The Sarngapani Temple, (note: it is not SARANGApani) is located in Kumbakonam of Tamil Nadu, India, situated in between Cauvery and Arisalar rivers. The temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams.As per legend sage Hema Rishi performed penance in the bank of Potramarai (Golden lotus)tank to be blessed with Goddess Lakshmi as his daughter. Sri Maha Vishnu was pleased by the penance and Hema rishi's wish was granted and Lakshmi emerged out of the Potramarai tank among thousand lotuses and was thus named Komalavalli (the one who emerged from lotus). Later Sriman Narayana descended to earth as Aravamudhan in a chariot drawn by horses and elephants from his abode Vaikuntam. He stayed in the near by Someswaran Temple to marry Her and the couple eventually got married.
The name Sarngapani is derived from Sarnga the bow of Sri Rama and pani meaning hand - the one holding the bow in his hand is Sarngapani.
There is another story related to this temple. Once there was a dispute between the rishis as to whom to give more importance among "Sivan, Bhrama and Vishnu".
As they couldn't resolve the matter they sent Brighu Maharishi to test and Brighu Maharishi went to Siva logam and Bhramalogam and was dishonored by them. Seething with anger, he went at last to the place of Maha Vishnu.
There too he was not received properly. He got very angry and kicked Maha Vishnu in his chest where Godess Mahalakshmi lives. But, Mahavishnu took the feet which kicked him and said that it was an honor that his foot had touched him, and saying so he took away the third eye of Brighu Maharishi which was under his right toe.
Brighu Maharishi regained his temper and also lost his eye of Pride and he became very humble and pleaded Maha Vishnu to forgive him. Meanwhile, as Bhrigu Maharishi had kicked Maha Vishnu’s chest where Mahalakshmi lived, she got upset and angry and left Maha Vishnu and came to the earth to live in Kolhapur.
Without Mahalakshmi the Goddess of wealth, Lord Narayana was worried and came to earth in search of her. But as he could not find her, he transformed himself into Lord Srinivasa and married Goddess Padmavathi. Padmavathidevi had a dispute with Lord Srinivasa and left Tirupati and stayed at Tiruchanur. Meanwhile, Mahalakshmi who was staying at Kolhapur came to know the news of Lord Srinivasa's marriage from Narada. She became very angry and started to search Lord Srinivasa who had fled to the paathala loga (abyss) in Kumbakonam, to escape from Mahalakshmi's anger.
Goddess Mahalakshmi searched for Lord Srinivasa everywhere but could not find Him. So she became a small child and crawled as Bala Komalavalli in the Potramarai Kulam. Then Sriman Narayan descended to the earth in a chariot drawn by horses and elephants and married Komalavalli. Mahalakshmi later repented her mistake of leaving the Lord and vowed to never again leave him. Hence she became to be known as "Padi Thanda Pathini". ( The wife who will not cross the door step)
There is a "Paadhala Srinivasar" in this temple which is related to the above tale.
Sarangapani temple has the tallest temple tower in the town. It was built by Cholas and later maintained by Madurai Nayaks. The rajagopuram has eleven tiers and has a height of 173 feet. There are five other smaller gopurams in the temple. The rajagopuram has figures depicting various religious stories. The temple faces east and the Potramarai tank is located in the western entrance.
This temple is along Kaveri and is one of the Pancharanga Kshetrams.
The main sanctum is in the form of a chariot drawn by horses and elephants with openings on either side, showing the descent of Sarangapani from heaven in this chariot. There is a sculptural representation of the sage Hema rishi in the western part of the temple. The central shrine is for Sarangapani in sayana kolam (sleeping posture), where Sarangapani rests his head in his right hand. Lord Brahmma is above His naval and Sun on the head side. There are two entrances to the sanctum named as Utharayana Vaasal (Northern gate)that is opened from 15th of January to 15th of June and Dhakshanayana Vaasal( southern gate) is opened the next six months period.
The temple chariots are huge and weighs 300 tonnes each . The chariot has many beautiful and intricate carvings at its base. The chariot is next only in size to the ones in Thygaraja temple in Thiruvarur and Andal Temple in Srivilliputhur. The temple chariots are pulled by hundreds of devotees across the streets around the temple twice a year, once during the Brahma Utsavam during April-May and other during Ratasaptami in January-February. The utsavars of Sarangapani and Kamalvalli are brought to the chariots after elaborate religious rituals
As per a legend, once there lived a devotee called Lakshmi Narayanswamy and he was great devotee of Aravamudhan and spent most of his life to the service of the deity.He was the one who built the Rajagopuram of the temple. At the end of his life, he felt his lonliness and prayed for his karma to be performed. Aravamudhan descended himself to perform the last rites on a Deepavali day. The ritual is performed annually by the priests and is one of its kind where death rituals are performed in the precincts of a temple. This event is performed during the midday puja but devotees are not allowed to see this ceremony.
The Moolavar of this temple is Sri Saarngapaani. Aara Amudhan, Abayaryaapthamiruthan and Utthanasayi are the other names of Moolavar. Prathyaksham for Hema Maharishi. Moolavar is in Udhyoga sayana posture , he appears as though rising from sleep.
Thayar of this sthalam is Komalavalli Thaayar.
There are sannidhis for Komalavalli thayar, Padala srinivasar, Ramar , Desikan and others
Mangalasasanams The temple is revered by the verses of Periyazhwar, Andal, Nammazhwar, Tirumangai azhwar , Boodathazhwar, and Peiazhwar with a total of 51 pasurams (verses)
Thai ( mid Jan to mid Feb) - Kanu Utsavam ,Ratasaptami
Masi ( mid Feb to mid Mar) -Masi Magaham,Float Festival
Panguni ( mid Mar to mid Apr) -Brahmmotsavam,Tirukkalyanotsavam
Chitirai ( mid Apr- Mid May) - Akshaya Tritiyai ,Garuda Sevai Chaitra Brahma Utsavam
Vaikasi (mid May to mid June) - Vasantha utsavam
Adi (mid June to mid July) - Pavitrotsavam,Ekadasi Jyeshotsavam
Avani ( mid aug - mid sept) - Sri Jayanthi - Uriyadi utsavam
Puratasi ( mid Sept - mid Oct) - Navarathri utsavam
Iypassi ( mid Oct - mid Nov) - Deepavali, Shrarddham (annual ceremony)of Sri Lakshmi Narayanaswami
Karthigai( mid Nov - mid Dec) - Deepa Utsavam,Unjal Utsavam
Marghazhi ( mid Dec - mid Jan) - Pahal pathu for 10 days and Rapathu 10 days, Pongal Utsavam .
Temple Timings The temple is open from 6:00 AM till 12 noon and from 5:00 pm till 9:00 pm
Kumbakonam is well connected by road and rail roads. The nearest airport is Trichy and Chennai is the international airport. kumbakonam is around 270 kms from Chennai, 297 kms from Bangalore, less than 100kms from Trichy