An ode to Kumbakonam

Ramaswamy Kovil, Kumbakonam

On the morning of my third day in Kumbakonam, my dad suggested going to the Ramaswamy temple (kovil, in Tamil). We walked only a few minutes to get there. I could see the gopuram (the monumental tower at the entrance of a temple) from quite some distance. It was beautifully painted in blues, greens, reds and others. The gopuram of a south Indian temple is almost always a sight to marvel. If you would be interested in reading about another beautiful temple very close to Kumbakonam (Brihadeeswara temple in Tanjavur), click Here to read more.

And if you are more interested in what I have to say today, then read on… Continue reading “Ramaswamy Kovil, Kumbakonam”

An ode to Kumbakonam

A Pilgrimage to Sabarimala (3)

Hello again! This is a post featuring my mother as she talks about the pilgrimage to Sabarimala. This is a continuation from my previous post, so if you haven’t had the opportunity to read it, I suggest you first read those two and come back here for more. After having described the events leading to the start of the pilgrimage, my mother now talks about the journey itself. Continue reading “A Pilgrimage to Sabarimala (3)”

An ode to Kumbakonam

A Pilgrimage to Sabarimala (1)

On one of our visits to the Kumbeswara Temple (the famous temple after which Kumbakonam is named), I saw a few men, dressed typically in black, shouting “Swamiye Aiyyappo, Aiyyappo Swamiye” in unison. They were huddled up together on the floor and one elderly man was tying some things in a cotton cloth bag. I hadn’t seen this before but at once, I knew what was going on. I had heard several times from my mother the descriptions of what I was seeing. These were devotees of the Hindu God Aiyyappan and were going to Sabarimala (a mountain in Kerala, on top of which is the most famous and significant Aiyyappan temple in the country). My mother’s father was a devout follower of Aiyyappan and has undertaken this journey to Sabarimala for 40 continuous years while he lived. Her brothers have also been on this journey many times.  So instead of asking Google about it, I decided to ask my mother to narrate all she knows. Today, I feature her on the blog as she narrates a custom she holds very close to her heart and has seen from close quarters over the first three decades of her life. Here is what she has to say… Continue reading “A Pilgrimage to Sabarimala (1)”

An ode to Kumbakonam

Kumbakonam Degree Coffee

Kumbakonam is known for three things, my father has frequently said to me and others in the past couple of weeks. The three things on his list are – Degree Filter Coffee (the topic of today’s post), Betel leaves (I’ll probably share an anecdote about my grandfather chewing on these in another post) and Temples (I’ve got a lot to show and share!). Interestingly, one of the news articles in the Times of India today reads “India’s ‘first coffee’ brews GI tag” as its headline. And that was the prompt I needed. Continue reading “Kumbakonam Degree Coffee”

An ode to Kumbakonam

Why this new series of articles?

I am from a small town, rather merely a glorified village, in the south of India called Kumbakonam (click here to look the place up on the map). The closest city to this place is perhaps a city called Thanjavur, the erstwhile capital of Chola dynasty.

My father grew up in Kumbakonam. Of course, it was a very different place then. It was a little village full of temples and a few schools and the glorious Kumbakonam Arts college, where he pursued his undergraduation.  Continue reading “Why this new series of articles?”