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


The origin of the shrine at Tiruvarur is steeped in antiquity. Of the two major shrines in the temple, dedicated to Vanmikanathar and Tyagarajar the Vanmikanathar shrine is the older one. It enshrines a Shivalingam - prithvi lingam made of earth.

Two of the major legends surrounding the temple are associated with Manu Needi Cholan and Muchukunda Cholan respectively. Anecdotes referring to the lives of these legendary rulers (not attributable directly to any of the Cholas of the Sangam period or the Vijayalaya line of Cholas) are referred to in ancient Tamil literature such as Manimekalai and Silappadikaram.

The vibrant tradition of worship that was present at this shrine during the period of the Nayanmars, is evident from the wealth of the Tevaram hymns that are dedicated to Vanmikanathar (Purtidamkondaar) and Tyagaraja (Veedhi Vitankar).

63var.jpg (46413 bytes)

Both Tirugnanasambandar and Tirunavukkarasar of the 7th century CE have sung of the glory of Tiruvarur. These hymns describe the grandeur of the town, the music and dance that filled the city. Tirunavukkarasar's hymns refer to Aaruran, Tirumoolattaanamudaiyaar and Veedhi Vitankar (Tyagaraja) and describe the grandeur of the Margazhi Tiruvadirai and Panguni Utthiram celebrations at Tiruvarur.

Royal patronage meted out to this shrine is evident from the abundant stone inscriptions that are seen in the temple complex.

It is evident that the original shrine of worship, possibly a brick and mortar structure was replaced with a more rugged granite structure and added to, over a period of time.

The earliest inscriptions regarding grants to this temple date back to the period of Aditya Chola of the later half of the 9th century CE and Parantaka Chola I (907-955 CE). The Achaleswarar shrine in the temple complex was rebuilt of stone during the period of Sembian Mahadevi.

Rajaraja Chola I the best known of the Chola monarchs built the Brihadeeswarar temple at Thanjavur and endowed it with vast amounts of wealth. It is learned from records that forty four dancers were brought in from Tiruvarur to render their service at the Thanjavur temple. Raja Raja was a great devotee of Nataraja and Vitankar (Dakshinameru Vitankar - an icon representing the Somaskanda manifestation installed in a separate shrine at the Bhrihadeeswara temple at Thanjavur).

There are inscriptions testifying to his son Rajendra Chola's visit to the Tiruvarur temple, and his donation of a lamp in commemoration of the visit, soon after the conversion of the brick built shrine into a stone structure. Rajendra Chola is also associated with rebuilding the Tyagaraja shrine at Tiruvotriyur in stone. Both Tiruvotriyur and Tiruvarur are closely associated with the life of Sundaramoorthy Nayanar.

Images of Rajaraja Chola and Rajendra Chola are housed in the Tiruvarur temple.

Inscriptions from the period of the Chola rulers that succeeded Rajendra Chola are seen in the temple complex. Kulottunga Chola II extended great patronage to the temple and instituted grants for carrying out several festivities in the temple on a regular basis. Also are seen, inscriptions from the Pandya period, the Vijayanagar rulers, the Nayaka period and the Maratha period.

The name Tyagaraja became associated with Veedhi Vitankar during the period of Kulottunga Chola II (vide Muchukunda Sahasranamam). Several literary works such as the Tiruvarur Puranam   came to be written after the 15th century.

The Maratha ruler Serfoji Maharaja of Thanjavur was devoted to the shrine at Tiruvarur and he performed the renovation and the Kumbhabhishekam of the shrine in the year 1717.  The great Karnatic music composer Mutthuswamy Deekshitar composed several kritis in praise of Tyagaraja, Kamalambika and other deities housed in the temple complex.

Another Kumbhabhishekam was performed in the temple in 1986 and the most recent one in March 2001.