Renu’s Solo Trip To Kumbakonam – How I roamed Kumbakonam for 5 days in a Rented Bike

I went on a 5 days solo trip to Kumbakonam, one of the best vacations ever in my life. Thanks to Rajesh for arranging my travel and accomodations. To roam around my favourite places in Kumbakonam, I have arranged for a 2-wheeler rental bike through my Kumbakonam native friend. 

Trip To Kumbakonam – Decision on Solo trip

The most important reason is that ever since we went on an 11 days long bike trip to Kumbakonam in 2017, this place is close to my heart. I (we) fell in love with this place on our first trip to Kumbakonam for the Masi Magam festival for 3 days. In the following year 2018, again we went to Kumbakonam on a 12 days bike trip.

I didn’t want to miss going there in 2019 too.

But my hubby was busy in organising the “Cloud Summit” event. And he made it a hit, that’s a different story. Since it was a big deal finding speakers and organizing the event, I let him be.

So I have decided to go chill out in my favourite place, for 5 days, all alone.

I started my trip on 8th December 2019 from Bangalore, boarded a train from Bangalore Central  and reached Kumbakonam on 9th December, 6am.

This is the story of my 5 days solo trip, from 9th December to 13th December 2019.

Solo trip is NOT new for me

Travelling alone is not new for me. I have been travelling to places since I was 18, travelled for studies, travelled for jobs, travelled to new cities for interviews. And finally I lived in London for more than a year, for my Management studies just before I got married.

I never had any fear or any concern on travelling alone. But since my marriage in the year 2015, I kinda fell in a comfort zone of being in a company all the time. 

Any time I step out of my home, I am always accompanied by my hubby. Apart from weekly groceries and yoga classes, ofcourse. 

Just like the years 2017 and 2018, I looked forward for this trip to Kumbakonam too. But, you know, unfortunately Rajesh had his own plans.

So rolled up my bachelor sleeves, and decided to go on a solo trip to Kumbakonam. 

Yeeeyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!

Why Kumbakonam?

Kumbakonam – A small, very beautiful mesmerizing town, well connected with roads to Trichy, Chidambaram, Tiruvannamalai, Thanjavur etc., is always beaming with history and ancient temples.

A beautiful town surrounded by numerous ponds filled with lilies, lakes and dams, agri fields and ancient temples. I can never find the right words to fit the beauty of this simple town. And I never get bored of visiting this place over and over again in my life.

When I am in Kumbakonam, I feel connected to my ancestors (no kidding). Every temple has a story to tell, and it compels your undivided attention for long hours. The hardship behind each temple’s architecture makes you humble and fall in love with it forever.

Yes, that’s my connection with Kumbakonam and its temples – bond forever.

Long list of Famous temples in Kumbakonam with Google Map

Probably this is the longest list of temples in Kumbakonam you will get in internet, it took me 1 full week to compile this list with google map link. Click here.

I chose Kumbakonam because I would not want to be anywhere else on my solo trip, because it’s like my second home.

What did I do in those 5 days?

How I Spent 5 days in Kumbakonam – Overview

What I Did

I did exactly the same of what we both would do on a duo trip – i.e. roaming Kumbakonam and visiting our favourite ancient temples.

Read – Kumbakonam Famous Temples

Yes I visited my favourite temples in and outside of Kumbakonam, spent time hanging out near Mahamaham tank, watched the sunset sitting in UNESCO Darasuram, ate food in my favourite restaurants in Kumbakonam.

Sometimes, I went over and over again to some of the favorite temples in the late evening, which are close to my heart. They are Sarangapani temple, Adi Kumbeswarar temple and Ramar temple which are located within short distances in the centre town. 

Late evening poojas are very special in those big ancient temples, and since it was an auspicious month, luckily I got to watch elephants parading with the idols in the streets – every single day.

Not all the time you get to watch these special parades and poojas.

It was a blissful moment when I spent long evenings in those favourite temples, my soul was at peace.

Where I ate

Everyday, I wake up, get ready with a pair of water bottles in my day bag. Then start my rented bike to go nearby “ayya kadai” (written all about my favourite famous food items in Kumbakonam), to have a hearty southindian, pocket friendly breakfast. 

kumbakonam famous food items
Kumbakonam Famous degree coffee

Thanks to ‘ayya kadai’ brothers for all the yummy quality – budget priced food, otherwise it would have been difficult on budget on such a long trip.

It is one stop for all breakfast, snacks and lunch items, except for dinner. I would return back to this shop after a short trip to pack snacks (a couple of vada made fresh every day) and also lunch (variety rice ready by 12 noon itself ) if I have plan to go on a long bike trip away from Kumbakonam. Like the days I went to places like Thirukannapuram, Thiruvalanjuli and Alangudi.

Where I Went

Since it was a solo trip to Kumbakonam, I wasn’t too serious about visiting all my favourite famous temples in Kumbakonam.

I was not dead serious about going to all possible temples in and around Kumbakonam, that is not even practically feasible. 

So in the 5 days of itinerary metioned below, you could see me visiting temples aggressively in the first 2 days. And the last 3 days, I slowed down, spent more time in any of the favorite temples leisurely. Unlike my past road trips to Kumbakonam, this time I took it real slow.

There has to be one special occasion in the solo trip right?

I could name many, but just one occassion holds strong place in my heart.

On day-2 of my solo trip to Kumbakonam, I traveled all the way to Tirukannapuram Lord Vishnu temple only to find the main sanctum closed at hardly 11 am. Since there was no anticipated devotees at that time, the temple panditji decided to close it for the day.

I was utterly disappointed to only to see the closed doors, sitting in front of the main sanctum cursing my luck as I couldn’t darshan him even in this trip. Because in our last couple of trips to Kumbakonam, we couldn’t even make it to this temple.

Just when I thought I will leave the place saying good bye to the care taker, a preist came hurridly saying he forgot to pick something from the temple. Soon after I introduced myself, before I could even ask that is there any possibility of darshan, he opened the main sanctum door, and in 30 secs he was showing me aarti (oil lamp plate) to the Perumal.

I stood there marveled at the height of Lord Vishnu, taller than 35 feet idol in Tirukoilur Ulagalantha Perumal temple. And humbled at the luck I have got that day to darshan the most beautiful, tallest Perumal (tallest among all 108 divya desams) in my life.

The best and most memorable moment in all my life.

What People Miss to See in Kumbakonam

Most people (devotees) visit Kumbakonam, for any of the following reasons.

  1. Navagraha temples Trip
  2. 108 Divya desam Trip (Exclusive Lord Vishnu trip)
  3. Lord Shiva padal petra stalam trip (exclusive Lord Shiva temples)

But what they don’t see (I assume) is this. Look at the beauty of Kumbakonam. Only for this reason, I will be keep coming again and again to this beautiful place on the first opportunity I am getting to travel after #coronalockdown.

trip to kumbakonam
Hundreds of Lily Ponds all over the temple town – Kumbakonam
Temple with Lily pond Entrance
trip to Kumbakonam
Beauty Of kumbakonam
temples of Kumbakonam
The beauty of Kumbakonam temples in one picture – Tirubhuvanam Temple

Trip to Kumbakonam – 5 Days Detailed Itinerary

The first thing I did after checking in the room was to visit my most favorite and beautiful temple in Thirubuvanam (see pic above), 5kms from Kumbakonam town. Next step was to Mahalingaswamy temple, enquired for Pradosa pooja and returned back to the same temple with all pooja items in the evening and did the ritual.

On the 2nd day, I enjoyed riding all the way to Thirukannapuram, among the green fields. Again, traveled long distance on the 4th day to Alangudi.

On the 3rd day, I took a break in the morning, just chill near mahamaham tank after breakfast and a cup of ginger tea. 

Read – Kumbakonam Famous food items

Then packed lunch from my favorite ayya kadai, went to Darasuram with a book in hand. Spent the entire afternoon in the darasuram temple. 

On the last day, I spent most of the day in the room reading books. Went out in the evening to spend time near Mahamaham tank after a cup of ginger tea.

Here is the Detailed Itinerary of 5 Days Solo Trip to Kumbakonam

Day 1 – 9th December Monday:

  1. Thirubhuvanam Lord Shiva temple
  2. Thirukadaiyur Mahalinga swamy temple -Lord Shiva temple
  3. Adhi Kumbheswar temple -Lord Shiva temple

Lunch Break

  1. Again Thirukadaiyur Mahalinga swamy temple -Lord Shiva temple

Day 2 – 10th December Tuesday:

  1. Thirucherrai Saranatha perumal temple – Lord vishnu temple
  2. Thirukudavasal Koneswaran temple -Lord Shiva temple
  3. Engan Perumal temple – Lord Vishnu temple (due to the crowd I couldn’t see next door Engan Murugan temple).
  4. Thirukannapuram -Lord Vishnu temple
  5. Nachiyar kovil – Lord Vishnu Temple

Lunch Break

  1. Kasi Viswanathar temple, near mahamaham tank in Kumbakonam
  2. Sarangapani temple, Ranganathar temple in Kumbakonam
  3. Ramar temple – oorvalam darshan

Day 3 – 11th December Wednesday:

Morning – Break

Evening –

  1. Darasuram – Lunch, book read and darshan
  2. Garbarakshambigai temple, Thirukaragavoor
  3. Thiruvalanjuli – White Lord Ganesha in Lord Shiva temple
  4. Ramar temple
  5. Adhi Kumbeswarar – oorvalam darshan

Day 4 – 12th December Thursday

Morning – Break

Evening –

  1. Alangudi guru temple – Lord Shiva temple
  2. Uppiliappan temple – Lord Vishnu temple
  3.  Sarangapani temple – oorvalam darshan

Day 5 – 13th December Friday

Morning – Break

Evening – Adhi Kumbeswarar – oorvalam darshan

The Happy Ending – Weekend with Hubby in Kumbakonam

Whole 5 days of solo trip to Kumbakonam came to an end and I was ready to leave Kumbakonam. 

But, at the last minute my Hubby announced that he would be coming to Kumbakonam to spend the weekend.

Since it was last minute decision, he had a very long journey by changing multiple private buses to reach Kumbakonam.

He arrived on 14th December, Saturday around noon, spent 2 days with me in Kumbakonam before we returned to Bangalore by Volvo.

Again we both went to darshan the most important and favorite temples in Kumbakonam town, he too personally loved Kumbakonam temples.

He made it all the way more special trip to Kumbakonam and till date this trip is very close to my heart.

Vaikunta Ekadasi Experience in Trichy Srirangam Temple

I remember the time we went to Trichy in Jan 2017 for Vaikunta Ekadasi darshan at Ranganathar temple

Here is our experience on what to expect when you are planning a trip to Trichy for Vaikunda Ekadasi, and list of other important temples to visit in the city.

Overwhelmed by the Crowd at Srirangam For Vaikunta Ekadasi

Having gone to the temple at 4am on the day of Vaikunta ekadasi, we were standing in a queue that would take about 5 to 6 hrs to come across Vaikunta vasal (golden door). 

Looked like as if the whole world had lined up around the all doors of this huge temple for celebrating the auspicious day. After seeing such a mass crowd as early as 4am, and after a long dilemma, we decided to drop the plan. Then headed to the two other famous temples in Trichy for Vaikunda Ekadasi darshan. 

Srirangam Vaikunta ekadasi
Police force and temple crowd at the temple entrance
Temple trip from bangalore to Trichy
View from Inside of Ranganathar temple- Srirangam
temple architecture of Srirangam temple
Wall inscriptions on Srirangam temple – inside view

Both are renowned 108 Divya Desams namely Kamalavalli Nachiyar temple and Uthammar kovil. Not only were we able to enter the golden door but also had good darshan at both of these temples. 

Temple trip from bangalore to Trichy, uthamar kovil images
Uthmar kovil View – Trichy

And swore to ourselves that when we come back to Trichy next time for Vaikunda Ekadasi, we would never return back without a darshan at the Ranganathar Temple. 

We were happy that atleast we could darshan Lord Ranganathar just before the day of Vaikunda Ekadasi. That too after waiting in the 200 rupees VIP queue for almost 3 hrs. Glad we did that darshan one day before, to count the effort we had put in for that trip.

Not always we fail to predict the crowd in the temple. In the year 2017, for Athi Varadar raise after 40 yrs from the temple in Kanchipuram – we planned the trip well, and did darshan on 21st July 2019. That too after long wait of 3.30 hrs (yet nothing compared to the predicted time wait in Srirangam for Vaikunda Ekadasi darshan) and walking for 8 kms in total.

Read – Athi Varadar raise once in 40 years and how we did darshan on 21st July 2019.

Bangalore to Trichy Travel

This was the time we were about to become ardent travellers.

We travelled many destinations by bike since then. This year was the stepping stone for making everlasting memories in our married life. We travelled back to back on all weekends, challenging ourselves to the longer distances as we grew confident. 

From Bangalore to Trichy, we travelled by Volvo bus booked in Madiwala, Bangalore. This was a planned trip for 2 days, falling on 7th and 8th Jan 2017. 8th Jan 2017 being the auspicious Vaikunda Ekadasi.

Apart from memories from the Srirangam temple, we have also visited the very famous, ancient (padal petra stalam) – Jambukeshwar temple. We went late evening to this temple, waited till the last pooja rituals (see pic below) before retiring for the day.

Tiruvanaikaval – Jambukeshwar temple

Here goes our 2 days Itinerary.

2 days temple trip From Bangalore to Trichy For Vaikunta Ekadasi Darshan:

We travelled by bus, so we would have 2 full days in our hands to roam around the Trichy city. Like the same way we did for 3 days train trip to Kumbakonam and yet another 3 days train trip to Madurai, many trips to Goa – where we have rented a bike to roam the destinations.

But, here in Trichy, we hired an auto to see around the places. Like how we did in our Tiruttani trip. 

Nothing beats the comfort of riding your own vehicle, in any destination. 

Day 01 – 7th July 2017 – List of temples Visited:

  1. Ranganathar Temple, SRIRANGAM
  2. Uthamar Kovil / Picchandar Kovil
  3. Sri Sameevaneswarar (Mattrurai Varadeswarar) sametha Balambikai temple at TIRUVASI
  4. Arulmigu Jambukeswarar Akhilandeswari Temple, THIRUVANAIKAVAL

Day 02 – 8th July 2017 – Vaikunta Ekadasi – List of Temples:

  1. Ranganathar Temple, SRIRANGAM (left in 1 hr without entering Golden door )
  2. Uraiyoor Kamalavalli Nachiyar Temple
  3. Uraiyur Panchavarneswarar Temple
  4. Thayumanaswami Temple, Rockfort
  5. Uchi Pillaiyaar Kovil

We travelled by train on the second day night to return to Bangalore.

Now that we know to anticipate the crowd at Srirangam for Vaikunta Ekadasi, we are sure to go back with a proper plan.

Madurai From Bangalore by Bike: Copy My Trip Plan To Roam Around Madurai

We have been to Madurai a couple of times, and each time we had new activities planned to roam Madurai. One time we roamed all popular Hindu temples by Bike (rented) in our train trip to Madurai from Bangalore. The other time when we went by Car to Madurai during our 5 days road trip to Tirunellveli and Papanasam, we did nothing but shopping there. Ofcourse, we did darshan the great Meenakshi temple.

Madurai From Bangalore – How We traveled

Since the year 2017, we were popular among friends for non-stop bike travel from Bangalore on almost all weekends. 

But as ardent travellers, we didn’t restrict ourselves to just one mode of travel. 

Our favourite train trips are to Hampi, Belur, Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram, Tiruttani, Mumbai, and Madurai.

And most memorable air trips are to Delhi (Agra and Nainital), Cochin and Goa. 

We did not take many bus trips, except for a few times to Kerala and Goa.

First trip to Madurai From Bangalore

Trip to Madurai from Bangalore was quite unique – that is, we arrived at our destination by train and rented a bike to roam the city for 3 full days. 

We got inspired from our 3 days trip to Kumbakonam by train in the same year, where we rented a bike to roam the temple for 3 full days.

For three continuous days, that is 21st, 22nd, 23rd of July 2017, we roamed all the ancient temples in Madurai.

All the 3 days,  we did not have any issues roaming the city by bike as an outsider. We had a good choice of restaurants all over the city and enjoyed all vegetarian south indian meals in our entire trip. 

Road trip to Madurai

On our recent 5 days road trip to Tirunelveli and Papanasam, we stayed in Madurai for just a day, and did not visit any temples except the great Meenakshi temple. But roamed around the city by car, hung out around big temple lake, enjoyed Madurai’s famous Jigarthanda, and had awesome non vegetarian meals in Kari kanji restaurant. It is a must try restaurant for all kinds of non-vegetarian dishes. Click on the name to get the google map link.

Well, there aren’t many places to see in Madurai if you are not a temple architecture lover. So you can couple your trip plan with other famous places like Tirunelveli and Papanasam, or even kanyakumari.

Restaurant suggestion in Highways

Be it bike trip or road trip, the best Veg restaurant in Bangalore – Salem highways is Shri Krishna Inn. Its our all time favorite and this is where you could see hundreds of bikers hangout in the weekends. For more restaurant suggestions – you can find here.

Copy My Plan to Madurai

Of all the trips we went to Madurai from bangalore, not even once did we have issues on travel or stay or food.

The best place to spend your vacation, but only if you could couple it with other places. Because, many tourists including foreigners visit this majestic Madurai city for just one main reason – to darshan Madurai Meenakshi temple.

And, you could easily cover this place in just one day, including Thirumalai Nayak Mahal – another must see place in Madurai.

So what could you do to spice up your travel?

Go One Day Trip to Kodaikanal Hills:

Madurai and Kodaikanal are two like twins – inseparable in any trip plan. People who plan to go to Kodaikanal always make plans to visit Meenakshi temple and vice versa.

You could stay in Madurai and make a one day trip to Kodaikanal or just choose to stay in Kodaikanal for an extended period of your vacation. Kodaikanal is the best romantic place to visit near Madurai and makes it a place for best family vacation too. There are many options for kids to enjoy like cycling and boating – a complete package for family.

Madurai to Kodaikanal Distance – 116 kms

Go Long Drive From Madurai to Kanyakumari:

If you have been to Kodaikanal already, you could plan a long road trip to Kanyakumari. You could plan a direct trip from Bangalore to Kanyakumari, making Madurai as one of the pit stops. Or plan a drive from Madurai city.

Madurai to Kanyakumari distance – 245 kms

Bangalore to Kanyakumari distance – 665 kms

Woah, guess it is a practical idea to plan a long drive from Madurai instead of Bangalore.

Things to do In Kanyakumari – Kanyakumari beach, Tiruvalluvar statue, Visit Bhagavathy and Suchindram temple.

Places to Visit between Madurai and Kanyakumari

  1. Tirunelvelli – Yet another popular city known for two things: Nellaiyappar temple (Lord Shiva temple) and for Wheat halwa (iruttu kadai halwa). Distance from Madurai to Tirunelveli – 163 kms
  2. Papanasam – A very famous tourist spot in Tirunelveli district, popular for waterfalls (agasthiyar falls), and nearby manimuthar dam. We personally loved this place for never ending greenery and mountain view drive. (Read – Places to Visit in Papanasam in One day with distances)
  3. Courtallam – Not any intro is required for this place. Popular among tourists for its Courtallam falls and lord shiva temple at the foot hills. 

Visit to Madurai is incomplete without visiting these 3 popular places.

If you like to visit temples enroute madurai to Kodaikanal, you could then go to Thenkasi for a majestic Lord Shiva temple, situated 5.5. Kms from Courtallam. And you could also go to yet another historically important 3 temples called ‘Srivilliputhur andal temple’, ‘Sankaran kovil’ and ‘Tiruchendur’.

First two temples are close by, whereas Tiruchendur Lord Subramanya temple is situated at entirely different route.

I mean it is not practically possible to cover all the above places in just one day. That’s why we went on a 5 days road trip to Tirunelveli, and took time leisurely to see all the above mentioned places. 

On the way back to Bangalore from Tirunelveli, we stayed at Madurai for a day and roamed the city.

If you are planning to Visit Kanyakumari from Madurai, you could go straight to the destination. Or if you prefer, stay in Tirunelveli for a day or two, to explore all the above mentioned places. It is definitely worth your time, especially Papanasam.

Go Long Drive From Madurai to Rameswaram:

Another best option to add tourist places to your trip to Madurai from Bangalore, you could go Rameshwaram.

In jan 2017, we went to Rameshwaram for 3 days by bus and we coupled the trip with Tirunelveli. We stayed in Rameswaram mainly to visit Ramanathaswamy temple to pay respect to my father on ‘mahalaya amavasya day’. We didn’t go to any other places in Rameshwaram. And we cherish the time we travelled on the pamban bridge – one of a kind experience. 

Madurai to Rameswaram distance – 173 kms

Tirunelveli to Rameswaram distance – 226 kms

This is how we plan our travel – compare the distances from different places to the end destination, then decide which plan is best. 

It is as simple as that.

Sum – Up

So, practically we know clearly about all the tourist places in and around Madurai. 

Well, if none of the above places interests you, and if you are looking for particularly temple trips in Madurai, then copy my Madurai temples list. 

Click on the link below.

The list of ancient temples in Madurai city alone. 

There is no need to book any tour packages, because you know you will not be given any special access to darshan. 

You could just follow the google maps, plan to visit temples between 6 am to 11.30 am and between 5pm to 8.30 pm. You could rest in the afternoon or find a nice restaurant to chill the day.

List Of Ancient Temples in Madurai

In July 2017, we went on a 3 days trip from Bangalore to Visit temples in Madurai city. We traveled by train to Madurai, where we rented a motorbike for roaming the city. This was a purely a temple trip, as we are always fond of exploring the less explored. 

Here I have written a great deal about why we visit temples on our bike trips.

So, this was one such trip, where we wanted to see beyond the great Meenakshi temple. Because it is the only popular temple in Madurai among the tourists.

We dedicated 3 full days just to explore the temples in Madurai city, and we were not disappointed, thankfully.

In Fact we could not cover all the ancient temples you see. We picked the most historic and popular, and filtered those were within the feasibility of our travel distances. 

(Especially when you have a rented rotten bike).

Having said that, feel free to copy this list for your spiritual trip, a list filtered with only most ancient and important temples. A short and sweet list of temples in Madurai, closer to the city.

I have saved you plenty of time from planning the trip, so have fun.

List of Ancient Temples in Madurai

Even Though Madurai is significantly famous for just one temple – The Meenakshi Amman temple, there are many other temples in Madurai which are not widely popular. I have taken a list of those temples, selected the most ancient and important ; and are also closely located ones to visit as much as possible in one day.  

Since we have planned this trip to visit Madurai from Bangalore on auspicious days; Friday and Sunday being most auspicious, I kept flexible timings keeping the waiting period for darshan in each temple in the list.

Why We did not Visit Madurai Meenakshi Temple on Day -1 : Two Reasons

The entire Madurai tourism is weaved around the great Meenakshi Amman temple. Yet, I have planned to visit them on the 2nd day for the following 2 reasons.

First, we will become more tired of visiting this enormous temple on the very first day.

Second, this temple is always crowded on regular days, and extremely crowded on auspicious days. On the day we arrived it was auspicious Friday falling on the auspicious month for Hindu religion – Aadi month (Some call Aashada). 

So it’s decided to visit the temple on the next day – Saturday, that too early in the morning to avoid a long queue. Yet we could not completely avoid the crowd, we had to be in the queue for 30 mins before we darshan Lord Shiva and Goddess Meenakshi.

Day wise List of Ancient temples in Madurai

I have carefully planned our 3 days travel fitting all the famous temples possible in the map, also being careful not to overburden Rajesh like how did in Kumbakonam visiting 24 temples in 3 days.

Temples in Madurai – Day 1 (21 July 2017) Itinerary:

Morning trip:

1. Aapudaiyar Kovil, Madurai 

2. Thirumohoor Kalameha Perumal temple

Evening trip:

3. Thiruparankundram

Day 2 (22 July 2017) Itinerary:

Morning trip:

1. Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple 

2. Koodal Alagar, Madurai

3. Thiruvedagam Edaganatheswarar Temple

Evening trip:

4. Thirupuvanam Sri Pushpavaneswarar temple, Sivagangai district

5. Inmayil nanmai tharuvar temple, Madurai

Day 3 (23 July 2017) Itinerary:

1. Palamuthircholai  and Rakkayi hill temple with waterfalls

2. Aaru padai murugan temple

3. Alagar temple

Short Note on the List of Temples in Madurai

If you are planning a trip to Madurai from Bangalore by road or any transport, feel free to copy my 3 days trip plan mentioned above. 

For example, Thiruparankundram (see day 1) and Palamuthircholai & Arupadai Murugan temples (see day -3) are notable temples for Lord Muruga. 

We absolutely loved riding to the Palamuthircholai located in the outskirts of Madurai City, riding among the trees, watching the atrocity of the monkeys was one of an experience. 

Also, to add thrill to our trip, we have coupled a trek to a Rakayi temple with waterfalls on the hills near to Palamuthircholai. Since we had planned it on an auspicious day, we ended up in a long queue but otherwise it was overall a good experience. If we had planned to go to this hill temple on the normal days, we were not sure of the safety of the travellers given the location and ambiance of this temple.

And the final temple in the list, is Alagar temple, a sight to the sore eyes. Just as the name depicts, the Lord Vishnu is such a charm and beauty to darshan.

On day -3, we returned back to Bangalore with plenty of memories. We really did have a good time. Infact we watched a movie named ‘vikram veda’ at Vishal De mall, Madurai just before leaving the town.

Famous Temples in Kumbakonam – A Very Big List with Google Map link

Kumbakonam became one of the favorite cities when we went on a 3 days trip for Masi Maham Festival in the year 2017. Soon in the same year, we planned a 11 days bike trip from Bangalore to Kumbakonam for the love of its breathtaking temples and its serene beauty. So I can proudly say I know well about Kumbakonam like how well I know Bangalore. Famous temples in Kumbakonam and other important temples in and around Kumbakonam is covered in detail here.

I am giving list of (a) famous temples in the center town Kumbakonam and (b) famous temples around Kumbakonam (nearby temples in Kumbakonam from the main town) for both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu temples.

Here are the list of Kumbakonam famous temples and must visit temples once in life time from our multiple road trip experiences. 

Kumbakonam Famous For Temples and Known for Many other things

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims flock this holy town on all auspicious days. 

As I mentioned earlier, we first went to Kumbakonam for Masi Maham festival in the year 2017. Little did we know that time is that we are going to come back year after year to this beautiful temple town. 

The famous temples in Kumbakonam and many other things people don’t know about.

  • Kumbakonam is famous for “Navagraha temples” – a unique spiritual experience of visiting 9 planet gods in their individual houses.
  • Kumbakonam is famous for “108 Divya Desam” temples – of 108 Historic Vishnu temples, 40 temples are in chola region (trichy -tanjore- kumbakonam belt).
  • Kumbakonam is famous for “275 Devara Padal Petra Stalam” temples – Of 275 historic Lord Shiva Temples, 18 temples are in and around Kumbakonam town.
  • Kumbakonam is famous for one of the largest manufacturers of Temple brass and bronze items.
  • The Airavatesvara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola II (1146–73) during 12th century is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the t Gangaikonda Cholapuram in Kumbakonam that are referred to as the Great Living Chola Temples (source – Wikipedia).
  • Less known famous thing about Kumbakonam is that they are known for their unique handloom weaving of silk sarees. “Thirubhuvanam” is the place to look for power looms and sarees are available for buying in all shops in the centre town.
  • The Flora and fauna of this town is very rich, thanks to the 3 rivers adorning the city, namely – Cauvery, Araslaru and Kollidam.
  • Needless to say, Kumbakonam is wide known for its degree coffee. Every sip is a bliss.

(Because I am a coffee lover, I wouldn’t miss a chance to try good coffee).

Other than the above mentioned list of  historic temples, there are hundreds of temples in and around the temples with equal beauty and architecture. First thing you notice in the temple town is the beauty of temples, small and big, in every corner of the streets. They are so big that it would even take some time to figure out the entrance to the temples. 

Must See temples list in Kumbakonam

The following list of Kumbakonam famous temples are my most favorite and must see temples in Kumbakonam. I cannot give you the exact plan of where to start and where to end the temple trip. It is not practically possible actually. I can share my side of the story, hoping it would help you in planning your trip. 

Here is a small list of temples if you are on a time constraint and want to cover them in a day or two. They are within 10km radius and are most beautiful temples you must visit them once in your life. You could skip going to Navagraha temples altogether unless you specifically wanted to go for some horoscope reasons.

These are the most famous temples in Kumbakonam, lets see them category wise.

List of Lord Shiva Temples in Kumbakonam

Let’s start with Lord Shiva temple for 2 reasons – they are open for darshan very early compared to Lord Vishnu Temples. 

Click on the individual temples to get the google map link.

Little Distance From Kumbakonam – Must visit famous Lord Shiva temples

Plus, Swamimalai Temple – Lord Murugan Temple

List of Lord Vishnu Temples

These are the famous Lord Vishnu temples in the centre town Kumbakonam, all the following temples are connected with Mahamaham Festival.

  • Chakrapani Temple – Vila Archanai which is usually performed to Lord Shiva is performed here for Lord Vishnu.
  • Sarangapani temple – Lord Ranganathar residing on a big chariot mandap is the attraction here. And the temple is also breathtakingly huge.
  • Ramaswamy temple – A Marvellous temple with intrinsic work of paintings depicting the Ramayanam.
  • Varahaperumal Temple
  • Rajagopalaswamy temple.

Little Distance From Center Town – Must visit famous Lord Vishnu temples around Kumbakonam

These are the list of Divya Desam temples situated nearby from centre town Kumbakonam.

famous temple in Kumbakonam images
Lord Vishnu temple in Kumbakonam – Sarangapani Temple
famous temple in Kumbakonam images
Nachiyar Kovil – famous temples nearby Kumbakonam
Raod trip to Kumbakonam from Bangalore images
Aanaikarai Bridge In kumbakoanm
places to see in Kumbakonam
Beautiful Temple pond in Kumbakonam

Must See Temples list Around Kumbakonam

List of Lord Shiva Temples

I am stopping the list at 45, I have covered list of important temples as far as I could go near Tiruvaiyaru and Mayiladuthurai and Thiruvarur routes. Some temples does not come under Kumbakonam Pincode, yet given the list because some are nearby temples.

Must Visit Famous Lord Shiva Temples around Kumbakonam Once in Lifetime

The above temple lists are the very popular Lord Shiva temples in the major districts around Kumbakonam. We have covered all the temples during our long bike trip in the year 2017 and 2018. 

Since the accommodation and food is satisfactory beyond expectation we stayed in Kumbakonam and travelled to the above mentioned places except Chidambaram. 

For Chidambaram temple, we stayed there itself, went sightseeing to Pichavaram Mangrove forest.

Nearby temples in Kumbakonam
Tanjai Temple – Travel From Kumbakonam in our long bike trip
Sightseeing places in Chidambaram - nearby visiting places in Kumbakonam
Pichavaram Mangrove Forest tour

How We Covered Many Temples in a Day

Though we had stayed for more than a week in Kumbakonam in our 11 days long trip in 2017, we had crazy plans to cover as many temples we could in a day possible. 

Since we had plans to travel to nearby towns like Sirkazhi, Mayavaram, Thanjavur, Thiruvaiyaru, Mannargudi, Trichy etc.for the other famous temples in those 1 week, we covered as many temples as we could.

South India Travel blogger - road trip bike images
Our Ride From Bangalore to Kumbakonam in the year 2017 and 2018 – Proudest Road trip ever

We covered many temples as we could because of the following 2 reasons

  • We raised early, we were in the temple for the first pooja. We visited temples until their closing time 12 noon. Needless to worry about the food, as you will get plenty of good choices along the way. Also, Lord shiva temples are open for darshan as early as 6am, but Lord Vishnu temples are open early but early morning darshan time varies depending on the temple. Sometimes you would have to wait until 8 am. So to be smart, we first visited Shiva temples, then after breakfast went to darshan Vishnu temples.
  • We went in Bike, and it’s just the two of us. Both our energy level matched and we loved every single day of non-stop travelling and visiting temples. We had a tank bag where we kept our SLR, mobiles, chargers, power banks and water bottles to keep the trip plan smooth. We never in a day deviated from our plan, thanks to my 10 days of research and planning.

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24 Temples in 3 Days in Kumbakonam Masi Magam Festival 2017

During Kumbakonam Masi Magam festival we have visited 24 temples in 3 days by bike, thanks to my friend who rented out the bike to us. We reached Kumbakonam from Bangalore by train, stayed in Poppy’s SET Hotel for 3 days, roamed all around Kumbakonam mercilessly in motorbike for 3 days. 

Kumbakonam Masi Magam Festival 2017

Here are the list of temples we did darshan in Kumbakonam Masi Magam festival 2017.

I am straight away giving the list of all the temples names under each day we spent in Kumbakonam. Not going into details of the temples, or too many pics nor its history.

Here goes the list of temples we visited in Kumbakonam Masi Magam in the year 2017 – one of the memorable trip in our travel history.

Day 1 : 11 Mar 2017 in Kumbakonam, Just before Masi Magam

  • Abhi Mukteswarar temple
  • Viyala Someswarar temple
  • Tirupandurai Shivanandeeswarar (lord Murugan spl) temple
  • Thirunalur meginanam Sivan temple
  • Thiruccherai saranathan perumal temple, Divya desam
  • Thiruccherai Saraparameswarar temple
  • Nachiyar Kovil (kalyana kolam perumal/srinivasa perumal)
  • Ramanathaswamy/Saneeswaran Temple

Day2 : 12 Mar 2017

  • Ramar Temple, Kumbakonam
  • Thiruvisainallur Yoganandheeswarar/Sivayoginathar Temple (Risabha Rasi)
  • Sakkottai Amirthakalasanathar Temple
  • Marudhanallur (Karukudi) Sarguna Lingeswarar (Karukudinathar) temple
  • Then Pon Parappi, Swarnapureeswarar temple
  • Nageswaram Temple, Kumbakonam
  • Thirunageswaram Temple (Raghu temple)
  • Oppiliyappar Temple, DivyaDesam
  • Thirupampuram Seshapureeswarar/ Pambureswarar(Raghu Kethu temple)

Day 3 : 13 Mar 2017

  •  Saranathaperumal Temple, Divadesam, Kumbakonam
  • Thiruvalanchuzi ThiruValanchuzhi Nathar Temple (and Swetha Vinayagar Temple –Vellai Pillaiyar)
  • Darasuram- UNESCO
  • Swamimalai Murugan Temple
  • Innambur Ezhuthari Nathar Temple
  • Kottaiyur Kodeeswarar Temple

About Masi Magam and its Importance

The Masimaham is an annual event that occurs in Kumbakonam in the Tamil month of Masi (February–March) in the star of Magam.

Vast crowds of Hindu devotees gather at Kumbakonam to have a dip in the tank a.k.a Mahamaham tank.

All the rivers of India are believed to meet at the tank on this day and a purificatory bath at this tank on this day is considered equal to the combined dips in all the holy rivers of India.

Festival deities from all the temples in Kumbakonam arrive at the tank and at noon, all the deities bathe along with the devotees – it is called “Theerthavari“.

The purificatory bath is believed to remove sins and after the dip, pilgrims offer charitable gifts in the hope of being rewarded in the current life and subsequent lives.

The temple cars of major temples in Kumbakonam come around the city on the festival night. During the Mahamaham of 1992, the number of devotees were estimated to be one million. (Source – Wikipedia).

Our Story -Travelduo From Bangalore

We were able to darshan 24 temples continuously for 3 days because we planned everything beforehand, and our energy level matched to roam the temples back to back, by bike non stop.

Otherwise would have not been possible travelling by car and with the group or with more family members. It was the most memorable trip where we did crazy riding to temples in Kumbakonam Masi Magam Festival in the year 2017.

In the 3 days of roaming, we fell in Love with this beautiful temple town Kumbakonam, so in the same year and the next year we went road trip of 10+ days to Kumbakonam. Just for the love of most majestic and historically important temples in Kumbakonam.

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Places to Visit in Papanasam with Distances (Rivers, Waterfalls, Dams and Temples)

If you are looking for places to visit in Papanasam, surprisingly there are so many picnic spots you could go to. Papanasam is a small village located 60 kms from Tirunelveli city, falls under Ambasamudram taluk.

Papanasam is a must visit place once in your life time because it is a house for waterfalls, rivers, dams, green fields and historical temples. And all the goodness is surrounded by hills and forests. 

(Note: there is another place called “Papanasam” near Kumbakonam, also a famous place in Tamilnadu, mostly for temples).

Places to Visit in Papanasam with Distances

Here is a quick look at the sightseeing places to visit in and around Papanasam, Tirunelveli district:

  • In Papanasam – Ancient LordShiva temple at the foot of Agasthiyar Falls
  • Papanasam to Manimuthar (waterfalls and dam) – 14 kms
  • Papanasam to Manjolai (Tea estates) – 65 kms (via Manimutharu)
  • Papanasam to Courtallam – 34 kms
  • Papanasam to Tirumalai kovil, Panpoli – 50 kms  (via Ilanji and Tenkasi)
  • Papanasam to Ilanji Kumarar Temple – 37 kms
  • Papanasam to Tenkasi Ancient Ulagamman and Kasi Vishwanathar temple- 34 kms
  • Tenkasi to Courtallam – 5.5 kms
  • Papanasam to Tirunelveli – 60 kms

Take a dip in Agasthiyar Waterfalls and Visit Papanasanathar Sivan Temple

  • This famous Hindu temple is located at the foot of Agasthiyar Forest and Waterfalls at the distance of 2.7kms. 
  • All the vehicles are allowed up to the foothill of waterfalls. There is toilet and dress change facilities near the parking.
  • No entry fee to enter the forest but a nominal fee for the waterfalls entry. No special fee for cameras.
  • Forest and waterfalls entry is restricted after 5 PM.
  • The famous Lord Siva temple is called as Papanasanathar or Mukkalanathar, lingam in the main sanctum is believed to be one of the 9 planetary deities – Lord Suriya.
  • This temple is one of the nava kailasam temples on the banks of Thamirabarani river and thus famously called Suriyan temple.
Best sighseeing places in Tirunelveli district - Papanasam agasthiyar falls
The best places to visit in Papanasam Tirunelveli – Agasthiyar falls
Famous Temples in Papanasam - travelduo images
The Best places to visit in Papanasam Tirunelveli – Sivan Temple entrance view

Places to Visit near Papanasam – Courtallam Main falls, Courtallam Five falls and Tenkasi

  • Courtallam ranks top in the places to visit in Papanasam Tirunelveli.
  • Not much intro is required for this famous place in Tirunelveli district, the locals call it as Kuttalam, otherwise called Courtallam, is house for many rivers and waterfalls. 
  • Since the Nickname “Spa of South India”.
  • Distance from Papanasam to Courtallam is 34 kms.
  • This place is said to be the origin of rivers namely – Chittar river, Manimuthar river, Pachaiyar river, Thamirabarani river.
  • Most people visit Courtallam mainly for taking a dip in the main falls and pray to lord Siva.
  • You have toilet and dress change facilities here near the car parking area.
  • You could also visit courtallam five falls – Series of 5 small river cascades above a shallow pond, with separate bathing areas for men & women.
  • June to September are the best months to visit courtallam, later the entry is closed to waterfalls due to heavy rain and floods.
  • The famous Lord Kutralanathar temple (Lord Siva) is located at the foot of the main falls – Peraruvi.
  • This temple is one of the Pancha Sabhai Sthalangal, refer to the places where Lord Nataraja performed his cosmic dance.
Famous places to visit near Papanasam - Courtallam falls
Courtallam Main falls (Periya aruvi) Travelduo images in January Month
Courtallam falls and Lord Siva temple travelduo images
Courtallam Sivan Temple – Entrance view
Courtallam falls and Lord Siva temple travelduo images
Courtallam Sivan Temple at the foot of Courtallam main falls

Tenkasi is just 5.5 kms From Courtallam- house for one of the biggest temples in Tamilnadu

  • Tenkasi is the 34th district in Tamilnadu since 2019. This small town is built around the very famous, majestic dravidian style of architecture – Kasi Vishwanathar Ulagamman temple.
  • It is firmly believed that worshipping lord Siva in this temple would bring in as much benefits to the devotees as praying in Kasi – Varanasi.
  • This temple is notably famous for the swayambhu murti of Lord Siva, 180 feet artistic – majestic gopuram and exquisite beauty of the temple sculptures are world known.
The Best places to visit near Papanasam Tirunelveli - Tenkasi
The majestic 180 feet Gopuram View of Tenkasi Kaasi VishwanatharTemple

Places to Visit Near Papanasam – Manimuthar Dam and Waterfalls

  • Another important places to visit in Papanasam is Manimuthar dam and waterfalls, about 14 kms from Papanasam.
  • If you are travelling from Tirunelveli to visit Papanasam, spend some time in Manimuthar dam before heading towards Papanasam.
  • Situated above 6kms from Manimuthar dam is Manimuthar waterfalls and river, with the entry fee of 25 rupees per person. Camera fees extra.
Thamirabarani river near manimuthar dam, travelduo images
Best places to visit in Papanasam Tirunelveli images – Tamirabarani river near Manimuthar dam

Places to visit Near Papanasam – Manjolai

  • If you are travelling from Tirunelveli, Manjolai is another tourist place to stop before heading to Manimuthar and Papanasam.
  • Located on top of the Manimuthar dam is Manjolai, about 23 kms from Manimuthar and about 63 km from Tirunelveli, is famous for tea plantations -Manjolai Estate, Manimutharu Estate & Oothu Estate.

Famous Temples in and around Papanasam with distances

  • Papanasanathar Sivan Temple, Papanasam
  • Kutralanathar Sivan Temple, Courtallam, 34 kms
  • Kasi Viswanathar Temple, Tenkasi, 34 kms
  • Shri Ilanji Kumarar Koil – Ilanji ,37 kms
  • Tirumala Koil -Panpoli, 50 kms
  • Thooranamalai Sri Murugan Koil – Perumpattu, 25 kms
  • Sri Nithya Kalyani Amman Temple, Kilakadayam, 19 kms
  • Ponmalai Murugan Temple, Pulavanoor, 20 kms

Summary

Here is how you can plan one day trip from Tirunelveli to Papanasam – 

  • Tirunelveli – Manjolai – Manimuthar dam (skip waterfalls) – Agasthiyar falls – Papanasam Sivan temple.

(or)

  • Tirunelveli – Papanasam – Courtallam.

See how we spent time  in Papanasam and Tirunelveli in our recent 5 days road trip from Bangalore.

If you have a plan to stay in Courtallam then you can plan for Courtallam waterfalls and trekking, visit to all other places mentioned above.

Got any suggestions on places to visit in Papanasam? Feel free to comment below.

The Only Reason We Chose Tirunelveli For Our 5 Days Road Trip from Bangalore

Last week, we went on a 5 days road trip from Bangalore. We choose this trip only for the love of Papanasam town near Tirunelveli.

We started from Bangalore on Aug 12th 2019, drove about 650 kms to reach Tirunelveli via Madurai.

This was the first time we set a new milestone of driving above 500 kms in one day by car.

We drove alternatively, smooth ride on the NH with good food choices on the Bangalore highways.

This time we had not pre-booked any accommodation in our planned destination – Tirunelveli, since we were not sure of driving 600+ kms in just one day. 

We had a plan B of staying in Madurai if we were too tired to drive any further.

Thankfully, we reached the destination as planned. 

This is how we spent our 5 days vacation in a road trip from Bangalore.

5 Days road trip from Bangalore for the love of Papansam

We have already been to Tirunelveli in Jan 2017, in our 3 days trip to Rameshwaram.

In this 5 days road trip from Bangalore, we have spent whole 2 days only to sight see the places around Tirunelveli. 

Since one cannot miss visiting courtallam falls, we also went to nearby Thenkasi and Papanasam.

Papanasam – we immediately fell in love with the drizzling weather with the spectacular view of greenery mountains and plains.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t enjoy the picturesque small town for long as we were in a hurry to return to the Tirunelveli town for return journey. 

So, this trip is all about going to Papanasam exclusively for its serene beauty, a place surrounded by mountains, reserve forests, waterfalls and dams. 

Hence, we decided to stay in Tirunelveli, a buzzing small city, 60 km distance from Papanasam, well connected to other cities by roads with good accommodation and restaurant choices.

The Itinerary of Our 5 days Road Trip from Bangalore

Day 1, 12th August 2019, Monday : Drive 650 Kms From Bangalore to Tirunelveli

Day 2, 13th August 2019, Tuesday : Drive to Tiruchendur beach and temple, on the way stop at Srivaikundam temple. Evening darshan in Nellaiappar temple in Tirunelveli.

Day 3, 14th August 2019, Wednesday : Drive to Papanasam via Manimuthar forest and dam and Agasthiyar falls. And darshan Papanasam Sivan temple. Evening return Tirunelveli via Ambasamudram.

Day 4, 15th August 2019, Thursday : Drive to Madurai via Sankaran Kovil and Srivilliputhur, darshan at both the temples. Check-in Madurai, evening roam around the city.

Day 5, 16th August 2019, Friday : Return to Bangalore from Madurai, 450 kms drive via Dindigul, Karur, Namakkal and Salem.

Wanderlust to Papanasam

Here we are, at Papanasam, the place behind our desire to plan 5 days road trip from Bangalore.

Papanasam, a small town located 56 kms from Tirunelveli, adorned with mountains and trees, river and dams, we fell in love with.

After a good night’s rest from previous day’s long car ride to Tirunelveli, we started to Papanasam around noon.

We stuffed our travel bags with some snacks and water bottles, before we headed towards Papanasam.

Decided to go by Pathamadai and Manimuthar forest, just like we always preferred to ride among scenic views. We skipped going to Manjolai, since we didn’t do much research on this place and also had a time constraint.

We spent some time in the Manimuthar dam (did not go to the waterfalls), before we headed towards Papnasam.

When I say Papanasam, the end destination is Papanasam Sivan temple, this is where all the local buses stop for tourists.

A little further Papanasam Sivan temple is Agasthiyar falls, almost 10 min drive uphill.

The drive was smooth since there was no dangerous hair-pin bends to worry about, like in Yercaud hill station.

By the time we reached Agasthiyar falls, it was almost closing time, so we spent only brief period clicking pics in the falls area.

Unlike a pretty long-haul we trekked to talakona falls in Andra Pradesh, Agasthiyar falls was just 1 min walk from the parking area.

Once after reaching Agasthiyar falls, we spent some time enjoying the view and the waterfalls. We then started our car towards Papanasam Sivan temple after clicking some pics.

Returning Back to Tirunelveli

We then took Ambasamudram (ambai) route in the evening to return back to Tirunelveli.

Like we wished, we spent every single minute enjoying the ride among the agri fields and woods accompanied by a pleasant weather. 

Desire fulfilled.

Overall it was an adventurous and fun-filled 5 days road trip from Bangalore. And, iIt was worth the pain and headache riding in the sun and the rains.

Drive from tirunelveli to papanasam road, drive among woods and mountains
Tirunelveli to Papansam road, scenic drive
Drive to Thamirabarani river near Manimuthar dam from tirunelveli
Thamirabarani river near Manimuthar dam, Papanasam
Manimuthar dam from tirunelveli in our 5 days road trip from bangalore
View From Top of Manimuthar dam, Towards Manimuthar Forest aand Waterfalls
2 mins walk to Agasthiyar falls from parking area, scenic view
Walk from parking towards Agasthiyar falls images
Drive to papanasam agasthiyar falls from tirunelveli in our 5 days road trip from bangalore
View of Agasthiyar falls, Papanasam

Places to Visit in Tirunelveli In One Day

We have been to Tirunelveli twice so far, including the recent road trip for 5 days from Bangalore. Tirunelveli, capital city of Tirunelveli District, a beautiful city adorned with the Thamirabarani river. Here listed are the places to visit in Tirunelveli in one day from our travel experiences.

Whether you are planning on a luxury trip with family or a holy trip, this guide will be of help to explore the tourist places in tirunelveli district.

Places to Visit in Tirunelveli In One day

There are not many places to visit inside the Tirunelveli City, except for the ancient Nellaiappar temple. The best tourist place in Tirunelveli district to spend time with family and friends, and to have fun are Manimuthar, Papanasam and Courtallam

Sightseeing places to see in Tirunelveli districts are given below in detail.

This list is a combination of tourist places like waterfalls and dams, and famous Hindu temples.

The Ancient Nellaiappar Temple – The Most famous tourist place in Tirunelveli

The main tourist attraction in Tirunelveli is the ancient Nellaiappar temple, a famous Lord Siva temple. This temple is one of the pancha sabhai sthalam, a must visit temple for its majestic build on a 14 acres land, with the unusual large mandap for goddess parvati. 

It will take a minimum of an hour to cover the entire temple, even more time on important occasions.

Must see / specialties inside this majestic temple:

  • The big ornamental mandap for Goddess Parvathi
  • Thamirachabai (Copper) mandap of Lord Natarajar
  • Lord Ranganatha near to the main sactum of the Lord Siva
  • Beautiful view of temple pond next to Goddess Parvathi mandap
  • Kubera Lingam
  • The temple Elephant

Note: You can find Iruttu Kadai halwa shop just opposite this temple’s main entrance. A small shop, open only in the evening for 2 hrs, popular for its renowned wheat halwa since 1900’s. You can only buy a maximum of 2kgs of halwa per person. 

Tiruchendur Beach and Temple

Another historical places in Tirunelveli district is Tiruchendur. With the distance of 53 km towards east of Tirunelveli, Tiruchendur is famous for Lord Murugan (Subhramanya swamy) temple. Devotees take a dip in the beach before going inside the temple. You could also travel to Kanyakumari for beach and sunrise view, since this post is about places to visit in Tirunelveli, I am suggesting Tiruchendur.

Places to Visit in Tirunelveli In One Day
Srivaikundam bridge on the way to Tiruchendur

Manimuthar Dam and Waterfalls, Manjolai Hills, Kalakad Tiger reserve

With the distance of 46 kms towards west of Tirunelveli, Manimuthar dam and forest waterfalls are one of the must see places in Tirunelveli district. 

You would need one whole day only to see these 3 places – Manimuthar dams and waterfalls, Majolai estate and Kalakad tiger reserve.

Here are the pics from our drive from Tirunelveli to Manimuthar dam.

famous places in Tirunelveli
Thamirabarani river view near Manimuthar dam
Manimuthar dam - sightseeing places in Tirunelveli
Manimuthar dam

Papanasam Agasthiyar falls

Papanasam is located 60 kms west of Tirunelveli, famous for Agastiyar falls and Lord shiva temple. Agastiyar falls is just 20 mins drive uphill from Lord Shiva temple, a beautiful small waterfalls with a scenic view.

There is no entry fee at the forest check point, but only at the waterfalls checkpoint. Agasthiyar Waterfalls is open for visitors from 9am to 5pm only.

places to visit in tirunelveli in one day
Papanasam Agasthiyar falls

Courtallam Falls and Thenkasi

About 35 kms from Papnasam and about 75 kms from Tirunelveli Via Alwarkurichi road, Courtallam is yet another famous tourist destination in Tirunelveli district.

Usually the tourists take a dip in the holy waterfalls before going to the nearby Kutralanathar temple, a Lord Shiva temple. 

Drive 6kms from Courtallam falls to reach Thenkasi, is famous for the Ulagamman temple, one of the temples with the largest Gopurams in Tamilnadu.

Tirunelveli to Courtallam road trip
Courtallam falls
Tenkasi temple pics
Tenkasi Kasi Vishwanathar temple Gopuram View

Sankaran Kovil

Sankarankovil, situated at 56 km away from Tirunelveli City. It was built by Ukkira Pandiyan AC 900. It houses the deity by the name Sankara Narayanan, which is half – Lord Shiva and the other half – Lord Vishnu. (Source – Wikipedia)

You could also visit Srivilliputhur Andal temple, one of the famous 108 divya desam temples, located 45 kms from this Sankaran Kovil. 

Places to visit from Tirunelveli in one day
Srivilliputhur Andal temple – Places to visit from Tirunelveli in one day

These are the top places to visit in Tirunelveli in one day, if you are planning for more than one day, you could combine with Madurai and Kanyakumari.

Where we ate – Restaurants in Tirunelveli

Best Veg Restaurants in Tirunelveli

Well, I have only 2 suggestions if you are looking for vegetarian places to eat in Tirunelveli.

For vegetarian food choices, we went to Hotel Aarya’s where we had all our breakfast during our stay in Tirunelveli. The best part is we just had to cross the road from the hotel where we stayed, and they were open until 11am with both alacote and buffet service. There were limited food choices for breakfast but variety of choices for dinner, including chinese.

Another good restaurant in Tirunelveli is Annapoorna Hotel and Sweets, with variety of organic food menus for tiffin and snacks. We liked their service and cleanliness. Food prices compared to Aarya’s was lesser but the quality was no lesser than them. Also a good place for evening snacks, tea, coffee and juices. You could even get Madurai famous jigarthanda and arabic grape puply juice.

We had snacks and tea here when we traveled to Papnasam, you can find the restaurant link below.

https://maps.app.goo.gl/z28FYBtrCchThWRT9

Read – Places to visit in Papanasam with Distances (Rivers, Waterfalls, Dams and Temples in Papanasam)

Those two are my top choices if you are roaming the tirunelveli city for one day. Feel free to comment below if you have any suggestions.

Best Non Veg Restaurants in Tirunelveli

The only restaurant we have ever been in both our trip was – Hotel Vairamaligai. It is one of the good non-veg restaurants in Tirunelveli with maximum number of reviews in google. We had dinner once here, food quality and quantity was good. We also loved their fast services. Even the parking area was huge given their location in the middle of the hot city. What we didn’t like here was the ambiance and very noisy atmosphere. Otherwise it is worth the try.

Where We Stayed in Tirunelveli

Of the 5 days road trip from Bangalore, we have stayed 3 days in Tirunelveli. We stayed in MNH Hotels, a decent stay with all the amenities in the main city. Also we were happy to get the good deal for the price way below our budget. Even though MNH hotels had inhouse restaurant with both veg and non-veg food choices, even room-services, but we preferred eating outside.

Sum- Up

Tirunelveli is well connected by roads, railways and air connecting the nearest cities. There are not many interesting places to visit in Tirunelveli in one day, so I have listed all the other famous places in Tirunelveli district. If you want to spice up your travel, you could extend your stay in Kanyakumari or Madurai, another interesting travel destinations to look around.

Note – Only in the recent times we started travelling places by Car. Otherwise we are hardcore bike riders, love to ride bike to far places.

The highest distance we traveled was 450 km from Bangalore to Kumbakonam in one day.

In the year end of 2017 and 2018, we took off from work only to ride bike for 11 days and 12 days respectively. Apart from those long bike rides, we have also been on numerous one day and two day bike trips to many places from Bangalore.

Athi Varadar Perumal Raise Once in 40 yrs – We did Darshan on 21 July 2019

Athi Varadar – Lord Vishnu made of Fig tree, has raised from the temple pond on July 1st 2019 after 40 long years.

Athi Varada Perumal, 9 feet tall fig wooden idol is kept immersed in “Kanchipuram Varadaraja temple” Pushkarini (the temple’s pond) for 350 yrs, he raises out of pond once in 40 yrs. 

Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple’s pond water was cleared to bring out the idol and placed in the temple mandapam for 48 days for devotees darshan.

There were footfall of lakhs of devotees every single day since day 1, to darshan Lord in the Sayana Kolam / Ranganathar Kolam (Lying posture). News is that the Lord will be placed in Nindra Kolam (Sri Venkatesa Perumal Kolam) in the last 10 days.

We were blessed to see him on Sunday 21st July 2019 in Sayana kolam, around 7pm, after waiting in que for 3.30 hrs, walked about 8kms from car parking to darshan. 

We had planned for 2 days road trip from Bangalore to Vellore. On the first day we traveled from Bangalore, stayed in Vellore, traveled to Kanchipuram from Vellore for Athi Varadar Darshan. On the second day we visited Vellore Golden temple before we left to Bangalore.

Image Courtesy – Social Media

For Athi Varadar Darshan: How We Reached Kanchipuram From Bangalore

Bangalore to Vellore

  • We started on 21st July Sunday Morning by 5.45 am from our home by car. We had breakfast at our all time favourite Krishna Inn in Shoolagiri (Right next to McDonald’s in Bangalore to Salem highways).
  • Reached Vellore by 11am, had wonderful darshan in Vellore Shiva Temple – Jalakandeswarar Temple located inside the Vellore Fort.
  • We checked in at the hotel Khanna Fiesta around 12 noon, took a much needed break from long drive before we got ready to leave to Kanchipuram.
  • Then had a light lunch in the ground floor khanna Veg restaurant, before we started our travel to Kanchipuram.

Drive to Kancheepuram – Athi Varadar Darshan

  • We reached Kanchipuram before 4pm, parked our vehicle 1 km away from the Sri Varadaraja temple East gopuram. Left our footwears in the nearest shop, headed towards the gopuram entrance. We somehow had hope of getting special entrance for a fee, but we were told that there are no paid entrance, except for general que for all the devotees.
  • Joined the general que at 4.05 pm, walked among the flood of devotees, with the free biscuit pack and mini water bottle provided by the government service. There were lots of people running among the crowd testing our patience.
  • And some were pushing and elbowing the people for a quick getaway, some lost temper and got into fist fights. But we stood in queue calmly to save energy for a long walk.
  • We reached the darshan mandap in 3.5 hrs time, had wonderful darshan of Lord Athi Varadar in the Sayana Kolam
  • There was also a special que from the temple entrance for family with elders and kids. Also there was a special que for devotees with VIP tickets, god knows how we couldn’t get one. For all of them it only took 45 mins to reach Darshan mandap. 
  • There was a live telecast of the Lord and the pooja being performed to him. It kept the audience engaged for those long hrs of painful queue. 
  • There was also a team of doctors camp for first – aid just in case.

Returning back to Vellore – The Reason for stay in Vellore

After Lord Athi Varadar darshan, we got back energy all the energy we lost standing /slow walking in the que. We came out of the temple (don’t know exactly which side of temple), walked for about 3 kms to reach the east gopuram to collect our shoes. Then again walked for about 1km to reach our vehicle parking.

We have book marked the vehicle parking area in google maps, so it was no trouble getting to the vehicle in the pitch dark.

Started the car and headed straight to Vellore, reached the stay by 9.30, with the rumbling stomach. Soon after reaching the hotel, we had dinner in the in-house Veg restaurant Called Khanna Veg Restaurant.

We didn’t want to eat in Kancheepuram from our previous trip experience. Wonder where people eat in this most visited pilgrimage place with footfall of lakhs of devotees all year round. 

This was one of the reason for not choosing to book room in Kancheepuram, but even if we had tried we would not have got it in these 48 days.

Kanchipuram town is world wide famous for its unique traditional silk sarees. Kanchipuram is house for hundreds of handlooms for authentic and exquisite silk sarees manufacturing and retail sales.

Well, in both the visits in the past we have bought silk sarees from a famous shop. This time we didn’t plan for any shopping, our only intention was to get at least the glimpse of Lord Athi Varadar. 

We were more than blessed to visit him on 21st july 2019, Sunday 7pm, a moment of glory with Lord Athi Varada Perumal.