.. in exactly that same order – is a good plan for a morning 2.5 hour tour plan starting from Kumbakonam 🙂
From Kumbakonam, take the Tanjore road, all the way to Thiruvalanchuzhi. You will see an arch on the right hand side. Take a right and the temple is on the left. No special parking – so park in one of the side roads. The temple has quite a rich history. Star of the temple is ofcourse the Swetha Vinayagar – white Vinayagar. Legend has it that this was moulded out of ocean water foam by Indra – during the Nectar Churning incident. The temple itself is big – Chozha style architecture – mainly focussing on being grandiose.
Temple Garden (Nandavanam)
Carry on that same road for about kilometer and a half, you would hit Swamimalai. You would cross two of the five-rivers-of-the-cauvery-delta — Cauvery and Arasalaar.
Swamimalai is one of my favourite temples – nice tall Subramanya Swami – about 5 ft ish tall. It so happened that when we went, abhishekam (traditional annointment) was happening. The best part of this is when they smear the entire idol with sandal wood paste, and then slowly reveal the eyes, nose, mouth, ears etc by swiping off the sandal at the different places. Beautiful.
From Swamimalai, drive back on the same road towards Tanjavur road, and then proceed on exactly the opposite side. This road leads straight to Patteeswaram. Fairly good asphalted road. Leads you straight to the Dhenupureeswarar/Gnanamibai/Durga temple. See pics here.
From Patteeswaram, take the road right opposite the gopuram near the Durga sannidhi, and go about half km. You will see a gopuram on the left. That is Thirusakthimuttam. Beautiful temple. Very ancient. The speciality of this temple is the Siva-Sakthi sannidhi. Here, Sakthi is in close embrace with the Siva lingam – something that I have not seen anywhere else. Other wise the temple is another Chozha style temple. There are Chozha ruins all over the Patteeswaram area. This area, Pazhayaarai, was the capital of the Chozha kingdom for a period of time.
And from Patteeswaram, there is a direct road to Darasuram, from where you can take the Tanjavur main road back to Kumbakonam.
All pictures taken from my Samsung Galaxy Grand. Post processing done on snapseed.