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.

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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