Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is considered to be more than thirteen hundred years old. Mahamaham Festival is associated with this temple. The temple is revered by the Tevaram hymns of 7th century Saiva nayanars. It is also classified as a Paadal Petra Sthalam or temple revered by the nayanars.
Legends of Adi Kumbeswarar Temple
It is considered that post deluge and just before the advent of Kaliyuga the celestial pot that contained the nectar came to rest here. Lord Shiva
disguised as a hunter, shot an arrow at the pot that was held by Lord Brahma
and broke it. Its contents spilled all over resulting in the revival of life. Kumbham means the pot and Konam means crooked. The place where the nectar fell is known as the Mahamaham tank. The temple belongs to the 7th century and has been expanded by Nayaks during the 15-17th century. The temple is the largest Shiva temple of Kumbakonam. It has a 9-storeyed rajagopuram and three concentric compounds, elongated along an east-west axis have triple set of gopurams.
Deity Kumbeswarar is in the form a lingam. It is believed that it was made by Shiva himself when he mixed nectar of immortality and sand. Manthrapeeteswari Mangalambika is his consort and her shrine is kept parallel to the left of Kumbeswarar shrine. The temple has a colonnaded hall as well as sacred vehicles which carried deities during festival processions. Navarathiri Mandapam has 27 stars and 12 rasis carved in a single block. Subramanya idol have six hands instead of 12, stone nagaswarams and Kiratamurti.
Festivals of Adi Kumbeswarar Temple
Mahamaham festival takes place once every twelve years during the tamil Month of Masi (February - March). Lakhs of pilgrims from various parts of India visit Kumbakonam to take a holy bath in the sacred Mahamaham tank. Archaeological and epigraphical evidence are attached to this festival.
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