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| Last Updated:: 12/09/2023












Thiruvaiyaru is a panchayat town in Thanjavur District in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Thiruvaiyaru means Five Rivers around the city. The Five Rivers are Arisilaaru, Vennaaru, Vettaaru, Kudamuruttiyaaru and Kaveriaaru. Thiruvaiyaru is considered as holy as Varanasi and bathing in the Cauvery here is as guaranteed to rid devotees of sins as bathing in the Ganges. 











Thiruvaaiyaru is famous for old Siva temple dedicated to Panchanatheeswar. The temple is incarnated by the hymns of Thevaram and is classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. The presiding deity of the Siva temple here, Panchanatheesvarar (in Tamil, Ayyarappan ' both mean the same thing, `the Lord of the Five Rivers') also gets his name from them. 















The temple, known as Dakshina Kailasam (Southern abode of Shiva), built in an area of approximately 60000 square meters, has 5 prakarams (closed precincts of a temple) and many 'mandapams' (great halls). 




The lingam in the main sanctum and the idols of Goddess Dharmasamvardhini (Aramvalartha Nayaki in Tamil ' both mean, `She who nurtures dharma'), Vinayaka, Muruga and Nandi, are said to have been found underground by a king whose chariot wheels got embedded in the ground where the temple now stands. A wise minister advised the king to dig around the wheels and there came into view not only the idols but also a living Siddha (a realised being) who was in deep meditation, his locks spread across the pit like banyan roots. The stunned king fell at his feet. The yogi blessed him and commanded him to build the temple for Aiyarappar at the same spot. 'You will find the gold and the materials required for the construction under the hooves of the Nandi idol,' he further told the king. So it was found. Inscriptions and architectural details point to the temple having been built in the early Chola period. 




Saint Thirunavukarasar went on a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash to have a darshan of God Shiva. In view of the hardships faced on his way, Thirunavukarasar found it very difficult to continue his journey to Mount Kailash. With his divine intervention, god Shiva made Thirunavukarasar to submerge himself in a pond and asked him to take his bath in the pond. When Thirunavukarasar emerged from the pond, he was transported miraculously to Tiruvaiyaru and god Shiva blessed Thirunavukarasar with a vision of Mount Kailash at Tiruvaiyaru. 












Of special importance is the shrine of Shiva as Alkondesar, opposite the southern entrance. Legend goes that it was here that Shiva killed Yama, the god of death, for daring to lay hands on a young devotee of his.











A Homa Kund started by Saint Adi Sankara can be found outside the shrine. kungiliyam (benzoin) burns in a holder night and day, the belief being that the smoke protects people from the fear of death. Notice the words: not death but the fear of it. 












The temple tank, Surya Pushkarani, is a large one. It was from bathing in this tank that the aging and frail saint, Thirunavukarasar, rose to see a vision of Shiva on Mount Kailash. 






Temple speciality:





Lord Shiva in the temple is a swayambumurthy.  It is believed that his long and thick turf is spread throughout the place behind the shrine.  As a devotee cannot afford to tread on the Jadamudi of Lord, circumambulation is prohibited. 




Lord Dakshinamurthi in the prakara has a special significance.  Lord Vishnu had worshipped him.  He is only Guru in Tamilnadu worshipped by Perumal-Vishnu.  He is praised a as Soouru Hari Shivayoga Dakshinamurthy.  In the place of Muyalagan – symbol of ignorance – we usually see under his feet, there is a tortoise. The architectural skill of the temple is such that multiple echoes could be heard if one loudly calls Aiyarappa standing at a particular place.  Foreign engineers had tried to find out this miracle but could not till this day. 




Of the Navagraha importance, the place belongs to Sun.  He is facing west.  The temple has five corridors-prakarams.




The Thiruvaiyaru temple is one among a group of seven, collectively known as the Saptha Sthaanam temples. These temples are unique, for they are related to the marriage of Shiva’s foremost attendant, Nandi, and the part that Shiva played in this marriage. 




The sapthasthanam festival is conducted at Tiruvaiyaru during April every year. Hundreds of people witness the convergence of seven glass palanquins carrying principal deities of respective temples from seven places at Tiruvaiyaru.





Thyagaraja Samadhi & Aradhana festival





Thiruvaiyaru is more renowned for its association with Saint Thyagaraja, who, along with Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri, comprised the Trinity of Carnatic music. 










On the banks of the river is the Samadhi of the saint composer and it is here that the greatest music festival in the country takes place annually. 




The Thyagaraja Aradhana festival is held in January when most of the leading exponents of Carnatic music come to perform and are watched by thousands of ardent fans of classical music.