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50. Tiruvaiyaru

திரு ஐயாறு 

Location: Tiruvaiyaru near Thanjavur
(Chola Naadu-North of Kaveri)
Shiva: Aiyaarappar, Panchanadeeswarar
Ambal: Aram Valartta Nayaki, Dharma Samvardhini
Vriksham: Vilvam
Theertham: Cauvery
Patikam : Sambandar, Appar, Sundarar
Travel Base: Thanjavur
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Description: Known as Dakshina Kailasam, this is a Saivite shrine of great significance, It is a   vast temple with 5 prakarams, and several mandapams and sculptural work. Somaskandar (Olokamaveedivitankar) here is of importance. The town of Tiruvaiyaru is known more for the samadhi of one of the foremost composers in the Karnatic Music idiom, Saint Tyagaraja. The Saptastana temples of Tiruvaiyaru are  Tiruppazhanam, Tiruchottruturai, Tiruvedikkudi, Tirukkandiyur, Tiruppanturai  Tillaistanam and Tiruvaiyaru. Tiruvaiyaru is considered to be the 51st  in the series of Tevara Stalams in the Chola kingdom located north of the river Kaveri.

Legends: A devotee by name Sucharitan was redeemed from untimely death by Shiva in the form of a column of light (similar to the Markandeya legend of Tirukkadavur&Vaikavur). . Agasthyar is said to have obtained his dwarfed physical stature here. Ambal is said to have worshipped Shiva with 2 measures of grains

History:  .There are several inscriptions here relating the temple to Cholas, Pandyas, Krishna Devarayar and other rulers. Karikal Chola, Rajaraja Cholan & Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan are associated with Tiruvaiyaru. Uttarakailasam was built by Rajaraja Cholans wife (late 10th cent) who made several endowments . Dakshinakailasam was renovated by Rajendra Cholan's wife.Appar was closely associated with this shrine, and on his trek to Kailasam, divine intervention is said to have miraculously transported him to Tiruvaiyaru the equivalent of Kailasam. This incident is celebrated in the month of Aadi - New Moon.  The river Kaveri in spate is said to have parted to allow Sundarar to walk across to Tiruvaiyaru.

Architecture: This  grand temple with five prakarams and a 7 tiered Rajagopuram covers a 15 acrea area. Somaskandar (Ologamaaaveedivitankar) is housed in a separate shrine in the 2nd prakaram, adjacent to the Japesa Mandapam (Kukti Mandapam). The Sivayoga Dakshinamurthy shrine is also og great significance here. The shrine to Ambal Darmasamvardhini Amman, has two prakarams by itself. . The outer prakaram houses the Dakshinakailasam, and the Uttara Kailasam. . To denote the primordial nature of Sound - Nada Bhrammam, there are spots in this temple designed to produce echos. The Shivalingam here resembles that at Tiruvarur.

Festivals: Six worship services are offered each day. Aiyarappar is taken to the Kaveri river on new moon days in every month. The Tirukkalyanam of Nandi is celebrated in the month of Pankuni at Tirumazhapadi. The annual Bhrammotsavam is celebrated in the month of Chittirai, where the 5th day  Saptastana Utsavam where Shiva is taken in processionin a glass palanquin to the 7 Stanams of Tiruvaiyaru in the month of Aries - Full Moon is of great significance in this area.The float festival is celebratedon Aavani Moolam, while the Appar festival is celebrated in the month of Aadi.

Templenet acknowledges reader Mohan (Ramakrishnan) of Thane Maharashtra,  for contributing the image shown above.

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