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Tiruvarur is a town in tiruvarur taluk and district roughly 40 kms from kumbakonam and 60 kms from tanjore. The main attraction is the temple .
History and legends:
The temple is referred to as Kamalalayam due to the pond and aroor in the pre devaram days and called tiruvarur as the lord here is called aruran,The Ambal sannidhi complex has a lot of mysticism built into it with the figures and construction all as per Srividya concept and it will not be explained.by the priests to all For example the ganapathy in the main temple entrance is called Vallabha ganapathy due to Vallabha on his left lap with the lord having 10 arms also. The ambal sanidhi has an Uchishta ganapathy with an asura neela on his lap (and his hands controlling this asura with many features which can not be simply explained here) who becomes a goddess as ganapathy is with her , These are all part of the srividya worship traditions hence a treat to the connoisseur
The Thyagarajar Temple at Tiruvarur is famous for the ajapa thanam(dance without chanting), that is executed by the deity itself. According to legend, there are seven temples which are part of the same legend of indra donating 7 lingams to Muchukunda Chakravarthy a Chola king who obtained a boon from Lord Indra and wished to receive the Sivalinga gifted to Indra by Vishnu. Indra tested the king He had six other Maragatha Lingas made, and asked Muchukunda chakravarthy to choose the right one the king chose the right Maragatha Lingam and installed it at Tiruvarur. The other six Siva lingas were installed in Thirunallar, Thirukkuvalai, Nagapattinam, Tirukaravasal, Tiruvaimur, and Vedaranyam All the seven places are villages situated along the river Cauvery. All seven Thyagaraja images are said to dance when taken in procession (it is the bearers of the processional deity who actually dance). The temples with dance styles are regarded as Saptha Vidangam(seven dance moves) and the related temples are as under:
Name of the Sivalingam: Vidhividangar
Dance form: Ajabathaanam
Dance without chanting, resembling the dance of Sri Thyagaraja resting on Lord Vishnu's chest
Thirunallar Dharbaranyeswarar Temple
Name of the Sivalingam: Nagaradangar
Dance form: Unmathanathaanam
Dance of an intoxicated person
Nagapattinam Kayarohanaswamy Temple
Name of the Sivalingam: Sundaravidangar
Dance form: Vilathithaanam
Dancing like waves of sea
Thirukkaravasal Kannayariamudayar Temple
Name of the Sivalingam: Adhividangar
Dance form: Kukunathaanam
Dancing like a cock
Name of the Sivalingam: Avanividangar
Dance form: Brunganathaanam
Dancing like a bee that hovers over a flower
Name of the Sivalingam Nallavidangar
Dance form: Kamalanadanam
Dance like lotus that moves in a breeze
Vedaranyam Vedaranyeswarar Temple
Name of the Sivalingam: Bhuvanivividangar
Dance form: Hamsapthanathaanam
Dancing with the gait of a swan
The next sanctum has the figure of Thyagarajaswamy with Shiva and parvathy and Murugan in between. The lord here is covered all the year and the left padam is revealed in Panguni uthiram as the shakthi padam and the right padam is revealed on Arudhra day as per the prayers of Vyagrapada and Patanjali maharishi.In the southwest corner of the inner prakara Nilotpalambigai is seen blessing her child Muruga sitting on a maid’s shoulder. The ganapathy in this praharam is the oldest sculpture here and is called Vataapi ganapathy. Muthuswamy dikshatar composed his krithi Vataapi ganapathim bhaje on this deity only
The Nava grahams are all in a straight line here and not in vakram as they have come to pray to llord shiva so no nagvagraha dosha can affect devotees in this temple. They are also located in northwest corner of 1st praharam
The major shrines in the temple are of Aananthiswarar, Neelothphalambal, Asaleswarar, Adageswarar, Varuneswarar, Annamalieswarar and Kamalambal.
The temple has many halls like. Bhaktha Katchi hall .It is located to the left of the image of Moosukuntha Nandi. The festival image of Thyagaraja arrives at this hall after the Panguni Uthiram festival.
Oonjal hall is located opposite to the Kabatha Katchi hall. The festival images of Chandrasekarar and Sekari Amman arrive at this hall during the Thiruvadhirai festival.
Thulabhara hall is named after the legend in which king Muchukundaka placed Thyagaraja image of Thiruvarur in one and all others in another plate he received from Indra (the king of celestial deities).
Purana hall is located in the northern part of the temple.
Rajanarayana hall is a public hall for localities of Thiruvaru.
Rajendra Chola hall, also called Sabapathi hall houses the museum of the temple.
The next sannidhi is of Sri Kamalambikai.Sri Kamalambal is the shakthi here and the temple history credits this temple as the earliest in the whole complex. The ambal is shown with crossed legs and pasam ankusham, rudraksha and lotus in her arms. Muthuswamy dikshadar has composed 9 krithis on this diety called nava varna krithis which people who practice srividya say is his Gnana drishti. flowing out as compositions.