Kumbakonam is one of the 108 shrines sung by Azhwars. Six of the 12 Azhwars and Andal have sung the presiding deity of Kumbakonam. Thus going by the numbers of Azhwars that have sung, the shrine at Kumbakonam occupies the 3rd place in the list of 108 shrines with only Srirangam and Thirumala ahead of it. But for the presiding deity, addressed as “Aravamude!” (Nectar without giving satisfaction ever) by Nammazhwar, We would have not have had pleasure of having the 4000 devotional outpourings in Tamil today with us. This rare expression “Aravamude!” fitting the sweet personality of the deity here kindled the interest in the saint Nathamuni who used all his spiritual and physical powers to search the other outpourings of the saintly Azhwars and compile them.
Even today and even to the mundane persons like us the Lord Aaraavamudu gives Darshan proving that He is insatiable ambrosia. The numbers of festivals and occasions of the Lord, the insatiable ambrosiais taken in procession in and outside the temples may easily cross 200 days an year.
The festivals start from the Brahmotsava for 10 days with the biggest chariot of Tamil Nadu next only to that of Thiruvarur and the famous 12 Garuda Seva in Akshaya Triteeya in April-May followed by the Vasanthothsavam in May-June. Then the opening of Dakshinayana entrance with Pavitrotsavam for 7 days follows in July-August. Then there is the Uri – Adi in August-September.
SwamiDesika’s 10days festival follows suit in September-October with Navarathri and Vijayadasamee. The sraddha ceremony, Aaraavamudu observes in gratitude of Lakshmi Narayana Swami who built the Rajagopuram and died without any issue almost on the eve of Deepavalee in October November is unique to this shrine.
Then there is the 45 days of continuous festival of Dolothsavam, Adhyayanotsavam with the great 15th Seva in which Nammazhwar reaches the feet of Lord is depicted.(Almost all the DivyaDesamshave this particular festival with Nammazhwar attaining the feet of the Lord in solo but in Kumbakonam the it is depicted with the Lord seated on the lap of Adi Sesha with all His consorts including the one, normally in separate Sannidhi giving Him Company –bringing the essence Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya.
Thirumangai Azhwar’s attaining the feet of the Lord is depicted on the 10th day of Margazhi and Nammazhwar‘s twice on the 15th and 20th day of the month of Margazhi. Around January 5th the Sankaramana Utsavam of the Lord for 10 days with the chariot on the eve of Uththrayana (Pongal) is unique to this temple. On the 19th day in the month of Margazhi Lord made up asKomalvalliThayar with Thayar making herself as the Lord is a unique function of the shrine.
On the day of Pongal after the chariot festival, the Lord has Theerthavari in His Pushkarani behind the temple in the august company of Chakrapani and Rama. This is followed by the famous festival of float for five days with the float on the eve of Masi Magam. Once in twelve years, during the Maha Magam this becomes a ten days festival. There is the unique 10days Brahmotsavam for Komalvalli Thayar in the month of March-April. Thayar is taken on procession in the silver chariot.
On each of these occasions the insatiable ambrosia gives Darshan in various Alankaras. For the benefit of devotees who would love to cherish the memory of these Utsavam and console themselves in the event of their missing such Utsavams, “Sri Amudan Kainkarya Sabha” has come out with a calendar with monthly sheets starting from 14.4.2014 to 13.4.2015 with colour photo of the Lord for each of the Tamil months along with the date vise festivals during the Tamil months. The photos catch the eyes and hearts of each and every devotee.