Thanjavur derives its name for Tanjan-an asure (giant), who according to local legend devastated the neighbourhood and was killed by Sri Anandavalli Amman and Vishnu, Sri Neelamegapperumal. Tanjan’s last request that the city might be named after him was gratnted.
The district of Thanjavur boasts of hundreds of ancient temples. The town of Thanjavur was seat of the glorious Chola Empire of Tamilnadu, and was later of the Naicks and the Marathas.
Sri Brihadeeswarar Temple
This 1000 years old temple is near to the old bus stand. It is one of the best and biggest temples in South India. It was built by the Chola emperor Raja Raja in 985 to 1013 AD. The architecture of the temple is the final evolution of Dravidian sensibility in its blend of engineering and design. The construction is unique the Vimanam, known as Dhakshina Meru, soars high while the Gopurams remains stunted.
The temple stands within a fort, whose walls are later additions built in 16th century. The Dhakshina Meru Vimanam is 64.8 m tall, with 14 tiered. The octagonal Shikharam rests on a single block of granite weighing 81.3 tonnes. Sri Brihadeeswarar is a gigantic Lingam (about 8.7 meters high).
There is a massive Nandi at the portals of the temple. It is the second largest monolithic Nandi in the country. Measuring 6m in length 2.6m in breath and 3.7m in height. The divine consort, Brahannayaki, or Periyanayaki is in a separate shrine. The shrine of Lord Subramanya is an exquisite piece of decorative art.
Thiruvaiyaru is situated on the banks of the rive Cauvery Thiruvaiyaru has anold Siva temple dedicated to Panchanatheswar. Though pilgrims flock to this temple throughout the year. Thiruvaiyaru is more renowned for its anociation with saint Thyagaraja, who along with Muthuswami Diskshitar and Shyama Sastri, comprises the trinity of Carnatic Music. Near Shiva temple is the one roomed have where Thyagaraja composed some of this greatest works.
On the banks of the river is the Samadhi of the saint and it is here that the greatest music festival in the country takes place annually. The Thyagaraja Aaradhana festival is held in January when most of the leading exponents of carnatic music come to perform and are watched by thousands of ardent fame of classical music.
The Thyagarajaswami temle here has the biggest temple chariot in Tamil Nadu. This vast temple houses Thyagaraja, Kamalamba and Vanmikanathar and has been sung by the Saiva Saints. The pillars and the halls here are of great beauty. Rajaraja Cholan was an ardent devotee of Thyagarajaswami. This temple is also referred to as a Prithvi (Earth) Sthalam.
It is considered to be one of the holiest of the 275 Saivite shrines. It has most number of hymns in the Tirumurai collection after Sirkazhi and is the foremost of the 7 Saptavitanka shrines associated with the legend of Muchukunda Cholan and Indra. The evening worship service here is great significance. Tiruvarur is regarded as the 87th in the series of Tevara Stalams in Chola Nadu south of the river Cauvery.
Sri Thyagarajaswami Car Festival is celebrated in March April, every year. This is the birthplace of Saint Thyagaraja, the poet saint and composer of Carnatic music.
Sikkal Singaravelavar Temple
Around 80km from Thanjavur situated in Nagapattinam Tiruvarur Main Road. The ancient history says here only Lord Murugan got the ‘Sakthi Vel’ from Parvathi (refered as Velnedunkanni aman in this temple) and killed Suran. This temple is one of the few temple in Tamilnadu, which has both Siva and Vishnu in the same campus. The ‘Vel Vankuthal’ festival in the Tamil month of Iyappasi is very famous here.
This Siva temple is dedicated to Karayogaswami and Neelayadakshi. It is considered to be the Tevara Stalams in the Chola Kingdom located south of the river Kaveri. This temple also regarded as one of the 51 Shakti Peethams of India. Lord Thyagaraja is known here as Sundara Vidanagar and He perform Paaraavaaru Tharanga Natanam. The intricate workmanship of Panchamukha Vinayaka seated on a lion noteworthy.
The four Vedas Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharvana worshipped Lord Vedaranyeswara (Siva). Hence the place is known as Thirumarikkadu. The shrine of Thyagaraja is adjacent to that of Vedaranyeswara. The Maragatha Lingam enshrined near the Thyagaraja shrine is known as Bhuvani Vidngar and his dance is Hamsa Paada Natanam.
Appar and Sundarar competed to sing and show their talents at this place. 11 Tamil songs to open the gates of the temple happened here. Because of the curse which happened during that time, still now most of the people use the back door to enter the temple.
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