INDIE-svatá místa

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three times bigger image in new window Kumbakonam is one of the oldest towns in South India. In 7th century it was the capitol of Chola kings.
three times bigger image in new window Rivers Kaveri (Chauvery) and Arasalar flow from both sides of the town.
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In the center of the city there are 18 temples mostly dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva. There is also one rare temple of demigod Brahma.

three times bigger image in new window Kumbakonam is named after demon Kumbakarna, Ravana's brother, but the name has also relation to Shiva's temple Adi Kumbeswara.
three times bigger image in new window Adi Kumbeswara Temple
is the biggest Shiva's temple in the city. Its gopuram is 38 m high and it is decorated with many sculptures.
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The Shiva-linga in Adi Kumbeswara temple has a shape of the pot (in Sanskrit "kumbha"). Demigod Brahma got a pot with the seed of creation from Lord Shiva and during the flood the pot floated from Kailash to the south. In the place of present Kumbakonam it was hit by Shiva's arrow who struck it disguised as hunter. The content of the pot (amirtham) was mixed with the sand and in this way emerged Shiva-linga now worshipped in the temple.

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Also here, in Adi Kumbeswara temple, we can see a sculpture of dancing Shiva in ananda-tandava posture, in which he won a dancing conquest with Kali. No wonder, Cidambaram, the Nataraja's quarters, is just 60 km from here.

three times bigger image in new window Sarangapani Temple
is one of the most important Vishnu temples in South India (the others are Sri Rangam and Tirupati). Seven Alvars, important personalities from Shri sampradaya, sung the glories of this temple. It was built from 13th to 17th century by Nayak kings, but the inner sanctum is older and it dates back to the beginning of their era. Gopuram is 44 m high. South gate is used as the entrance in times when sun is on the southern hemisphere and northern gate serves as the entrance when sun travels north.
There are many Deities in the temple and we can find also the sanctum of Komalavalli (Lakshmi) a Pathala Shrinivas (Vishnu).
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History of the temple is connected with the story from Krishna book. The sages headed by Maharishi Saunaka on the banks of Sarasvati wanted to find out which god is the highest. They send Bhrigu Muni to visit them and test them. At the end Bhrigu pronounced Vishnu as the greatest since He didn't loose His temper even after being kicked by Bhrigu in the chest. Vishnu on the contrary welcomed Bhrigu with sweet words and gave him honor proper to a visiting brahmana...

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After that incident Bhrigu regretted his offence and prayed to be able to serve the Lord in two next births. In Ramacandra's pastimes he was Guha and thereafter he was born as the sage Hima. Himarishi prayed for Shri Vishnu's help in a place of present Kumbakonam and Vishnu descended on Earth in His chariot. The central sanctum and mandapa (hallway) of the temple has the shape of a chariot and in the basement wheels and elephant pulling the chariot are clearly visible...

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Bhrigu also got the blessing to have Lakshmi as his daughter. In this way Lakshmi could be reunited with her husband Shri Vishnu, since she couldn't tolerate Bhrigu's insult towards Vishnu in her presence and left.

Another important temple is Nagesvara Temple with the statue of Dakshinamurti (Shiva as the teacher) and Adranarishvara (Shiva as half men half woman). In this temple sun rays falls directly on Shiva-linga on the main altar and it is said that sun-god Surya in this way worships Lord Shiva.

three times bigger image in new window Ram Swami Temple
was built in 16th and 17th century by Nayak king Raghunath. The main Deities are Sita, Ram, Lakshman, Satrugna (His brothers) and Hanuman. Deities are from the black stone decorated with silver paraphernalia. On the road to the temple and on the walls and towers, there are many paintings and sculptures with the scenes from Ramayana.
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In right down corner of this wall painting there is Hanuman bringing the Himalayan mountain to rescue his Lord Ramacandra. Here is the whole story...
Hanuman and Pushpa-samjivani: Ravana's son Indrajit fought with many mystic weapons during the Battle of Lanka. He could be invisible for others and by his special snake weapon he made Ram and Lakshman unconscious...

three times bigger image in new window ...The physician from Varana army and Vibhishana advised Hanuman to bring medical plant Pushpa-samjivani from one Himalayan mountain "Pushpa-samjivani" means "the flower of revitalization" and its leaves had such power that by eating it one didn't feel hunger and thirst for 5 years. One didn't get sick also and furthermore it had the power to bring one back to live. The Pushpa-samjivani plant could be recognized by its special glare...
three times bigger image in new window ...Local rishis were often taking advantage of it, because by its power they could meditate undisturbed for years. When they saw Hanuman approaching, they knew that he wants Pushpa-samjivani, because there was nothing else interesting - just sages meditating with closed eyes. They began to fear about their plant and by their mystic power they caused all the plants on the mountain to look as Pushpa-samjivani...
three times bigger image in new window ...Since all plants had the same glare, Hanuman was in his search for medicine perplexed. "If I cannot find the proper one, I will take the whole mountain with me," told Hanuman to himself and started to lift it. Surprised rishis fled and Hanuman flew to Lanka with the whole mountain in his hand...
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...In the meantime Jambhavan tied all death bodies of demos to heavy stone and thrown them to ocean knowing that Pushpa-samjivani will revitalize everybody present. Than the plant came and brought back to consciousness Ram, Lakshman and the whole army of the monkeys. Ramacandra finally won the battle of Lanka.

- Gate of the Ram Swami Temple.

three times bigger image in new window Jay and Vijay are doorkeepers of Vaikuntha, spiritual world, guarding its entrance and not allowing unqualified people to enter. In India we can often see their murti at the entrance of the temples. Although we may not be qualified to enter Vaikuntha, to the temple of Ram Swami we have been allowed...
three times bigger image in new window Mandapa (hallway) of Ram Swami Temple.
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Cakrapani Temple
is dedicated to Sudarshana-chakra, the disk of Lord Vishnu, used for killing demonic elements. Vishnu holds in His hands four symbols: conchshell and louts flower used for blessings to pious and club and disc for killing demons. His disc is called Sudarshana (literary "auspicious vision"), because it sees all miscreants in the same way and doesn't discriminate between small or great demons. All are getting Sudarshana's mercy....

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All light sources and illuminating objects like Sun and Moon are reflecting the rays of Sudarshana-chakra. Sudarshana's light enable us to distinguish one thing from the other, good and evil and therefore it is related to knowledge and transcendental wisdom. In Bhagavad-gita and other scriptures we can read phrases like "the torchlight of knowledge" and "sword of detachment" and this connection with Sudarshana-chakra can bring us better understanding of those phrases.

The entrance to Cakrapani Temple.

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Once every 12 years a major festival is held at Mahamaham Tank. On the full moon day in the mouth of Magha (Jan/Feb), when Jupiter passes over Leo, the waters of Ganges, Yamuna and seven other holy rivers are supposed to flow into the tank. Every year there is smaller festival, but during last big one in 1992 as many as 2 million people gathered. The next scheduled major festival will be in 2004.

three times bigger image in new window "Pankaja" means "lotus" and it is favorite flower of Lord Krishna.
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Brahmana ashram.
Formerly 3000 brahmanas lived in Kumbakonam and they took care about temple worship and other different functions. Nowadays there are about 300 brahmanas and they no longer live in those old ashrams. They live in their own houses outside the temple area. Srila Prabhupada considered mode of worship of South Indian brahmanas to be very precise and if we want to learn Vedic rituals we should learn it from them.

three times bigger image in new window Yajna Tent where Vedic sacrifices are held. We came just at the end of yajna.
three times bigger image in new window Kumbakonam is town with many interesting people, shops and of course many temples of all sizes. Some of them are huge and great and some are no bigger than a case.

English texts, selection of images, design:
Tattva-darsi das
Most texts are based on the information from Jada Bharata's book Holy Places of India,
which contains many additional information useful for travelers. It can be found on:

Photographs from their travels:
Radha-raman das and Pavan-suta das


Datum vzniku:
March 2002
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