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Temples of Tamilnadu

Sapta Vitanka Shrines

Seven temples in the vicinity of Tiruvarur have grand shrines dedicated to Tyagaraja (Somaskanda) and are referred to as the Sapta Vitanka shrines.

The foremost of them is Tiruvarur with its grand shrine to Tyagaraja - or Veedhi Vitankar. Tyagaraja at Tiruvarur is associated with the Ajapaa Natanam (dance). The Ajapaa Natanam is of great mystical significance and it denotes the movement of the image of Somaskanda that adorned the chest of Vishnu in synch with his breath.

All of these seven shrines are said to have been established by the valorous king Muchukunda Chakravarti, where he enshrined the 7 images of Somaskanda presented to him by Indra the King of the Gods.

Each of these shrines (shown in the table below) is associated with a certain form of dance. Each of these shrines has been glorified by the Tevaram verses of the Tamil Saivite Saints of the 1st millennium CE.

Temple Tyagaraja (Vitankar) Associated Dance
Tiruvarur Veedi Vitankar Ajapaa Natanam
Tirunallaar Naha Vitankar Unmatta Natanam
Nagappattinam Sundara Vitankar Paraavaara Taranga Natanam
Tirukkaaravaayil Aadi Vitankar Kukkuta Natanam
Tirukkuvalai Avani Vitankar Bhringa Natanam
Tiruvaaimur Neelavitankar Kamala Natanam
Tirumaraikkaadu Bhuvani Vitankar Hamsapaada Natanam


Also see:

The Somaskanda Legend
Somaskanda Iconography
Muchukunda Chola legend