Muthuswamy Dikshitar's Memorial, Ettayapuram
Muthuswamy Dikshitar's Memorial is located at Ettayapuram, located 15 km from Kovilpatti en route Tuticorin. This place has a mantapam, simple in design and appearance and the decoration was minimal for the occasion. The “Temple of Dikshitar” has many of his songs painted on the walls with their meanings written in Tamil and each small room (kutil) is named after the relatives of Dikshitar.
Muthuswami Dikshitar (March 24, 1775 – October 21, 1835) was a South Indian poet and composer and is one of the Musical Trinity of Carnatic music. His compositions, of which around 500 are commonly known, are noted for their contemplative nature and for capturing the essence of the raga forms through the vainika (veena) style that emphasizes gamakas. They are typically in a slower speed (chowka kala). He is also known by his signature name of Guruguha which is also his mudra (can be found in every one of his songs). His compositions are widely sung and played in classical concerts of Carnatic music.
The musical trinity consists of Dikshitar, Tyagaraja (1767–1847), and Syama Sastri (1762–1827) although, unlike the Telugu compositions of the others, his compositions are predominantly in Sanskrit. He also had composed some of his Kritis in Manipravalam (admixture of Tamil and Sanskrit).
Muthuswami Dikshitar was born in Tiruvarur (of Thiruvarur district in what is now the state of Tamilnadu) to a Tamil Iyer Brahmin couple Ramaswami Dikshitar(discoverer of Raaga Hamsadwani) and Subbamma, as the eldest son. According to the account of Subbarama Dikshitar, Muthuswami Dikshitar was born in the Manmatha year, in the month of Tamil Panguni under the asterism Krittikaa. He was named after the temple deity, Muthukumaraswamy; legend has it that he was born after his parents prayed for a child in the Vaitheeswaran Temple. He had two younger brothers Baluswami, Chinnaswami and a sister Balambal.
In keeping with the tradition, Muthuswami learnt the Sanskrit language, Vedas and other important religious texts. He obtained his preliminary musical education from his father. While he was still in his teens, his father sent him on a pilgrimage with a wandering monk named Chidambaranatha Yogi to gain musical and philosophical knowledge. Over the course of this pilgrimage, he visited many places in North India and acquired a broad outlook that is reflected in many of his compositions. During their stay in Kashi (Varanasi), his guru Chidambaranatha Yogi, presented Dikshitar with a unique Veena and died shortly thereafter. The Samadhi of Chidambaranatha Yogi can still be seen in Sri Chakra Lingeswarar temple at the Hanuman Ghat area in Varanasi.
On Deepavali day, in 1835, Dikshithar performed puja as usual and asked his students to sing the song "Meenakshi Me Mudam" in the raga purvikalyani raga. As his students sang the lines "Meena lochani pasa mochani" he raised his hands and saying "Sive Pahi" and left his mortal coil. His Samadhi is at Ettayapuram (Mahakavi Bharathi’s Birth Place), between Kovilpatti (14 km) and Tuticorin.