Aiyarappar temple

Shiva & Moon



Aiyarappar temple  is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the village of Tiruvaiyaru, Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is incarnated by the hymns of Thevaram and is classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. Thiruvaiyaru means Five Rivers around the city. The Five Rivers are Arisilaaru, Vennaaru, Vettaaru, Kudamuruttiyaaru and Kaaviriyaaru.

The temple is located in Tiruvaiyaru(also spelt as Tiruvaiyaru) , a panchayat town in Thanjavur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is situated on the banks of the river Kaveri, 13 km from Thanjavur, Thiruvaaiyaru has an old Shiva temple dedicated to Panchanatheeswar. Though pilgrims flock to this temple throughout the year, Thiruvaiyaru is more renowned for its association with Saint Thyagaraja, who, along with Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri, comprises the Trinity of Carnatic music.

Near the Shiva temple is the one-roomed house where Thyagaraja composed some of his greatest works. On the banks of the river is the samadhi of the saint composer and it is here that the greatest music festival in the country takes place annually.

The temple, known as Dakshina Kailasam (Southern abode of Shiva), built in an area of approximately 60000 square meters, has 5 prakarams(closed precincts of a temple) (outer precincts used for religious purposes) and many ‘mandapams’ (great halls). The Tiruvaiyaru temple has also a shrine for Aatkondar or Kalasamharamoorthy. A Homa Kund started by saint Adi Sankara can be found outside the shrine of Aatkonda. While the presiding deity of temple is named after the five rivers, there are five water bodies in the temple namely Surya Pushkarani, Ganga Theertham, Chandra Pushkarani, Palaru and Nandi Theertham. The temple is considered the foremost among the seven Sapthastanam temples. The temple is believed to have been built by sage Neymasa at the order of Shiva. There are two shrines named Dakshina Kailasam and Uttara Kailasam. There is a Mukthi mandapam where Panchaksara japam is performed.

Several inscriptions in the temple affiliates the temple to the Cholas, Pandyas, and other rulers. Karikala Chola, Rajaraja the great, Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan, and Krishna Devarayar are associated with Thiruvaiyaru. The temple has two distinct divisions called ‘Uttarakailasam’ and ‘Dakshinakailasam’. Uttarakailasam was built by Rajaraja Cholan’s queen in the late 10th century who also made several endowments . Dakshinakailasam was renovated by Rajendra Cholan’s queen. Appar, one of the important Nayanmar, was closely associated with this shrine and dedicated one of the songs in ‘Thevaram’ to this temple.

The sapthasthanam festival is conducted at Tiruvaiyaru during April every year. Hundreds of people witness the convergence of seven glass palanquins carrying principal deities of respective temples from seven places at Tiruvaiyaru. The palanquins are paraded near the car stand, the crowd witnessed the Poochorithal(flower festival) in which a doll offers flowers to the principal deities in the palanquins. After the Poochorithal, the palanquins left for their respective places. The seven temples are

Temple                                               Place                               District
Aiyarappar temple                        Thiruvaiyaru                Thanjavur
Apathsahayar Temple                 Tirupazhanam            Thanjavur
Odhanavaneswarar Temple     Tiruchotruthurai        Thanjavur
Vedapuriswarar Temple             Thiruvedhikudi           Thanjavur
Kandeeswarar Temple               Thirukkandiyur           Thanjavur
Pushpavananathar Temple      Thiruppoonthruthi    Thanjavur
Neyyadiappar Temple                Tiruneithaanam          Thanjavur

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