The Thiyagaraja temple at Thiruvarur is one of the ancient heritage sites of India and is a representation of the religio-socio-cultural history of the Tamil region for a period spanning over a millennium and a half. Little is known about this shrine to much of India.
Located near Thanjavur in Tamilnadu, Thiruvarur is an ancient shrine steeped in mysticism. It is rich in legend, history and tradition.
Thiruvarur Temple History : Trace the history of Thiruvarur through insights gained from the Tevaram hymns, temple inscriptions and other sources.
Thiruvarur Deities :Vanmikanathar represents the Moolavar while the shrine dedicated to Thiyagaraja is the better known shrine in the temple.
The Vanmikanathar Legend relates to Shiva appearing within an anthill in response to prayers from the Gods.
Legend has it that the Thiyagaraja (Somaskanda) image at Thiruvarur was created and worshipped by Maha Vishnu. Somaskanda is symbolic of fertility, of royal lineage etc.
Somaskanda Iconography : Somaskanda refers to a manifestation of Shiva with Skanda and Uma by his side.
Thiyagaraja represents the Somaskanda manifestation of Shiva at Thiruvarur and at a few other shrines. Thiyagarajar is referred to as Veedhi Vitankar in the Tevaram hymns.
The Thiyagaraja Shrine at Thiruvarur is steeped in mysticism. Thiyagaraja is associated with the Ajapaa Natanam.
Ajaba Natanam : Lord Thiyagaraja is said to have raisen from the navel of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu in his yoga stage breaths, and when Adisesha also breaths, there are waves found in the parkadal, the milky ocean at the vaikuntha, where Lord Vishnu resides.
Mucukunda Chola Legend : The valorous Chola king brought back from Indra 7 images of Somaskanda.
Sapta Vitanka Shrines refer to seven temples in the Chola kingdom enshrining images of Thiyagaraja brought to earth by Mucukunda Chakravarti.
Ajaba Natanam Cont :This causes tilting and lord Thiyagaraja is always visualised like doing a rhythmic dance which is known as "Ajaba Natanam". Whenever, the lord moves from vasantha mandabam to the chariot or to the thousand pillar mandapam to give dharsha to his bhakthas.
Devaram hymns dedicated to Thiruvarur describe festivities in the temple town during the 1st millennium CE. 62 of the Nayanmaar preceding Sundarar are mentioned in Tiruttondattokai.
Miracles associated with the lives of other Saivite Saints at Thiruvarur. Naminandi Adikal, Dandi Adikal and Somaasi Maaranaar are some of the other saints associated with Thiruvarur.
Thiruvarur Temple Layout : The vast temple complex at Thiruvarur with several shrines has many spacious mandapams and towering gopurams.
Nilothpalambal Inside the main temple there is another seperate shrine for Goddess Nilothpalambal. The Goddess,with two hands is Aadi Parasakti.Alongside the Goddess,an assistant is seen carrying on her shoulder Lord Muruga- an interesting feature-and the Goddess is shown touching the head of Lord Muruga.
Chandikesvarar - In all temples there's only one Chandikesvarar. At Thiruvarur, there are two Chandikes-varars, one known as Chandikes-varar and the other called as Yama Chandikesvarar, with curles of hair and beard. It is said that all those born at Thiruvarur are Sivaganas and lord Yama does not have any work to do. He complains to Easwara and says he does not have any work.
Manuniti Chola :There was a Chola king who ruled Thiruvarur by name Manuniti Chola. Once his son, when riding the Chariot, accidentally killed a calf on the road. As per the rules of the kindom, a bell was kept outside the palace and any one wishing to have one's grievance attended to should ring the bell. The cow mother of the calf, pulled the bell on seeing the dead calf. The king, the just ruller that he was, rode the chariot over his son. Pleased with the king's sense of justice, the gods are set to have revived.