The Kasi Viswanathar Temple in the temple town of Kumbhakonam is associated
with the Mahamagam festival which occurs once every 12 years; when 9 of the saters of the
revered rivers in India are believed to assemble in the Mahamagam tank.
This temple is considered to be the 28th in the series of Tevara
Stalams in the Chola kingdom located south of the river Kaveri.
Shivastalams in Kumbhakonam are the Kumbheswarar Temple,
Kudandaikkaronam, and the Nageswarar Temple (Kudandaikkeezhkottam). This is one of the
3 Kayarohana Stalams in Tamilnadu, the other 3 being Kanchikkaronam and Naagaikkaronam. The term Kayarohana stalam is
equivalent in meaning to a shrine where all beings become one with Shiva during the great
deluge. Other temples in Kumbhakonam include the Ramaswamy temple and the Vaishnava Divya
Desam Sarangapani temple.
Legends: 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 absoved of the sins washed away by bathers, and were directed
to bathe in the Mahamagam tank and worship Aadi Kumbheswarar. Viswanathar of Kaasi is
believed to have manifested himself here at Kumbhakonam at Kudandaikkaronam.
History: The name Kayarohana is associated with the Lakulisa Pasupata
Saiva sect which originated in Gujarat. This sect of saivism is said to have been
widespread in Tamilnadu during the days of Mahendravarma Pallavan.
The Temple: This temple with 2 prakarams and a 72 ft high Rajagopuram
is situated on the Northern bank of the Mahamagam tank. Images of the 9 river
Goddesses (one of which is Kaveri) are seen in this temple.
Festivals: Four worship srevices are offered each day here. Masi Magam
is the most important annual festival celebrated. Other festivals include Arudra
Darisanam, Kartikai Deepam, Aadi Pooram and Navaratri.