|Location of the temple||Tiruvaiyaaru|
|Lord Shiva known as||Iyaarappar, Panchanatheeswarar|
|Female deity known as||Dharmasamvardhini, Thiiripurasundari|
|How to reach||This temple is located 10 Kms to the north of Thanjavur. Town bus Bus facilities from Thanjavur are available.|
|temple address||Arulmighu Iyaarappar Temple|
Thiruvaiyaru is about 15 Kms from Thanjavur and got its name due to the 5 rivers that flow through this town. The five rivers are the tributaries of the Kaveri and form a sort of network around this town. The main temple here is to the lord who shares the name with the town - Panchanadeeswarar in Sanskrit, or Ayyaarappan in Tamil. The story of how the temple came into being is an interesting one. A kings chariot once got embedded in the ground. While digging around the wheels of the chariot to get it out, they chanced upon a lingam. A wise minister advised them to dig further, but carefully, and they were rewarded for their efforts with the idols of the goddess Dharmasamvardhini, Vinayaka, Muruga, and also a Nandi. To top it all, they also found a Siddhar (saint) deep in meditation underground. The saint advised the king to build a temple at the same place, and also told him to dig under the hoofs of the Nandi where he would find the wealth needed for building the temple.
This Shivasthalam is one of the 6 most sacred places on the banks of river Cauvery which is considered as equivalent to the temple at Varanasi. The other 5 shivasthalams are Tiruvenkaadu, Tiruchaaikkadu (Chaayaavanam), Mayiladuthurai, Tiruvidaimarudur and Tiruvanchiam. Tiruvaiyaru is one of the big and famous temple for God Shiva and is known as Dakshina Kailasam. Covering an area of nearly 15 acres with 5 prakarams and a 7 tier Gopuram (Tower), the sculptural work in this temple is of special importance. More than 70 stone inscriptions from the Chola period have been found inside the temple. The samadhi of Saint Tyagarajar, one of the foremost composers of Carnatic music is in Tiruvaiyaru.
Thirunavukarasar went on a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash to have a darshan of God Shiva. In view of the hardships faced on his way, Tirunavukarasar found it very difficult to continute his journey to Mount Kailash. With his divine intervention, god Shiva made Tirunavukarasar to submerge himself in a pond and asked him to take his bath in the pond. When Tirunavukarasar emerged from the pond, he was transported miraculously to Tiruvaiyaru and god Shiv a blessed Tirunavukarasar with a vision of Mount Kailash at Tirvaiyaru.
The Thiruvaiyaru temple is one among a group of seven, collectively known as the Saptha Sthaanam temples. These temples are unique, for they are related to the marriage of Shivas foremost attendant, Nandi, and the part that Shiva played in this marriage.
Nandi was born to Siladha Maharshi and performed great penance to his favoured deity, Shiva. Shiva was so pleased with his worship, he not only made Nandi his prime attendant, He also got him married. The marriage itself took place at Thirumazhapadi near Thiruvaiyaru, and Shiva took his devotee around these seven temples as part of the Sapthapadi. Every year, this occasion is celebrated in April/May with the idol of the Lord starting out in a beautifully decorated glass-encrusted palanquin from Thiruvaiyaru, and taking a round of these seven villages. At each village he is received at one boundary by the Lord of that village and accompanied by him to the next village, where he is received by the next one. In such a way, he completes a full circle and returns to Thiruvaiyaru. These seven temples are: 1. Thiruvaiyaru, 2. Thiruchotruthurai, 3. Thiruvedikudi, 4. Thirupponnthuruthi, 5. Thillaisthanam, 6. Kandiyur and 7. Thiruppazhanam. All these temples are situated around Thiruvaiyaru and it is possible to visit all these temples within 4 hours.
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