In my most recent trip to Kumbakonam, on a fine sunday morning, I took in my brother-in-law’s scooty ES. My objective was to go to the Ramaswamy temple nearby. Why Ramaswamy kovil – that was the easiest my wife could give directions to – take that small road that you see from here, go straight until it hits the temple walls. Park and go in. How easy could it get? So thats what I did.
The temple is beautiful. It has Sita-Lakshmana-Bharatha-Shatrugna-Hanuman-Rama in Pattabhisheka kolam (Coronation ceremony). The idols are huge – eac of them 7-8 feet tall. And the temple is pretty old.
The Ramaswamy Temple which depicts the paintings of Ramayana is another important Vaishanavite temple in Kumbakonam. The greatness of Ramaswamy Temple is said to be the only temple where Lord Rama,Goddess Sita are in the same platform and Lord Hanuman is playing the veena instead of reading the Ramayana. The entire deity is said to be made from Saligrama monolith. The Temple is filled with intricate carvings in its pillars.
Excert from wikipedia (src)
After seeing this temple, me being me, I decided, I will take a different route back home. And Kumbakonam, being Kumbakonam, if you get lost, you find more temples. While I was gazing blankly around for landmarks, while driving, I found Someshwarar kovil. This was my next stop. The main deity is named Vyazha Someshwarar. It has however come to be known, among locals, as Ezha Someshwarar (poor Someshwarar). Popular folklore is that, this used to be a rich temple, until some other temples (like Ramaswamy temple) came up near by. And then, people stopped frequenting this temple as much, and it became poor. Looking at the size of the temple, it has nothing to do with our defenition of poor though.
While going around the temple prahara, I happened to see another gigantic temple, next door. So I asked an old man sitting inside the temple, and he said, that is the Sarangapani temple, and that was my next stop.
This is another huge temple. The main deity Saranganathar is seen in reclining pose (like Srirangam). Then satisfied with the number of temples for the day, I headed back home.
Some other awesome links about the above temples: