Lord Shiva is a swayambumurthi in the temple. Lord Thiagaraja is praised as the Raja-King of Gods. The temple is huge in size with 9 Rajagopuras, 80 Vimanas, 12 tall walls, 13 mandaps, 15 wells of Theertha importance, 3 gardens, 3 prakaras, 365 Shiva Lingas representing the days of the year, shrines numbering above 100, 86 Vinayaka idols and temples within the temple numbering above 24. The temple is indeed great, huge, tall and a castle of Hindu Faith designed and built in stone. Those worshipping the Face Darshan of Lod Thiagaraja in Tiruvarur are advised to have His Feet darshan(Pada darshan) in Vilamal, 3 km from this place.
The 1000 pillars constructed many years back were meant to make tents (Pandal in Tamil) during festival days. Abishek is not performed to Lord Thiagaraja but to the Maragatha Linga at 8.30 a.m., 11.00 a.m. and at 7.00 p.m. each day. After the abishek is over, the Linga would be placed in a silver box with flowers and covered by a silver vessel. This will be then locked and placed on the right side of Lord Thiagaraja.
Indra, chief of the gods
Sri Thiagarajar Temple, Tiruvarur–610 001.
Phone: +91- 4366 - 242 343, +91- 94433 54302.
The temple is open from 5.00 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
Margazhi Tiruvadhirai in December-January, Lord Thiagesar granting His Feet darshan – Pada Darshan; 10 day Panguni Uthiraim in March-April with the flag hoisting on the Hastha Star Day of the previous Tamil month Masi, with car festival on the 10th day with the significance of the darshan granted to sage Vyakrapada; 10 day Aadi Pooram in July-August; the Bhoodha Ganas carrying paddy bags to Saint Sundararar on Masi Magam Day in February-March; Chithiria festival in April-May are the important festivals of the temple. Besides the above, the Pradosha Puajas are devotionally performed drawing huge crowds. Deepavali, Pongal the Makar Sankranthi, Tamil and English New Year days are also observed with special pujas.
Once 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. Indira did not want to part with the Linga. He made a trick with the divine sculptor Mayan making six such Lingas and presented them to the emperor. Mushukunda found them to be 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. The other six are installed in other temples all collectively known as Saptha Vidanga Sthalas. 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 the Devas. He was caught in the aspect of Sani Bhagwan. 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 a 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. Though devotees visit Tirunallaru 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 Ganapathi graces the devotees from the first prakara of the Lord's shrine.
The 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.
The Car (Rath) of Tiruvarur is biggest in size and beautiful. 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. 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. 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. 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 the 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.
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.
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 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.