The Kumbeshwarar Temple, stands as a heart of the temple city Kumbakonam. The temple is over 1,300 years old. Built, patronised, renovated and maintained by various kings from the Pallava period, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Nayaks etc. The reason for Kumbakonam getting its name is because of the legend associated with the Kumbeshwarar Temple and The Mahamaham Tank.
The legend goes like this. There was a great deluge that was to destroy all life on this planet. So the Gods - Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma put the seed of life in a pot, called Kudam or the Kumbham, and left it afloat in the deluge waters. The Kumbham went adrift and finally hit at a place and stopped after deluge. The place it hit is called Thirukudandhai or Thiruvidandhai because the Pot of life stopped here. There Lord Shiva opened the pot of life and beings sprang back to life and hence the name of the Lord in this temple is Aadi Kumbeshwarar. Aadhi means beginning in Tamil (being the beginner of Life). Kumbeshwarar means Kumbam + Eashwar (Lord Shiva).
One of the main mega events that happen at Kumbeshwarar Temple is at the Mahamaham Pond called the MahaMaham. This event happens once every twelve years in which a huge crowd gathers and immerse themselves in the waters of the tank. It occurs during the day on which the Magam Natchathiram (Zodiac Star) falls in the month of Maasi (that occurs during mid-January to mid-February). It is believed that all the sacred waters conglomerate at the Mahamaham tank as the great deluge brought them all here and to remember the revival of life. It is celebrate every 12 years. During the festival the idols of Gods is brought in a palanquin through various streets of the city and then the holy rituals and sacred verses are enchanted and then the idols are immersed in the tank. It is believed that those who either bathe or sprinkle the water of the Mahamaham pond during the Mahamaham festival have their sins washed away. The festival was celebrated during 2004 and it will be celebrated again on 2016. Lets see if we could make it for the celebration that happens on 2016
The temple is huge and has 3 prakarams and has a Raja Gopuram that is 8 storeys high. Many people have sung in praise of this temple. A work similar to the Chitira Thaer in Saarangapani Temple could also be found inside this temple. The song was sung by Thirugnana Sambandhar. It is inside the temple, so photos are prohibited. Now lets see some pictures of this magnificient and prominent temple.