Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thyagaraja Temple, Thiruvarur – The Temple

Thyagaraja Temple, Thiruvarur – The Temple
The temples complex occupies an area of around 33 acres with the Kamalalayam tank to its west. It houses four gateway towers known as gopurams. The tallest is the eastern tower with four stories and a height of 36 meters (118 ft.). There are numerous shrines and Mandapams (halls) in the three spacious enclosures (prakaram). The two main shrines of the temple are for Vanmikinathar (Lord Siva) and Thyagarajar. Of the two, the former is the most ancient, and derives its name from the anthill (putru), which takes the place of linga in the main shrine. 





Appar, the 7th-century poet saint, refers to the main deity in his hymn as puttritrukondan (one who resides in the ant hill). The Sthala Vriksham (temple tree) is Pathiri (trumpet flower tree). The principles and practises of tree-worship and ophilotary are ancient bases whereupon a later date, Linga worship seems to have been established. Here all the 9 Navagrahams located towards south in straight line also located in northwest corner of 1st (prakaram). This temple holds the record of having maximum number of shrines (called sannidhis in Tamil) in India.





The temple is huge in size and importance, with 9 Gopurams, 80 Vimanas,13 Mandapams, 15 wells of Theertha importance, 7 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. Some of the major shrines in the temple are of Aananthiswarar, Neelothmbal, Asaleswarar, Adageswarar, Varuneswarar, Annamalieswarar and Kamalambal. 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. The left leg of the deity is displayed during "Panguni Uthiram" festival and right leg on "Thiruvathirai". Those worshipping the Face Darshan of Lord Thyagaraja in Tiruvarur are advised to have his Feet darshan (Pada darshan) in Vilamal, 3 km far from this place. The Airavatam elephant is also a royal object associated with Thyagaraja. Even the Nandi in front of the Thyagaraja shrine is portrayed in a standing posture.




The pillars and walls of the temple are adorned with beautiful carvings. In fact we find an idol of Buddha which was excavated in the vicinity of the temple. The temple complex represents the Sri Chakra with the seven enclosures representing the seven layers of the Sri Chakra. Circumambulating the various shrines, you leave the inner prakara marked by a high stonewall etched with inscriptions and come to the Kamalambal sannidhi. There is a point in this temple from where 7 Gopurams of this temple can be seen. The Kamalalayam temple tank located nearby is the largest temple tank in the country. 



The presence of the Saptamatrika panel in Tiruvarur, the oldest sculpture in the complex of Pallava origin, affirms the powerful Ugra devatha fierce goddess cult associated with temples like Tiruvarur, revived and adapted with the Shiva faith. Raja Raja Chola I, who built the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, installed a Shivalingam in a part of the temple and worshipped it for many years. The peculiar feature about this Lingam is that its shadow can be seen only in the eastern direction. It is also said that this shadow cannot seen by a person who has only around six months to live. 




While we find shrines of other deities in temples small in size, here each one is big in size and importance.  Lords Veedhi Vidanga Vinayaka, Achaleswarar (mentioned in Thevaram hymns separately), Mothers, Kamalambal, Neelothbalambal, Rudra Durga, Lord Runa Vimochana, Lords Dakshinamurthy, Annamalieswarar, Vottu Thiageswarar, the temple where Tulasiraja worshipped, Anandeeswarar, Siddheeswarar, Hayagriswarar, the Linga worshipped by Indira, Cheranatha, Pandyanatha, Aadakeswara, Pulasthya Raksheswara, Pulasthya Brahmmeswara, Bhaktheswara, Vilwatheeswara and Lord Padaleswara grace the devotees from these shrines. 




Sri Anjaneya Shrine is at the Rajagopuram entrance. People worship here to get back what they lost. Lord Dharma Sastha graces along with Vinayaka in the shrine at the inner prakara of Mother’s shrine. The shrine of Lord Mattru Uraitha Vinayaka – Vinayaka who confirmed the quality touch of the gold coin-is on the bank of the tank opposite the West Tower-Gopura.  A canal called Sengazhuneer Odai is just a km from the temple.




Generally, Nandhi is seen in a sitting position in Shiva temples except in Saptha Vidanga places around Tiruvarur. All of them are metal idols. In temples facing east, Lord’s procession also begins from east facing entrance. In Tiruvarur, the procession begins from the northeast entrance called Vittavasal.  Lord Dakshinamurthy graces from the outer wall of Ambika shrine with six disciples, though generally only four are with him in other Shiva temples. 




Mother Nilothpalambal graces from a separate shrine with a maid holding Lord Muruga. The idol of mother is beautifully made as if she is touching the head of her beloved son Muruga. We see Mother Saraswathi with a Veena only. She does not hold one here but graces the devotees in a penance posture. Lord Hayagriva, in his own shrine appears performing Shiva Puja. He is praised as Hayagriswarar. Students pray to Mother Saraswathi and Lord Hayagriswarar to shine in their academic pursuits. 




Akasha Bhairava above the Kamalambigai tower is acting as a custodian deity. Lord Bhairava of the temple is praised as Siddhi Bhairava. Kamalamuni Siddhar Peetam is near the sanctum sanctorum of Mother Kamalambigai on the right side. Siva Surya graces from the prakara of Lord Shiva Shrine. He looks tall. 





Those facing debt burdens pray to Runa Vimochana Easwara. Lord Thyagaraja grants darshan on the Tiruvadhirai day in December from the Raja Narayana Mandapam. Abishek is dedicated to Mother Mahalakshmi with gold coins on Deepavali in October-November and on Akshaya Tritiya day in April-May by devotees.




Panchamukha Vadyam is another specialty of this temple. Pancha Muga means 5 faced and Vadyam is essentially musical instrument. This musical instrument survives till date and is played by just one family. It is believed that Nandi played for Shiva Thandavam (Trance dance of Lord Shiva). Here it is played on every puja, every day. Once in twelve years every temple has to be consecrated with a ritual ablution of the pinnacle of the Vimanam or Kumbha. The Thiruvarur Kumbabishekam was performed in April 2001. Spectators sat on rooftops and watched, the festive air resounding with the ancient poetic verses sung lovingly to the Lord by the temple Oduvars. The bronze Somaskanda was the presiding deity at these ceremonies.   




Royal Patronage:
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Gopurams:
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Mandapams:
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Vinayagar Shrines:
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Chandikeswarar Shrine:
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Durga Shrine:
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Kamalambal Shrine:
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Nilothpalambal Shrine:
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Achaleswarar Temple:
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Thyagarajar Shrine:
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Vanmikanathar Shrine:
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Aazhi Ther (Chariot):
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Ancient Paintings:
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Stone Chariot (Kal Ther):
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Sculptures & Reliefs:
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Theerthams:
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Inscriptions:
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