June 12, 2010

Subramanya became Creator - Kumara Kottam Temple, Kanchipuram, India

Kanchipuram is one of the seven sacred cities for the Hindus. It is located in the Tamil Nadu state of India. It is being called as the city of one thousand temples. Even today, there are about 300 temples located in the city and many of them are very popular.

Sri Kumara Kottam temple is the most important Murugan (Subramanya) temple of Kanchipuram. Kumara Kottam temple is located in the west Raja street at a distance of around half a km from Kanchipuram bus stand. The temple is located very near to Kamakshi Amman temple and Sankara Mutt.


As per the legend, once Lord Subramanya imprisoned the creator deity Brahma for not knowing the meaning of Pranava Mantra and he took over the creation task from Brahma. The idol of Lord Murugan in this temple is in the form of Creator form called as Brahma Shasta.

The extension of the legend states that Lord Shiva ordered Murugan to release Brahma. Murugan worshiped Shiva Linga to get rid of his sin of punishing Brahma. Linga is found in the temple in the name of Senapateeswarar.

As per another legend associated with this temple, Kachiappa Sivachariyar used to compose Skanda Purana hymns and deposit his works in the sanctum sanctorum of Murugan. Every night, Lord Murugan would modify his manuscript and make corrections.

A 20th century period scholar named Pamban Swamigal came to Kanchipuram. When he could not find out the location of Kumara Kottam temple, it is said that Lord Murugan himself took the form of a boy and guided the saint to this temple.

There is also a little known legend associated with Vishnu related to this site.  When there was a disastrous flood all over the world, the sage Markandeya swam through and reached Kanchipuram. The city was the only place which was not affected by the flood. Lord Vishnu followed the sage and he too reached Kanchipuram. He bathed in the holy waters of the temple and worshiped Lord Subramanya of Kumara Kottam temple. As per his request, Lord Subramanya made him to be present next to his shrine in the same temple. There is a separate shrine for Vishnu called as Ullam Urugum Perumal in this temple.


The Tamil version of Skanka Purana (the story of Lord Subramanya/Murugan, the son of Lord Shiva) was composed by the saint scholar Kachiappa Sivachariyar in this temple.

Another highlight of the temple is that the famous 'Tiruppugazh' was composed by Arunagirinathar in praise of Lord Murugan in this temple.

The temple belongs to Chola period.

Temple Layout:

The temple has west facing tower (Raja gopuram).

The sanctum sanctorum enshrines Murugan. He has two arms and is found in the standing posture. His sculpture is exceedingly attractive. As stated above, he is in the form of Brahma Shasta. Only few temples depict this form of Murugan and it is considered to be unique and rare form. The main shrine has a long ardha mandapa and maha mandapa apart from the sanctorum.

Near the tower, the flag staff, bali peetha and peacock vahana are found facing towards the main shrine.

The entrance of the temple's area enclosing the main shrine and inner prakara has the sub-shrine enshrining big idol of Ganesha.

The temple has two prakaras around the main shrine. The outer prakara is open space whereas the inner prakara has many sub-shrines and idols.

The mandapa where Kachiappa Sivachariyar composed Skanda Purana is found in the outer prakara.

In the maha mandapa, facing the presiding deity, the idols of Shiva Linga named Senapateeswarar and Santana Ganapati are situated.

The inner prakara has the following sub-shrines:

  • Palani Andavar with Ganesha at the entrance
  • Arumugam with Valli and Devasena - Utsava idols
  • Urugum Ulla Perumal (Vishnu) with his two consorts
  • Somaskanda  - Utsava idols
  • Muthukumaraswamy - Utsava idols
  • Nava Veeras - Utsava idols
  • Gaja Valli - a combine form of Valli and Devasena - Utsava idol
  • Valli - Utsava idol
  • Devasena - Utsava idol
  • Murugan with his two consorts - Utsava idols
The following idols are also situated in the inner prakara:

  • Nava Veeras
  • Pamban Swamigal
  • Ramalinga Adigal
  • Kachiappa Sivachariyar
  • Veerabhadra
  • Dakshinamurti
  • Vishnu
  • Chandikeshwara
  • Navagrahas

Kumara Kottam temple is definitely one temple in Kanchipuram which should not be missed.

Happy travelling.

Site Name: Kumara Kottam Temple
1) One of the most important temples of Kanchipuram
2) The most important Murugan temple in Kanchipuram
3) The temple where the Tamil version of Skanda Purana was composed
4) The deity on which 'Tirupgazh' was composed

Kanchipuram, 75 kms from Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai (around 75 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city

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