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Temples of Tamilnadu

The Tevaram Hymns

Hymns praising Tiruvarur have been composed by the three primary Nayanmaars (Sambandar, Appar and Sundarar) of the 63 Saivite Saints who led the Bhakti movement of the 1st millennium CE.  Apart from the moovar (trio), several other Naayanmaars were also associated with the Tiruvarur temple complex.

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Tirugnanasambandar has composed 5 sets of patikams on Tiruvarur while Tirunavukkarasar and Sundarar have composed 21 and 8 sets respectively.

Sambandar alludes to the Ardhanareeswara manifestation of Shiva and refers to the female component of Ardhanareeswara as Alliyankodai. Alliyankodai or Neelotpalaambal is regarded as Vanmikanathar's consort and is housed in a separate shrine in the innerprecincts of the temple. Sambandar's hymns refer to the natural beauty of the Tiruvarur area and the tall structures adorned with flags that lined the town and to the music and dance that filled the air.

Tirunavukkarasar refers to Vanmikanathar as Putridamkondaan - referring to the legend of Shiva appearing in an ant hill. His hymns also describe in detail the processional celebrations that marked the observance of Margazhi Tiruvaadirai and Panguni Utthiram (which are celebrated today in great splendour).

Sundaramoorthy Nayanar's relationship to the deity Tyagaraja at Tiruvarur is in a totally different vein. Sundarar alludes to Tyagaraja as his friend or a companion who guided him through various events in his life. (See the legend of Somaasi Maaranaar).

It was with the blessings of Tyagaraja at Tiruvarur that Sundaramoorthy Nayanar married Paravai Naachiyaar. Images of the devotee and his consort are offered an exalted place in the temple, across from the shrine of Tyagaraja.

Closely associated with Sundaramoorthy Nayanar was Cheramaan Perumaal another of the Nayanmaars. Cheramaan Perumaal a ruler from Kerala had Kodungallur as his capital, and was closely associated with the Shivastalam Tiruvanjaikkalam. He composed the tamil work Tiruvaarur Mummanikkovai in the Nayakan-Nayaki Bhavam, depicting the estranged female yearning for her beloved Tiruvaaruran.

The Tiruttondattogai of Sundarar lists the names of the 62 Nayanmars who preceded him. Sundarar along with the other 62 that he mentioned in his hymn on Tiruvarur constitute the arupattimoovar or the 63 Saivite Saints whose life history is described in detail in the Periya Puraanam - a colossal work by Sekkizhaar a poet of the later Chola period.

Tirumoolar's work describes the Ajapaa dance associated with Tyagaraja although it does not directly allude to Tiruvarur. Maanikkavacakar's Tiruvaacakam refers to Tiruvarur.