Thyagaraja Temple, Thiruvarur – Music, Dance & Literature
Historically, Thiruvarur has been a centre of eminent people in religion, arts and science. Sundarar, an 8th-century Saivite saint, mentions "I am the slave of all those born in Thiruvarur" in his works in Thevaram. Two of the 63 Nayanmars of Saivite tradition namely, Kalarsinga Nayanar and Tandiyadigal Nayanar were born in Thiruvarur. The Periyapuranam, a 12th-century Saiva canonical by Sekkizhar, dedicates a chapter to those born in Thiruvarur, including these two saints. The town was a traditional centre of music and dance – the inscriptions from Rajaraja Chola associate a large body of dancers associated with the temple.
Thiruvarur is home to Trinity of Carnatic music, namely Thyagaraja (1767–1847 CE), Muthuswami Dikshitar (1775–1835 CE) and Shyama Shastri (1762–1827 CE). Muthuswami Dikshitar has sung eulogies of the temple deities of the Thyagarajaswami Temple. There was large influx of the acumen of South Indian culture to the town during the 17th century CE due to the political unrest in Thanjavur and increased patronage of the Maratha kings to Thiruvarur, resulting in developments in music and dance. A unique musical instrument called Panchamukha Vadyam with each of its five ends ornamented differently is used in the temple. A type of Nadhaswaram (pipe instrument) called Barinayanam is also a unique instrument found only in Thiruvarur.