Sri Adhi Kumbheshwarar Koil Kumbakonam, Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, India
In a town famous for temples (14 large temples), this is considered to be the main temple. The deity is Lord Sri Shiva known as Sri Adi Khumbheswarar.The goddess is Sri Mangalambikai.
The temple is very old as also is the town, whose people are known for their knowledge, humour and sarcasm Kumbakonam has its upside as it is considered to be even holier than Kasi (Varanasi) as shown in the following Sanskrit Slokas.
The temple is very huge with a tank attached as well as a big tower and a shopping complex.
Legend says that during the time of mahapralaya after the Dwapara yuga, a Kumbham (Pot) full of amritham and seeds of creation were set afloat in the pralaya waters by Lord Sri Shiva. Sri Shiva proclaimed that the place where the pot touches the ground will be considered as the holiest of all places. When the kumbham finally rested at this place Lord Sri Shiva appeared in the guise of a hunter and broke the kumbham with his arrow. The amritham spilled and pooled in a place which became the famous "Mahamaham lane. Lord Sri Shiva gathered the wet sand from the tankand shaped it into a Sri Shiva Lingam and named it Sri Aadi Kumbheshwara and the divine consort was named as Sri Mangalambikai, who bestows mangalam (good) to all. The temple covers an area of 4 acres. It has a nine tier Raja gopuram. In the Navarathri mantapam all the 27 Stars and 12 Rasis are artistically carved in a single stone rock.
Mahamaham of this temple city is celebrated once in 12 years in the month of Masi or kumbham when lacs of pilgrims come to this town to bathe in the Mahamaham tank. When the Planet Jupiter passes through Simha Rasi (Leo) is when the waters of 7 sacred rivers of India are supposed to flow into this tank. The seven rivers are Ganges, Yamuna, Invisible Sri Saraswathi, Narmada, Godavari, Sindhu (now in west Pakistan) and the Cauvery. This festival is as important and famous as the Allahabad Kumbha Mela and Pushkaram of godavari and Krishna.