Kasi Viswanathar Temple Kumbakonam




Kasi Viswanathar Temple, Kumbakonam  is a Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Shiva, located in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, India. Shiva is worshipped as Kasi Viswanathar, and is represented by the lingam. His consort Parvati is depicted as Visalakshi. The presiding deity is revered in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the nayanars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam.

The temple complex covers two acres and is located close to the Mahamaham tank. It houses two gateway towers known as gopurams. The tallest is the western tower, with seven stories and a height of 72 feet (22 m). The temple has numerous shrines, with those of Kasi Viswanathar, Visalakshi and Navakanniyar being the most prominent.

The temple has six daily rituals at various times from 6:00 a.m. to 9 p.m., and twelve yearly festivals on its calendar. The Masi Magam festival is celebrated during the day of the Magam (February – March) is the most prominent festival.

The present masonry structure was built during the Nayak during the 16th century. In modern times, the temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
The temple is located near the banks of Mahamaham tank. This temple has two prakarams (outer courtyard) and a 72 ft high Rajagopuram. The temple has a nava kanniyar aka nava kannigais (Nine rivers) in the form of deities worshipping Lord Shiva and hence the temple is referred as ‘Nava Kanniyar’ temple.The nine river deities depicted are Ganges, Yamuna, Narmada, Saraswati, Cauvery, Godavari, Krishna, Tungabhadra and Sarayu. The lingam worshipped by Rama is located in the north eastern prakaram (outer courtyard) of the temple. As per local legend, he lingam is believed to grow with time.
This place has been referred to in thevaram written by Saint Poet (7th Century AD) Thirugnana Sambanthar and Thirunavukkarasar. This temple is referred back to Ramayana period when Lord Rama and Lakshmana are said to have worshipped Shiva here during their search for Sita, and acquired Rudramsam, to enable them to fight Ravana. Legend has it that the nine sacred rivers of India, prayed to Shiva at Banares (Viswanathar) to be absolved of the sins washed away by bathers, and were directed to bathe in the Mahamagam tank and worship Adi Kumbeswarar Temple. Viswanathar of Kaasi is believed to have manifested himself here at Kumbhakonam at Kudandaikkaronam.

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