Thiyagaraja Temple Tiruvarur

By Sanjeev Nayyar | 2016

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This is amongst the most amazing temple that I visited during yatra. At a deeper level connected with temple instantly. West side gopuram. We entered from this side. "The Thiyagaraja temple at Thiruvarur is one of the ancient heritage sites of India and is a representation of the religio-socio-cultural history of the Tamil region for a period spanning over a millennium and a half."

It was Pongal time. During the month of Margazhi (dec15-jan15) it is customary for women in Tamil Nadu to get up early in the morning and draw the KOLAM in front of the house. Here it is being done in front of temple. "Vanmikanathar represents the Moolavar while the shrine dedicated to Thiyagaraja is the better known shrine in the temple. Thiyagaraja (Somaskanda) image at Thiruvarur was created and worshipped by Maha Vishnu. Somaskanda is symbolic of fertility, of royal lineage etc."

Water tank on west side of temple as is the case elsewhere. "Somaskanda refers to a manifestation of Shiva with Skanda and Uma by his side. Thiyagaraja represents the Somaskanda manifestation of Shiva at Thiruvarur and at a few other shrines. Thiyagarajar is referred to as Veedhi Vitankar in the Tevaram hymns. Thiyagaraja is associated with the Ajapaa Natanam."

On banks of water tank Pandit performing ceremony. "Sapta Vitanka Shrines refer to seven temples in the Chola kingdom enshrining images of Thiyagaraja brought to earth by Mucukunda Chakravarti. Devaram hymns dedicated to Thiruvarur describe festivities in the temple town during the 1st millennium CE. 62 of the Nayanmaar preceding Sundarar are mentioned in Tiruttondattokai."

West side gopuram entrance. Lower most sculpture is lion, third is person sitting on animal not sure which one, fourth seems like Shiva on Nandi. "Nilothpalambal Inside the main temple there is another separate shrine for Goddess Nilothpalamba. Chandikesvarar - In all temples there''s only one Chandikesvarar. At Thiruvarur, there are two Chandikes-varars, one known as Chandikes-varar and the other called as Yama Chandikesvarar."

Rising sun on west facing gopuram. Structure on right of pic is I think a music ka museum. Since we reached about 7 am had not opened. Hope to go there some day. "Lord Shiva is a swayambumurthi in the temple. Lord Thiagaraja is praised as the Raja-King of Gods."

Some sculptures in open area in structure. This one of Buddha. The chariot festival is celebrated in April-May, is the largest of its kind in Asia and India. Chariot weighs 300 tonne with a height of 90 feet.

Many praharams (temple wall). First was external wall next to gopuram. U see gopuram and wall two. As we crossed gopuram we came across wall 3. We turned left to see some more gopurams, see next pic. Temple is 45 kms from Thanjavur and close to Kumbakonam.

Right is main temple wall. Two more gopurams one of which is main entrance facing the east. "The temple is huge. It has 9 Rajagopuras, 80 vimanas, 12 tall walls, 13 mandaps, 15 wells of of Theertha importance, 3 gardens, 3 prakaras, 365 Shiva Lingas representing the days of the year, shrines numbering above 100, 86 Vinayaka idols and temples within the temple numbering above 24."

East facing gopuram - early morning rays. " Abishek is not performed to Lord Thiagaraja but to the Maragatha Linga (precious emerald Linga known as Veedhi Vidanga Linga believed to have been worshipped earlier by Indira)."

Close up of east facing gopuram-early morning rays. Effect is spectacular. The Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur changed colors atleast 4 times between dawn and 8.30 am. To see pics of the palace morning Click here

Sculptures in niches of gopuram. Right looks with Shiva with chinmudra. Left pic not sure. Please help. Wearing dhoti for men is compulsory to enter temple.

Warrior on animal. Face like lion, feet like that of horse. "The temple has numerous shrines, with those of Thyagaragar (Veethi Vidangar) and Neelothbalambal (Alliyankothai) being the most prominent."

Original pillar design looks impressive. "An inscription which was dated in the 20th year of the Rajendra I (1012–1044) beginning with the introduction "Tirumanni valara" is found on the north and west walls of the Thyagaraja shrine. The last Chola monarch to play an important role in the affairs of the temple was Kulothunga Chola III in the early part of the 13th century A.D. "

Ganesha greeted us on entering temple, sits under a newly made mandapam. Number of temples saw newly mandapams, they block view of the gopuram in some cases.

Temple mandapam with flagpost. Pathiri is the temple tree. "This temple holds the record of having maximum number of shrines in India. The foot of Thyagaraja is shown twice a year and on other occasions it is covered with flowers."

Mandapam ends when you see gopuram on right of pic. At gopuram is the temple wall.

Close up of gopuram with door keepers and flagpost.

Close up of dwarpal or doorkeeper. Images and gopurams recently painted so looked lovely. To read in detail about temple Click here

Image inside sanctum. Please help with caption.

From centre of temple view of east side. There is a temple right in front indicated by Nandi. End of pic is main gopuram. Request Tamil Nadu to put boards in English for all temples so that non-Tamil devotees can understand importance as well. Boards only put in temples frequented by tourists like Brihadesvara Tanjavur.

Another nicely made temple. It has a long mandapam.

Wall on left is for sanctum, small gopuram is to sanctum, big gopuram is west facing that you at beginning of album.

View of sanctum area wall, smaller temples and west facing gopuram.

Samadhi of Thiyagaraja. It is at Thiruvaiyyaru but showing in this album since Thiyagaraja temple. "In Carnatic music, Syama Sastri, Thiyagaraja and Muthusamy Deetchidar are known as music Trinities." Thiyagaraja(A.D 1767-1847)Standardization of Sangathis(singing a lyrical structure in different styles) in kirthanas is reported to be his main contribution. Incorporation of folk and western into karnatic is a notable contribution."

Inside samadhi. "His "Pancharathna Kirthana" (song consisting of 5 Ragas) is a great masterpiece. Rare ragas like "Navarasa Kanada","Vijaya Shree" and "Bhahudari" were brilliantly handled by him." To read about the trinities of Carnatic music Click here

Temple tank - probably the best temple tank that I saw in 19 days yatra. This temple shall always be part of my sub consciousness self.

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