Adi Kumbeswarar temple is the major one among the Saivite temples and located in the centre of Kumbakonam at Big Bazaar Street . This temple covers an area of 30181 sq.ft. with a length and breadth of 750 feet, and 252 feet respectively. This temple comprises of three Praharas and three Gopurams in the eastern, northern and western directions. It is believed that Govinda Theeksithan, the Chieftain of Achutha Nayakar of Thanjavur, renovated this oldest temple during 16 th century. The East Gopuram consists of 9 stories with a height of 128-ft. Mangala Theertham, marriage hall and small temples for Muruga, Ganapathi and Mangalambigai are other major constituents of this temple.
This temple is an ancient and placed its name in Indian history. The presiding Deity of this temple is Lord KUMBESWARA and the presiding Goddess is Sri MANGALAMBIGAI.
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 a hunter. The content of the pot (amirtham) was mixed with the sand and in this way emerged Shiva-linga is now worshipped in the temple.
Also here, in Adi Kumbeswara temple, we can see a sculpture of dancing Shiva in anand tandava posture, in which he won a dancing conquest with Kali. No wonder, Chidambaram, the Nataraja’s quarters, is just 60 km from here.