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  KUMBAKONAM

Temples are the established abodes of spiritual illumination where divinity which is all - pervasive extends benediction to the devotees who throng there for divine compassion.  The Presiding Deoty of these temples is the Supreme Reality devoid of origin and end.  Mainly in order to facilitate the lives on earth to become increasingly happy, completely dispelled of all torments and afflictions, the Supreme Realiy which is devoid of any form descends from the high pedestal as to approve of a form of shape for itself and protects those with grace and mercy who come to praise and worship with humility and love.

        Just in the same way as milk is procured only from the udder of the cow though milk is prevalent all through its body, though sunlight is all - pervasicve yet its rays emerge freely only through the prism, though the earth is the respository of water, yet water gushes out only when a hole is bored through down under, so also God though all - pervasive, appears through images in temples and extends grace and benediction to the devotees.  So it is our prime duty to worship God with all our heart and in all its pristine purity and endeavour to attain His blessings by leading a life of uprightness and austerity as ordained by Him.

Kumbakonam

       With lofty towers extending immensely higher above, with Sarasvati Mahal Popularising and propagating the tenets of Fine Arts, with the ancient Tamil recognised and patronised with an adobe by way of the University, the capital Thanjavur is active and vibrant in regal grandeur.

       Kumbakonam abides 38 Km off the Capital of Thanjavur From ancient times this kshetra is famous as Tirukkudamukku in Tamil literature.  It is also known as Kumbakonam.  Abiding on the Southern banks of the Cauvery,  this kshetra was the capital of the Cholas way back in about a millennium.   As remnants of their ancient glory some Chola palaces, as also their temples,   are found sporadically far away and few between.  It is famous ere long in the fields of art, architecture, sculpture, music and dance.  Of the 274 kshetras glorified by the Thevaram, those that are situated on the Southern banks of the Cauvery are 127 and this is one among them.  There are three shrines in this kshetra baly extolled by the Thevaram.  Added to this there are over 10 kshetras sung in praise by the Thevaram in and around 15 K.M. radius to this kshetra.  There is Sri Kasi Viswanatha temple here long ago worshipped by jupiter and the moon.  There is also a beautiful idol of Sri Ganapati at the Ardhamandapam of Sri Nageswara temple, in yonder days brought by the commanders of Rajendra Chola from the holy banks of the Ganga.  There are about 80 large and small temples established here and so this kshetra may be called a town of temples.

          For the damsel of earth by the seven seas bharata Varsha is the right eye. The cornea of the eye is Tamil Nadu. The iris of the eye is the Chola country. The pupil of the eye is Kumbakonam. The river Cauvery irrigating Tamil Nadu has seven phases, viz. Talai Cauvery. Akhanda Cauvery Panchanatham. Kumbakonam, Madhyarajunam, Mailaduturai and Kaverippumpatinam. Of the seven kshetras pointed out, those that are in the middle have the stamp of the village with reference to features and bearing. Of these the pre-eminent kshetra is Kumbakonam. So it is called the pupil of the eye.

The vital nucleus seeds of all the varieties of species were laid in the pot containing nectar. After a long drawn out floating movement the pot became stagnant at Kumbakonam. Out of the pot Sri Parameswara materialised in the form of a linga and hence this kshetra is proclaimed as superior to all other kshetras. All the other kshetra had their origin through Brahma. But this one is the place where Sri Parameswara materialised as linga. So Kumbakonam is the pupil of the eye.Sins commited in other kshetras are nullified in holy kshetras. Usually sins commited in holy kshetras are dispelled at Kasi. The sins perpetrated at Kasi Shall be removed in Kumbakonam. But sins accrued at Kumbakonam shall be annulled only at Kumbakonam. So Kumbakonam is the apple of the eye. Some of the holy rivers nine in number like Ganga and the Maha Magam tank skilled in dispelling the accumulation of sins of the devotees who take a dip therin, are ever present here. So Kumbakonam is famous as the pupil of the eye. Brahma the lord of Satyaloka situated high above the seven celestial worlds and Mahabali the lord of Patala the extreme end of the nether worlds have worshipped the Lord here. So Kumbakonam is the pupil of the eye. Some of the materials that decorated the pot containing ambrosia later became Sivalingas. It is indeed a sight to see so many svayambhulingas in one and the same place. Moreover ther are 10 Siva stalas and 4 Vishnu stalas here. So kumbakonam is the apple of the eye.

Of the ten Siva stalas those that originated from the pot of ambrosia were six. The other four were the result of the efforts of the seekers. The Vishnu Stalas four in number were the result of the efforts of the seekers.

Siva kshetras - pertaining to the pot of ambrosia

1. Kumbhesa
2. Chikkesa
3. Vilvavanesa - Nageswara
4. Nalikesa - Abhimukshewara
5. Yagnopavitesa - gautameswara
6. Bhanupuresa

Siva Stalas - Pertaining to the efforts of seekers

1. Visvesam
2. Madandaipakesam
3. Malati Vanesam
4. Kailayanatham

Vishnu Stalas

1. Sarangapani - Aravamuda
2. Chakkrapani - Sudharsana
3. Varaha perumal
4. Varadharaja

A kshetra is considered to be supremely efficacious when there is a coordination of the pre-eminence of its place of location, the efficacy of its Murti and the sacredness of its Tirtha. This place was established nad evolved by Sri Kumbhewara for the benefits of posterity and hence the supremacy of the place Again Sri Kumbheswara Himself was worshipped as the place Deity and hence the greatness of the Murti. Since all the holy rivers of the world congregate here at the Maha Magham tank to take a holy dip thereon, this Tirtha is recognised as the holiest. Therefore Kumbakonam is unparalleled in its splendour and glory.

Pancha Krosa Stalas

           Kumbakonam has five holy kshetras associated to its as Pancha krosa stalas - a krosa is equivalent to a distance of one hour journey by a pedestrain.

1.Tiruvidaimarudur
2 Hr journey
2.Tirunageswaram
1 Hr journey
3.Tiruttareswaram
1/2 Hr journey
4.Thiruverangam - Swamimalai
1Hr journey
5.Thiruppadalavanam - Karuppur
1 Hr journey

On her way to Kumbakonam from Mt.Kailas Sri Mangala Nayaki First visited the Pancha Krosa States drenched in yonder days, by the ambrosia and worshipped the deities in their respective places.  Then only she reached Kumbakonam and Worshipped Sri Kumbheswara where she was blessed as Mantra Peeteswari.