Kumbakonam is a town in the Thanjavur district in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. During the British rule in India, Kumbakonam was called “the Cambridge of South India” as it was the centre of Hindu culture and European education.
Kumbakonam is famed as the town of temples, as it has many Hindu temples. Many of these are ancient, built before hundreds of years, while others are relatively new. The city also has many other historical landmarks. Some of the popular temples and places to visit in Kumbakonam are:
- Adi Kumbeshwara temple
- Nageswaran Temple
- Mahamaham Tank
- Airavateswara Temple
- Sarangapani Temple
- Kashi Viswanath Temple
- Swaminathaswamy Temple, Swamimalai
- Uppiliappan Temple
- Thenupuriswarar temple
- Suryanar Koil Temple
Kumbakonam, being the town of temples, is popular for its traditional temple festivals. Many Hindu festivals are also grandly celebrated in temples, where people gather during these festivals to offer their prayers, seek blessings and celebrate. Some major festivals in the city are:
- Mahamaham - also known as Mahamagham or Mamangam, is a Hindu festival celebrated every 12 years in the Mahamaham tank in Kumbakonam (the last, most recent one was celebrated on 22 February, 2016)
- Navarathri (a 9-day Hindu festival, where people worship goddess Durga -falls in the month of October mostly)
- Dussehra (grand celebration on the 10th day, at the end of Navarathri)
- Pongal – A harvest festival celebrated in January
- Deepawali – Festival of lights
Kumbakonam also has a colourful shopping scene, with many markets and some malls too. The popular things to buy from Kumbakonam include – beautiful metal idols of Gods, Handicraft items, Silk sarees, and temple jewellery. Some shopping spots to check out in the city are:
- Kurinji Metro Bazaar
- Nageswaran South Street
- Giri Trading Agency
- TSR Big Street
- Kumbeshwara street
- Abhirami Complex
- Aishwaryam Shopping Complex
Kumbakonam’s food mostly consists of dishes from Tamil Nadu’s cuisine. The city is especially famous for tiffin items like Vada and Bajji (fritters) – specifically Vazhaikkai Bajji (raw plantain fritters), Idli (steamed rice cakes), Dosa (rice batter crepes) and filter coffee – a special coffee that is popular all over Tamil Nadu.
Some good restaurants in Kumbakonam to try these foods and many more specialties are:
- Ayya Kadai (great for tea, coffee and fried snacks such as Medu Vadai, Paruppu vadai, and Bajjis)
- Pandian Hotel (known for non veg dishes like chicken curry with Idiyappam, Egg Kotthu Parotta, fish fry, and Prawn masala)
- Indeco Hotels Swamimalai (for family meals – buffet)
- Balaji Bhavan
- Sri Mangalambika Vilas Coffee Hotel
- Thanmayi Restaurant
Some of the best places for a comfortable stay in Kumbakonam (ranging from affordable to luxury) are:
- Mayapuri Amira Luxury Hotel
- Hotel Riverside Resorts and spa
- Hotel Temple stays
- Cholaa Dynasty
- Indeco Hotels Swamimalai
- Viruksham Homestay
- Quality Inn VIHA
- Vainaav Boutique Hotel
- Hotel Thangavilas Inn
Kumbakonam city STD Code – 0435 (to be used before dialling numbers from a number that is not locally registered).
Common emergency numbers:
- Police Control Room: 100
- Fire and Rescue: 101
- Government Ambulance - 108
- Child helpline: 1098
- Women helpline: 1091
Tamil is the most spoken language in kumbakonam. But, languages like Telugu, Marathi and Kannada are spoken as well.
- What's your name? - Unga peranna?
- My name is - En peru
- Where are you from? - Nienga engirundhu varrienga?
- Congratulations! - Paaraattukkal
- Good night and sweet dreams! - Nalla thoungunga!
- What Is This? - Idhu enna?
- Welcome - Tumcha svagat aso
- How are you? - Tu kas ahes
- What's your name? - Tujha nav kay ahe
- Where are you from? - Apana kothale ahat?
- Good morning - Su-prabhat
- Have a nice day - Sukhi raha
- Welcome - Susvaagatam
- How are you? - Meeru aelaa unnaaru?
- What's your name? - Mee paeraemandi?
- Where are you from? - Meeday vooru?
- Good morning - Shubhodayam
- Good afternoon - Shubha dhinan
- Hello - Namaskara
- How are you? - Athava kshemana?
- Welcome - Susvagata
- What's your name? - Nimma hesarenu?
- My name is - Nanna hesaru
- Good morning - Shubhodaya