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.

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.

https://www.travelduo.in/kumbakonam-famous-food-items/

https://www.travelduo.in/ulagalantha-perumal-temple-tirukoyilur/

https://www.travelduo.in/athi-varadar-darshan-kancheepuram-once-in-40-yrs/

https://www.travelduo.in/nandi-hills-temple-nearby-places-and-trekking/

Kumbakonam Is Famous for Not Just Temples (Check the cute pic)

Most of us know Kumbakonam is famous for Hindu temples (mostly Navagraha temples trips). I did too. Until we went to Kumbakonam for Mahamaham festival, fell in love with this temple town immediately. So we came back the same year, not for just 1 or 2 days, we spent more than a week here in our 11-days long bike trip from Bangalore.

We rode bike everyday among agri lands, watched villager fishing for crabs in the rice fields, mesmerized at the beauty of the lilly ponds all over the town, watched sunset from the Mahamaham tank after a cup of ginger tea from a famous tea shop.

Everyone knows Kumbakonam is famous for degree coffee.

Related

Kumbakonam Famous Food Items

Also did you know Kumbakonam is also famous for “power looms” making  coir mat and silk sarees?.

List of things Kumbakonam Is Famous for

#1. Kumbakonam is Famous for Degree Coffee

The temple town is also famous for its aromatic coffee, served usually in Bronze cups or a silver ones like this. Me and my hubby used to travel 10kms from centre town to “Only coffee” restaurant, where we liked to have our first cup coffee and breakfast. Although, their other branch is in main town Kumbakonam, we love to go quite far enjoying the scenery along the way.

Kumbakonam degree coffee images
Kumbakonam Famous Degree Coffee

#2. Kumbakonam Is Famous For Restaurants too, Not just coffee

Almost everyday we used to go “Only coffee” near Thirupuvanam for coffee and meals. We have fallen in love with the ambience, cleanliness and the friendly staffs. You will get all kinds of vegetarian breakfast food items with any sweet of the day. And for lunch, complete meals thali served in banana leaves. Awesome the experience was. If I am to go back to Kumbakonam, the best place I would choose to eat and hangout would be “only Coffee”.

famous restaurants in Kumbakonam
Kumbakonam Famous Restaurants – Only Coffee restaurant

Hotel Pandian is Non-Vegetarians’ delight. It is my favourite eat out place for non-veg and I felt totally home. I prefer eating dinner all day here, try out all their non-veg specialties.

Famous non veg restaurant in Kumbakonam
Best Restaurant in Kumbakonam

Bonus – Where to eat in Kumbakonam

#3. Kumbakonam is Known for its festive mood all year around

Since its a temple town, all the significant events of each and every months are celebrated like festival here.

It is not a common sight to see all the houses in a town adorned with rangolis like this.

If you are a early riser like me, I am sure you would love morning sunrise in this calm colourful town. I don’t know what time the house ladies had to wake up to draw such beautiful art rangolis in front of their houses. Ah, What a sight. Even though I grew up in small town, I never had seen entire town bathed in colours. Definitely I am coming back for Ms/Mrs. Rangoli.

Kumbakonam Famous images, Kumbakonam photography
Colourful street in Kumbakonam

4. Kumbakonam is Famous for Green Skirts all over the town

I am a Nature lover, I have experienced vast lands, landscapes, wide scenery parks in my travel around India, outskirts of london, Scotland etc., But, Kumbakonam stole my heart with the endless rich agri land and lush green skirts as far as my eyes could see. 

Kumbakonam is Famous for agriculture
Kumbakonam scenic view – feast for the eyes, green fields all over the town

5. Kumbakonam town decorated with Lily Ponds and Rivers – Connecting People and culture

You may have seen many lakes and ponds where you live and travel. I am living in one such city, Bangalore, a city full of thousands of lakes. But, in Kumbakonam you could see thousands of lily ponds in and around the town. Beauty Untouched.

Kumbakonam photography
Kumbakonam lily Ponds
Rivers in Kumbakonam, kumbakonam images, kumnbakonam photography
Kumbakonam River

6. Not Just MahaMaham Festival but Kumbakonam is also Famous for DivyaDesams, Padal Petra Stalams and Navagraha Temples

We have been to Mahamaham festival in Kumbakonam in the year 2017, in the month of March. It is famous festival celebrated every year, we were blessed to visit MahaKumbeswar temple at that time. Little did we know at that time that Kumbakonam is also a house for some 108 Divya Desam temples and Padal petra Sivan temples.

In our following 11 -day road trip to Kumbakonam, we made note of all the above mentioned temples including Navagraha temples – we visited all the temples in and around the town. No Kidding.

As much as I love nature, I am fond of temple architecture. That’s one of the reason we chose our long vacation in Kumbakonam, because its called “Temple Town”. In our 2 yrs of travel together, we have been to many famous temples, UNESCO Heritage Sites, Hoysala Architecture etc.,

Kumbakonam temples are breathtakingly beautiful.

GangaiKondaCholapuram, UNESCO Heritage site
GangaiKondaCholapuram, UNESCO Heritage site

Of all the temples I have visited, of all the temples I have marvelled in and around Kumbakonam, one temple holds very special place in my memory ie. Tirubuvanam. I am definitely re-visiting this place not only for this marvellous temple, but also to explore the famous handloom silk sarees.

Kumbakonam Famous temple images, kumbakonam temple photography
Kampahareswarar Temple, Tirubuvanam

7. Kumbakonam is Famous for Cheap Stay and Good transport to other cities

Hotel rates are very moderate even during peak season time, from my two time year end road trip (11 days long ) experience in the years 2017 and 2018. Also in the month of March 2017, during Mahamaham Festival, we stayed in Poppys SET Residency, which was by far the best compare to our December stay in various hotels. Well, you might find the bookings are full during the season time but the rates remain moderate.

Kumbakonam is the best choice for anyone planning for long vacation without hurting the pocket and take tour of other nearby cities. Rooms in cities like Trichy, Tanjore, Chidambaram are costlier with limited choices so it is best to travel from Kumbakonam.

Also, you have one of the best NH roads connecting from kumbakonam and there are plenty of state and private buses connecting places in and far around the center town Kumbakonam.

Anytime I am planning for a trip to any of these cities, I am coming back to stay only in Kumbakonam.

Mannargudi Temple Elephant, Kumbakonam temple images
The Cute Temple Elephant – Mannargudi Temple

I suggest you to visit Kumbakonam by own vehicle instead of public transport, so you could see what I have fallen love with. Kumbakonam is the perfect getaway place for family vacation and holy trip. It is one of our all time favorite places, with many hangout places like UNESCO heritage sites, theaters, water dams, riverside lush green picnic spots, eat-outs and restaurants.