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Old 16th September 2010, 17:35   #1
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Post Thanks giving trip to Temples near Kumbakonam


Kumbakonam is a place which is surrounded by temples that are more that thousand years old. It is also famous for the Mahamaham Festival which is celebrated once in 12 years (like the Kumbamela in the North). This region was ruled by the Clolas who are devote shivites. They build many temples with Siva being the main deity. The prominent ones being the Brihadisvara temple at Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholisvaram temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Airavateswarar temple at Darasuram (They belong to the UNESCO World heritage sites : Great Living Chola Temples - UNESCO World Heritage Centre. One of them Karikalan also built the famous Kallanai Dam 1000 years back (supposed to the first of its kind in the world at that time). Every small village in the Kumbakonam district will have a significant temple with history of its own. The Navagraha temples are also situated around Kumbakonam. Cauvery diversifies into small rivers and empties into bay of Bengal in this region and so the land is fertile and there are lot of paddy fields

Tourist locations such as Tarangambadi, Velankani and Kuthalam are also situated near Kumbakonam.

Although there are these tourist locations our objective was 12 temples around Kumbakonam with others added based on availability of time.

Significance of the trip:

Our family believes in horoscopes and it plays an important role in match making and some important decision making. Accordingly I had Ragu and Kethu (they influence the marriage and match making) playing a prominent part in my horoscope which was delaying my marriage. Also I am currently under the influence of Sani Bhagwan for the next 7 and ˝ years. To absolve the dosams (curses) in my horoscope (basically carried forward by my family) I had to visit the Navagraha temples and certain other temples specific for marriage.
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Old 17th September 2010, 10:31   #2
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Default Significance and Planning

I had been to these temples and performed all the rites same time last year, subsequently I got married 3 months back and this was a follow up trip to thank the Gods and seek new blessings for a happy family. With it being a long week end wanted to complete the pending thanks giving trip to the temples around Kumbakonam.

Planning (Twists in the tale):

Two week before trip when the trip was initiated there were twelve members (my parents, in laws, my uncle and daughter, sisterinlaw, husband and kid and me and wife). Plan was to hire a van and it was supposed to be three day trip starting from 10th to 12th Sep. With lot of members and from different locations it was difficult to finalize the start time and day. Kumbakonam was decied as the place of stay and 4 rooms were arranged at Iyangar guest house (Welcome to Iyyangar Guest House, Hotel Legarden, Hotel Legarden INN, Kumbakonam Hotels). A Force Van A/C with seating capacity of thirteen was arranged. (A special mention is needed here for the seats: it had adjustable seats which can be moved to increase the shoulder space apart from reclining function. Was thinking of taking pictures during the trip but ultimately did not hire the van).

As days progressed about ten days before trip the number became nine (sis in law, husband and kid droping out) and one room was cancelled everything else remained same. With about six days to the trip my parents dropped out and now the vehicle was changed to an Innova and another room was cancelled. Just about four days before the trip we had to cancel the entire trip as an important function (Valakapu) was arranged for a my wife’s cousin on 12th. Again the next day it was decided five (my in laws, uncle and us) of us will do this trip in two days and return by 12th in our vehicle. Accommodation was a concern and after lot of enquiry two rooms were booked at Hotel Le garden (Welcome to Hotel LeGarden Kumbakonam - The first Three star hotel in Kumbakonam.).

Next day (penultimate day before trip) my uncle who would help in driving fell sick and it was decided we will hire a driver. But on the day of the trip the driver did not turn up and it was 4 of us to go on this fast track trip of 14 temples in 2 days with me being the only driver. What started as an leasurely and a group trip ended as an induvidual and hurried trip.
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Old 20th September 2010, 17:11   #3
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Default To Kumbakonam

I stay in Coimbatore (CBE) and my in laws stay in Gobi (100 km’s away). They were supposed to collect the garland that I had used during the poja the previous time I had been to the temples and come to CBE by 3.0 pm. The garland was in my native which is 30 min from Gobi. Since it was a Thursday 1.30 to 3.0 pm was not an auspicious time to start the journey and so even the garland reached my in laws place only by 3.30 pm and they could leave Gobi only by 4.0 pm. Made a quick decision and asked in laws to take a bus to Kangeyam which is two hours from Gobi and 1 hour from CBE.I had left office by 2.0 pm with a plan to leave home by 4.0 pm, planned to get some odd pending jobs done during this time. This delay gave some extra time and used it to take rest.

We started from CBE at 5.0 pm and by 5.35 pm we reached Palladam. Called inlaws to check where they are. They had just reached Tirupur which is 15 km from Palladam. It would take at least an hour for them to reach Kangeyam where as we will reach in ˝ hour. Thought if we will go to Tirupur and pick them up but dropped it and drove straight to Kangeyam. The drive was smooth and we reached Kangeyam by 6.05 pm and in laws were 30 min away. Took this time to browse and print the route map to the temples in Kumbakonam and the route from Karur to Trichy (had taken print but left them in CBE).

Started from Kangeyam at 6.45 pm to Karur and we where there by 7.30 pm. Now we had to pass through the town to go to Trichy (had planned on an alternate route, more details to follow) and this caused some delay. Could leave Karur only by 8.0 pm and reached Trichy by 9.30 pm. It was late and all the hotels on the out skirts where closed so we had to go to the bus stand to have dinner. Trichy is one of the main junctions and connecting point for south and north of Tamilnadu. So it is always busy there buses to most of the places throughout the night. The hotels around the bus stand are also open till late at night. Left Trichy by 10.15 pm and reached Tanjavour by 11.15 pm and it was 12.10 am when we reached Kumbakonam.Checked into the hotel and went to sleep by 1.0 am.

Route so far:

Coimbatore (CBE) - Palladam - Kangeyam - Karur - Trichy - Tanjavour – Kumbakonam

CBE to Karur, NH67, 127km,1 hour 45 min:
Roads are two laned but have the extension one either side. This allows you to overtake comfortably. When you approach a town it is four lanes with divider except at in large towns such as Palladam and Kangeyam. They have smooth surface such as on highways and no pot holes. You can maintain good speed.

Karur to Trichy, SH 74 till Palayam, 99 km, 1 hour 30 min:
Took an alternate route through Palayam. When in Karur ask for road to Tanthoni malai and proceed straight after crossing Tanthoni malai. From Palayam take left to Trichy (road goes through Mylampatti and Thohamalai, at Thohamalai you will cross the road from Kulithalai to Manaparai). Roads are average two lane and patched at places. We travel an extra 18 km from actual route but there is no traffic and we can maintain a constant speed. There are some sharp curves where caution is required.

It takes the same or more time if you go by the usual route (NH67, 81 km) through Kulithalai. There are couple of big cement factories and sand mining activites along cauvery, so there is lot of traffic and roads are usually ridden with potholes.

Trichy to Tanjavour, NH67, 55 km, 1 hour:
Got back on NH67 from Trichy to Tanjavour. About 75% of the roads are 4 laned. Some sections are not complete with diversions. There are also couple of place where barricades are placed to slow traffic and caution is required.

Tanjavour to Kumbakonam, NH67, 40 km 55 min:
We proceed further on NH67 but roads are normal two lanes and patched. When the road is passing through a town it narrows down to single lane.

Next post will be on the Temples, history and practices in various temples.

Note : I know it is not a complete travelogue if it does not have pictures. Please bare with me till the next post for picture. Since this was a fast track tirp there are not many pics. Using this travelogue to share informaton.
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Old 24th October 2010, 00:30   #4
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hi - would you recommend driving from coimbatore to kumbakonam or is the train better? I am specifically worried about the road conditions and don't want to mess up my car.
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Old 24th October 2010, 22:51   #5
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Originally Posted by JLN View Post
hi - would you recommend driving from coimbatore to kumbakonam or is the train better? I am specifically worried about the road conditions and don't want to mess up my car.
I would say it may be worth driving as there are so many temples and your own vehicle would come in real handy.

Roads I agree may not be all the great, but they are not so bad either.
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Old 25th October 2010, 08:03   #6
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Just a comment.

Add Koothanur temple also. I heard its the only temple for Lord Saraswathi [main god]. Its near the village called Poonthottam next to Peralam town when going from Mayavaram.

There is also a Lalithambiga temple just before the Poonthottam village. Sorry forgot the name of that village, but have a board which you cant miss.
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Old 25th October 2010, 09:31   #7
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@JLN - If you're love long drives, yes, pls take your car, but, avoid a self drive to the temples as much as possible. Reasons?
1. If you're on tight schedules, then you're most likely to miss last few temples on each day because you spend considerable amount of time in parking. Trust me, every temple is crowded & by the time you find a parking lot, park the car & enter the temple, boom!!! you lost precious 10 minutes
2. Next being route. Unless you're absolutely sure on all the routes, it becomes difficult to drive to every temple & you need to keep asking for routes with everyone there & again loss of time.
3. Adding to route, there're lots of small pocket roads that are less travelled & good condition & we may not know it. The localities drivers are very familiar & offer to drive through those roads saving lot of time. Using Google or even Eicher maps, the distance for all the 9 Navagraha temples works something close to 500 Km, trust me, we hired a driver who did it in 296 Kms. Yes I measured the ODO on Indica.
4. Most localities know the timing of each temple & hence they offer a best plan to cover maximum darshans per your requirement & time.

IMO, drive to Kumbakonam, but from there, hire a local & reliable guide/driver so as to have a great experience. Just added 2 cents of my experience.
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