonam which has a vast play ground which has Four Helipads.Tamil scholars likeGeorge Uglow Pope, Karumuttu Thiagarajan Chettiar, U. V. Swaminatha Iyer served in this college.The famous Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan studied in this institution.
Other important colleges and universities in and around the city of Kumbakonam include:
Govt. Women’s College.
Govt. Arts & Crafts College.
Idaya college arts & science for women
Annai college of Arts and science.
Arasu Engineering College can be found on Chennai Main Road.
SASTRA (Satellite Campus of SASTRA University,Thanjavur)
Mass college of Arts&Science and teacher training center.
SKSS Arts College, Thiruppanandal.
Sankara Arts and Science College, Neelathanallur road.
Other mentionable educational and welfare organizations include:
Little Flower Higher Secondary School
Christ The King Matric. Hr. Sec. School
St.Joseph Higher Secondary School
Sri Matha Matriculation School
ARR Matriculation School
Valallar Higher Secondary School
Town Higher Secondary School
Banadurai High School
Native Higher Secondary School
Saraswathi Padasalai Girls Higher Secondary School
National Vidyalaya Higher Secondary School (CBSE)
Gandhiadighal Narpani Kazhagham
Al-Ameen matriculation higher secondary school
A.J.C primary school and Junior college (CBSE)
Notable people from Kumbakonam
Srinivasa Ramanujan — Renowned mathematical genius
V. S. Srinivasa Sastri – English orator
U.V. Swaminatha Iyer — Tamil scholar
G.K. Moopanar — Tamil politician. Founder, Tamil Maanila Congress
G.K. Vasan — Tamil politician. Cabinet Minisiter For Shipping
M.S. Swaminathan — Indian agriculture scientist
S. Kumarasamy — Ex-Municipal Chairman, Kumbakonam
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar — A spiritual and humanitarian leader (Art of Living)
NB: The History is extracted from various information gathered from the Internet and not my own version and writing.