Temples of Kumbakonam
As noted above, Kumbakonam is known for its temples. Some of the famous temples of Kumbakonam are the Sarangpani temple (a Vaishnavite temple), Chakrapani temple, Kumbeswara temple, Nageswaran and the Airavatesvara temple.
The main residing deity at the Chakrapani Temple is Chakraraja. The Chakrapani temple is also a superb exponent of the early temple architecture. The most peculiar point about the Chakrapani temple is that Vilva archana, which is normally performed in Shiva temples, is also performed here for Lord Vishnu .
Kumbeswara is an important Saivite temple situated in the central part of the Kumbakonam town. Shri Adhi Kumbeswara is the presiding God with Manthrapeeteswari Mangalambika as his Consort. The Kumbeswara temple complex is quite enormous and beautiful. The Mahamaham festival, which takes place once every 12 years during the Tamil Month of Masi (February-March), is the main festival. The Mahamaham festival attracts lakhs of pilgrims from different parts of India.
Nageswaran Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Aditya Chola constructed the Nageswaran temple during the12th century. The Nageswaran is a great example of the Chola architecture and astronomy. The Sanctum Sanctorum of the Nageswaran temple is similar to that of Sarangapani temple.
Sarangpani is a famous vaishnav temple. It is also known for its tall gopuram (tower). The Chariot festival, which takes place every year, is one of the biggest festivals.
Someswar Temple is located in the southern portion of Sri Sarangapani temple. The architectural style of Someswar temple resembles the Dravidian style of temple architecture of 13th century (Chola period).
The Airavatesvara temple is situated at Dharasuram, 4 km west of the Kumbakonam town. The Airavatesvara (Airavat means white elephant) temple was constructed by Rajaraja Chola and is a superb example of the Chola architecture. Stories from epics and Hindu mythology are depicted all over the temple.