The region around kumbakonam was inhabited in early sangam period (3rd Century BC). The present day kumbakonam is the site of the ancient town of kudavayil where the Early Chola king Karikala held his court. Kumbakonam is also identified as the Malaikurram which served as the Chola capital in 7th century AD. Kumbakonam is the battle place, where the war between the Pallava King Sri Vallabha and Pandya King happened in 859. And a war between the Pandya King Srimara Pandya and confederacy of the Cholas and Gangas.
During the Medival Chola from the 9th century to 12th Century period, Kumbakonam came into limelight and rose to be a prominent city. A town called Pazhaiyaarai, which is 8km from Kumbakonam was the capital of entire Chola Empire in the 9th century.
Following the decline of Chola Kingdom in 12th century, Kumbakonam was conquered and ruled by various emperors like Pandyas in 1290, Krishnadevaraya (1509-29), Madurai & Thanjavur Nayakas from 1535 to 1673 and finally it fell to Marathas. All these foreign dynasties made a huge impact in culture and demographics of the region. The decline of the Vijayanagar empire is the period on which the mass influx of poets, musicians and cultural artists from the kingdom.
The Kanchi mathas was temporarily transferred to kumbakonam in 1780s following the invasion of Hyder Ali of Mysore. When Tipu Sultan invaded the south east coast of India in 1784, kumbakonam fell and the whole economy collapsed and it never recover from the calamity till the 19th century.
After the rise of British in India, Kumbakonam was ceded to British East India Company by Thanjavur Maratha ruler Serfoji 2 in 1799. During the period of British, Kumbakonam reached its zenith of prosperity. Railway lines were established linking to ports of Madras, Turicorin and Nagapatinam and the Tanjore district court was established in 1806 that functioned till 1863.
> During the Mahamaham festival in 1992, there occurred a huge stampede in which 48 people were killed and 74 were injured.
> Following the Mahamaham festival in 2004, on July 16, a major fire accident in the Sri Krishna School killed 94 children.
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