Origin of the name:
The name "Kumbakonam", roughly translated in English as the "Jug's Corner", is believed to be an allusion to the mythical pot, the Sanskrit kumbha of the Hindu god Brahma, which according to Hindu legend, contained the seed of all living beings on earth. The kumbha is believed to have been displaced by a pralaya or deluge 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.
Population: According to the 2001 census, Kumbakonam has a population of 140,021
Climate: The Climate throughout the year is moderate. The variation between maximum and minimum temperature is not much. Though summer is hot, occasional rainfalls and water stagnation in the wet fields due to irrigating channels of Cauvery give much relief from sweltering heat.
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
Kumbakonam emerged as an important centre of education in the late 19th century and was known as the "Cambridge of South India". The Government Arts College, established in Kumbakonam in 1867, is one of the oldest educational institutions in the Madras Presidency. It began as a provincial school on October 19, 1854, before being upgraded to a government college in 1867. It was affiliated to the Madras University in 1877. One of the early principals of the college was William Archer Porter, a Cambridge Wrangler, who, along with T. Gopala Rao, was instrumental in its elevation to a government college. He is also credited with framing the college's acclaimed educational policy. In 1881, it became a full-fledged college and high school courses ceased to be taught. Notable faculty members included U. V. Swaminatha Iyer while the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan who studied from 1904 until 1906 when he dropped out, was one of its noted pupils. The Government Arts College for Women was started in 1963 and had a total strength of 2,597 pupils in February 2006. The college offers various undergraduate courses and one post-graduate course and is affiliated to the Bharathidasan University. Other colleges in Kumbakonam include Idhya Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Annai College of Arts and Sciences and Arasu Engineering College. The Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy has a satellite campus based in Kumbakonam where arts and sciences are taught.
The Native High School, founded in 1876, and the Town High School, one of whose students was Srinivasa Ramanujan, were some of the oldest schools in the Madras Presidency. At present, there a total of 36 government and private schools in Kumbakona
The town which was originally a religious town
become an industrial center during last quarter of the
19th Century and early period of 20th century. Predominance was gained
for Silk Industries and Metal manufacturing.
The Major Suppliers of Silk Sarees to the Indian Silk Saree Market is Kumbakonam Silk Industry.
All the South Indian Brass Pooja articles and utensils are manufactured in Kumbakonam and these articles are manufactured nowhere in South India other than Kumbakonam. KuthuVilakku and Statues are the famous articles. Stainless Steel utensils are manufactured.
Betelnuts, Suparis are manufactured in Kumbakonam.
· Vasu A/C
· Kasi A/C
· Vijaya A/C
Geography : Kumbakonam is located at 10°58′N 79°25′E / 10.97°N 79.42°E.
Sankara Mutt :
This is the place which was shifted from Kanchi some 200 years ago. Situated on the banks of Cauvery, even now the mutt conducts Veda Classes and religious preachings frequently. Brindavans of three Jagath Guru Acharyas are seen in the front side of the mutt.
Raghavendra Mutt :
This place is considered to be holier than Mantralaya, where the brindavan of the Guru of Raghavendra's Guru seen in the southern side Cauvery. Saint Raghevendra is believed to have visited this place. Though devotees come here daily, huge crowd gets together on Thursdays.
Veda Patasala :
This is bulit by Tanjore Maharaja on the banks of cauvery in the 17th Century. Though this is more than 300 years old, Veda classes are being conducted regularly. It is very marvellous to see the students reciting Vedas and Manthras in their traditional dress ( Dhoti, Half shaven
head ) in chorus.
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. 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. 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 AD to the 12th century AD. The town of Pazhaiyaarai, 8 kilometres 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, 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.
K.M from Chennai : It is situated 273 km south,
Near By Places :
Festivals are celebrated almost every month and of those, the Maham festival in the month of Masi ( February - March ) is important . Once in12 years Mahamaham Festival is celebrated when pilgrims from far and wide flock to the place in millions and take bath in the Holy Theertham, the Mahamaham tank.
The Amirtha Theertha which spilled from the pot stagnated in two places at Kumbakonam (KMU). One at the eastern side and the other at the south western side of Kumbeswaran temple. The south western side tank is called Mahamaham tank while the eastern one is called as Porthamarai tank. (Pon - Gold , Thamarai - Lotus ).
Brahma thought that the
right time to worship Shiva is during the month of Maasi
( second half of FEB. / first
half of MAR. ). In this month ( when the moon is
raising crescent and star - Ashwini ), he had a holy
dip in Mahamaham tank and did Mahamaha Urchavam. On the tenth day he didurchava for Lord Kumbeswara in
the tank. This is called Maham festival celebrated every year.
When Navakannigas ( Rivers - Ganga, Yamuna, Narmada, Saraswathi, Godavari,Cauvery, Sindhu, Sarayu, and Mahanadhi ) wanted to dispose the sins washed out by the people, and prayed Shiva, the Lord asked them to take a holy dip during the auspicious time of Mahmaham and purify themselves