Situated in the heart of Kumbakonam city.
Legend tells us that nine sacred rivers (Ganga, Yamuna. Saraswati, Narmada, Kaveri, Krishna, Godavari, Thungabadra and Sarayu) of India prayed to Lord Shiva at Kasi temple to relieve them from the sins deposited by devotees who bathe on their water.
Lord Shiva directed them to go to Kumbakonam to take bathe at the Mahamagam tank there and worship Lord Shiva at this temple. Nine rivers did so; got rid of their sins.
Images of these nine rivers are inscribed at this temple along with the Shiva Lingam at the Sanctum Sanctorum. The nine rivers are together known as “Navakanniyar” in Tamil. Due to its association with them the temple became “Navakanniar” Koil or Temple.
The temple is on the north bank of the famous Mahamaham tank. The famous Hindu temple has a Shiva Linga on the southern side of the temple, which is believed to have worshipped by Ravana (the demon king of Lanka). It is believed that this Lingam grows with ages.