Kumbakonam is a town and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 40 kilometres from Thanjavur and 273 kilometres from Chennai. It is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district and is the second largest town in the district after Thanjavur. Kumbakonam emerged as an important education centre in the latter half of the 19th century.
Kumbakonam is called the temple town on account of the large number of temples within it and the nearby areas. It is a very peaceful city and the festival of Mahamaham is celebrated every 12 years at the Mahamaham tank in Kumbakonam. This is one of the few places in India which has a temple dedicated to Lord Brahma. The town is known for its temples, intricately carved Panchaloha idols, exquisite brass wares especially lamps, silk and betel leaves. The town has also been well - known for its prestigious educational institutions which have turned out eminent stalwarts in diverse spheres. The town is famous for brass vessels. It is primarily a market town for the predominantly agriculture based villages surrounding it. Betel leaves are cultivated more in Kumbakonam since it is also called as Kumbakonam Vettrilai (in Tamil). Now a days Kumbakonam is the favorite shooting spot for Tamil film-makers.
There is an oft quoted popular saying in Sanskrit noting Kumbakonam as even as more sacred than Varanasi(Kasi). A sin committed at some ordinary place is washed off by a visit to a holy place, sin done in a sacred spot is washed off by going on a pilgrimage to Varanasi(Kasi). If one dares to commit a sin in that sacred city too, that sin is wiped off at Kumbakonam and any sinful act done at Kumbakonam is atoned for there itself.