Abodes of Ganesha
Abodes of Shakti
Abodes of Shiva
Abodes of Skanda Abodes of Surya
Abodes of Vishnu
Templenet Archives

Templenet Encyclopedia
Travel and Tourism
Festivals and Fairs
Beliefs and Legends
Glossary of Terms
About Templenet

tn.jpg (19837 bytes)
The Ultimate Source of Information on Indian Temples

Temples of Tamilnadu
Temples of Kerala
Temples of Karnataka
Temples of Andhra

Temples of Orissa
Temples of Central India
Temples of Maharashtra
Temples of Western India
Temples of the Himalayas
Temples of the Gangetic Plains
Temples of North Eastern India
Temples of Bengal

Feedback & Information:

K. Kannikeswaran
All Rights Reserved
No part of this website may be reproduced or used in any form without permission.
Tradition Meets

tn.jpg (19837 bytes)
Temples of Tamilnadu


Three of the shrines at the Tiruvarur temple complex are of great significance. They are the Vanmikanathar, Tyagarajar and the Kamalaamba shrines respectively.

The primary and the most ancient of the shrines at Tiruvarur is that of Vanmikanathar. Vanmikanathar is addressed in the Tevaram hymns of the 7th century CE as Aaruran or Tirumoolattaanamudaiyaar or Putridamkondaar.

Vanmikanathar is represented as a prithvilingam or an anthill, alluding to the ophiolatry practice of anthill worship of very ancient times. This deity is associated directly with the legend of Shiva appearing in an anthill and restoring Vishnu to life upon being requested by the Gods or the Devas. The Aatakeswaram shrine in the Tiruvarur temple, is believed to be the shrine from wherein Shiva appeared in the main shrine, in the anthill.

In the main shrine dedicated to Vanmikanathar, there is an image of Bhoga Shakti (Piriyaa Vidai Amman) representing Shiva's consort. This image is permanently housed in the main shrine itself, and is also referred to as Padi Taandaa Pattini.

Tyagaraja or Somaskanda is the deity by whose name, the temple is known. References to Tyagaraja as Veedhi Vitankar are seen in the hymns of Tirunavukkarasar of the 7th century CE. The image of Tyagaraja here is related to the Mucukunda Chola legend and to the Somaskanda legend of Vishnu being blessed with a child.

tyaga.jpg (188287 bytes)

Tyagaraja is the processional deity representing Vanmikanathar and is taken out in procession on special occasions. It is clear that over a period of time, the deity Tyagaraja at Tiruvarur took precedence over the moolavar Vanmikanathar as in Chidambaram, where the processional image of Nataraja (taken out in procession only on special occasions) takes precedence over the moolavar. The Tyagaraja and the Vanmikanathar shrines form the center of the sacred space within the temple.

Across from the Tyagaraja Sabha are enshrined images of Sundaramoorthy Nayanaar, his consort Paravai Naachiyaar and his friend Cheramaan Perumaal Nayanaar.

The Achaleswarar shrine, or Aarur Araneri as it is referred to in the Tevaram hymns is an ancient one. It was renovated during the period of Sembian Mahadevi the ancient Chola queen. The four shrines to Shiva at the cardinal points (with the sancta in the center) are Aatakeswaram, Anandeswaram, Siddheeswaram and Achaleswaram.

Neelotpalaambaal or Alliyankodai (as referred to in the Tevaram hymns) is enshrined in a shrine within the inner precincts of the temple. Neelotpalaambaal is depicted as blessing her son Skanda.

kamala.jpg (3190 bytes)

Kamalaambaa is enshrined in a grand shrine in the outer prakaaram. The Kamalaamba shrine is regarded with great veneration and it has its own cycle of annual festivals. This shrine is also referred to as a Shakti peetham and the suite of nine kritis composed by Mutthuswamy Deekshitar sing praises of this deity.

Other shrines of importance here include those to Aingalakkaasu Ganapati, Vaatapi Ganapati, the Navagrahams alligned in a row. The Aingalakkaasu Ganapati is said to have been installed by Cheraman Perumaal Naayanaar who collected 5 measures of copper coins and fashioned this image. Vaatapi Ganapati represents the Stala Vinayakar of this shrine, enshrined in the southwest corner of the inner prakaram. Enshrined in the 2nd prakaram is a shrine to Rudra Durga.