Post No. 11,084

Date uploaded in London – –    6  JULY 2022         

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 I went to Tiruvarur Thyagaraja (Shiva) temple from Madurai by car on 27th May,2022 and returned to Vaitheeswaran koil for overnight stay. It was not my first trip to Tiruvarur. May be second or third trip after a gap of 60 years. When I was young my parents took me there. I was born very near in Kilvalur near Nagappattinam.

Tiruvarur temple is famous for 6 things:-

It has the biggest Ratha/ Car/ Chariot in Tamil Nadu; name of the Ratha is Aazi Ther.

It has one of the largest temple tanks called Kamala Alayam.

It has the Samadhi of Kamala Muni, one of the 18 Sidhdhas

It is the place where once Manu Neethi Choza ruled.

Is the place where God Shiva did many miracles for Saint Sundarar.

It is the place associated with Trinity of Carnatic Music- Thyagaraja, Muthu Swami Deekshitar and Sama Shastrigal.


About the temple

It is located 45 kilometres from Thanjavur and 21 Kilometres from Nagappattinam.

The town is associated with lot of miracles. The huge temple has many different shrines. Two for Lord Shiva and two for Goddess Parvati

God Shiva here is called Vanmeekanathar (Vanmeeeka= Ant hill; related to Valmiki); another shrine is Thyagaraja or Thyakesa)

Goddess Parvati here is called Kamalambikai (Kamala + Ambika).

But the temple has three more shrines:-

TIRUVARUR ARANERI-  within the temple in second corridor (Prakaram). God Akileshwar; goddess Vandar Kuzali

TIRUVARUR PARAVAIYUN MANTALI- Is associated with Miss Paravai, one of the two wives of Saivite saints Sundarar. It is near the temple Chariot. God is known as Thoovaaya nathar, Goddess is known as Panjin Melladi Ammai. This is known as Paravai Nachiar Temple

(Tamil word Thali/shrine came from Sthala in Sanskrit; English word Temple came from Tamil word Ambala)

Inside the main temple is Alliam kothai , another goddess ; Kamalambal has a separate shrine, separated from the main shrine.

Two popular gods in the temple are

Goddess Raja Durga- people born under the stars Chitra and Hastham come here for special blessings; considered to be a goddess who readily fulfils the requests (demands) of her devotees.

Another popular god is Ganesh known as Maatru Uraiththa Pillayar, associated with Saivite saint Sundarar.


Details in bullet points:

The gods here are sung and sanctified by Appar/Tiru Navukkarasar, Sambandhar and Sundarar. Manikavasagar’s Thiruvasagam mentioned the temple.

It is one of the Pancha Bhuta Sthalas representing Prithvi (earth); pancha- five; bhuta- elements; sthala- shrine.

It is one of the Sapta Vidanga Sthalas- meaning one of the seven shrines where statue/idol appeared on its own. (Vi Danga- not sculpted with chisel; un chiselled idol).

Pathiri (Patali) tree is the Sthala Vrksha

Temple is also called Tiru mula sthanam- meaning the original shrine- that is older than Chidambaram



Lord Shiva helped the Saivite saint Sundarar in many ways; HE went to ask the hand of Miss Paravai for his devotee Sundarar.

Sundarar is associated with TIME TRAVEL and TELE TRASPORTATION. (see my old articles). Sundarar deposited some gold in the Manimutar River in far away Vridhdhachalam and revered the gold from the tank Kamalalayam here. He tele transported the gold!

Sundarar listed all the Saivite saints in his hymn Tiru Tondar Tokai and that happened here in the 1000 Pillar Mandapa (probably the mandapa came later in that place); This hymn was the basis of another great book called Periya Purana composed by poet Sekkizar.

Nami Nandhi, a Saivite saint, lighted the lamp of water here. When he ran out of  oil, he lit the lamp of water.

Other saints such as Seraman Perumal, Viran mindar, Seruthunai Thandi, Kazarsingan (all Naayanaars) are associated with this town.

A Choza king who followed Manu Smrti in letter and spirit was Manu Neethi Choza. When his son crushed a calf under the wheels of his speeding chariot, the cow came to the palace and rang the Calling Bell; immediately the king came out and found out the blunder. Immediately he asked his son to lie on the road and ran over the chariot on him. But Lord Shiva, appreciating his honesty revived both the calf and his son. The incident is sculpted here near East Tower.

(Calling Bells in Palaces- Hindu kings of South and North India used to hang a huge bell in front of the palace. Anyone with a grievance can go there and ring the bell. This calling Bell method is unique to Hindu India)

Another miracle is that Saint Sundarar, who lost vision in one of his eyes, regained it here.

There is a cave inside the temple known as Naga Bilam.In the olden days devotees used it as a short cut to reach the feet of God. So Indra closed it. The place known Adakeswaram is inside the temple.

Nine tall towers, 24 sub shrines,86 Ganesh statues and 365 Sivlingas add more glory to the temple.

Two Choza kings revived the Saivite Hymns Thevaram from Tiruvaur.

Nava Grahas (Nine heavenly bodies) in temples normally face in different directions. But here all the nine are facing one direction.

There are two sayings in Tamil:

Thiruvarur Ther Azaku (Tiruvarur became famous because of the beauty f its Ratha)

Kovil/temple, Kulam/Tank, Senkazu Neerodai/another tank- each measures five VELIS.

A Veli is equal to 6-67 acres.

This means all the three are equally huge in size.

The feeling one gets after visiting Tiruvarur is that it is  combination of several temples.

( I saw even huge Mahavira (or Buddha??) statue while I was passing from one shrine to another)


 Tags- Tiruvarur, Temple, Thyagaraja, Vanmeekanathar, Kamalalayam Tank, Kamala Muni, Carnatic Trinity

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