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Timings : 5:30 AM - 11:30 AM and 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Time Required : 1 - 2 hrs

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

Kalyanasundaresar Temple, Kumbakonam Overview

Located in Nallur (also called Thirunallur) on the outskirts of Kumbakonam city, Kalyanasundaresar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The lingam of Lord Shiva enshrines the temple and is known as Kalyanasundaresar and his consort Goddess Parvathy is portrayed as Girisundari. Like the other Saivite temples in the area, this is also revered in the Tamil canonical work- Tevaram. The history of the temple is associated with sages Agastaya and Amaraneethi Nayanar, both of who were Tamil Saiva saints. The temple is believed to possess supernatural powers and as per common belief the shivling in the temple changes colour five times in a day.

Boasting of three precincts and two elaborate gopurams (entrance towers), the main shrines are constructed on an artificial hilltop whereas the shrine of Goddess Kali is located in the basement on the last precinct. Kalyanasundaresar Temple is believed to have been built during the Chola Period in the 9th century; however, many modifications and alterations were made to the original structure during the reign of Vijayanagar Dynasty, Sungma kings, Suluva and Tuluva empires. The temple follows the six daily ritual pattern beginning at 5:30 AM in the morning and continuing till late at night.

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Legend of Kalyanasundaresar Temple

Among the several myths and legends associated with Kalyanasundaresar Temple, the most prominent one goes to say that Lord Shiva sent sage Agastya to the temple spot to balance the weight of gods attending his marriage with Goddess Parvathi. The sage witnessed the wedding of Shiva and Parvathy here and then he lodged one more lingam behind the already existing one to worship the gods.

Another story goes to say that Amaraneethi Nayanar (one of the 63 nayanars) supplied the Shiva devotees with undergarment. One day Lord Shiva tried to test his devotion; he appeared infront of the sage in the form of Brahmin and deposited a rag for the sage to protect. Later, he tricked him and stole the rag himself. The Brahmin then appeared before the sage and demanded the rag and proceeded to demand gold as much as the weight of the rag, after learning that the sage had misplaced it. The sage gave away all his wealth but still could not balance the weight. He then gave away himself and his wife to the weighing scale. On seeing this, Lord Shiva got very pleased with his devotion and granted him all his wishes.

Architecture of Kalyanasundaresar Temple

Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, Kalyanasundaresar Temple is locally categorised into Perunkoil (also called Madakkoil) which means a big temple built on an artificially raised platform (an artificial hillock in this case). The shrine boasts of an elaborate five tiered rajagopuram in addition to another smaller gopuram present in the compound. The presiding deity Kalyanasundaresar- Lord Shiva in the form of lingam and his consort Goddess Parvathy occupy the main sanctum. Other lingam installed by sage Amaraneethi Nayanar occupies the other sanctum. The interior walls have carvings of Shiva and Parvathy on the west, Lord Vishnu on the North and Lord Brahma on the South. Shiva’s consort Goddess Parvathy in the form of Girisundari occupied the first precinct.

There is also an idol of Nataraja where Shiva is depicted with eight hands, a head of a demon in a cosmic dance form. Among the many other deities, the prominent ones in the shrine include Ganpathy, sage Agastya, Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar. Goddess Kali has her shrine located in the base of the hillock. The temple also has a large water tank in the premises called Sapthasagaram.

Rituals and Festivals at Kalyanasundaresar Temple

The temple has daily rituals performed six times a day by the temple priest- Ushathkalam at 6:00 AM., Kalasanthi at 8:00 AM., Uchikalam at 12:00 noon, Sayarakshai at 6:00 PM., Irandamkalam at 8:00 PM and Ardha Jamam at 9:00 PM. The rituals involve the worship of both Kalyanasundaresar and Girisundari amidst music from nagaswaram and tavil. The puja comprises four steps- abhisheka (sacred bath), alangaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps).

The weekly rituals are somavaram and sukravaram, fortnightly rituals called pradosham and monthly rituals called amavasai (new moon day), kiruthigai, pournami (full moon day) and sathurthi.

The most prominnet festival celebrated in the temple is Masi Magam during the Tamil month of Masi. Pregnant women celebrate the bangle clunking ceremony for easy delivery. Another Important festivals are Shivrathri and Margazhi Tiruvadhirai.

How To Reach Kalyanasundaresar Temple

The temple is located in Nallur, 10 kms from the town of Kumbakonam. You can take a public bus from Kumbakonam Bus Stand to Sundara Perumal Koil. After getting down here, the temple is further 2 kms to the south and can be reached in an auto.

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