Stay - Kodeeswara Lodge
Dine - Hotels near Bus stand. Not so good, but enough to whet your appetite, esp. if you are a fan of Pongal, Vada with Sambar and Chutney.
Places Visited on Day #1
We had breakfast at Vasanta Bhavan, near the Busstand, and started around 8:45 AM. Then we proceeded to Tirukkarugavur, via Papanasam Railway Crossing. The roads were good, and the smell of harvest was a blessing.
We reached here around 10:00, got the garlands from nearby shop. We offered archanas to Mullaivananathar and Garbarakshambika. We walked 3 rounds, around the temple, cherishing the gardens at the temple.
We started from here around 11:30 AM.
Thittai Guru Temple
On the way from Thirukkarugavoor to Thanjavur, via Melattur, on the advice of the driver, we took a stop.
Unlike many other temples, here the complete temple is built using the stone. Not only for the main dieties, but also all other Sannidhi's are constructed using stones, right from floors, pillars, walls and roof.
An unique feature of this temple is a drop of water falls on the Lingam (Main Diety) exactly every twenty four minutes (1 Naazhigai) from the roof. But for a small hole, there is no source of water or anything, on the Vimana of the main diety.
The archakas were very friendly ad explained about the history of the temple. More details can be had from the reference link mentioned.
We started from here around 12:15 and proceeded to Tanjore.
Upon reaching here around 1:00, what strike upon me was a marvel. No words can explain the sheer magnificence of the temple. If you haven't been here, you must visit once.
The temple has a very big Nandi, at the entrace, and Lord Brihadeeswara (Shiva Linga) and Goddess Parvati. We clicked numerous snaps here, and you would still be spellbound for sure.
It was lunchtime, and the driver informed that all temples would be closed now and can be seen only after 4:00 PM. It would not be possible to go back to Kumbakonam, and then visit the other temples. So, we decided to spend some time at the Maratha Museum.
One of the hoardings provided a glimpse of the various temples around Tanjavor, thought this would be useful -
Tanjore Maratha Palace
There was nothing to be overawed, but nevertheless we could spend some time at the bat filled palace. The darbar hall still has the throne and some rich paintings, but they are not well maintained over the years.
The palace compound also has -
1. The Saraswati Mahal Library, housing some of the ancient literature.
2. The Art Gallery
We then started from here around 3:30 PM and proceeded towards Papanasam.
Papanasam 108 Sivan
Papanasam is 18 KM away from Kumbakonam on Kumbakonam – Tanjore highway. The Papanasam 108 Sivalaya was under renovation and painting when we went. The temple has 108 Lingas in one roof. The main deity is Ramalingeswarar, installed by Sri Ramar Himself. Since the Brahma harthi dosham was following Sri Ramar because of killing the two demons Haran and Dhooshan, Ramar installed this lingam here and got His dhosham cleared off. There are 106 individual (big) lingams in a separate mandapam. There is also a separate lingam (Hanumantha lingam) brought by Sri Hanuman from Kasi. So,along with the moolavar, there are totally 108 lingams here. As the name of the place suggests, this is a place where one can get their sins washed off. Papa, meaning sins and Nasam meaning, loosing out.
This is also the birth place of great people like Poet Papanasam Sivan and Sri Sri Ravishankar of Art Of Living.
Some Pics, that we took -
There's also a video on Youtube, that I am embedding here -
Nallur - Kalyana Sundareswarar
Nallur is about 4 km from Papanasam, which is on Papanasam-Kumbakonam Road via Vazhapazhakadai.
Sri Kalyanasundareswarar temple is an ancient Shiva shrine. The Lingam is made of a shining metal which changes colour five times a day. The images of Shiva and Parvati on Rishaba with Vishnu and Brahma are worshipped in the sanctum. Masi Magham (Feb-March) is a major festival.
The archagar explained about the history and significance of the temple. Even of the devottes remarked that this was the first time the archagar has explained so deeply about the temple, and it was a blessing to hear those.
Around 6:00, we started from here and proceeded towards Patteswaram.
We were very fortunate to see less crowd, and we had a chance to have an aarthi darshan. The temple is huge and the "vruksham" (tree) behind Durga is very famous. The archagar explained the procedure to pray in this temple, and at the end of the day, we were pretty satisfied lot.
After having dinner at a hotel nearby, we went to our hotel around 8:30 PM.
Route Map for Places visited on Day #1
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Places Visited on Day #2
On Sunday, we had plans to visit Thirumanancheri, Swamimalai & Thiruvalanchuzhi, and were planning to return by 2:00 PM or so, as we had to catch our train back around 6:00 PM.
We reached here around 8:00 AM, and we were surprised to see the heavy rush. The temple is for people who wants to get married, and there is a belief that marriage would get settled soon after visiting the temple.
You need to get a archana ticket, and garland set. There are specific instructions to light the lamp and offer worship at the temple. Any vendor should be able to assist you.
After offering poojas here, we then decided to proceed towards Swamimalai, however, if time permits we thought we could see few temples on the way. We had elaneeru (Tender Coconut) on the way, and believe me the taste you get over those areas cannot be matched. After relishing it, the driver halted at Suriyar Koil, as it was a Sunday and very auspicious day to worship Sun God.
Kanjanur - Sukran
Agneeswarar Temple at Kanjanoor or Agniswara Swami Temple at Kanjanur is one of the nine Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu and is associated with Lord Sukran (Planet Venus), the sixth of Navagraha planets. Also known as Sukran Navagraha Sthalam, Agniswarar temple is located around 18 km from Kumbakonam and 2 km to the east from Sooriyanayanar Kovil, on the Kallanai - Poompuhar road, in Tamilnadu.
Sooriyanar Temple is in East of Kumbakonam, Kumbakonam - Mayiladuthurai road. It is exactly 2Km to the north of Aduthurai and the temple is well connected from lower Anicut and Thiruppanandal.
We had a brief stop at Suriyanar Koil, but as it was a Sunday, there was heavy rush. As we had to visit other temples, we had a darshan from outside the temple, and proceeded towards Swamimalai.
Swamimalai is well known in the area as one of the Arupadai Veedus of Lord Muruga. We took the stairs to reach the top of the hillock and took a Rs. 25 ticket to have darshan of the lord. One of the incidents I couldn't forget was that a child (with a tonsured head) had inserted his head between two steel rods on the railings. People were trying with all force to get the child off, and one clever old man, realised that there was huge gap at the bottom, and made the child to bend down, and then took his head off the rods via the bottom.
Hmmm... Then we proceeded to Thiruvalanchuzhi as it was on our list of Must visit temples. On the way we had a brief stop at the Cauvery Bridge, and took some snaps of the river bed.
This place is about 4 kms from Swamimalai, after crossing the Cauvery Bridge. The name can, in fact, be taken to represent the letter "Om". The idol here is known as "Vellai vinayakar" or "white vinayakar" as it is believed to have originated from the foam of the sea. There is a beautiful legend associated with the shrine: The Asuras and Devas embarked on the task of churning the ocean to get "Amritham" or ambrosia. They wanted this nectar which confers immortality. There are many stories associated with this episode, but this little known one tells us that before they began the churning, they forgot to pray to Lord Vigneswara, the Remover of Obstacles. This resulted in the ocean spilling out poison. The Devas and Asuras, realising their error, made a small vigraha of Vinayaka using foam. They prayed to him and started the churning again. The rest of the legend is well known.
Since many people do not know the name "Thiruvalanchuzhi", it is best to ask for the "Vellai Vinayakar kovil". The temple is immensely peaceful and lovely, and prayers to Lord Ganapathy can never go without reward.
We had lunch and then did some shopping at Lakshmi Mills, and returned to our hotel around 2:30 PM.
Route Map for Places visited on Day #2
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Here are the pics that we've taken on this trip. Though am not a pro photographer, I hope my shots would impress K.V.Anand or P.C.Sriram :-)