Combaconum, Or Kumbakonam, a city of British India, in the Carnatic, 20 m. N. E. of Tan-jore; pop. about 40,000. It is a place of great antiquity, is esteemed a holy city, and has several pagodas, gateways, and water tanks of very superior construction. One of these tanks is said to be filled every 12th year by the waters of the Ganges, 1,200 m. distant, which enter the reservoir by a subterranean channel.
Great Gopura at Combaconum.
This water is held capable of purifying from sin and uncleanness every one who bathes in it, and thousands journey thither at the proper season to participate in its benefits. The great gopura or gate pyramid, at one of the entrances to the town, is referred to by Fergusson in his "Architecture" as one of the most imposing structures of its class. It has 12 stories, the lowest of granite, and the others of brick covered with the most elaborately ornamented stucco. A multitude of figures of men and animals cover it from top to bottom, forming a mass of peculiar ornamentation which greatly detracts from the imposing effect of the whole.