Kumbakonam, just about 40 kms from Thanjore (Thanjavur) in Indian Southern State of Tamilnadu was one a seat of South Indian medieval power. Kumbakonam is known as Temple Town due to its 18 temples including two UNESCO World Heritage site. City has been a center of culture, poetry, music and temple architecture between 7th and 16th century as was ruled by different kingdoms of South India including Cholas, Pallavas, Pandyas and Vijayanagar Empire before coming in hands of Madurai Nayaks and Thanjore Nayak’s kingdoms in 17th century. Each kingdom left its mark on the culture of Kumbakonam.
Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple, 35 kms north of Kumbakonam was built on 11th century by Chola king when he shifted the capital from Thanjore to Gangaikonda Cholpuram. Temple with its beautiful 49 meter tall tower is the architectural and engineering genius of the Southern region and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Adi Kumbeswarar Temple dedicated to God Shiva in 7th century is the oldest temple in Kumbakonam. Temple complex with four tall gateways (gopurams) has many shrines and halls. The most notable hall is sixteen pillared hall that has all the 27 stars and 12 zodiacs sculpted in a single stone.
Airavatesvara Temple is a temple dedicated to God Shiva in a nearby small town of Darasuram was built in 12th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This temple is a storehouse of art and architecture and has some exquisite stone carvings. The steps of 108 pillars hall are carved with vivid elephants and horses pulling chariots. Each pillar is unique and have marvellous detailed carvings, including dancers, acrobats and the five-in-one beast yali (elephant’s head, lion’s body, goat’s horns, pig’s ears and cow’s backside).
Special Experience: Pattu Silk Weaving
Enjoy a bullock-cart ride through narrow lanes of Kumbakonam to experience the timeless technique of Pattu Silk weaving. Watch master craftsmen weaving intricate designs into silk saris with fine gold thread
Unforgettable Experience: Know your past,present and future
A small village Sirkazhi near Kumbakonam is known for Nadi Shahtra, an old technique of astrology. Legends are that an old saint, centuries ago, who knew the past,present and future of all living humans and humans to take birth, wrote past,present and future on palm leafs. A priest will be glad to find a leaf specially written for you and will read your past,present and future.