"Anya kshetre kritam paapam punya kshetre vinasyati
Punya kshetre kritam paapam Vaaraanasyaam vinasyati
Vaaranasyaam kritam paapam Kumbhaghone vinasyati
Kumbhaghone kritam paapam Kumbhaghone vinasyati" - Sesha Dharmam
The Puranas (Hindu scriptures) tell us that sins committed at other places can be washed off by residing at and performing good deeds at holy places. What if we are hardy enough to commit sins at holy places? Then it is to Varaanasi (Kaasi) we must go, for residence and a dip in the Ganga, to wash off our baggage. For those incorrigible souls who commit sins even at Varanasi, a residence at Kumbakonam is prescribed for atonement and propitiatory rites. You can imagine how holy this kshetram is considered to be, if it is capable of destroying sins contracted at even a centre of spirituality like Kaasi. What if you commit sins even at this holiest of holies, Kumbakonam? You don't need to go anywhere else for expiation, but a visit to Kumbakonam, a bath in the Kaveri and worship of the Lord there would cleanse you of all impurities and confer eligibility for emancipation.
The Sara Parameswarar temple in Tirucherai is one of the 275 Shivasthalams or sacred places for Shiva. The main deity of Shiva is called Sri Sara Parameswarar and the goddess is called Sri Gnanavalli. Tirucherai is regarded as the 95th in the series of Tevara Stalams in the Chola Region south of the river Kaveri.
The famous Tirucherai Shivasthalam , a famous Shiva temple is in this town, which is also the enshrining Gnana Parameswarar (Senneriappar), glorified by the Tevaram hymns of Sambandar and Appar.
Tirucherai, 15 km south of Kumbakonam is also a Divya Desham because of the temple of Saranathar, a manifestation of Lord Vishnu being present in the same town.
Mudikondan river flows from the west and Kudamuruti river in the south to this town.
This temple occupies an area of about an acre and a half. The Ambal shrine also faces east here. There is a shrine to Amritaghateswarar said to have been worshipped by Markandeya. There are also shrines to Bhairavar, Gajalakshmi, Runa Vimochana Lingeswarar and others. Three worship services are offered each day.
Lord Shiva graces this temple in the form of Rina Vimochana Lingeswarar who relieves his devotees from debts. This is the only temple where three Durgas or goddesses are present as the Shiva Durga, Vaishnavi Durga and Vishnu Durga. Saint Tirunavukkarasar has praised Bhairava (popular name of Shiva) in the temple with a special hymn. Bhairava is seen here with a tattoo on the left upper arm and with a trident and bell which is a form exclusively seen in this temple only.
Poverty is the root cause for many problems including food and marriage. Rinatheeswarar deity in Thirucherai temple is the God for solving these problems. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva in Thirucherai is known variedly as Udayaar Koil, Sen-neriyappar Koil and Arul migu Gnanavalli-samedha-Sara Parmeswarar Koil.
This is a very ancient temple. It is a standard practice to mention the name of the saint or poet who sung verses in praise of the lord enshrined in the temple. Such temples are known as paadal-petra-sthalam.
The rays of the sun fall directly on the presiding deity and the feet of the goddess on 13th to 15th of the Hindu month Masi (February-March period).
The holy tree Mavilangai will only have leaves in the first four months of the year, only white flowers during the second four months and nothing during the remaining four months.
It is believed that a special offering called archana can be made on 11 Mondays and by completing our prayer with performing abhishekam on the 11th Monday, our debts will be cleared and prosperity will flourish. The deity will bestow whatever form of wealth one prays for – good married life, children, education, wealth etc. is the firm belief. Ekadasam means Laabhasthaanam. Monday is special for Lord Shiva. And, that's why 11 Mondays are prescribed.
Markandeyar and Kaveri are said to have worshipped Shiva in this shrine. Dowmya risih is also believed to have worshipped Shiva here.
According to scriptures, every human being is born with three types of debts.They are Deva rina (debt to God), Rishi rina (debt to Sages or Rishis) and Pitru rina (debt to ones ancestors).
There are also well-defined means of repaying these debts. If a man does not repay these debts in his lifetime, he will need to have another birth to repay these debts as there is no escape from repaying these debts.
Kumbakonam Degree Coffee is very popular here and is named so for the pure milk which is used for making filter coffee. Betel leaves are cultivated more in Kumbakonam since it is also called as Kumbakonam Vettrilai (in Tamil).
Recommended place to stay is Sterling’s Swamimalai heritage resort , specially if you can afford to spend 2-3 days to see Kumbakonam as you can get the best of leisure and heritage tourism at the resort in terms of ambience and proximity to the temples.
The main products produced are brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton cloths, pottery, sugar, indigo and rice.
The brass and bronze vessels are very famous in Kumbakonam and there are many traditional lamps, etc. which are purchased by tourists as souvenirs.