new icn messageflickr-free-ic3d pan white
View allAll Photos Tagged traditionl+kumbakonam+degree+coffee

Shot at a Kumbakonam degree cafe at national highways

....the one filter coffee I really enjoy;-)

 

Join me?

 

Thanks a ton for all the flickr mails:-)) Really appreciate it:-))

Kumbakonam Coffee, when you discover the finest aroma of coffee ...

Kumbakonam Degree Coffee..!

Kumbakonam degree coffee :)

Kumbakonam is a town and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the southeast Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 40 km from Thanjavur and 273 km from Chennai and is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Kaveri River to the north and Arasalar River to the south. According to the 2011 census, Kumbakonam has a population of 140,156 and has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.

 

Kumbakonam dates back to the Sangam period and was ruled by the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas. It rose to be a prominent city between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, when it served as a capital of the Medieval Cholas. The town reached the zenith of its prosperity during the British Raj when it was a prominent centre of European education and Hindu culture; and it acquired the cultural name, the "Cambridge of South India". In 1866, Kumbakonam was officially constituted as a municipality, which today comprises 45 wards, making it the second largest municipality in Thanjavur district.

 

Kumbakonam is known as the "temple town" due to the prevalence of a number of temples here and is noted for its Mahamaham festival which attracts people from all over the globe. The main products produced are brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, pottery, sugar, indigo and rice.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The name "Kumbakonam", roughly translated in English as the "Jug's Corner", is believed to be an allusion to the mythical pot (kumbha) of the Hindu god Brahma that contained the seed of all living beings on earth. The kumbha is believed to have been displaced by a pralaya (dissolution of the universe) and ultimately came to rest at the spot where the town of Kumbakonam now stands. This event is now commemorated in the Mahamaham festival held every 12 years. Kumbakonam is also known as Baskarashetram and Kumbam from time immemorial and as Kudanthai in ancient times. Kumbakonam is also spelt as Coombaconum in the records of British India. Kumbakonam was also formerly known by the Tamil name of Kudamukku. Kumbakonam is also identified with the Sangam age settlement of Kudavayil.

 

HISTORY

The region around Kumbakonam was inhabited as early as the Sangam Age (3rd century BC to 3rd century AD). The present-day Kumbakonam is believed to be the site of the ancient town of Kudavayil where the Early Chola king Karikala held his court. Some scholars identify Kumbakonam as the site of the fabled prison of Kudavayir-kottam where the Chera king Kanaikkal Irumporai was imprisoned by the Early Chola king Kocengannan. Kumbakonam is identified with the town of Malaikūrram which had served as the Chola capital as early as the 7th century and with the town of Solamaligai which had also served as a Chola capital. According to the Sinnamanur plates, Kumbakonam was the site of a battle between the Pallava king Sri Vallabha and the then Pandya king in 859 and between the Pandya king Srimara Pandya and a confederacy of the Cholas and Gangas.

 

Kumbakonam came into limelight during the rule of the Medieval Cholas who ruled from the 9th century to the 12th century. The town of Pazhaiyaarai, 8 km from Kumbakonam was the capital of the Chola Empire in the 9th century.

 

Following the decline of the Chola kingdom, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Pandyas in 1290. Following the demise of the Pandya kingdom in the 14th century, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Vijayanagar Empire. Krishnadevaraya (1509–29), the emperor of Vijayanagara visited the town in 1524 and is believed to have bathed in the famous Mahamaham tank during the Mahamaham festival. Kumbakonam was ruled by the Madurai Nayaks and the Thanjavur Nayaks from 1535 to 1673 when it fell to the Marathas. Each of these foreign dynasties had a considerable impact on the demographics and culture of the region. When the Vijayanagar Empire fell in 1565, there was a mass influx of poets, musicians and cultural artists from the kingdom.

 

According to the chronicles of the Hindu monastic institution, the Kanchi matha, the matha was temporarily transferred to Kumbakonam in the 1780s following an invasion of Kanchipuram by Hyder Ali of Mysore. When Tipu Sultan invaded the east coast of South India in 1784, Kumbakonam bore the brunt of his invasion. The produce fell sharply and the economy collapsed. Kumbakonam did not recover from the calamity till the beginning of the 19th century.

 

Kumbakonam was eventually ceded to the British East India Company in 1799 by the Thanjavur Maratha ruler Serfoji II (1777 -1832) and reached the zenith of its prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th century when it emerged as an important center of Brahminism, Hindu religion and European education in the Madras Presidency. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 fostered trade contacts with the United Kingdom. In 1877, railway lines were completed linking Kumbakonam with the ports of Madras, Tuticorin and Nagapattinam. The Tanjore district court was established in Kumbakonam in 1806 and functioned from 1806 to 1863.

 

Kumbakonam continued to grow even after India's independence though it fell behind the nearby town of Thanjavur in terms of population and administrative importance. The population growth rate began to fall sharply after 1981. This decline has been attributed to limited land area and lack of industrial potential. During the Mahamaham festival of 1992, there was a major stampede in which 48 people were killed and 74 were injured. On July 16, 2004, a devastating fire in the Sri Krishna school killed 94 children.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Kumbakonam is located at 10.97°N 79.42°E. It is situated 273 km south of Chennai, 96 km east of Tiruchirappalli, and about 40 km north-east of Thanjavur. It lies in the region called the "Old delta" which comprises the north-western taluks of Thanjavur district that have been naturally irrigated by the waters of the Cauvery and its tributaries for centuries in contrast to the "New Delta" comprising the southern taluks that were brought under irrigation by the construction of the Grand Anicut canal and the Vadavar canal in 1934. It has an average elevation of 26 metres. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Cauvery River on the north and Arasalar River on the south.

 

Although the Cauvery delta is usually hot, the climate of Kumbakonam and other surrounding towns is generally healthy and moderate. Kumbakonam is cooler than Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. The maximum temperature in summer is about 40 °C while the minimum temperature is about 20 °C. Kumbakonam receives an annual rainfall of 114.78 cm every year. The region is covered with mainly alluvial or black soil which is conducive for rice cultivation. Other crops grown in Kumbakonam include mulberry, cereals and sugarcane.

 

The town of Kumbakonam is surrounded by extensive paddy fields. Methods of irrigation were considerably improved following the opening of the Mettur Dam in 1934. The fauna of the Cauvery Delta is limited to cattle and goats. The town is situated at the western flank of the Kumbakonam-Shiyali ridge which runs along the Kollidam river basin separating the Ariyalur-Puducherry depression from the Nagapattinam depression. This granular ridge projects further eastwards penetrating the Puducherry depression and forms a hard layer of cretaceous rock underneath the sedimentary top soil.

 

TEMPLES

Kumbakonam is known for its temples and mathas (monasteries). There are around 188 Hindu temples within the municipal limits of Kumbakonam. Apart from these, there several thousand temples around the town thereby giving the town the sobriquets "Temple Town" and "City of temples".

 

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is considered to be the oldest Shaiva (the sect of the god Shiva) shrine in the town, believed to be constructed by the Cholas in the 7th century. The Nageswaraswamy Temple has a separate shrine for the Sun god Surya who is believed to have worshipped Shiva at this place. Adi Kumbeswarar temple, Nageswaraswamy temple and Kasi Viswanathar temple are Shiva temples in the town revered in the Tevaram, a Tamil Shaiva canonical work of the 7th–8th century. Kumbakonam has one of the few temples dedicated to the god Brahma.

 

Sarangapani temple is the largest Vaishnava (the sect of the god Vishnu) shrine present in Kumbakonam. The present structure of the temple having a twelve storey high tower was constructed by Nayak kings in the 15th century. It is one of the "Divya Desams", the 108 temples of Vishnu revered by the 12 Alvar saint-poets. The Ramaswamy temple, which has scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana depicted on its walls, was constructed by Govinda Dikshitar, the minister of successive Nayak rulers, Achuthappa Nayak (1560–1614) and Raghunatha Nayak (1600–34). He added a commercial corridor between the temple and the older Chakrapani temple, which in modern times is called Chinna Kadai Veethi, a commercial street in the town.

 

Pilgrims from all parts of India take a holy dip once every 12 years during the Mahamaham festival in the Mahamaham tank. An estimated 2 million pilgrims participated in the festival during the 2004 event. Govinda Dikshitar constructed the sixteen mandapams (shrines) and stone steps around this tank.

 

Kumbakonam also has a number of mathas. The Sri Sankara matha of Kanchipuram was moved to Kumbakonam during the reign of Pratap Singh (1739–63) and remained in Kumbakonam until the 1960s. There are also two Vellalar mathas in the nearby towns of Dharmapuram and Thiruppanandal and a Raghavendra matha in Kumbakonam. There is also a branch of the Vaishnava Ahobila mutt in Kumbakonam.

 

The Thenupuriswarar Temple at Patteeswaram, the Oppiliappan Kovil, the Swamimalai Murugan temple and the Airavateswarar temple at Darasuram are located in the vicinity of Kumbakonam. The Airavatesvara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola II (1146–73) during 12th century is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram that are referred as the Great Living Chola Temples.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Kumbakonam has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.[69] Among Hindus, Kallars, Thondaimandala Mudaliars, Brahmins and Dalits are the numerically dominant Tamil-speaking groups. Brahmins are more numerous and affluent in Kumbakonam than in other parts of Tamil Nadu. There are also large populations of Moopanars, Vanniyars, Konars and Nadars. Amongst Muslims, the Sunnis are dominant. However, there is also a significant Shia minority. Most of the Muslims are Marakkayars or Labbays. The majority of Muslims in Kumbakonam are involved in commerce or maritime trade. Kumbakonam also has a large population of Protestant Christians largely due to the efforts of the German missionary Christian Friedrich Schwarz. The Catholics in Kumbakonam are mainly affiliated to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kumbakonam which was separated from the Archdiocese of Pondicherry in 1899.

 

The population of Kumbakonam is predominantly Tamil-speaking. The commonly used dialects is the Central Tamil dialect. There are significant minorities speaking Thanjavur Marathi, Telugu, Kannada and Saurashtrian as their mother tongue.

 

Residential areas make up 32.09% of the town's total area while commercial enterprises and industrial units make up 2.75% and 1.21% respectively. The non-urban portion of the town constitutes about 44.72% of the total area. Kumbakonam has a total of 45 slums with a population of 49,117.

 

ECONOMY

The important products of Kumbakonam include brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, sugar, indigo and pottery. Kumbakonam is considered to be the chief commercial centre for the Thanjavur region. In 1991, around 30% of the population was engaged in economic activity. Rice production is an important activity in Kumbakonam. Of 194 industrial units in Kumbakonam, 57 are rice and flour mills. Kumbakonam is also a leading producer of betel leaves and nuts; the betel leaves produced in Kumbakonam are ranked amongst the best in the world in terms of quality. The A. R. R. Agencies, a leading manufacturer of arecanut slices has its factory in Kumbakonam. The main administrative offices of T. S. R. & Co., a cosmetic company, are also based in Kumbakonam. Kumbakonam is also famous for its metal works. The Tamil Nadu Handicraft Development Corporation had been established in the nearby town of Swamimalai in order to train bronze artisans. Kumbakonam is an important silk-weaving centre and more than 5,000 families were employed either directly or indirectly in silk weaving. Silk weaved in Kumbakonam is regarded as one of the finest in the subcontinent. They are largely used in the manufacture of Thirubuvanam silk sarees. Kumbakonam was also an important salt-manufacturing area during British rule. The town lends its name to the Kumbakonam Degree Coffee, a blend of coffee prepared using undiluted pure milk. In recent times, Kumbakonam has emerged as an important manufacturer of fertilizers.

 

Apart from its manufactures, tourism is also a major source of income for the town. The Hindu temples and colonial-era buildings have been recognised for their tourism potential. The 12th-century Airavatesvara Temple in the town of Darasuram near Kumbakonam is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kumbakonam is also frequented by art collectors interested in handloom cloth and other curios. Banks such as the Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, Canara Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank, ICICI Bank, ING Vysya Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank and Vijaya Bank have their branches in Kumbakonam. The City Union Bank was founded in Kumbakonam in 1904 as the Kumbakonam Bank Limited and its headquartered in the town.

Kumbakonam is a town and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the southeast Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 40 km from Thanjavur and 273 km from Chennai and is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Kaveri River to the north and Arasalar River to the south. According to the 2011 census, Kumbakonam has a population of 140,156 and has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.

 

Kumbakonam dates back to the Sangam period and was ruled by the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas. It rose to be a prominent city between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, when it served as a capital of the Medieval Cholas. The town reached the zenith of its prosperity during the British Raj when it was a prominent centre of European education and Hindu culture; and it acquired the cultural name, the "Cambridge of South India". In 1866, Kumbakonam was officially constituted as a municipality, which today comprises 45 wards, making it the second largest municipality in Thanjavur district.

 

Kumbakonam is known as the "temple town" due to the prevalence of a number of temples here and is noted for its Mahamaham festival which attracts people from all over the globe. The main products produced are brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, pottery, sugar, indigo and rice.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The name "Kumbakonam", roughly translated in English as the "Jug's Corner", is believed to be an allusion to the mythical pot (kumbha) of the Hindu god Brahma that contained the seed of all living beings on earth. The kumbha is believed to have been displaced by a pralaya (dissolution of the universe) and ultimately came to rest at the spot where the town of Kumbakonam now stands. This event is now commemorated in the Mahamaham festival held every 12 years. Kumbakonam is also known as Baskarashetram and Kumbam from time immemorial and as Kudanthai in ancient times. Kumbakonam is also spelt as Coombaconum in the records of British India. Kumbakonam was also formerly known by the Tamil name of Kudamukku. Kumbakonam is also identified with the Sangam age settlement of Kudavayil.

 

HISTORY

The region around Kumbakonam was inhabited as early as the Sangam Age (3rd century BC to 3rd century AD). The present-day Kumbakonam is believed to be the site of the ancient town of Kudavayil where the Early Chola king Karikala held his court. Some scholars identify Kumbakonam as the site of the fabled prison of Kudavayir-kottam where the Chera king Kanaikkal Irumporai was imprisoned by the Early Chola king Kocengannan. Kumbakonam is identified with the town of Malaikūrram which had served as the Chola capital as early as the 7th century and with the town of Solamaligai which had also served as a Chola capital. According to the Sinnamanur plates, Kumbakonam was the site of a battle between the Pallava king Sri Vallabha and the then Pandya king in 859 and between the Pandya king Srimara Pandya and a confederacy of the Cholas and Gangas.

 

Kumbakonam came into limelight during the rule of the Medieval Cholas who ruled from the 9th century to the 12th century. The town of Pazhaiyaarai, 8 km from Kumbakonam was the capital of the Chola Empire in the 9th century.

 

Following the decline of the Chola kingdom, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Pandyas in 1290. Following the demise of the Pandya kingdom in the 14th century, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Vijayanagar Empire. Krishnadevaraya (1509–29), the emperor of Vijayanagara visited the town in 1524 and is believed to have bathed in the famous Mahamaham tank during the Mahamaham festival. Kumbakonam was ruled by the Madurai Nayaks and the Thanjavur Nayaks from 1535 to 1673 when it fell to the Marathas. Each of these foreign dynasties had a considerable impact on the demographics and culture of the region. When the Vijayanagar Empire fell in 1565, there was a mass influx of poets, musicians and cultural artists from the kingdom.

 

According to the chronicles of the Hindu monastic institution, the Kanchi matha, the matha was temporarily transferred to Kumbakonam in the 1780s following an invasion of Kanchipuram by Hyder Ali of Mysore. When Tipu Sultan invaded the east coast of South India in 1784, Kumbakonam bore the brunt of his invasion. The produce fell sharply and the economy collapsed. Kumbakonam did not recover from the calamity till the beginning of the 19th century.

 

Kumbakonam was eventually ceded to the British East India Company in 1799 by the Thanjavur Maratha ruler Serfoji II (1777 -1832) and reached the zenith of its prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th century when it emerged as an important center of Brahminism, Hindu religion and European education in the Madras Presidency. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 fostered trade contacts with the United Kingdom. In 1877, railway lines were completed linking Kumbakonam with the ports of Madras, Tuticorin and Nagapattinam. The Tanjore district court was established in Kumbakonam in 1806 and functioned from 1806 to 1863.

 

Kumbakonam continued to grow even after India's independence though it fell behind the nearby town of Thanjavur in terms of population and administrative importance. The population growth rate began to fall sharply after 1981. This decline has been attributed to limited land area and lack of industrial potential. During the Mahamaham festival of 1992, there was a major stampede in which 48 people were killed and 74 were injured. On July 16, 2004, a devastating fire in the Sri Krishna school killed 94 children.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Kumbakonam is located at 10.97°N 79.42°E. It is situated 273 km south of Chennai, 96 km east of Tiruchirappalli, and about 40 km north-east of Thanjavur. It lies in the region called the "Old delta" which comprises the north-western taluks of Thanjavur district that have been naturally irrigated by the waters of the Cauvery and its tributaries for centuries in contrast to the "New Delta" comprising the southern taluks that were brought under irrigation by the construction of the Grand Anicut canal and the Vadavar canal in 1934. It has an average elevation of 26 metres. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Cauvery River on the north and Arasalar River on the south.

 

Although the Cauvery delta is usually hot, the climate of Kumbakonam and other surrounding towns is generally healthy and moderate. Kumbakonam is cooler than Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. The maximum temperature in summer is about 40 °C while the minimum temperature is about 20 °C. Kumbakonam receives an annual rainfall of 114.78 cm every year. The region is covered with mainly alluvial or black soil which is conducive for rice cultivation. Other crops grown in Kumbakonam include mulberry, cereals and sugarcane.

 

The town of Kumbakonam is surrounded by extensive paddy fields. Methods of irrigation were considerably improved following the opening of the Mettur Dam in 1934. The fauna of the Cauvery Delta is limited to cattle and goats. The town is situated at the western flank of the Kumbakonam-Shiyali ridge which runs along the Kollidam river basin separating the Ariyalur-Puducherry depression from the Nagapattinam depression. This granular ridge projects further eastwards penetrating the Puducherry depression and forms a hard layer of cretaceous rock underneath the sedimentary top soil.

 

TEMPLES

Kumbakonam is known for its temples and mathas (monasteries). There are around 188 Hindu temples within the municipal limits of Kumbakonam. Apart from these, there several thousand temples around the town thereby giving the town the sobriquets "Temple Town" and "City of temples".

 

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is considered to be the oldest Shaiva (the sect of the god Shiva) shrine in the town, believed to be constructed by the Cholas in the 7th century. The Nageswaraswamy Temple has a separate shrine for the Sun god Surya who is believed to have worshipped Shiva at this place. Adi Kumbeswarar temple, Nageswaraswamy temple and Kasi Viswanathar temple are Shiva temples in the town revered in the Tevaram, a Tamil Shaiva canonical work of the 7th–8th century. Kumbakonam has one of the few temples dedicated to the god Brahma.

 

Sarangapani temple is the largest Vaishnava (the sect of the god Vishnu) shrine present in Kumbakonam. The present structure of the temple having a twelve storey high tower was constructed by Nayak kings in the 15th century. It is one of the "Divya Desams", the 108 temples of Vishnu revered by the 12 Alvar saint-poets. The Ramaswamy temple, which has scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana depicted on its walls, was constructed by Govinda Dikshitar, the minister of successive Nayak rulers, Achuthappa Nayak (1560–1614) and Raghunatha Nayak (1600–34). He added a commercial corridor between the temple and the older Chakrapani temple, which in modern times is called Chinna Kadai Veethi, a commercial street in the town.

 

Pilgrims from all parts of India take a holy dip once every 12 years during the Mahamaham festival in the Mahamaham tank. An estimated 2 million pilgrims participated in the festival during the 2004 event. Govinda Dikshitar constructed the sixteen mandapams (shrines) and stone steps around this tank.

 

Kumbakonam also has a number of mathas. The Sri Sankara matha of Kanchipuram was moved to Kumbakonam during the reign of Pratap Singh (1739–63) and remained in Kumbakonam until the 1960s. There are also two Vellalar mathas in the nearby towns of Dharmapuram and Thiruppanandal and a Raghavendra matha in Kumbakonam. There is also a branch of the Vaishnava Ahobila mutt in Kumbakonam.

 

The Thenupuriswarar Temple at Patteeswaram, the Oppiliappan Kovil, the Swamimalai Murugan temple and the Airavateswarar temple at Darasuram are located in the vicinity of Kumbakonam. The Airavatesvara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola II (1146–73) during 12th century is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram that are referred as the Great Living Chola Temples.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Kumbakonam has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.[69] Among Hindus, Kallars, Thondaimandala Mudaliars, Brahmins and Dalits are the numerically dominant Tamil-speaking groups. Brahmins are more numerous and affluent in Kumbakonam than in other parts of Tamil Nadu. There are also large populations of Moopanars, Vanniyars, Konars and Nadars. Amongst Muslims, the Sunnis are dominant. However, there is also a significant Shia minority. Most of the Muslims are Marakkayars or Labbays. The majority of Muslims in Kumbakonam are involved in commerce or maritime trade. Kumbakonam also has a large population of Protestant Christians largely due to the efforts of the German missionary Christian Friedrich Schwarz. The Catholics in Kumbakonam are mainly affiliated to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kumbakonam which was separated from the Archdiocese of Pondicherry in 1899.

 

The population of Kumbakonam is predominantly Tamil-speaking. The commonly used dialects is the Central Tamil dialect. There are significant minorities speaking Thanjavur Marathi, Telugu, Kannada and Saurashtrian as their mother tongue.

 

Residential areas make up 32.09% of the town's total area while commercial enterprises and industrial units make up 2.75% and 1.21% respectively. The non-urban portion of the town constitutes about 44.72% of the total area. Kumbakonam has a total of 45 slums with a population of 49,117.

 

ECONOMY

The important products of Kumbakonam include brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, sugar, indigo and pottery. Kumbakonam is considered to be the chief commercial centre for the Thanjavur region. In 1991, around 30% of the population was engaged in economic activity. Rice production is an important activity in Kumbakonam. Of 194 industrial units in Kumbakonam, 57 are rice and flour mills. Kumbakonam is also a leading producer of betel leaves and nuts; the betel leaves produced in Kumbakonam are ranked amongst the best in the world in terms of quality. The A. R. R. Agencies, a leading manufacturer of arecanut slices has its factory in Kumbakonam. The main administrative offices of T. S. R. & Co., a cosmetic company, are also based in Kumbakonam. Kumbakonam is also famous for its metal works. The Tamil Nadu Handicraft Development Corporation had been established in the nearby town of Swamimalai in order to train bronze artisans. Kumbakonam is an important silk-weaving centre and more than 5,000 families were employed either directly or indirectly in silk weaving. Silk weaved in Kumbakonam is regarded as one of the finest in the subcontinent. They are largely used in the manufacture of Thirubuvanam silk sarees. Kumbakonam was also an important salt-manufacturing area during British rule. The town lends its name to the Kumbakonam Degree Coffee, a blend of coffee prepared using undiluted pure milk. In recent times, Kumbakonam has emerged as an important manufacturer of fertilizers.

 

Apart from its manufactures, tourism is also a major source of income for the town. The Hindu temples and colonial-era buildings have been recognised for their tourism potential. The 12th-century Airavatesvara Temple in the town of Darasuram near Kumbakonam is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kumbakonam is also frequented by art collectors interested in handloom cloth and other curios. Banks such as the Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, Canara Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank, ICICI Bank, ING Vysya Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank and Vijaya Bank have their branches in Kumbakonam. The City Union Bank was founded in Kumbakonam in 1904 as the Kumbakonam Bank Limited and its headquartered in the town.

Kumbakonam is a town and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the southeast Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 40 km from Thanjavur and 273 km from Chennai and is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Kaveri River to the north and Arasalar River to the south. According to the 2011 census, Kumbakonam has a population of 140,156 and has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.

 

Kumbakonam dates back to the Sangam period and was ruled by the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas. It rose to be a prominent city between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, when it served as a capital of the Medieval Cholas. The town reached the zenith of its prosperity during the British Raj when it was a prominent centre of European education and Hindu culture; and it acquired the cultural name, the "Cambridge of South India". In 1866, Kumbakonam was officially constituted as a municipality, which today comprises 45 wards, making it the second largest municipality in Thanjavur district.

 

Kumbakonam is known as the "temple town" due to the prevalence of a number of temples here and is noted for its Mahamaham festival which attracts people from all over the globe. The main products produced are brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, pottery, sugar, indigo and rice.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The name "Kumbakonam", roughly translated in English as the "Jug's Corner", is believed to be an allusion to the mythical pot (kumbha) of the Hindu god Brahma that contained the seed of all living beings on earth. The kumbha is believed to have been displaced by a pralaya (dissolution of the universe) and ultimately came to rest at the spot where the town of Kumbakonam now stands. This event is now commemorated in the Mahamaham festival held every 12 years. Kumbakonam is also known as Baskarashetram and Kumbam from time immemorial and as Kudanthai in ancient times. Kumbakonam is also spelt as Coombaconum in the records of British India. Kumbakonam was also formerly known by the Tamil name of Kudamukku. Kumbakonam is also identified with the Sangam age settlement of Kudavayil.

 

HISTORY

The region around Kumbakonam was inhabited as early as the Sangam Age (3rd century BC to 3rd century AD). The present-day Kumbakonam is believed to be the site of the ancient town of Kudavayil where the Early Chola king Karikala held his court. Some scholars identify Kumbakonam as the site of the fabled prison of Kudavayir-kottam where the Chera king Kanaikkal Irumporai was imprisoned by the Early Chola king Kocengannan. Kumbakonam is identified with the town of Malaikūrram which had served as the Chola capital as early as the 7th century and with the town of Solamaligai which had also served as a Chola capital. According to the Sinnamanur plates, Kumbakonam was the site of a battle between the Pallava king Sri Vallabha and the then Pandya king in 859 and between the Pandya king Srimara Pandya and a confederacy of the Cholas and Gangas.

 

Kumbakonam came into limelight during the rule of the Medieval Cholas who ruled from the 9th century to the 12th century. The town of Pazhaiyaarai, 8 km from Kumbakonam was the capital of the Chola Empire in the 9th century.

 

Following the decline of the Chola kingdom, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Pandyas in 1290. Following the demise of the Pandya kingdom in the 14th century, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Vijayanagar Empire. Krishnadevaraya (1509–29), the emperor of Vijayanagara visited the town in 1524 and is believed to have bathed in the famous Mahamaham tank during the Mahamaham festival. Kumbakonam was ruled by the Madurai Nayaks and the Thanjavur Nayaks from 1535 to 1673 when it fell to the Marathas. Each of these foreign dynasties had a considerable impact on the demographics and culture of the region. When the Vijayanagar Empire fell in 1565, there was a mass influx of poets, musicians and cultural artists from the kingdom.

 

According to the chronicles of the Hindu monastic institution, the Kanchi matha, the matha was temporarily transferred to Kumbakonam in the 1780s following an invasion of Kanchipuram by Hyder Ali of Mysore. When Tipu Sultan invaded the east coast of South India in 1784, Kumbakonam bore the brunt of his invasion. The produce fell sharply and the economy collapsed. Kumbakonam did not recover from the calamity till the beginning of the 19th century.

 

Kumbakonam was eventually ceded to the British East India Company in 1799 by the Thanjavur Maratha ruler Serfoji II (1777 -1832) and reached the zenith of its prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th century when it emerged as an important center of Brahminism, Hindu religion and European education in the Madras Presidency. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 fostered trade contacts with the United Kingdom. In 1877, railway lines were completed linking Kumbakonam with the ports of Madras, Tuticorin and Nagapattinam. The Tanjore district court was established in Kumbakonam in 1806 and functioned from 1806 to 1863.

 

Kumbakonam continued to grow even after India's independence though it fell behind the nearby town of Thanjavur in terms of population and administrative importance. The population growth rate began to fall sharply after 1981. This decline has been attributed to limited land area and lack of industrial potential. During the Mahamaham festival of 1992, there was a major stampede in which 48 people were killed and 74 were injured. On July 16, 2004, a devastating fire in the Sri Krishna school killed 94 children.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Kumbakonam is located at 10.97°N 79.42°E. It is situated 273 km south of Chennai, 96 km east of Tiruchirappalli, and about 40 km north-east of Thanjavur. It lies in the region called the "Old delta" which comprises the north-western taluks of Thanjavur district that have been naturally irrigated by the waters of the Cauvery and its tributaries for centuries in contrast to the "New Delta" comprising the southern taluks that were brought under irrigation by the construction of the Grand Anicut canal and the Vadavar canal in 1934. It has an average elevation of 26 metres. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Cauvery River on the north and Arasalar River on the south.

 

Although the Cauvery delta is usually hot, the climate of Kumbakonam and other surrounding towns is generally healthy and moderate. Kumbakonam is cooler than Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. The maximum temperature in summer is about 40 °C while the minimum temperature is about 20 °C. Kumbakonam receives an annual rainfall of 114.78 cm every year. The region is covered with mainly alluvial or black soil which is conducive for rice cultivation. Other crops grown in Kumbakonam include mulberry, cereals and sugarcane.

 

The town of Kumbakonam is surrounded by extensive paddy fields. Methods of irrigation were considerably improved following the opening of the Mettur Dam in 1934. The fauna of the Cauvery Delta is limited to cattle and goats. The town is situated at the western flank of the Kumbakonam-Shiyali ridge which runs along the Kollidam river basin separating the Ariyalur-Puducherry depression from the Nagapattinam depression. This granular ridge projects further eastwards penetrating the Puducherry depression and forms a hard layer of cretaceous rock underneath the sedimentary top soil.

 

TEMPLES

Kumbakonam is known for its temples and mathas (monasteries). There are around 188 Hindu temples within the municipal limits of Kumbakonam. Apart from these, there several thousand temples around the town thereby giving the town the sobriquets "Temple Town" and "City of temples".

 

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is considered to be the oldest Shaiva (the sect of the god Shiva) shrine in the town, believed to be constructed by the Cholas in the 7th century. The Nageswaraswamy Temple has a separate shrine for the Sun god Surya who is believed to have worshipped Shiva at this place. Adi Kumbeswarar temple, Nageswaraswamy temple and Kasi Viswanathar temple are Shiva temples in the town revered in the Tevaram, a Tamil Shaiva canonical work of the 7th–8th century. Kumbakonam has one of the few temples dedicated to the god Brahma.

 

Sarangapani temple is the largest Vaishnava (the sect of the god Vishnu) shrine present in Kumbakonam. The present structure of the temple having a twelve storey high tower was constructed by Nayak kings in the 15th century. It is one of the "Divya Desams", the 108 temples of Vishnu revered by the 12 Alvar saint-poets. The Ramaswamy temple, which has scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana depicted on its walls, was constructed by Govinda Dikshitar, the minister of successive Nayak rulers, Achuthappa Nayak (1560–1614) and Raghunatha Nayak (1600–34). He added a commercial corridor between the temple and the older Chakrapani temple, which in modern times is called Chinna Kadai Veethi, a commercial street in the town.

 

Pilgrims from all parts of India take a holy dip once every 12 years during the Mahamaham festival in the Mahamaham tank. An estimated 2 million pilgrims participated in the festival during the 2004 event. Govinda Dikshitar constructed the sixteen mandapams (shrines) and stone steps around this tank.

 

Kumbakonam also has a number of mathas. The Sri Sankara matha of Kanchipuram was moved to Kumbakonam during the reign of Pratap Singh (1739–63) and remained in Kumbakonam until the 1960s. There are also two Vellalar mathas in the nearby towns of Dharmapuram and Thiruppanandal and a Raghavendra matha in Kumbakonam. There is also a branch of the Vaishnava Ahobila mutt in Kumbakonam.

 

The Thenupuriswarar Temple at Patteeswaram, the Oppiliappan Kovil, the Swamimalai Murugan temple and the Airavateswarar temple at Darasuram are located in the vicinity of Kumbakonam. The Airavatesvara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola II (1146–73) during 12th century is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram that are referred as the Great Living Chola Temples.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Kumbakonam has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.[69] Among Hindus, Kallars, Thondaimandala Mudaliars, Brahmins and Dalits are the numerically dominant Tamil-speaking groups. Brahmins are more numerous and affluent in Kumbakonam than in other parts of Tamil Nadu. There are also large populations of Moopanars, Vanniyars, Konars and Nadars. Amongst Muslims, the Sunnis are dominant. However, there is also a significant Shia minority. Most of the Muslims are Marakkayars or Labbays. The majority of Muslims in Kumbakonam are involved in commerce or maritime trade. Kumbakonam also has a large population of Protestant Christians largely due to the efforts of the German missionary Christian Friedrich Schwarz. The Catholics in Kumbakonam are mainly affiliated to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kumbakonam which was separated from the Archdiocese of Pondicherry in 1899.

 

The population of Kumbakonam is predominantly Tamil-speaking. The commonly used dialects is the Central Tamil dialect. There are significant minorities speaking Thanjavur Marathi, Telugu, Kannada and Saurashtrian as their mother tongue.

 

Residential areas make up 32.09% of the town's total area while commercial enterprises and industrial units make up 2.75% and 1.21% respectively. The non-urban portion of the town constitutes about 44.72% of the total area. Kumbakonam has a total of 45 slums with a population of 49,117.

 

ECONOMY

The important products of Kumbakonam include brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, sugar, indigo and pottery. Kumbakonam is considered to be the chief commercial centre for the Thanjavur region. In 1991, around 30% of the population was engaged in economic activity. Rice production is an important activity in Kumbakonam. Of 194 industrial units in Kumbakonam, 57 are rice and flour mills. Kumbakonam is also a leading producer of betel leaves and nuts; the betel leaves produced in Kumbakonam are ranked amongst the best in the world in terms of quality. The A. R. R. Agencies, a leading manufacturer of arecanut slices has its factory in Kumbakonam. The main administrative offices of T. S. R. & Co., a cosmetic company, are also based in Kumbakonam. Kumbakonam is also famous for its metal works. The Tamil Nadu Handicraft Development Corporation had been established in the nearby town of Swamimalai in order to train bronze artisans. Kumbakonam is an important silk-weaving centre and more than 5,000 families were employed either directly or indirectly in silk weaving. Silk weaved in Kumbakonam is regarded as one of the finest in the subcontinent. They are largely used in the manufacture of Thirubuvanam silk sarees. Kumbakonam was also an important salt-manufacturing area during British rule. The town lends its name to the Kumbakonam Degree Coffee, a blend of coffee prepared using undiluted pure milk. In recent times, Kumbakonam has emerged as an important manufacturer of fertilizers.

 

Apart from its manufactures, tourism is also a major source of income for the town. The Hindu temples and colonial-era buildings have been recognised for their tourism potential. The 12th-century Airavatesvara Temple in the town of Darasuram near Kumbakonam is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kumbakonam is also frequented by art collectors interested in handloom cloth and other curios. Banks such as the Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, Canara Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank, ICICI Bank, ING Vysya Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank and Vijaya Bank have their branches in Kumbakonam. The City Union Bank was founded in Kumbakonam in 1904 as the Kumbakonam Bank Limited and its headquartered in the town.

Kumbakonam is a town and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the southeast Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 40 km from Thanjavur and 273 km from Chennai and is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Kaveri River to the north and Arasalar River to the south. According to the 2011 census, Kumbakonam has a population of 140,156 and has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.

 

Kumbakonam dates back to the Sangam period and was ruled by the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas. It rose to be a prominent city between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, when it served as a capital of the Medieval Cholas. The town reached the zenith of its prosperity during the British Raj when it was a prominent centre of European education and Hindu culture; and it acquired the cultural name, the "Cambridge of South India". In 1866, Kumbakonam was officially constituted as a municipality, which today comprises 45 wards, making it the second largest municipality in Thanjavur district.

 

Kumbakonam is known as the "temple town" due to the prevalence of a number of temples here and is noted for its Mahamaham festival which attracts people from all over the globe. The main products produced are brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, pottery, sugar, indigo and rice.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The name "Kumbakonam", roughly translated in English as the "Jug's Corner", is believed to be an allusion to the mythical pot (kumbha) of the Hindu god Brahma that contained the seed of all living beings on earth. The kumbha is believed to have been displaced by a pralaya (dissolution of the universe) and ultimately came to rest at the spot where the town of Kumbakonam now stands. This event is now commemorated in the Mahamaham festival held every 12 years. Kumbakonam is also known as Baskarashetram and Kumbam from time immemorial and as Kudanthai in ancient times. Kumbakonam is also spelt as Coombaconum in the records of British India. Kumbakonam was also formerly known by the Tamil name of Kudamukku. Kumbakonam is also identified with the Sangam age settlement of Kudavayil.

 

HISTORY

The region around Kumbakonam was inhabited as early as the Sangam Age (3rd century BC to 3rd century AD). The present-day Kumbakonam is believed to be the site of the ancient town of Kudavayil where the Early Chola king Karikala held his court. Some scholars identify Kumbakonam as the site of the fabled prison of Kudavayir-kottam where the Chera king Kanaikkal Irumporai was imprisoned by the Early Chola king Kocengannan. Kumbakonam is identified with the town of Malaikūrram which had served as the Chola capital as early as the 7th century and with the town of Solamaligai which had also served as a Chola capital. According to the Sinnamanur plates, Kumbakonam was the site of a battle between the Pallava king Sri Vallabha and the then Pandya king in 859 and between the Pandya king Srimara Pandya and a confederacy of the Cholas and Gangas.

 

Kumbakonam came into limelight during the rule of the Medieval Cholas who ruled from the 9th century to the 12th century. The town of Pazhaiyaarai, 8 km from Kumbakonam was the capital of the Chola Empire in the 9th century.

 

Following the decline of the Chola kingdom, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Pandyas in 1290. Following the demise of the Pandya kingdom in the 14th century, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Vijayanagar Empire. Krishnadevaraya (1509–29), the emperor of Vijayanagara visited the town in 1524 and is believed to have bathed in the famous Mahamaham tank during the Mahamaham festival. Kumbakonam was ruled by the Madurai Nayaks and the Thanjavur Nayaks from 1535 to 1673 when it fell to the Marathas. Each of these foreign dynasties had a considerable impact on the demographics and culture of the region. When the Vijayanagar Empire fell in 1565, there was a mass influx of poets, musicians and cultural artists from the kingdom.

 

According to the chronicles of the Hindu monastic institution, the Kanchi matha, the matha was temporarily transferred to Kumbakonam in the 1780s following an invasion of Kanchipuram by Hyder Ali of Mysore. When Tipu Sultan invaded the east coast of South India in 1784, Kumbakonam bore the brunt of his invasion. The produce fell sharply and the economy collapsed. Kumbakonam did not recover from the calamity till the beginning of the 19th century.

 

Kumbakonam was eventually ceded to the British East India Company in 1799 by the Thanjavur Maratha ruler Serfoji II (1777 -1832) and reached the zenith of its prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th century when it emerged as an important center of Brahminism, Hindu religion and European education in the Madras Presidency. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 fostered trade contacts with the United Kingdom. In 1877, railway lines were completed linking Kumbakonam with the ports of Madras, Tuticorin and Nagapattinam. The Tanjore district court was established in Kumbakonam in 1806 and functioned from 1806 to 1863.

 

Kumbakonam continued to grow even after India's independence though it fell behind the nearby town of Thanjavur in terms of population and administrative importance. The population growth rate began to fall sharply after 1981. This decline has been attributed to limited land area and lack of industrial potential. During the Mahamaham festival of 1992, there was a major stampede in which 48 people were killed and 74 were injured. On July 16, 2004, a devastating fire in the Sri Krishna school killed 94 children.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Kumbakonam is located at 10.97°N 79.42°E. It is situated 273 km south of Chennai, 96 km east of Tiruchirappalli, and about 40 km north-east of Thanjavur. It lies in the region called the "Old delta" which comprises the north-western taluks of Thanjavur district that have been naturally irrigated by the waters of the Cauvery and its tributaries for centuries in contrast to the "New Delta" comprising the southern taluks that were brought under irrigation by the construction of the Grand Anicut canal and the Vadavar canal in 1934. It has an average elevation of 26 metres. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Cauvery River on the north and Arasalar River on the south.

 

Although the Cauvery delta is usually hot, the climate of Kumbakonam and other surrounding towns is generally healthy and moderate. Kumbakonam is cooler than Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. The maximum temperature in summer is about 40 °C while the minimum temperature is about 20 °C. Kumbakonam receives an annual rainfall of 114.78 cm every year. The region is covered with mainly alluvial or black soil which is conducive for rice cultivation. Other crops grown in Kumbakonam include mulberry, cereals and sugarcane.

 

The town of Kumbakonam is surrounded by extensive paddy fields. Methods of irrigation were considerably improved following the opening of the Mettur Dam in 1934. The fauna of the Cauvery Delta is limited to cattle and goats. The town is situated at the western flank of the Kumbakonam-Shiyali ridge which runs along the Kollidam river basin separating the Ariyalur-Puducherry depression from the Nagapattinam depression. This granular ridge projects further eastwards penetrating the Puducherry depression and forms a hard layer of cretaceous rock underneath the sedimentary top soil.

 

TEMPLES

Kumbakonam is known for its temples and mathas (monasteries). There are around 188 Hindu temples within the municipal limits of Kumbakonam. Apart from these, there several thousand temples around the town thereby giving the town the sobriquets "Temple Town" and "City of temples".

 

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is considered to be the oldest Shaiva (the sect of the god Shiva) shrine in the town, believed to be constructed by the Cholas in the 7th century. The Nageswaraswamy Temple has a separate shrine for the Sun god Surya who is believed to have worshipped Shiva at this place. Adi Kumbeswarar temple, Nageswaraswamy temple and Kasi Viswanathar temple are Shiva temples in the town revered in the Tevaram, a Tamil Shaiva canonical work of the 7th–8th century. Kumbakonam has one of the few temples dedicated to the god Brahma.

 

Sarangapani temple is the largest Vaishnava (the sect of the god Vishnu) shrine present in Kumbakonam. The present structure of the temple having a twelve storey high tower was constructed by Nayak kings in the 15th century. It is one of the "Divya Desams", the 108 temples of Vishnu revered by the 12 Alvar saint-poets. The Ramaswamy temple, which has scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana depicted on its walls, was constructed by Govinda Dikshitar, the minister of successive Nayak rulers, Achuthappa Nayak (1560–1614) and Raghunatha Nayak (1600–34). He added a commercial corridor between the temple and the older Chakrapani temple, which in modern times is called Chinna Kadai Veethi, a commercial street in the town.

 

Pilgrims from all parts of India take a holy dip once every 12 years during the Mahamaham festival in the Mahamaham tank. An estimated 2 million pilgrims participated in the festival during the 2004 event. Govinda Dikshitar constructed the sixteen mandapams (shrines) and stone steps around this tank.

 

Kumbakonam also has a number of mathas. The Sri Sankara matha of Kanchipuram was moved to Kumbakonam during the reign of Pratap Singh (1739–63) and remained in Kumbakonam until the 1960s. There are also two Vellalar mathas in the nearby towns of Dharmapuram and Thiruppanandal and a Raghavendra matha in Kumbakonam. There is also a branch of the Vaishnava Ahobila mutt in Kumbakonam.

 

The Thenupuriswarar Temple at Patteeswaram, the Oppiliappan Kovil, the Swamimalai Murugan temple and the Airavateswarar temple at Darasuram are located in the vicinity of Kumbakonam. The Airavatesvara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola II (1146–73) during 12th century is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram that are referred as the Great Living Chola Temples.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Kumbakonam has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.[69] Among Hindus, Kallars, Thondaimandala Mudaliars, Brahmins and Dalits are the numerically dominant Tamil-speaking groups. Brahmins are more numerous and affluent in Kumbakonam than in other parts of Tamil Nadu. There are also large populations of Moopanars, Vanniyars, Konars and Nadars. Amongst Muslims, the Sunnis are dominant. However, there is also a significant Shia minority. Most of the Muslims are Marakkayars or Labbays. The majority of Muslims in Kumbakonam are involved in commerce or maritime trade. Kumbakonam also has a large population of Protestant Christians largely due to the efforts of the German missionary Christian Friedrich Schwarz. The Catholics in Kumbakonam are mainly affiliated to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kumbakonam which was separated from the Archdiocese of Pondicherry in 1899.

 

The population of Kumbakonam is predominantly Tamil-speaking. The commonly used dialects is the Central Tamil dialect. There are significant minorities speaking Thanjavur Marathi, Telugu, Kannada and Saurashtrian as their mother tongue.

 

Residential areas make up 32.09% of the town's total area while commercial enterprises and industrial units make up 2.75% and 1.21% respectively. The non-urban portion of the town constitutes about 44.72% of the total area. Kumbakonam has a total of 45 slums with a population of 49,117.

 

ECONOMY

The important products of Kumbakonam include brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, sugar, indigo and pottery. Kumbakonam is considered to be the chief commercial centre for the Thanjavur region. In 1991, around 30% of the population was engaged in economic activity. Rice production is an important activity in Kumbakonam. Of 194 industrial units in Kumbakonam, 57 are rice and flour mills. Kumbakonam is also a leading producer of betel leaves and nuts; the betel leaves produced in Kumbakonam are ranked amongst the best in the world in terms of quality. The A. R. R. Agencies, a leading manufacturer of arecanut slices has its factory in Kumbakonam. The main administrative offices of T. S. R. & Co., a cosmetic company, are also based in Kumbakonam. Kumbakonam is also famous for its metal works. The Tamil Nadu Handicraft Development Corporation had been established in the nearby town of Swamimalai in order to train bronze artisans. Kumbakonam is an important silk-weaving centre and more than 5,000 families were employed either directly or indirectly in silk weaving. Silk weaved in Kumbakonam is regarded as one of the finest in the subcontinent. They are largely used in the manufacture of Thirubuvanam silk sarees. Kumbakonam was also an important salt-manufacturing area during British rule. The town lends its name to the Kumbakonam Degree Coffee, a blend of coffee prepared using undiluted pure milk. In recent times, Kumbakonam has emerged as an important manufacturer of fertilizers.

 

Apart from its manufactures, tourism is also a major source of income for the town. The Hindu temples and colonial-era buildings have been recognised for their tourism potential. The 12th-century Airavatesvara Temple in the town of Darasuram near Kumbakonam is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kumbakonam is also frequented by art collectors interested in handloom cloth and other curios. Banks such as the Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, Canara Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank, ICICI Bank, ING Vysya Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank and Vijaya Bank have their branches in Kumbakonam. The City Union Bank was founded in Kumbakonam in 1904 as the Kumbakonam Bank Limited and its headquartered in the town.

Kumbakonam is a town and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the southeast Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 40 km from Thanjavur and 273 km from Chennai and is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Kaveri River to the north and Arasalar River to the south. According to the 2011 census, Kumbakonam has a population of 140,156 and has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.

 

Kumbakonam dates back to the Sangam period and was ruled by the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas. It rose to be a prominent city between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, when it served as a capital of the Medieval Cholas. The town reached the zenith of its prosperity during the British Raj when it was a prominent centre of European education and Hindu culture; and it acquired the cultural name, the "Cambridge of South India". In 1866, Kumbakonam was officially constituted as a municipality, which today comprises 45 wards, making it the second largest municipality in Thanjavur district.

 

Kumbakonam is known as the "temple town" due to the prevalence of a number of temples here and is noted for its Mahamaham festival which attracts people from all over the globe. The main products produced are brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, pottery, sugar, indigo and rice.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The name "Kumbakonam", roughly translated in English as the "Jug's Corner", is believed to be an allusion to the mythical pot (kumbha) of the Hindu god Brahma that contained the seed of all living beings on earth. The kumbha is believed to have been displaced by a pralaya (dissolution of the universe) and ultimately came to rest at the spot where the town of Kumbakonam now stands. This event is now commemorated in the Mahamaham festival held every 12 years. Kumbakonam is also known as Baskarashetram and Kumbam from time immemorial and as Kudanthai in ancient times. Kumbakonam is also spelt as Coombaconum in the records of British India. Kumbakonam was also formerly known by the Tamil name of Kudamukku. Kumbakonam is also identified with the Sangam age settlement of Kudavayil.

 

HISTORY

The region around Kumbakonam was inhabited as early as the Sangam Age (3rd century BC to 3rd century AD). The present-day Kumbakonam is believed to be the site of the ancient town of Kudavayil where the Early Chola king Karikala held his court. Some scholars identify Kumbakonam as the site of the fabled prison of Kudavayir-kottam where the Chera king Kanaikkal Irumporai was imprisoned by the Early Chola king Kocengannan. Kumbakonam is identified with the town of Malaikūrram which had served as the Chola capital as early as the 7th century and with the town of Solamaligai which had also served as a Chola capital. According to the Sinnamanur plates, Kumbakonam was the site of a battle between the Pallava king Sri Vallabha and the then Pandya king in 859 and between the Pandya king Srimara Pandya and a confederacy of the Cholas and Gangas.

 

Kumbakonam came into limelight during the rule of the Medieval Cholas who ruled from the 9th century to the 12th century. The town of Pazhaiyaarai, 8 km from Kumbakonam was the capital of the Chola Empire in the 9th century.

 

Following the decline of the Chola kingdom, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Pandyas in 1290. Following the demise of the Pandya kingdom in the 14th century, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Vijayanagar Empire. Krishnadevaraya (1509–29), the emperor of Vijayanagara visited the town in 1524 and is believed to have bathed in the famous Mahamaham tank during the Mahamaham festival. Kumbakonam was ruled by the Madurai Nayaks and the Thanjavur Nayaks from 1535 to 1673 when it fell to the Marathas. Each of these foreign dynasties had a considerable impact on the demographics and culture of the region. When the Vijayanagar Empire fell in 1565, there was a mass influx of poets, musicians and cultural artists from the kingdom.

 

According to the chronicles of the Hindu monastic institution, the Kanchi matha, the matha was temporarily transferred to Kumbakonam in the 1780s following an invasion of Kanchipuram by Hyder Ali of Mysore. When Tipu Sultan invaded the east coast of South India in 1784, Kumbakonam bore the brunt of his invasion. The produce fell sharply and the economy collapsed. Kumbakonam did not recover from the calamity till the beginning of the 19th century.

 

Kumbakonam was eventually ceded to the British East India Company in 1799 by the Thanjavur Maratha ruler Serfoji II (1777 -1832) and reached the zenith of its prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th century when it emerged as an important center of Brahminism, Hindu religion and European education in the Madras Presidency. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 fostered trade contacts with the United Kingdom. In 1877, railway lines were completed linking Kumbakonam with the ports of Madras, Tuticorin and Nagapattinam. The Tanjore district court was established in Kumbakonam in 1806 and functioned from 1806 to 1863.

 

Kumbakonam continued to grow even after India's independence though it fell behind the nearby town of Thanjavur in terms of population and administrative importance. The population growth rate began to fall sharply after 1981. This decline has been attributed to limited land area and lack of industrial potential. During the Mahamaham festival of 1992, there was a major stampede in which 48 people were killed and 74 were injured. On July 16, 2004, a devastating fire in the Sri Krishna school killed 94 children.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Kumbakonam is located at 10.97°N 79.42°E. It is situated 273 km south of Chennai, 96 km east of Tiruchirappalli, and about 40 km north-east of Thanjavur. It lies in the region called the "Old delta" which comprises the north-western taluks of Thanjavur district that have been naturally irrigated by the waters of the Cauvery and its tributaries for centuries in contrast to the "New Delta" comprising the southern taluks that were brought under irrigation by the construction of the Grand Anicut canal and the Vadavar canal in 1934. It has an average elevation of 26 metres. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Cauvery River on the north and Arasalar River on the south.

 

Although the Cauvery delta is usually hot, the climate of Kumbakonam and other surrounding towns is generally healthy and moderate. Kumbakonam is cooler than Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. The maximum temperature in summer is about 40 °C while the minimum temperature is about 20 °C. Kumbakonam receives an annual rainfall of 114.78 cm every year. The region is covered with mainly alluvial or black soil which is conducive for rice cultivation. Other crops grown in Kumbakonam include mulberry, cereals and sugarcane.

 

The town of Kumbakonam is surrounded by extensive paddy fields. Methods of irrigation were considerably improved following the opening of the Mettur Dam in 1934. The fauna of the Cauvery Delta is limited to cattle and goats. The town is situated at the western flank of the Kumbakonam-Shiyali ridge which runs along the Kollidam river basin separating the Ariyalur-Puducherry depression from the Nagapattinam depression. This granular ridge projects further eastwards penetrating the Puducherry depression and forms a hard layer of cretaceous rock underneath the sedimentary top soil.

 

TEMPLES

Kumbakonam is known for its temples and mathas (monasteries). There are around 188 Hindu temples within the municipal limits of Kumbakonam. Apart from these, there several thousand temples around the town thereby giving the town the sobriquets "Temple Town" and "City of temples".

 

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is considered to be the oldest Shaiva (the sect of the god Shiva) shrine in the town, believed to be constructed by the Cholas in the 7th century. The Nageswaraswamy Temple has a separate shrine for the Sun god Surya who is believed to have worshipped Shiva at this place. Adi Kumbeswarar temple, Nageswaraswamy temple and Kasi Viswanathar temple are Shiva temples in the town revered in the Tevaram, a Tamil Shaiva canonical work of the 7th–8th century. Kumbakonam has one of the few temples dedicated to the god Brahma.

 

Sarangapani temple is the largest Vaishnava (the sect of the god Vishnu) shrine present in Kumbakonam. The present structure of the temple having a twelve storey high tower was constructed by Nayak kings in the 15th century. It is one of the "Divya Desams", the 108 temples of Vishnu revered by the 12 Alvar saint-poets. The Ramaswamy temple, which has scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana depicted on its walls, was constructed by Govinda Dikshitar, the minister of successive Nayak rulers, Achuthappa Nayak (1560–1614) and Raghunatha Nayak (1600–34). He added a commercial corridor between the temple and the older Chakrapani temple, which in modern times is called Chinna Kadai Veethi, a commercial street in the town.

 

Pilgrims from all parts of India take a holy dip once every 12 years during the Mahamaham festival in the Mahamaham tank. An estimated 2 million pilgrims participated in the festival during the 2004 event. Govinda Dikshitar constructed the sixteen mandapams (shrines) and stone steps around this tank.

 

Kumbakonam also has a number of mathas. The Sri Sankara matha of Kanchipuram was moved to Kumbakonam during the reign of Pratap Singh (1739–63) and remained in Kumbakonam until the 1960s. There are also two Vellalar mathas in the nearby towns of Dharmapuram and Thiruppanandal and a Raghavendra matha in Kumbakonam. There is also a branch of the Vaishnava Ahobila mutt in Kumbakonam.

 

The Thenupuriswarar Temple at Patteeswaram, the Oppiliappan Kovil, the Swamimalai Murugan temple and the Airavateswarar temple at Darasuram are located in the vicinity of Kumbakonam. The Airavatesvara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola II (1146–73) during 12th century is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram that are referred as the Great Living Chola Temples.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Kumbakonam has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.[69] Among Hindus, Kallars, Thondaimandala Mudaliars, Brahmins and Dalits are the numerically dominant Tamil-speaking groups. Brahmins are more numerous and affluent in Kumbakonam than in other parts of Tamil Nadu. There are also large populations of Moopanars, Vanniyars, Konars and Nadars. Amongst Muslims, the Sunnis are dominant. However, there is also a significant Shia minority. Most of the Muslims are Marakkayars or Labbays. The majority of Muslims in Kumbakonam are involved in commerce or maritime trade. Kumbakonam also has a large population of Protestant Christians largely due to the efforts of the German missionary Christian Friedrich Schwarz. The Catholics in Kumbakonam are mainly affiliated to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kumbakonam which was separated from the Archdiocese of Pondicherry in 1899.

 

The population of Kumbakonam is predominantly Tamil-speaking. The commonly used dialects is the Central Tamil dialect. There are significant minorities speaking Thanjavur Marathi, Telugu, Kannada and Saurashtrian as their mother tongue.

 

Residential areas make up 32.09% of the town's total area while commercial enterprises and industrial units make up 2.75% and 1.21% respectively. The non-urban portion of the town constitutes about 44.72% of the total area. Kumbakonam has a total of 45 slums with a population of 49,117.

 

ECONOMY

The important products of Kumbakonam include brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, sugar, indigo and pottery. Kumbakonam is considered to be the chief commercial centre for the Thanjavur region. In 1991, around 30% of the population was engaged in economic activity. Rice production is an important activity in Kumbakonam. Of 194 industrial units in Kumbakonam, 57 are rice and flour mills. Kumbakonam is also a leading producer of betel leaves and nuts; the betel leaves produced in Kumbakonam are ranked amongst the best in the world in terms of quality. The A. R. R. Agencies, a leading manufacturer of arecanut slices has its factory in Kumbakonam. The main administrative offices of T. S. R. & Co., a cosmetic company, are also based in Kumbakonam. Kumbakonam is also famous for its metal works. The Tamil Nadu Handicraft Development Corporation had been established in the nearby town of Swamimalai in order to train bronze artisans. Kumbakonam is an important silk-weaving centre and more than 5,000 families were employed either directly or indirectly in silk weaving. Silk weaved in Kumbakonam is regarded as one of the finest in the subcontinent. They are largely used in the manufacture of Thirubuvanam silk sarees. Kumbakonam was also an important salt-manufacturing area during British rule. The town lends its name to the Kumbakonam Degree Coffee, a blend of coffee prepared using undiluted pure milk. In recent times, Kumbakonam has emerged as an important manufacturer of fertilizers.

 

Apart from its manufactures, tourism is also a major source of income for the town. The Hindu temples and colonial-era buildings have been recognised for their tourism potential. The 12th-century Airavatesvara Temple in the town of Darasuram near Kumbakonam is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kumbakonam is also frequented by art collectors interested in handloom cloth and other curios. Banks such as the Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, Canara Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank, ICICI Bank, ING Vysya Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank and Vijaya Bank have their branches in Kumbakonam. The City Union Bank was founded in Kumbakonam in 1904 as the Kumbakonam Bank Limited and its headquartered in the town.

Kumbakonam is a town and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the southeast Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 40 km from Thanjavur and 273 km from Chennai and is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Kaveri River to the north and Arasalar River to the south. According to the 2011 census, Kumbakonam has a population of 140,156 and has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.

 

Kumbakonam dates back to the Sangam period and was ruled by the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas. It rose to be a prominent city between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, when it served as a capital of the Medieval Cholas. The town reached the zenith of its prosperity during the British Raj when it was a prominent centre of European education and Hindu culture; and it acquired the cultural name, the "Cambridge of South India". In 1866, Kumbakonam was officially constituted as a municipality, which today comprises 45 wards, making it the second largest municipality in Thanjavur district.

 

Kumbakonam is known as the "temple town" due to the prevalence of a number of temples here and is noted for its Mahamaham festival which attracts people from all over the globe. The main products produced are brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, pottery, sugar, indigo and rice.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The name "Kumbakonam", roughly translated in English as the "Jug's Corner", is believed to be an allusion to the mythical pot (kumbha) of the Hindu god Brahma that contained the seed of all living beings on earth. The kumbha is believed to have been displaced by a pralaya (dissolution of the universe) and ultimately came to rest at the spot where the town of Kumbakonam now stands. This event is now commemorated in the Mahamaham festival held every 12 years. Kumbakonam is also known as Baskarashetram and Kumbam from time immemorial and as Kudanthai in ancient times. Kumbakonam is also spelt as Coombaconum in the records of British India. Kumbakonam was also formerly known by the Tamil name of Kudamukku. Kumbakonam is also identified with the Sangam age settlement of Kudavayil.

 

HISTORY

The region around Kumbakonam was inhabited as early as the Sangam Age (3rd century BC to 3rd century AD). The present-day Kumbakonam is believed to be the site of the ancient town of Kudavayil where the Early Chola king Karikala held his court. Some scholars identify Kumbakonam as the site of the fabled prison of Kudavayir-kottam where the Chera king Kanaikkal Irumporai was imprisoned by the Early Chola king Kocengannan. Kumbakonam is identified with the town of Malaikūrram which had served as the Chola capital as early as the 7th century and with the town of Solamaligai which had also served as a Chola capital. According to the Sinnamanur plates, Kumbakonam was the site of a battle between the Pallava king Sri Vallabha and the then Pandya king in 859 and between the Pandya king Srimara Pandya and a confederacy of the Cholas and Gangas.

 

Kumbakonam came into limelight during the rule of the Medieval Cholas who ruled from the 9th century to the 12th century. The town of Pazhaiyaarai, 8 km from Kumbakonam was the capital of the Chola Empire in the 9th century.

 

Following the decline of the Chola kingdom, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Pandyas in 1290. Following the demise of the Pandya kingdom in the 14th century, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Vijayanagar Empire. Krishnadevaraya (1509–29), the emperor of Vijayanagara visited the town in 1524 and is believed to have bathed in the famous Mahamaham tank during the Mahamaham festival. Kumbakonam was ruled by the Madurai Nayaks and the Thanjavur Nayaks from 1535 to 1673 when it fell to the Marathas. Each of these foreign dynasties had a considerable impact on the demographics and culture of the region. When the Vijayanagar Empire fell in 1565, there was a mass influx of poets, musicians and cultural artists from the kingdom.

 

According to the chronicles of the Hindu monastic institution, the Kanchi matha, the matha was temporarily transferred to Kumbakonam in the 1780s following an invasion of Kanchipuram by Hyder Ali of Mysore. When Tipu Sultan invaded the east coast of South India in 1784, Kumbakonam bore the brunt of his invasion. The produce fell sharply and the economy collapsed. Kumbakonam did not recover from the calamity till the beginning of the 19th century.

 

Kumbakonam was eventually ceded to the British East India Company in 1799 by the Thanjavur Maratha ruler Serfoji II (1777 -1832) and reached the zenith of its prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th century when it emerged as an important center of Brahminism, Hindu religion and European education in the Madras Presidency. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 fostered trade contacts with the United Kingdom. In 1877, railway lines were completed linking Kumbakonam with the ports of Madras, Tuticorin and Nagapattinam. The Tanjore district court was established in Kumbakonam in 1806 and functioned from 1806 to 1863.

 

Kumbakonam continued to grow even after India's independence though it fell behind the nearby town of Thanjavur in terms of population and administrative importance. The population growth rate began to fall sharply after 1981. This decline has been attributed to limited land area and lack of industrial potential. During the Mahamaham festival of 1992, there was a major stampede in which 48 people were killed and 74 were injured. On July 16, 2004, a devastating fire in the Sri Krishna school killed 94 children.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Kumbakonam is located at 10.97°N 79.42°E. It is situated 273 km south of Chennai, 96 km east of Tiruchirappalli, and about 40 km north-east of Thanjavur. It lies in the region called the "Old delta" which comprises the north-western taluks of Thanjavur district that have been naturally irrigated by the waters of the Cauvery and its tributaries for centuries in contrast to the "New Delta" comprising the southern taluks that were brought under irrigation by the construction of the Grand Anicut canal and the Vadavar canal in 1934. It has an average elevation of 26 metres. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Cauvery River on the north and Arasalar River on the south.

 

Although the Cauvery delta is usually hot, the climate of Kumbakonam and other surrounding towns is generally healthy and moderate. Kumbakonam is cooler than Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. The maximum temperature in summer is about 40 °C while the minimum temperature is about 20 °C. Kumbakonam receives an annual rainfall of 114.78 cm every year. The region is covered with mainly alluvial or black soil which is conducive for rice cultivation. Other crops grown in Kumbakonam include mulberry, cereals and sugarcane.

 

The town of Kumbakonam is surrounded by extensive paddy fields. Methods of irrigation were considerably improved following the opening of the Mettur Dam in 1934. The fauna of the Cauvery Delta is limited to cattle and goats. The town is situated at the western flank of the Kumbakonam-Shiyali ridge which runs along the Kollidam river basin separating the Ariyalur-Puducherry depression from the Nagapattinam depression. This granular ridge projects further eastwards penetrating the Puducherry depression and forms a hard layer of cretaceous rock underneath the sedimentary top soil.

 

TEMPLES

Kumbakonam is known for its temples and mathas (monasteries). There are around 188 Hindu temples within the municipal limits of Kumbakonam. Apart from these, there several thousand temples around the town thereby giving the town the sobriquets "Temple Town" and "City of temples".

 

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is considered to be the oldest Shaiva (the sect of the god Shiva) shrine in the town, believed to be constructed by the Cholas in the 7th century. The Nageswaraswamy Temple has a separate shrine for the Sun god Surya who is believed to have worshipped Shiva at this place. Adi Kumbeswarar temple, Nageswaraswamy temple and Kasi Viswanathar temple are Shiva temples in the town revered in the Tevaram, a Tamil Shaiva canonical work of the 7th–8th century. Kumbakonam has one of the few temples dedicated to the god Brahma.

 

Sarangapani temple is the largest Vaishnava (the sect of the god Vishnu) shrine present in Kumbakonam. The present structure of the temple having a twelve storey high tower was constructed by Nayak kings in the 15th century. It is one of the "Divya Desams", the 108 temples of Vishnu revered by the 12 Alvar saint-poets. The Ramaswamy temple, which has scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana depicted on its walls, was constructed by Govinda Dikshitar, the minister of successive Nayak rulers, Achuthappa Nayak (1560–1614) and Raghunatha Nayak (1600–34). He added a commercial corridor between the temple and the older Chakrapani temple, which in modern times is called Chinna Kadai Veethi, a commercial street in the town.

 

Pilgrims from all parts of India take a holy dip once every 12 years during the Mahamaham festival in the Mahamaham tank. An estimated 2 million pilgrims participated in the festival during the 2004 event. Govinda Dikshitar constructed the sixteen mandapams (shrines) and stone steps around this tank.

 

Kumbakonam also has a number of mathas. The Sri Sankara matha of Kanchipuram was moved to Kumbakonam during the reign of Pratap Singh (1739–63) and remained in Kumbakonam until the 1960s. There are also two Vellalar mathas in the nearby towns of Dharmapuram and Thiruppanandal and a Raghavendra matha in Kumbakonam. There is also a branch of the Vaishnava Ahobila mutt in Kumbakonam.

 

The Thenupuriswarar Temple at Patteeswaram, the Oppiliappan Kovil, the Swamimalai Murugan temple and the Airavateswarar temple at Darasuram are located in the vicinity of Kumbakonam. The Airavatesvara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola II (1146–73) during 12th century is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram that are referred as the Great Living Chola Temples.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Kumbakonam has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.[69] Among Hindus, Kallars, Thondaimandala Mudaliars, Brahmins and Dalits are the numerically dominant Tamil-speaking groups. Brahmins are more numerous and affluent in Kumbakonam than in other parts of Tamil Nadu. There are also large populations of Moopanars, Vanniyars, Konars and Nadars. Amongst Muslims, the Sunnis are dominant. However, there is also a significant Shia minority. Most of the Muslims are Marakkayars or Labbays. The majority of Muslims in Kumbakonam are involved in commerce or maritime trade. Kumbakonam also has a large population of Protestant Christians largely due to the efforts of the German missionary Christian Friedrich Schwarz. The Catholics in Kumbakonam are mainly affiliated to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kumbakonam which was separated from the Archdiocese of Pondicherry in 1899.

 

The population of Kumbakonam is predominantly Tamil-speaking. The commonly used dialects is the Central Tamil dialect. There are significant minorities speaking Thanjavur Marathi, Telugu, Kannada and Saurashtrian as their mother tongue.

 

Residential areas make up 32.09% of the town's total area while commercial enterprises and industrial units make up 2.75% and 1.21% respectively. The non-urban portion of the town constitutes about 44.72% of the total area. Kumbakonam has a total of 45 slums with a population of 49,117.

 

ECONOMY

The important products of Kumbakonam include brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, sugar, indigo and pottery. Kumbakonam is considered to be the chief commercial centre for the Thanjavur region. In 1991, around 30% of the population was engaged in economic activity. Rice production is an important activity in Kumbakonam. Of 194 industrial units in Kumbakonam, 57 are rice and flour mills. Kumbakonam is also a leading producer of betel leaves and nuts; the betel leaves produced in Kumbakonam are ranked amongst the best in the world in terms of quality. The A. R. R. Agencies, a leading manufacturer of arecanut slices has its factory in Kumbakonam. The main administrative offices of T. S. R. & Co., a cosmetic company, are also based in Kumbakonam. Kumbakonam is also famous for its metal works. The Tamil Nadu Handicraft Development Corporation had been established in the nearby town of Swamimalai in order to train bronze artisans. Kumbakonam is an important silk-weaving centre and more than 5,000 families were employed either directly or indirectly in silk weaving. Silk weaved in Kumbakonam is regarded as one of the finest in the subcontinent. They are largely used in the manufacture of Thirubuvanam silk sarees. Kumbakonam was also an important salt-manufacturing area during British rule. The town lends its name to the Kumbakonam Degree Coffee, a blend of coffee prepared using undiluted pure milk. In recent times, Kumbakonam has emerged as an important manufacturer of fertilizers.

 

Apart from its manufactures, tourism is also a major source of income for the town. The Hindu temples and colonial-era buildings have been recognised for their tourism potential. The 12th-century Airavatesvara Temple in the town of Darasuram near Kumbakonam is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kumbakonam is also frequented by art collectors interested in handloom cloth and other curios. Banks such as the Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, Canara Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank, ICICI Bank, ING Vysya Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank and Vijaya Bank have their branches in Kumbakonam. The City Union Bank was founded in Kumbakonam in 1904 as the Kumbakonam Bank Limited and its headquartered in the town.

Kumbakonam is a town and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the southeast Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 40 km from Thanjavur and 273 km from Chennai and is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Kaveri River to the north and Arasalar River to the south. According to the 2011 census, Kumbakonam has a population of 140,156 and has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.

 

Kumbakonam dates back to the Sangam period and was ruled by the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas. It rose to be a prominent city between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, when it served as a capital of the Medieval Cholas. The town reached the zenith of its prosperity during the British Raj when it was a prominent centre of European education and Hindu culture; and it acquired the cultural name, the "Cambridge of South India". In 1866, Kumbakonam was officially constituted as a municipality, which today comprises 45 wards, making it the second largest municipality in Thanjavur district.

 

Kumbakonam is known as the "temple town" due to the prevalence of a number of temples here and is noted for its Mahamaham festival which attracts people from all over the globe. The main products produced are brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, pottery, sugar, indigo and rice.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The name "Kumbakonam", roughly translated in English as the "Jug's Corner", is believed to be an allusion to the mythical pot (kumbha) of the Hindu god Brahma that contained the seed of all living beings on earth. The kumbha is believed to have been displaced by a pralaya (dissolution of the universe) and ultimately came to rest at the spot where the town of Kumbakonam now stands. This event is now commemorated in the Mahamaham festival held every 12 years. Kumbakonam is also known as Baskarashetram and Kumbam from time immemorial and as Kudanthai in ancient times. Kumbakonam is also spelt as Coombaconum in the records of British India. Kumbakonam was also formerly known by the Tamil name of Kudamukku. Kumbakonam is also identified with the Sangam age settlement of Kudavayil.

 

HISTORY

The region around Kumbakonam was inhabited as early as the Sangam Age (3rd century BC to 3rd century AD). The present-day Kumbakonam is believed to be the site of the ancient town of Kudavayil where the Early Chola king Karikala held his court. Some scholars identify Kumbakonam as the site of the fabled prison of Kudavayir-kottam where the Chera king Kanaikkal Irumporai was imprisoned by the Early Chola king Kocengannan. Kumbakonam is identified with the town of Malaikūrram which had served as the Chola capital as early as the 7th century and with the town of Solamaligai which had also served as a Chola capital. According to the Sinnamanur plates, Kumbakonam was the site of a battle between the Pallava king Sri Vallabha and the then Pandya king in 859 and between the Pandya king Srimara Pandya and a confederacy of the Cholas and Gangas.

 

Kumbakonam came into limelight during the rule of the Medieval Cholas who ruled from the 9th century to the 12th century. The town of Pazhaiyaarai, 8 km from Kumbakonam was the capital of the Chola Empire in the 9th century.

 

Following the decline of the Chola kingdom, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Pandyas in 1290. Following the demise of the Pandya kingdom in the 14th century, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Vijayanagar Empire. Krishnadevaraya (1509–29), the emperor of Vijayanagara visited the town in 1524 and is believed to have bathed in the famous Mahamaham tank during the Mahamaham festival. Kumbakonam was ruled by the Madurai Nayaks and the Thanjavur Nayaks from 1535 to 1673 when it fell to the Marathas. Each of these foreign dynasties had a considerable impact on the demographics and culture of the region. When the Vijayanagar Empire fell in 1565, there was a mass influx of poets, musicians and cultural artists from the kingdom.

 

According to the chronicles of the Hindu monastic institution, the Kanchi matha, the matha was temporarily transferred to Kumbakonam in the 1780s following an invasion of Kanchipuram by Hyder Ali of Mysore. When Tipu Sultan invaded the east coast of South India in 1784, Kumbakonam bore the brunt of his invasion. The produce fell sharply and the economy collapsed. Kumbakonam did not recover from the calamity till the beginning of the 19th century.

 

Kumbakonam was eventually ceded to the British East India Company in 1799 by the Thanjavur Maratha ruler Serfoji II (1777 -1832) and reached the zenith of its prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th century when it emerged as an important center of Brahminism, Hindu religion and European education in the Madras Presidency. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 fostered trade contacts with the United Kingdom. In 1877, railway lines were completed linking Kumbakonam with the ports of Madras, Tuticorin and Nagapattinam. The Tanjore district court was established in Kumbakonam in 1806 and functioned from 1806 to 1863.

 

Kumbakonam continued to grow even after India's independence though it fell behind the nearby town of Thanjavur in terms of population and administrative importance. The population growth rate began to fall sharply after 1981. This decline has been attributed to limited land area and lack of industrial potential. During the Mahamaham festival of 1992, there was a major stampede in which 48 people were killed and 74 were injured. On July 16, 2004, a devastating fire in the Sri Krishna school killed 94 children.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Kumbakonam is located at 10.97°N 79.42°E. It is situated 273 km south of Chennai, 96 km east of Tiruchirappalli, and about 40 km north-east of Thanjavur. It lies in the region called the "Old delta" which comprises the north-western taluks of Thanjavur district that have been naturally irrigated by the waters of the Cauvery and its tributaries for centuries in contrast to the "New Delta" comprising the southern taluks that were brought under irrigation by the construction of the Grand Anicut canal and the Vadavar canal in 1934. It has an average elevation of 26 metres. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Cauvery River on the north and Arasalar River on the south.

 

Although the Cauvery delta is usually hot, the climate of Kumbakonam and other surrounding towns is generally healthy and moderate. Kumbakonam is cooler than Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. The maximum temperature in summer is about 40 °C while the minimum temperature is about 20 °C. Kumbakonam receives an annual rainfall of 114.78 cm every year. The region is covered with mainly alluvial or black soil which is conducive for rice cultivation. Other crops grown in Kumbakonam include mulberry, cereals and sugarcane.

 

The town of Kumbakonam is surrounded by extensive paddy fields. Methods of irrigation were considerably improved following the opening of the Mettur Dam in 1934. The fauna of the Cauvery Delta is limited to cattle and goats. The town is situated at the western flank of the Kumbakonam-Shiyali ridge which runs along the Kollidam river basin separating the Ariyalur-Puducherry depression from the Nagapattinam depression. This granular ridge projects further eastwards penetrating the Puducherry depression and forms a hard layer of cretaceous rock underneath the sedimentary top soil.

 

TEMPLES

Kumbakonam is known for its temples and mathas (monasteries). There are around 188 Hindu temples within the municipal limits of Kumbakonam. Apart from these, there several thousand temples around the town thereby giving the town the sobriquets "Temple Town" and "City of temples".

 

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is considered to be the oldest Shaiva (the sect of the god Shiva) shrine in the town, believed to be constructed by the Cholas in the 7th century. The Nageswaraswamy Temple has a separate shrine for the Sun god Surya who is believed to have worshipped Shiva at this place. Adi Kumbeswarar temple, Nageswaraswamy temple and Kasi Viswanathar temple are Shiva temples in the town revered in the Tevaram, a Tamil Shaiva canonical work of the 7th–8th century. Kumbakonam has one of the few temples dedicated to the god Brahma.

 

Sarangapani temple is the largest Vaishnava (the sect of the god Vishnu) shrine present in Kumbakonam. The present structure of the temple having a twelve storey high tower was constructed by Nayak kings in the 15th century. It is one of the "Divya Desams", the 108 temples of Vishnu revered by the 12 Alvar saint-poets. The Ramaswamy temple, which has scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana depicted on its walls, was constructed by Govinda Dikshitar, the minister of successive Nayak rulers, Achuthappa Nayak (1560–1614) and Raghunatha Nayak (1600–34). He added a commercial corridor between the temple and the older Chakrapani temple, which in modern times is called Chinna Kadai Veethi, a commercial street in the town.

 

Pilgrims from all parts of India take a holy dip once every 12 years during the Mahamaham festival in the Mahamaham tank. An estimated 2 million pilgrims participated in the festival during the 2004 event. Govinda Dikshitar constructed the sixteen mandapams (shrines) and stone steps around this tank.

 

Kumbakonam also has a number of mathas. The Sri Sankara matha of Kanchipuram was moved to Kumbakonam during the reign of Pratap Singh (1739–63) and remained in Kumbakonam until the 1960s. There are also two Vellalar mathas in the nearby towns of Dharmapuram and Thiruppanandal and a Raghavendra matha in Kumbakonam. There is also a branch of the Vaishnava Ahobila mutt in Kumbakonam.

 

The Thenupuriswarar Temple at Patteeswaram, the Oppiliappan Kovil, the Swamimalai Murugan temple and the Airavateswarar temple at Darasuram are located in the vicinity of Kumbakonam. The Airavatesvara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola II (1146–73) during 12th century is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram that are referred as the Great Living Chola Temples.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Kumbakonam has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.[69] Among Hindus, Kallars, Thondaimandala Mudaliars, Brahmins and Dalits are the numerically dominant Tamil-speaking groups. Brahmins are more numerous and affluent in Kumbakonam than in other parts of Tamil Nadu. There are also large populations of Moopanars, Vanniyars, Konars and Nadars. Amongst Muslims, the Sunnis are dominant. However, there is also a significant Shia minority. Most of the Muslims are Marakkayars or Labbays. The majority of Muslims in Kumbakonam are involved in commerce or maritime trade. Kumbakonam also has a large population of Protestant Christians largely due to the efforts of the German missionary Christian Friedrich Schwarz. The Catholics in Kumbakonam are mainly affiliated to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kumbakonam which was separated from the Archdiocese of Pondicherry in 1899.

 

The population of Kumbakonam is predominantly Tamil-speaking. The commonly used dialects is the Central Tamil dialect. There are significant minorities speaking Thanjavur Marathi, Telugu, Kannada and Saurashtrian as their mother tongue.

 

Residential areas make up 32.09% of the town's total area while commercial enterprises and industrial units make up 2.75% and 1.21% respectively. The non-urban portion of the town constitutes about 44.72% of the total area. Kumbakonam has a total of 45 slums with a population of 49,117.

 

ECONOMY

The important products of Kumbakonam include brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, sugar, indigo and pottery. Kumbakonam is considered to be the chief commercial centre for the Thanjavur region. In 1991, around 30% of the population was engaged in economic activity. Rice production is an important activity in Kumbakonam. Of 194 industrial units in Kumbakonam, 57 are rice and flour mills. Kumbakonam is also a leading producer of betel leaves and nuts; the betel leaves produced in Kumbakonam are ranked amongst the best in the world in terms of quality. The A. R. R. Agencies, a leading manufacturer of arecanut slices has its factory in Kumbakonam. The main administrative offices of T. S. R. & Co., a cosmetic company, are also based in Kumbakonam. Kumbakonam is also famous for its metal works. The Tamil Nadu Handicraft Development Corporation had been established in the nearby town of Swamimalai in order to train bronze artisans. Kumbakonam is an important silk-weaving centre and more than 5,000 families were employed either directly or indirectly in silk weaving. Silk weaved in Kumbakonam is regarded as one of the finest in the subcontinent. They are largely used in the manufacture of Thirubuvanam silk sarees. Kumbakonam was also an important salt-manufacturing area during British rule. The town lends its name to the Kumbakonam Degree Coffee, a blend of coffee prepared using undiluted pure milk. In recent times, Kumbakonam has emerged as an important manufacturer of fertilizers.

 

Apart from its manufactures, tourism is also a major source of income for the town. The Hindu temples and colonial-era buildings have been recognised for their tourism potential. The 12th-century Airavatesvara Temple in the town of Darasuram near Kumbakonam is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kumbakonam is also frequented by art collectors interested in handloom cloth and other curios. Banks such as the Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, Canara Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank, ICICI Bank, ING Vysya Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank and Vijaya Bank have their branches in Kumbakonam. The City Union Bank was founded in Kumbakonam in 1904 as the Kumbakonam Bank Limited and its headquartered in the town.

Kumbakonam is a town and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the southeast Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 40 km from Thanjavur and 273 km from Chennai and is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Kaveri River to the north and Arasalar River to the south. According to the 2011 census, Kumbakonam has a population of 140,156 and has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.

 

Kumbakonam dates back to the Sangam period and was ruled by the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas. It rose to be a prominent city between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, when it served as a capital of the Medieval Cholas. The town reached the zenith of its prosperity during the British Raj when it was a prominent centre of European education and Hindu culture; and it acquired the cultural name, the "Cambridge of South India". In 1866, Kumbakonam was officially constituted as a municipality, which today comprises 45 wards, making it the second largest municipality in Thanjavur district.

 

Kumbakonam is known as the "temple town" due to the prevalence of a number of temples here and is noted for its Mahamaham festival which attracts people from all over the globe. The main products produced are brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, pottery, sugar, indigo and rice.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The name "Kumbakonam", roughly translated in English as the "Jug's Corner", is believed to be an allusion to the mythical pot (kumbha) of the Hindu god Brahma that contained the seed of all living beings on earth. The kumbha is believed to have been displaced by a pralaya (dissolution of the universe) and ultimately came to rest at the spot where the town of Kumbakonam now stands. This event is now commemorated in the Mahamaham festival held every 12 years. Kumbakonam is also known as Baskarashetram and Kumbam from time immemorial and as Kudanthai in ancient times. Kumbakonam is also spelt as Coombaconum in the records of British India. Kumbakonam was also formerly known by the Tamil name of Kudamukku. Kumbakonam is also identified with the Sangam age settlement of Kudavayil.

 

HISTORY

The region around Kumbakonam was inhabited as early as the Sangam Age (3rd century BC to 3rd century AD). The present-day Kumbakonam is believed to be the site of the ancient town of Kudavayil where the Early Chola king Karikala held his court. Some scholars identify Kumbakonam as the site of the fabled prison of Kudavayir-kottam where the Chera king Kanaikkal Irumporai was imprisoned by the Early Chola king Kocengannan. Kumbakonam is identified with the town of Malaikūrram which had served as the Chola capital as early as the 7th century and with the town of Solamaligai which had also served as a Chola capital. According to the Sinnamanur plates, Kumbakonam was the site of a battle between the Pallava king Sri Vallabha and the then Pandya king in 859 and between the Pandya king Srimara Pandya and a confederacy of the Cholas and Gangas.

 

Kumbakonam came into limelight during the rule of the Medieval Cholas who ruled from the 9th century to the 12th century. The town of Pazhaiyaarai, 8 km from Kumbakonam was the capital of the Chola Empire in the 9th century.

 

Following the decline of the Chola kingdom, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Pandyas in 1290. Following the demise of the Pandya kingdom in the 14th century, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Vijayanagar Empire. Krishnadevaraya (1509–29), the emperor of Vijayanagara visited the town in 1524 and is believed to have bathed in the famous Mahamaham tank during the Mahamaham festival. Kumbakonam was ruled by the Madurai Nayaks and the Thanjavur Nayaks from 1535 to 1673 when it fell to the Marathas. Each of these foreign dynasties had a considerable impact on the demographics and culture of the region. When the Vijayanagar Empire fell in 1565, there was a mass influx of poets, musicians and cultural artists from the kingdom.

 

According to the chronicles of the Hindu monastic institution, the Kanchi matha, the matha was temporarily transferred to Kumbakonam in the 1780s following an invasion of Kanchipuram by Hyder Ali of Mysore. When Tipu Sultan invaded the east coast of South India in 1784, Kumbakonam bore the brunt of his invasion. The produce fell sharply and the economy collapsed. Kumbakonam did not recover from the calamity till the beginning of the 19th century.

 

Kumbakonam was eventually ceded to the British East India Company in 1799 by the Thanjavur Maratha ruler Serfoji II (1777 -1832) and reached the zenith of its prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th century when it emerged as an important center of Brahminism, Hindu religion and European education in the Madras Presidency. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 fostered trade contacts with the United Kingdom. In 1877, railway lines were completed linking Kumbakonam with the ports of Madras, Tuticorin and Nagapattinam. The Tanjore district court was established in Kumbakonam in 1806 and functioned from 1806 to 1863.

 

Kumbakonam continued to grow even after India's independence though it fell behind the nearby town of Thanjavur in terms of population and administrative importance. The population growth rate began to fall sharply after 1981. This decline has been attributed to limited land area and lack of industrial potential. During the Mahamaham festival of 1992, there was a major stampede in which 48 people were killed and 74 were injured. On July 16, 2004, a devastating fire in the Sri Krishna school killed 94 children.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Kumbakonam is located at 10.97°N 79.42°E. It is situated 273 km south of Chennai, 96 km east of Tiruchirappalli, and about 40 km north-east of Thanjavur. It lies in the region called the "Old delta" which comprises the north-western taluks of Thanjavur district that have been naturally irrigated by the waters of the Cauvery and its tributaries for centuries in contrast to the "New Delta" comprising the southern taluks that were brought under irrigation by the construction of the Grand Anicut canal and the Vadavar canal in 1934. It has an average elevation of 26 metres. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Cauvery River on the north and Arasalar River on the south.

 

Although the Cauvery delta is usually hot, the climate of Kumbakonam and other surrounding towns is generally healthy and moderate. Kumbakonam is cooler than Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. The maximum temperature in summer is about 40 °C while the minimum temperature is about 20 °C. Kumbakonam receives an annual rainfall of 114.78 cm every year. The region is covered with mainly alluvial or black soil which is conducive for rice cultivation. Other crops grown in Kumbakonam include mulberry, cereals and sugarcane.

 

The town of Kumbakonam is surrounded by extensive paddy fields. Methods of irrigation were considerably improved following the opening of the Mettur Dam in 1934. The fauna of the Cauvery Delta is limited to cattle and goats. The town is situated at the western flank of the Kumbakonam-Shiyali ridge which runs along the Kollidam river basin separating the Ariyalur-Puducherry depression from the Nagapattinam depression. This granular ridge projects further eastwards penetrating the Puducherry depression and forms a hard layer of cretaceous rock underneath the sedimentary top soil.

 

TEMPLES

Kumbakonam is known for its temples and mathas (monasteries). There are around 188 Hindu temples within the municipal limits of Kumbakonam. Apart from these, there several thousand temples around the town thereby giving the town the sobriquets "Temple Town" and "City of temples".

 

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is considered to be the oldest Shaiva (the sect of the god Shiva) shrine in the town, believed to be constructed by the Cholas in the 7th century. The Nageswaraswamy Temple has a separate shrine for the Sun god Surya who is believed to have worshipped Shiva at this place. Adi Kumbeswarar temple, Nageswaraswamy temple and Kasi Viswanathar temple are Shiva temples in the town revered in the Tevaram, a Tamil Shaiva canonical work of the 7th–8th century. Kumbakonam has one of the few temples dedicated to the god Brahma.

 

Sarangapani temple is the largest Vaishnava (the sect of the god Vishnu) shrine present in Kumbakonam. The present structure of the temple having a twelve storey high tower was constructed by Nayak kings in the 15th century. It is one of the "Divya Desams", the 108 temples of Vishnu revered by the 12 Alvar saint-poets. The Ramaswamy temple, which has scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana depicted on its walls, was constructed by Govinda Dikshitar, the minister of successive Nayak rulers, Achuthappa Nayak (1560–1614) and Raghunatha Nayak (1600–34). He added a commercial corridor between the temple and the older Chakrapani temple, which in modern times is called Chinna Kadai Veethi, a commercial street in the town.

 

Pilgrims from all parts of India take a holy dip once every 12 years during the Mahamaham festival in the Mahamaham tank. An estimated 2 million pilgrims participated in the festival during the 2004 event. Govinda Dikshitar constructed the sixteen mandapams (shrines) and stone steps around this tank.

 

Kumbakonam also has a number of mathas. The Sri Sankara matha of Kanchipuram was moved to Kumbakonam during the reign of Pratap Singh (1739–63) and remained in Kumbakonam until the 1960s. There are also two Vellalar mathas in the nearby towns of Dharmapuram and Thiruppanandal and a Raghavendra matha in Kumbakonam. There is also a branch of the Vaishnava Ahobila mutt in Kumbakonam.

 

The Thenupuriswarar Temple at Patteeswaram, the Oppiliappan Kovil, the Swamimalai Murugan temple and the Airavateswarar temple at Darasuram are located in the vicinity of Kumbakonam. The Airavatesvara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola II (1146–73) during 12th century is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram that are referred as the Great Living Chola Temples.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Kumbakonam has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.[69] Among Hindus, Kallars, Thondaimandala Mudaliars, Brahmins and Dalits are the numerically dominant Tamil-speaking groups. Brahmins are more numerous and affluent in Kumbakonam than in other parts of Tamil Nadu. There are also large populations of Moopanars, Vanniyars, Konars and Nadars. Amongst Muslims, the Sunnis are dominant. However, there is also a significant Shia minority. Most of the Muslims are Marakkayars or Labbays. The majority of Muslims in Kumbakonam are involved in commerce or maritime trade. Kumbakonam also has a large population of Protestant Christians largely due to the efforts of the German missionary Christian Friedrich Schwarz. The Catholics in Kumbakonam are mainly affiliated to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kumbakonam which was separated from the Archdiocese of Pondicherry in 1899.

 

The population of Kumbakonam is predominantly Tamil-speaking. The commonly used dialects is the Central Tamil dialect. There are significant minorities speaking Thanjavur Marathi, Telugu, Kannada and Saurashtrian as their mother tongue.

 

Residential areas make up 32.09% of the town's total area while commercial enterprises and industrial units make up 2.75% and 1.21% respectively. The non-urban portion of the town constitutes about 44.72% of the total area. Kumbakonam has a total of 45 slums with a population of 49,117.

 

ECONOMY

The important products of Kumbakonam include brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, sugar, indigo and pottery. Kumbakonam is considered to be the chief commercial centre for the Thanjavur region. In 1991, around 30% of the population was engaged in economic activity. Rice production is an important activity in Kumbakonam. Of 194 industrial units in Kumbakonam, 57 are rice and flour mills. Kumbakonam is also a leading producer of betel leaves and nuts; the betel leaves produced in Kumbakonam are ranked amongst the best in the world in terms of quality. The A. R. R. Agencies, a leading manufacturer of arecanut slices has its factory in Kumbakonam. The main administrative offices of T. S. R. & Co., a cosmetic company, are also based in Kumbakonam. Kumbakonam is also famous for its metal works. The Tamil Nadu Handicraft Development Corporation had been established in the nearby town of Swamimalai in order to train bronze artisans. Kumbakonam is an important silk-weaving centre and more than 5,000 families were employed either directly or indirectly in silk weaving. Silk weaved in Kumbakonam is regarded as one of the finest in the subcontinent. They are largely used in the manufacture of Thirubuvanam silk sarees. Kumbakonam was also an important salt-manufacturing area during British rule. The town lends its name to the Kumbakonam Degree Coffee, a blend of coffee prepared using undiluted pure milk. In recent times, Kumbakonam has emerged as an important manufacturer of fertilizers.

 

Apart from its manufactures, tourism is also a major source of income for the town. The Hindu temples and colonial-era buildings have been recognised for their tourism potential. The 12th-century Airavatesvara Temple in the town of Darasuram near Kumbakonam is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kumbakonam is also frequented by art collectors interested in handloom cloth and other curios. Banks such as the Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, Canara Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank, ICICI Bank, ING Vysya Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank and Vijaya Bank have their branches in Kumbakonam. The City Union Bank was founded in Kumbakonam in 1904 as the Kumbakonam Bank Limited and its headquartered in the town.

Kumbakonam is a town and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the southeast Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 40 km from Thanjavur and 273 km from Chennai and is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Kaveri River to the north and Arasalar River to the south. According to the 2011 census, Kumbakonam has a population of 140,156 and has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.

 

Kumbakonam dates back to the Sangam period and was ruled by the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas. It rose to be a prominent city between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, when it served as a capital of the Medieval Cholas. The town reached the zenith of its prosperity during the British Raj when it was a prominent centre of European education and Hindu culture; and it acquired the cultural name, the "Cambridge of South India". In 1866, Kumbakonam was officially constituted as a municipality, which today comprises 45 wards, making it the second largest municipality in Thanjavur district.

 

Kumbakonam is known as the "temple town" due to the prevalence of a number of temples here and is noted for its Mahamaham festival which attracts people from all over the globe. The main products produced are brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, pottery, sugar, indigo and rice.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The name "Kumbakonam", roughly translated in English as the "Jug's Corner", is believed to be an allusion to the mythical pot (kumbha) of the Hindu god Brahma that contained the seed of all living beings on earth. The kumbha is believed to have been displaced by a pralaya (dissolution of the universe) and ultimately came to rest at the spot where the town of Kumbakonam now stands. This event is now commemorated in the Mahamaham festival held every 12 years. Kumbakonam is also known as Baskarashetram and Kumbam from time immemorial and as Kudanthai in ancient times. Kumbakonam is also spelt as Coombaconum in the records of British India. Kumbakonam was also formerly known by the Tamil name of Kudamukku. Kumbakonam is also identified with the Sangam age settlement of Kudavayil.

 

HISTORY

The region around Kumbakonam was inhabited as early as the Sangam Age (3rd century BC to 3rd century AD). The present-day Kumbakonam is believed to be the site of the ancient town of Kudavayil where the Early Chola king Karikala held his court. Some scholars identify Kumbakonam as the site of the fabled prison of Kudavayir-kottam where the Chera king Kanaikkal Irumporai was imprisoned by the Early Chola king Kocengannan. Kumbakonam is identified with the town of Malaikūrram which had served as the Chola capital as early as the 7th century and with the town of Solamaligai which had also served as a Chola capital. According to the Sinnamanur plates, Kumbakonam was the site of a battle between the Pallava king Sri Vallabha and the then Pandya king in 859 and between the Pandya king Srimara Pandya and a confederacy of the Cholas and Gangas.

 

Kumbakonam came into limelight during the rule of the Medieval Cholas who ruled from the 9th century to the 12th century. The town of Pazhaiyaarai, 8 km from Kumbakonam was the capital of the Chola Empire in the 9th century.

 

Following the decline of the Chola kingdom, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Pandyas in 1290. Following the demise of the Pandya kingdom in the 14th century, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Vijayanagar Empire. Krishnadevaraya (1509–29), the emperor of Vijayanagara visited the town in 1524 and is believed to have bathed in the famous Mahamaham tank during the Mahamaham festival. Kumbakonam was ruled by the Madurai Nayaks and the Thanjavur Nayaks from 1535 to 1673 when it fell to the Marathas. Each of these foreign dynasties had a considerable impact on the demographics and culture of the region. When the Vijayanagar Empire fell in 1565, there was a mass influx of poets, musicians and cultural artists from the kingdom.

 

According to the chronicles of the Hindu monastic institution, the Kanchi matha, the matha was temporarily transferred to Kumbakonam in the 1780s following an invasion of Kanchipuram by Hyder Ali of Mysore. When Tipu Sultan invaded the east coast of South India in 1784, Kumbakonam bore the brunt of his invasion. The produce fell sharply and the economy collapsed. Kumbakonam did not recover from the calamity till the beginning of the 19th century.

 

Kumbakonam was eventually ceded to the British East India Company in 1799 by the Thanjavur Maratha ruler Serfoji II (1777 -1832) and reached the zenith of its prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th century when it emerged as an important center of Brahminism, Hindu religion and European education in the Madras Presidency. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 fostered trade contacts with the United Kingdom. In 1877, railway lines were completed linking Kumbakonam with the ports of Madras, Tuticorin and Nagapattinam. The Tanjore district court was established in Kumbakonam in 1806 and functioned from 1806 to 1863.

 

Kumbakonam continued to grow even after India's independence though it fell behind the nearby town of Thanjavur in terms of population and administrative importance. The population growth rate began to fall sharply after 1981. This decline has been attributed to limited land area and lack of industrial potential. During the Mahamaham festival of 1992, there was a major stampede in which 48 people were killed and 74 were injured. On July 16, 2004, a devastating fire in the Sri Krishna school killed 94 children.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Kumbakonam is located at 10.97°N 79.42°E. It is situated 273 km south of Chennai, 96 km east of Tiruchirappalli, and about 40 km north-east of Thanjavur. It lies in the region called the "Old delta" which comprises the north-western taluks of Thanjavur district that have been naturally irrigated by the waters of the Cauvery and its tributaries for centuries in contrast to the "New Delta" comprising the southern taluks that were brought under irrigation by the construction of the Grand Anicut canal and the Vadavar canal in 1934. It has an average elevation of 26 metres. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Cauvery River on the north and Arasalar River on the south.

 

Although the Cauvery delta is usually hot, the climate of Kumbakonam and other surrounding towns is generally healthy and moderate. Kumbakonam is cooler than Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. The maximum temperature in summer is about 40 °C while the minimum temperature is about 20 °C. Kumbakonam receives an annual rainfall of 114.78 cm every year. The region is covered with mainly alluvial or black soil which is conducive for rice cultivation. Other crops grown in Kumbakonam include mulberry, cereals and sugarcane.

 

The town of Kumbakonam is surrounded by extensive paddy fields. Methods of irrigation were considerably improved following the opening of the Mettur Dam in 1934. The fauna of the Cauvery Delta is limited to cattle and goats. The town is situated at the western flank of the Kumbakonam-Shiyali ridge which runs along the Kollidam river basin separating the Ariyalur-Puducherry depression from the Nagapattinam depression. This granular ridge projects further eastwards penetrating the Puducherry depression and forms a hard layer of cretaceous rock underneath the sedimentary top soil.

 

TEMPLES

Kumbakonam is known for its temples and mathas (monasteries). There are around 188 Hindu temples within the municipal limits of Kumbakonam. Apart from these, there several thousand temples around the town thereby giving the town the sobriquets "Temple Town" and "City of temples".

 

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is considered to be the oldest Shaiva (the sect of the god Shiva) shrine in the town, believed to be constructed by the Cholas in the 7th century. The Nageswaraswamy Temple has a separate shrine for the Sun god Surya who is believed to have worshipped Shiva at this place. Adi Kumbeswarar temple, Nageswaraswamy temple and Kasi Viswanathar temple are Shiva temples in the town revered in the Tevaram, a Tamil Shaiva canonical work of the 7th–8th century. Kumbakonam has one of the few temples dedicated to the god Brahma.

 

Sarangapani temple is the largest Vaishnava (the sect of the god Vishnu) shrine present in Kumbakonam. The present structure of the temple having a twelve storey high tower was constructed by Nayak kings in the 15th century. It is one of the "Divya Desams", the 108 temples of Vishnu revered by the 12 Alvar saint-poets. The Ramaswamy temple, which has scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana depicted on its walls, was constructed by Govinda Dikshitar, the minister of successive Nayak rulers, Achuthappa Nayak (1560–1614) and Raghunatha Nayak (1600–34). He added a commercial corridor between the temple and the older Chakrapani temple, which in modern times is called Chinna Kadai Veethi, a commercial street in the town.

 

Pilgrims from all parts of India take a holy dip once every 12 years during the Mahamaham festival in the Mahamaham tank. An estimated 2 million pilgrims participated in the festival during the 2004 event. Govinda Dikshitar constructed the sixteen mandapams (shrines) and stone steps around this tank.

 

Kumbakonam also has a number of mathas. The Sri Sankara matha of Kanchipuram was moved to Kumbakonam during the reign of Pratap Singh (1739–63) and remained in Kumbakonam until the 1960s. There are also two Vellalar mathas in the nearby towns of Dharmapuram and Thiruppanandal and a Raghavendra matha in Kumbakonam. There is also a branch of the Vaishnava Ahobila mutt in Kumbakonam.

 

The Thenupuriswarar Temple at Patteeswaram, the Oppiliappan Kovil, the Swamimalai Murugan temple and the Airavateswarar temple at Darasuram are located in the vicinity of Kumbakonam. The Airavatesvara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola II (1146–73) during 12th century is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram that are referred as the Great Living Chola Temples.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Kumbakonam has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.[69] Among Hindus, Kallars, Thondaimandala Mudaliars, Brahmins and Dalits are the numerically dominant Tamil-speaking groups. Brahmins are more numerous and affluent in Kumbakonam than in other parts of Tamil Nadu. There are also large populations of Moopanars, Vanniyars, Konars and Nadars. Amongst Muslims, the Sunnis are dominant. However, there is also a significant Shia minority. Most of the Muslims are Marakkayars or Labbays. The majority of Muslims in Kumbakonam are involved in commerce or maritime trade. Kumbakonam also has a large population of Protestant Christians largely due to the efforts of the German missionary Christian Friedrich Schwarz. The Catholics in Kumbakonam are mainly affiliated to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kumbakonam which was separated from the Archdiocese of Pondicherry in 1899.

 

The population of Kumbakonam is predominantly Tamil-speaking. The commonly used dialects is the Central Tamil dialect. There are significant minorities speaking Thanjavur Marathi, Telugu, Kannada and Saurashtrian as their mother tongue.

 

Residential areas make up 32.09% of the town's total area while commercial enterprises and industrial units make up 2.75% and 1.21% respectively. The non-urban portion of the town constitutes about 44.72% of the total area. Kumbakonam has a total of 45 slums with a population of 49,117.

 

ECONOMY

The important products of Kumbakonam include brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, sugar, indigo and pottery. Kumbakonam is considered to be the chief commercial centre for the Thanjavur region. In 1991, around 30% of the population was engaged in economic activity. Rice production is an important activity in Kumbakonam. Of 194 industrial units in Kumbakonam, 57 are rice and flour mills. Kumbakonam is also a leading producer of betel leaves and nuts; the betel leaves produced in Kumbakonam are ranked amongst the best in the world in terms of quality. The A. R. R. Agencies, a leading manufacturer of arecanut slices has its factory in Kumbakonam. The main administrative offices of T. S. R. & Co., a cosmetic company, are also based in Kumbakonam. Kumbakonam is also famous for its metal works. The Tamil Nadu Handicraft Development Corporation had been established in the nearby town of Swamimalai in order to train bronze artisans. Kumbakonam is an important silk-weaving centre and more than 5,000 families were employed either directly or indirectly in silk weaving. Silk weaved in Kumbakonam is regarded as one of the finest in the subcontinent. They are largely used in the manufacture of Thirubuvanam silk sarees. Kumbakonam was also an important salt-manufacturing area during British rule. The town lends its name to the Kumbakonam Degree Coffee, a blend of coffee prepared using undiluted pure milk. In recent times, Kumbakonam has emerged as an important manufacturer of fertilizers.

 

Apart from its manufactures, tourism is also a major source of income for the town. The Hindu temples and colonial-era buildings have been recognised for their tourism potential. The 12th-century Airavatesvara Temple in the town of Darasuram near Kumbakonam is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kumbakonam is also frequented by art collectors interested in handloom cloth and other curios. Banks such as the Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, Canara Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank, ICICI Bank, ING Vysya Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank and Vijaya Bank have their branches in Kumbakonam. The City Union Bank was founded in Kumbakonam in 1904 as the Kumbakonam Bank Limited and its headquartered in the town.

Kumbakonam is a town and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the southeast Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 40 km from Thanjavur and 273 km from Chennai and is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Kaveri River to the north and Arasalar River to the south. According to the 2011 census, Kumbakonam has a population of 140,156 and has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.

 

Kumbakonam dates back to the Sangam period and was ruled by the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas. It rose to be a prominent city between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, when it served as a capital of the Medieval Cholas. The town reached the zenith of its prosperity during the British Raj when it was a prominent centre of European education and Hindu culture; and it acquired the cultural name, the "Cambridge of South India". In 1866, Kumbakonam was officially constituted as a municipality, which today comprises 45 wards, making it the second largest municipality in Thanjavur district.

 

Kumbakonam is known as the "temple town" due to the prevalence of a number of temples here and is noted for its Mahamaham festival which attracts people from all over the globe. The main products produced are brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, pottery, sugar, indigo and rice.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The name "Kumbakonam", roughly translated in English as the "Jug's Corner", is believed to be an allusion to the mythical pot (kumbha) of the Hindu god Brahma that contained the seed of all living beings on earth. The kumbha is believed to have been displaced by a pralaya (dissolution of the universe) and ultimately came to rest at the spot where the town of Kumbakonam now stands. This event is now commemorated in the Mahamaham festival held every 12 years. Kumbakonam is also known as Baskarashetram and Kumbam from time immemorial and as Kudanthai in ancient times. Kumbakonam is also spelt as Coombaconum in the records of British India. Kumbakonam was also formerly known by the Tamil name of Kudamukku. Kumbakonam is also identified with the Sangam age settlement of Kudavayil.

 

HISTORY

The region around Kumbakonam was inhabited as early as the Sangam Age (3rd century BC to 3rd century AD). The present-day Kumbakonam is believed to be the site of the ancient town of Kudavayil where the Early Chola king Karikala held his court. Some scholars identify Kumbakonam as the site of the fabled prison of Kudavayir-kottam where the Chera king Kanaikkal Irumporai was imprisoned by the Early Chola king Kocengannan. Kumbakonam is identified with the town of Malaikūrram which had served as the Chola capital as early as the 7th century and with the town of Solamaligai which had also served as a Chola capital. According to the Sinnamanur plates, Kumbakonam was the site of a battle between the Pallava king Sri Vallabha and the then Pandya king in 859 and between the Pandya king Srimara Pandya and a confederacy of the Cholas and Gangas.

 

Kumbakonam came into limelight during the rule of the Medieval Cholas who ruled from the 9th century to the 12th century. The town of Pazhaiyaarai, 8 km from Kumbakonam was the capital of the Chola Empire in the 9th century.

 

Following the decline of the Chola kingdom, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Pandyas in 1290. Following the demise of the Pandya kingdom in the 14th century, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Vijayanagar Empire. Krishnadevaraya (1509–29), the emperor of Vijayanagara visited the town in 1524 and is believed to have bathed in the famous Mahamaham tank during the Mahamaham festival. Kumbakonam was ruled by the Madurai Nayaks and the Thanjavur Nayaks from 1535 to 1673 when it fell to the Marathas. Each of these foreign dynasties had a considerable impact on the demographics and culture of the region. When the Vijayanagar Empire fell in 1565, there was a mass influx of poets, musicians and cultural artists from the kingdom.

 

According to the chronicles of the Hindu monastic institution, the Kanchi matha, the matha was temporarily transferred to Kumbakonam in the 1780s following an invasion of Kanchipuram by Hyder Ali of Mysore. When Tipu Sultan invaded the east coast of South India in 1784, Kumbakonam bore the brunt of his invasion. The produce fell sharply and the economy collapsed. Kumbakonam did not recover from the calamity till the beginning of the 19th century.

 

Kumbakonam was eventually ceded to the British East India Company in 1799 by the Thanjavur Maratha ruler Serfoji II (1777 -1832) and reached the zenith of its prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th century when it emerged as an important center of Brahminism, Hindu religion and European education in the Madras Presidency. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 fostered trade contacts with the United Kingdom. In 1877, railway lines were completed linking Kumbakonam with the ports of Madras, Tuticorin and Nagapattinam. The Tanjore district court was established in Kumbakonam in 1806 and functioned from 1806 to 1863.

 

Kumbakonam continued to grow even after India's independence though it fell behind the nearby town of Thanjavur in terms of population and administrative importance. The population growth rate began to fall sharply after 1981. This decline has been attributed to limited land area and lack of industrial potential. During the Mahamaham festival of 1992, there was a major stampede in which 48 people were killed and 74 were injured. On July 16, 2004, a devastating fire in the Sri Krishna school killed 94 children.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Kumbakonam is located at 10.97°N 79.42°E. It is situated 273 km south of Chennai, 96 km east of Tiruchirappalli, and about 40 km north-east of Thanjavur. It lies in the region called the "Old delta" which comprises the north-western taluks of Thanjavur district that have been naturally irrigated by the waters of the Cauvery and its tributaries for centuries in contrast to the "New Delta" comprising the southern taluks that were brought under irrigation by the construction of the Grand Anicut canal and the Vadavar canal in 1934. It has an average elevation of 26 metres. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Cauvery River on the north and Arasalar River on the south.

 

Although the Cauvery delta is usually hot, the climate of Kumbakonam and other surrounding towns is generally healthy and moderate. Kumbakonam is cooler than Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. The maximum temperature in summer is about 40 °C while the minimum temperature is about 20 °C. Kumbakonam receives an annual rainfall of 114.78 cm every year. The region is covered with mainly alluvial or black soil which is conducive for rice cultivation. Other crops grown in Kumbakonam include mulberry, cereals and sugarcane.

 

The town of Kumbakonam is surrounded by extensive paddy fields. Methods of irrigation were considerably improved following the opening of the Mettur Dam in 1934. The fauna of the Cauvery Delta is limited to cattle and goats. The town is situated at the western flank of the Kumbakonam-Shiyali ridge which runs along the Kollidam river basin separating the Ariyalur-Puducherry depression from the Nagapattinam depression. This granular ridge projects further eastwards penetrating the Puducherry depression and forms a hard layer of cretaceous rock underneath the sedimentary top soil.

 

TEMPLES

Kumbakonam is known for its temples and mathas (monasteries). There are around 188 Hindu temples within the municipal limits of Kumbakonam. Apart from these, there several thousand temples around the town thereby giving the town the sobriquets "Temple Town" and "City of temples".

 

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is considered to be the oldest Shaiva (the sect of the god Shiva) shrine in the town, believed to be constructed by the Cholas in the 7th century. The Nageswaraswamy Temple has a separate shrine for the Sun god Surya who is believed to have worshipped Shiva at this place. Adi Kumbeswarar temple, Nageswaraswamy temple and Kasi Viswanathar temple are Shiva temples in the town revered in the Tevaram, a Tamil Shaiva canonical work of the 7th–8th century. Kumbakonam has one of the few temples dedicated to the god Brahma.

 

Sarangapani temple is the largest Vaishnava (the sect of the god Vishnu) shrine present in Kumbakonam. The present structure of the temple having a twelve storey high tower was constructed by Nayak kings in the 15th century. It is one of the "Divya Desams", the 108 temples of Vishnu revered by the 12 Alvar saint-poets. The Ramaswamy temple, which has scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana depicted on its walls, was constructed by Govinda Dikshitar, the minister of successive Nayak rulers, Achuthappa Nayak (1560–1614) and Raghunatha Nayak (1600–34). He added a commercial corridor between the temple and the older Chakrapani temple, which in modern times is called Chinna Kadai Veethi, a commercial street in the town.

 

Pilgrims from all parts of India take a holy dip once every 12 years during the Mahamaham festival in the Mahamaham tank. An estimated 2 million pilgrims participated in the festival during the 2004 event. Govinda Dikshitar constructed the sixteen mandapams (shrines) and stone steps around this tank.

 

Kumbakonam also has a number of mathas. The Sri Sankara matha of Kanchipuram was moved to Kumbakonam during the reign of Pratap Singh (1739–63) and remained in Kumbakonam until the 1960s. There are also two Vellalar mathas in the nearby towns of Dharmapuram and Thiruppanandal and a Raghavendra matha in Kumbakonam. There is also a branch of the Vaishnava Ahobila mutt in Kumbakonam.

 

The Thenupuriswarar Temple at Patteeswaram, the Oppiliappan Kovil, the Swamimalai Murugan temple and the Airavateswarar temple at Darasuram are located in the vicinity of Kumbakonam. The Airavatesvara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola II (1146–73) during 12th century is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram that are referred as the Great Living Chola Temples.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Kumbakonam has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.[69] Among Hindus, Kallars, Thondaimandala Mudaliars, Brahmins and Dalits are the numerically dominant Tamil-speaking groups. Brahmins are more numerous and affluent in Kumbakonam than in other parts of Tamil Nadu. There are also large populations of Moopanars, Vanniyars, Konars and Nadars. Amongst Muslims, the Sunnis are dominant. However, there is also a significant Shia minority. Most of the Muslims are Marakkayars or Labbays. The majority of Muslims in Kumbakonam are involved in commerce or maritime trade. Kumbakonam also has a large population of Protestant Christians largely due to the efforts of the German missionary Christian Friedrich Schwarz. The Catholics in Kumbakonam are mainly affiliated to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kumbakonam which was separated from the Archdiocese of Pondicherry in 1899.

 

The population of Kumbakonam is predominantly Tamil-speaking. The commonly used dialects is the Central Tamil dialect. There are significant minorities speaking Thanjavur Marathi, Telugu, Kannada and Saurashtrian as their mother tongue.

 

Residential areas make up 32.09% of the town's total area while commercial enterprises and industrial units make up 2.75% and 1.21% respectively. The non-urban portion of the town constitutes about 44.72% of the total area. Kumbakonam has a total of 45 slums with a population of 49,117.

 

ECONOMY

The important products of Kumbakonam include brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, sugar, indigo and pottery. Kumbakonam is considered to be the chief commercial centre for the Thanjavur region. In 1991, around 30% of the population was engaged in economic activity. Rice production is an important activity in Kumbakonam. Of 194 industrial units in Kumbakonam, 57 are rice and flour mills. Kumbakonam is also a leading producer of betel leaves and nuts; the betel leaves produced in Kumbakonam are ranked amongst the best in the world in terms of quality. The A. R. R. Agencies, a leading manufacturer of arecanut slices has its factory in Kumbakonam. The main administrative offices of T. S. R. & Co., a cosmetic company, are also based in Kumbakonam. Kumbakonam is also famous for its metal works. The Tamil Nadu Handicraft Development Corporation had been established in the nearby town of Swamimalai in order to train bronze artisans. Kumbakonam is an important silk-weaving centre and more than 5,000 families were employed either directly or indirectly in silk weaving. Silk weaved in Kumbakonam is regarded as one of the finest in the subcontinent. They are largely used in the manufacture of Thirubuvanam silk sarees. Kumbakonam was also an important salt-manufacturing area during British rule. The town lends its name to the Kumbakonam Degree Coffee, a blend of coffee prepared using undiluted pure milk. In recent times, Kumbakonam has emerged as an important manufacturer of fertilizers.

 

Apart from its manufactures, tourism is also a major source of income for the town. The Hindu temples and colonial-era buildings have been recognised for their tourism potential. The 12th-century Airavatesvara Temple in the town of Darasuram near Kumbakonam is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kumbakonam is also frequented by art collectors interested in handloom cloth and other curios. Banks such as the Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, Canara Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank, ICICI Bank, ING Vysya Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank and Vijaya Bank have their branches in Kumbakonam. The City Union Bank was founded in Kumbakonam in 1904 as the Kumbakonam Bank Limited and its headquartered in the town.

Kumbakonam is a town and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the southeast Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 40 km from Thanjavur and 273 km from Chennai and is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Kaveri River to the north and Arasalar River to the south. According to the 2011 census, Kumbakonam has a population of 140,156 and has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.

 

Kumbakonam dates back to the Sangam period and was ruled by the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas. It rose to be a prominent city between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, when it served as a capital of the Medieval Cholas. The town reached the zenith of its prosperity during the British Raj when it was a prominent centre of European education and Hindu culture; and it acquired the cultural name, the "Cambridge of South India". In 1866, Kumbakonam was officially constituted as a municipality, which today comprises 45 wards, making it the second largest municipality in Thanjavur district.

 

Kumbakonam is known as the "temple town" due to the prevalence of a number of temples here and is noted for its Mahamaham festival which attracts people from all over the globe. The main products produced are brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, pottery, sugar, indigo and rice.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The name "Kumbakonam", roughly translated in English as the "Jug's Corner", is believed to be an allusion to the mythical pot (kumbha) of the Hindu god Brahma that contained the seed of all living beings on earth. The kumbha is believed to have been displaced by a pralaya (dissolution of the universe) and ultimately came to rest at the spot where the town of Kumbakonam now stands. This event is now commemorated in the Mahamaham festival held every 12 years. Kumbakonam is also known as Baskarashetram and Kumbam from time immemorial and as Kudanthai in ancient times. Kumbakonam is also spelt as Coombaconum in the records of British India. Kumbakonam was also formerly known by the Tamil name of Kudamukku. Kumbakonam is also identified with the Sangam age settlement of Kudavayil.

 

HISTORY

The region around Kumbakonam was inhabited as early as the Sangam Age (3rd century BC to 3rd century AD). The present-day Kumbakonam is believed to be the site of the ancient town of Kudavayil where the Early Chola king Karikala held his court. Some scholars identify Kumbakonam as the site of the fabled prison of Kudavayir-kottam where the Chera king Kanaikkal Irumporai was imprisoned by the Early Chola king Kocengannan. Kumbakonam is identified with the town of Malaikūrram which had served as the Chola capital as early as the 7th century and with the town of Solamaligai which had also served as a Chola capital. According to the Sinnamanur plates, Kumbakonam was the site of a battle between the Pallava king Sri Vallabha and the then Pandya king in 859 and between the Pandya king Srimara Pandya and a confederacy of the Cholas and Gangas.

 

Kumbakonam came into limelight during the rule of the Medieval Cholas who ruled from the 9th century to the 12th century. The town of Pazhaiyaarai, 8 km from Kumbakonam was the capital of the Chola Empire in the 9th century.

 

Following the decline of the Chola kingdom, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Pandyas in 1290. Following the demise of the Pandya kingdom in the 14th century, Kumbakonam was conquered by the Vijayanagar Empire. Krishnadevaraya (1509–29), the emperor of Vijayanagara visited the town in 1524 and is believed to have bathed in the famous Mahamaham tank during the Mahamaham festival. Kumbakonam was ruled by the Madurai Nayaks and the Thanjavur Nayaks from 1535 to 1673 when it fell to the Marathas. Each of these foreign dynasties had a considerable impact on the demographics and culture of the region. When the Vijayanagar Empire fell in 1565, there was a mass influx of poets, musicians and cultural artists from the kingdom.

 

According to the chronicles of the Hindu monastic institution, the Kanchi matha, the matha was temporarily transferred to Kumbakonam in the 1780s following an invasion of Kanchipuram by Hyder Ali of Mysore. When Tipu Sultan invaded the east coast of South India in 1784, Kumbakonam bore the brunt of his invasion. The produce fell sharply and the economy collapsed. Kumbakonam did not recover from the calamity till the beginning of the 19th century.

 

Kumbakonam was eventually ceded to the British East India Company in 1799 by the Thanjavur Maratha ruler Serfoji II (1777 -1832) and reached the zenith of its prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th century when it emerged as an important center of Brahminism, Hindu religion and European education in the Madras Presidency. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 fostered trade contacts with the United Kingdom. In 1877, railway lines were completed linking Kumbakonam with the ports of Madras, Tuticorin and Nagapattinam. The Tanjore district court was established in Kumbakonam in 1806 and functioned from 1806 to 1863.

 

Kumbakonam continued to grow even after India's independence though it fell behind the nearby town of Thanjavur in terms of population and administrative importance. The population growth rate began to fall sharply after 1981. This decline has been attributed to limited land area and lack of industrial potential. During the Mahamaham festival of 1992, there was a major stampede in which 48 people were killed and 74 were injured. On July 16, 2004, a devastating fire in the Sri Krishna school killed 94 children.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Kumbakonam is located at 10.97°N 79.42°E. It is situated 273 km south of Chennai, 96 km east of Tiruchirappalli, and about 40 km north-east of Thanjavur. It lies in the region called the "Old delta" which comprises the north-western taluks of Thanjavur district that have been naturally irrigated by the waters of the Cauvery and its tributaries for centuries in contrast to the "New Delta" comprising the southern taluks that were brought under irrigation by the construction of the Grand Anicut canal and the Vadavar canal in 1934. It has an average elevation of 26 metres. The town is bounded by two rivers, the Cauvery River on the north and Arasalar River on the south.

 

Although the Cauvery delta is usually hot, the climate of Kumbakonam and other surrounding towns is generally healthy and moderate. Kumbakonam is cooler than Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. The maximum temperature in summer is about 40 °C while the minimum temperature is about 20 °C. Kumbakonam receives an annual rainfall of 114.78 cm every year. The region is covered with mainly alluvial or black soil which is conducive for rice cultivation. Other crops grown in Kumbakonam include mulberry, cereals and sugarcane.

 

The town of Kumbakonam is surrounded by extensive paddy fields. Methods of irrigation were considerably improved following the opening of the Mettur Dam in 1934. The fauna of the Cauvery Delta is limited to cattle and goats. The town is situated at the western flank of the Kumbakonam-Shiyali ridge which runs along the Kollidam river basin separating the Ariyalur-Puducherry depression from the Nagapattinam depression. This granular ridge projects further eastwards penetrating the Puducherry depression and forms a hard layer of cretaceous rock underneath the sedimentary top soil.

 

TEMPLES

Kumbakonam is known for its temples and mathas (monasteries). There are around 188 Hindu temples within the municipal limits of Kumbakonam. Apart from these, there several thousand temples around the town thereby giving the town the sobriquets "Temple Town" and "City of temples".

 

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is considered to be the oldest Shaiva (the sect of the god Shiva) shrine in the town, believed to be constructed by the Cholas in the 7th century. The Nageswaraswamy Temple has a separate shrine for the Sun god Surya who is believed to have worshipped Shiva at this place. Adi Kumbeswarar temple, Nageswaraswamy temple and Kasi Viswanathar temple are Shiva temples in the town revered in the Tevaram, a Tamil Shaiva canonical work of the 7th–8th century. Kumbakonam has one of the few temples dedicated to the god Brahma.

 

Sarangapani temple is the largest Vaishnava (the sect of the god Vishnu) shrine present in Kumbakonam. The present structure of the temple having a twelve storey high tower was constructed by Nayak kings in the 15th century. It is one of the "Divya Desams", the 108 temples of Vishnu revered by the 12 Alvar saint-poets. The Ramaswamy temple, which has scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana depicted on its walls, was constructed by Govinda Dikshitar, the minister of successive Nayak rulers, Achuthappa Nayak (1560–1614) and Raghunatha Nayak (1600–34). He added a commercial corridor between the temple and the older Chakrapani temple, which in modern times is called Chinna Kadai Veethi, a commercial street in the town.

 

Pilgrims from all parts of India take a holy dip once every 12 years during the Mahamaham festival in the Mahamaham tank. An estimated 2 million pilgrims participated in the festival during the 2004 event. Govinda Dikshitar constructed the sixteen mandapams (shrines) and stone steps around this tank.

 

Kumbakonam also has a number of mathas. The Sri Sankara matha of Kanchipuram was moved to Kumbakonam during the reign of Pratap Singh (1739–63) and remained in Kumbakonam until the 1960s. There are also two Vellalar mathas in the nearby towns of Dharmapuram and Thiruppanandal and a Raghavendra matha in Kumbakonam. There is also a branch of the Vaishnava Ahobila mutt in Kumbakonam.

 

The Thenupuriswarar Temple at Patteeswaram, the Oppiliappan Kovil, the Swamimalai Murugan temple and the Airavateswarar temple at Darasuram are located in the vicinity of Kumbakonam. The Airavatesvara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola II (1146–73) during 12th century is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram that are referred as the Great Living Chola Temples.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Kumbakonam has a strong Hindu majority; but it also has sizeable Muslim and Christian populations.[69] Among Hindus, Kallars, Thondaimandala Mudaliars, Brahmins and Dalits are the numerically dominant Tamil-speaking groups. Brahmins are more numerous and affluent in Kumbakonam than in other parts of Tamil Nadu. There are also large populations of Moopanars, Vanniyars, Konars and Nadars. Amongst Muslims, the Sunnis are dominant. However, there is also a significant Shia minority. Most of the Muslims are Marakkayars or Labbays. The majority of Muslims in Kumbakonam are involved in commerce or maritime trade. Kumbakonam also has a large population of Protestant Christians largely due to the efforts of the German missionary Christian Friedrich Schwarz. The Catholics in Kumbakonam are mainly affiliated to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kumbakonam which was separated from the Archdiocese of Pondicherry in 1899.

 

The population of Kumbakonam is predominantly Tamil-speaking. The commonly used dialects is the Central Tamil dialect. There are significant minorities speaking Thanjavur Marathi, Telugu, Kannada and Saurashtrian as their mother tongue.

 

Residential areas make up 32.09% of the town's total area while commercial enterprises and industrial units make up 2.75% and 1.21% respectively. The non-urban portion of the town constitutes about 44.72% of the total area. Kumbakonam has a total of 45 slums with a population of 49,117.

 

ECONOMY

The important products of Kumbakonam include brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, sugar, indigo and pottery. Kumbakonam is considered to be the chief commercial centre for the Thanjavur region. In 1991, around 30% of the population was engaged in economic activity. Rice production is an important activity in Kumbakonam. Of 194 industrial units in Kumbakonam, 57 are rice and flour mills. Kumbakonam is also a leading producer of betel leaves and nuts; the betel leaves produced in Kumbakonam are ranked amongst the best in the world in terms of quality. The A. R. R. Agencies, a leading manufacturer of arecanut slices has its factory in Kumbakonam. The main administrative offices of T. S. R. & Co., a cosmetic company, are also based in Kumbakonam. Kumbakonam is also famous for its metal works. The Tamil Nadu Handicraft Development Corporation had been established in the nearby town of Swamimalai in order to train bronze artisans. Kumbakonam is an important silk-weaving centre and more than 5,000 families were employed either directly or indirectly in silk weaving. Silk weaved in Kumbakonam is regarded as one of the finest in the subcontinent. They are largely used in the manufacture of Thirubuvanam silk sarees. Kumbakonam was also an important salt-manufacturing area during British rule. The town lends its name to the Kumbakonam Degree Coffee, a blend of coffee prepared using undiluted pure milk. In recent times, Kumbakonam has emerged as an important manufacturer of fertilizers.

 

Apart from its manufactures, tourism is also a major source of income for the town. The Hindu temples and colonial-era buildings have been recognised for their tourism potential. The 12th-century Airavatesvara Temple in the town of Darasuram near Kumbakonam is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kumbakonam is also frequented by art collectors interested in handloom cloth and other curios. Banks such as the Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, Canara Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank, ICICI Bank, ING Vysya Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank and Vijaya Bank have their branches in Kumbakonam. The City Union Bank was founded in Kumbakonam in 1904 as the Kumbakonam Bank Limited and its headquartered in the town.

Yaaay, this is my 100th upload on Flickr!!

 

I never thought I would celebrate it with Degree Kaapi !!! :)

 

For the record, I am a die-hard tea fanatic, but sometimes, when I'm really sleepy and need to be woken up instantly, filter coffee does the trick!

  

...the selfless me emerges again to post a 'Kumbakonam Degree Coffee' shot for my dear coffee loving friends;-))

 

Have a great day!!!