Thiruvarur – Sri Thiagarajar temple

Name of the Temple

Sri Thiagarajar temple

Period of origin

Before 2000 years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Vanmeekanathar

Ambal: Kamalambikai

Sthala Theertham:Kamalalyam,Sanku, Kaya, Vanni Theertham

Stalavriksham: Paathiri

Dhevaram : Appar,Gnanasampanthar, Sundarar, and Manikavasagar


Indira had to face a battle against the demons.  He was able to win the war with the help of Emperor Mushukunda.  As a token of his gratitude to the emperor, Indira wanted to present a gift and asked what he wanted.  Mushukunda asked for the Shivalinga in Indira’s possession which was worshipped by Lord Vishnu keeping it on His chest.  Indira did not want to part with the Linga.  He made a trick with divine sculptor Mayan making six such Lingas and presented them to the emperor.  Mushukunda found them fake.  With no means to convince the emperor, Indira offered the Original Shivalinga along with the six new ones too making the total to 7.  The original Shiva Linga is in Tiruvarur.  Other six are installed in other temples all collectively known as Saptha Vidanga Sthalas.  Saptha in Sanskrit means seven.  They are installed as 1) Veedhi Vidangar in Tiruvarur, 2) as Nagara Vidangar in Tirunallru, 3) as Sundara Vidangar in Nagapattinam, 4) as Avani Vidangar in Tirukuvalai, 5) as Neela Vidangar in Tiruvaimur, 6) as Bhuvani Vidangar in Vedaranyam and 7) as Adi Vidangar in Tirukaravasal.  These Lingas are tiny in size and could be held in hand.  These places are called Saptha Vidanga Sthalas where Lord Shiva is worshipped as Thiagarajar.

A demon Satya Gupta by name was a threat to Devas.  He was caught in the aspect of Sani Bhagwan-Planet Saturn.  Enraged, he began to fight with the planets.  The planets appealed to Lord Shiva for protection.  Lord Shiva protected the planets from the demon on condition that they should ever be soft to His devotees.  Hence, the planets are on straight line facing the Lord.  Lord Vinayaka is also in this shrine monitoring them whether they are soft to Shiva devotees.  It thus became the rule that though devotees visit Tirunallru for Saturn reliefs, they should visit Tiruvarur also for worship for total relief.  Of the 84 Vinayakas in the temple, four are highly revered.  Those suffering from nervous problems and high tensions, pray to Nadukkam Theertha Vinayaka-Vinayaka protecting from trembling.  Women pray to Mattru Uraitha Vinayaka in the West Gopuram gate before buying jewels as He confirmed the touch quality of the gold awarded by Lord Shiva to Saint Sundarar.  Lord Mooladhara Ganapathi appears reclining and dancing on a blossomed Lotus near a five headed serpent.  Those practicing yoga worship here.  Lord Vadhabi Gnapathi graces the devotees from the first prakara of Lord’s shrine.  Great Carnatic Musician Sri Muthuswamy Dishitha, one among the Trinity of Carnatic Music heritage, sang the famous song “Vadhabi Ganapathim Baje” from this shrine which musicians sing first in their concerts.

Presiding Lord Vanmeeka Nathar appears gracefully wearing the crescent moon on His head.  So Mother Kamalambal grants darshan to Her devotees with this Crescent Moon jewel.  She represents Mothers Saraswathi, Parvathi and Mahalakshmi holding a flower in the right hand, keeping the left on the hip and legs on a Yoga posture as an Empress.
It is the custom in Shiva Temples to end the Thevaram hymn chanting with the word Tiru Chittrambalam as followed in Chidambaram temple, considered to be first among all Shiva temples in the state.  But the antiquity of Tiruvarur temple is more ancient, hence, this word is not chanted here.
The Car (Rath) of Tiruvarur is biggest in size and beautiful in the make.
Lord Shiva had played 364 miracles (Tiruvilayadal in Tamil) in Tiruvarur alone.  As salvation is a certainty for those born in Tiruvarur, Yama the God of Death had no work here.  He prayed to Lord and took the place of Chandikeswara.  Those with fear of death pray here.  Those joyous of the face darshan of Lord in Tiruvarur also visits Vilamal temple, 3 km from here, for Feet Darshan for complete satisfaction.   The Feet Darshan secret is said to be behind the sanctum sanctorum of Lord.
Aadi Pooram festival (July-August) is celebrated for procession deity Manonmani.  Akasha Bhairava above the Kamalambika 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 Kamalambika 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 Thiagaraja grants darshan on the Tiruvadhirai day in December from the Raja Narayana Mandap.  There are Ashta (eight) Durga shrines in the temple.  Sri Muthuswami Dishithar had sung the glory of the Durgas in his celebrated Keerthanas.
Abishek is dedicated to Mother Mahalakshmi with gold coins on Deepavali in October-November and on Akshaya Tritiya day in April-May by devotees.

Lord Dakshinamurthi graces from the outer wall of Ambika shrine with six disciples, though generally only four are with Him in other Shiva temples.
Mother Neelotpalambal 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.
A contest arose in the celestial world on the integrity level in people.  Yama the God of Death claimed the title.  But Maharshi Narada denied His right and said that King Manu Needhi Chola alone deserved the title.  Yama came to earth in the guise of a cow with a calf.  Prince Veedhi Vidangan was coming on the royal street of the city. The calf was caught under the wheels and was killed in the accident.  The Mother Cow (Yama) rushed to the king’s palace and sought justice from the king-Manu Needhi Cholan.  The king decided that he also should endure and suffer the pain of losing a child as the cow.  He drove the rath on the body of his son, delivered justice with life for life.  Yama appeared before the king recognizing his integrity and sense of justice to non-humans too and disappeared.  This episode is depicted in a stone rath sculpture placed in the northeast corner of 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.  Emperor Mushukunda installed the Linga in the temple which he got from Indira.  But Indira wanted to take back the Linga to his own Devaloka.  It is believed that Indira is waiting at the east entrance to use the opportunity when Lord passes through this gate.  To fool Indira, the devotees are taking Lord in procession through the northeast entrance, so that he may not enter the temple to steal the Linga.  Even majority of the devotees use the northeast gate only to enter the temple avoiding the east.
Tiruvarur is the only temple that has more number of Thevaram hymns-353, Ganasambandar 55, Tirunavukkarasar 208 and Sundarar 87 and Manickavasagar 3.
It is noteworthy that Mother Kamalambikai is greatly revered as a total personification of the devotional hymn Lalitha Sahasra Nama.  Hence, the Theertha is praised as Kamalalayam.  Bathing in this Theertha on the Panguni Uthiram day in March-April is considered equal to 12 Mahamagam bath in Kumbakonam.  It should be noted that Mahamagam occurs only once in 12 years.
It is also noteworthy that Pradosha puja is performed in this temple every day – known as Nitya Pradosham – from 4.30 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. though it is performed once in a fortnight in other temples.  It is said that all the Devas – 33 crore in  number (Muppathu Mukkodi in Tamil) are worshipping Lord Thiagaraja during this puja.  The devotee worshipping the Lord in the evening is blessed by all Gods, it is believed.

This temple is  Aathara Stalam.This place is called Moolatharam meaning Basal end of the spinal

Musukunda chakravarthi brought Athmalinga(Emerald Linga) from Indra and kept in this place as first linga among the Seven called as VEETHIVIDANGAR



1. 56 kms from Thanjavur
2. 40 kms from Kumbakonam
3. 24 kms from Nagapattinam
4. 29 kms from Nagore
5. 40 kms from Karaikal
6. 40 kms from Mayiladuthurai

Temple Timings:

6am to 12 pm and 4.30 pm to 8 pm

Temple Address:

Sri Vanmeekanathar Temple
Thiruvarur (post)

Economical hotels and lodges:

V.P.K. Lodge, Opp. To Bus Stand, Thanjavur Road, Thiruvarur
Phone: 04366-222309

Meenatchi Lodge, Annasalai, Thiruvarur
PH: 04366 222279

SekarLodge, Thanjavur salai, Thiruvarur
PH: 04366 222225

Luxury Hotels

Hotel Royal Park, Bye Pass Road, Thiruvarur
PH: 04366-251020

Hotel Selvies (P) LTD,Near Bus Stand, Thiruvarur
PH: 04366-222080

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