This Shivastalam is a huge temple of great historical and religious significance and is
considered to be one of the holiest of the 275 Saivite shrines.It has the most
number of hymns in the Tirumurai collection after Sirkazhi
and is the foremost of the 7 Saptavitanka shrines associated with the legend of Muchukunda
Chola and Indra.. The evening worship service (Saayarakshai) here is of great
significance. The Aazhither chariot here is of great beauty.
Tiruvarur is regarded as the 87th in the series of Tevara Stalams in
Chola Nadu south of the river Kaveri.
SPECIAL FEATURE ON TIRUVARUR
Vitankastalams are Tiruvarur, Tirukkuvalai, Tirukkaaraivaasal,
Naagai, Tirunallaaru and Tiruvaimur.
Legend has it that Vishnu worshipped Shiva in the form of Somaskanthar,
associated with the Ajapa Dance. Shiva is also said to have appeared in an
anthill and restored Vishnu to life.
The image of Tyagarajar is the foremost of the 7 from which Indra is
believed to have asked Muchukunda Cholan to pick the original image of Somaskandar
worshipped by Mahavishnu. . Muchukunda Cholan is believed to have picked the right one
(the image at Tiruvarur) , and Indra is believed to have rewarded him with all of the 7
images, which the latter installed at 7 different places within his territory, and it is
these 7 temples which constitute the 7 Vitankastalams.
The image of Tyagaraja is housed in a separate sanctum with its own
vimanam. An interesting feature of the image is that the bulk of it is covered with
decorative cloth, flowers and jewelry, with only the faces of Shiva and Parvati being
visible. Their feet are uncovered only on the occasion of the Paada Darisanam
festival. The image of Tyagaraja in a special vimanam, presents an awe inspiring site.
This image is taken out in procession during special occasions such as the chariot
festival during the annual Bhrammotsavam. The Ajapa dance is enacted every time,
the image of Tyagarajar is taken out in procession.
History: This is a temple vibrant with the musical and dance
traditions of the centuries. Tiruvarur was a great cultural center for the Cholas
who extended great patronage here; mention must be made of especially of Raja Raja
Chola I. Sundaramoorthy Naayanar is known for his close association with Tiruvarur. His
shrine faces that of Tyagarajar.
Muthuswamy Deekshithar, Tyagarajar and Syama Sastri the trinity of Carnatic Music were
born in Tiruvarur. Deekshithar in particular, while in residence at Tiruvarur composed
several suites of Kritis addressed to Tyagarajar, Kamalambika and several other deities in
this temple. .
Architecture: The imposing towers of the temple can be seen from a
distance. The vast prakarams feature several shrines to Shiva and his parivara devatas.
The vast Kamalalayam tank is situated to the West of the temple complex; the tank and the
temple, together command an awe inspiring spectacle. The Achaleswarar
Temple (Tiruvarur Araneri) in the prakaram is another of the Shivastalams sung by the
Nayanmars. Aarurparavaiyumantali is another Shivastalam
located in the vicinity of this grand temple at Tiruvarur.
Festivals: Tiruvarur has a grand tradition of festivals. The Tamil
saying 'Tiruvarur Terazhagu' speaks of the grandeur of the Aazhitter, which is
taken out in procession during the annual Bhrammotsavam in the month of Pankuni. The
Arudra Darisanam festival here is also of great importance.