Thiruvaiyaru History

Thiruvaiyaru History

Thiruvaiyaru (also spelled as Tiruvaiyaru or Tiruvayyaru) is a panchayat town in Thanjavur District in the Indianstate of Tamil Nadu. Thiruvaiyaru is situated on the banks of the river Kaveri, 11 km from Thanjavur. Thiruvaaiyaru has an old Siva temple dedicated to Aiyarappar or 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, comprised the Trinity of Carnatic music. Thiruvaiyaru means Five Rivers around the city. The Five Rivers are Arisilaaru, Vennaaru, Vettaaru, Kudamuruttiyaaru and Kaveriaaru.

Tiruvaiyaru is the headquarters of the Tiruvaiyaru taluk. Tiruvaiyaru is a small, quiet town. However, its modesty belies its importance as a pilgrim centre. On the highway from Tanjavur, you pass five bridges over the Vadavar, Vettar, Vennar, Kudamurutti and Cauvery, the five rivers from which Tiruvaiyaru gets its name (tiru = sacred; ai = five; aaru = river). The presiding deity of the Shiva temple here, Panchanadeeshvarar (in Tamil, Ayyarappan ‘ both mean the same thing, `the Lord of the Five Rivers’) also gets his name from them. Tiruvaiyaru is considered as holy as Varanasi and bathing in the Cauvery here is as guaranteed to rid devotees of sins as bathing in the Ganges.

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. Nearby are the Samadhis of some of the other saints like Shiva Prakasha Swamigal and Bangalore Nagaratnamma, who actually identified and rebuilt the samadhi of Sri Tyagaraja.