Friday, October 13, 2017

Thiruvarur – History

Thiruvarur – History
The historic name of the town was Aaroor (Arur) and it finds mention in the 7th century Saiva canonical work, Thevaram. The term Thiru is added to all temple cities that are mostly revered by the verses of Thevaram, which is the case of Arur becoming Thiruvarur. Another name of Thiruvarur is Kamalaalayasetra, meaning the "holy place that is an abode of lotuses"; the town is also referred so due to the presence of the Kamalalayam tank and the temple deity, Kamalambigai. 
As per folk legend, Thiruvarur is mentioned as the capital town of a legendary Chola king, Manu Neethi Cholan, who killed his own son to provide justice to a cow. Thiruvarur was one of the five traditional capitals of the Chola empire and the history of town revolves around the Thygarajaswamy temple. Thiruvarur is mentioned in the Shaiva canonical work, Thevaram by Thirugnana Sambandar, Thirunavukkarasar and Sundarar, the foremost Saivite saints of 7th–8th century CE and classified as Padal Petra Sthalam.
Thirunavukkarasar mentions several traditions of the temple like Margazhi Aathirai Vizha, Panguni Uttirai Perunaal and Veedhivitakanin Veedhi Panni. The granite structure of the temple was first constructed by Aditya Chola I (871–907 CE) in the 9th century CE and revamped during the reign of Rajaraja Chola I (985–1014 CE). The temple was upgraded and rebuilt with stone by Rajendra Chola I (1012–44 CE). The temple has inscriptions from both the emperors, later Cholas and Pandyas.
The temple is believed to be an inspiration for Rajaraja Chola to build the Brihadeeswarar Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inscriptions from the temple indicate Thiruvarur as the capital of Kulothunga Chola I (1070–1120 CE), during which the town emerged a centre of Saivism. After the fall of Cholas during the reign of Rajendra Chola II in the 13th century CE, the town was caught under a power struggle between Pandyas and Hoysalas
The royal patronage continued and the town flourished as a cultural centre during the rule of the NayaksVijayanagar kings and Marathas. During the period of Marathas, the town became a temporary home to the Nataraja of Chidambaram temple. The town was briefly captured by French troops led by Lally (1702–66 CE) in 1759 CE. The Thyagarajar temple was ransacked in a failed attempt to discover hidden treasure. During the attempt, six brahmins of the temple, suspected to be spies of the British, were killed in an encounter. The province and Tanjore were annexed by British after the failed attempt of the French to attack the King of Tanjore.
During the British Raj, the town was termed Tiruvalur, Tiruvaloor and Thiruvalur. After independence, Thiruvarur continued to be a part of the Thanjavur district and Nagapattinam district till 1991 and 1997 respectively. Thiruvarur was made the headquarters of Tiruvarur district when it was carved out of Nagapattinam district in 1997. As per the district and municipality websites, the district has the spelling "Tiruvarur", while the town has it as "Thiruvarur".