Festivals, Culture & Heritage
Chariot festival : Kulothunga Chola II (1133–50 CE) enlarged the temple ritual to have fifty six festivals, some of which are followed in modern times. The annual chariot festival of the Thygarajaswamy temple is celebrated during April – May, corresponding to the Tamil month of Chitrai. The chariot is the largest of its kind in Asia and India weighing 300 tonne with a height of 90 feet. The chariot comes around the four main streets surrounding the temple during the festival. The event is attended by lakhs of people from all over Tamil Nadu. The chariot festival is followed by the “Theppam”, meaning float festival.
Thaipoosam festival in Arulmighu Subramanya Swamy temple at Enkan is celebrated in the middle of January.
During the Tamil months of Avani(Aug-Sep) and Panguni (Sep-Oct)Varatharajan Pettai Maha Mariyamman temple festival is celebrated.
Navarathri festival is celebrated in Arulmighu Maha Saraswathi Amman Temple at Koothanur.
Places of religious, historical or archelogical importance in villages and places of tourist interest in the towns of Thiruvarur district.
The district is having many places of tourist interest and pilgrim centers, which attract the tourists and pilgrims from all parts of the country and abroad for its historical, architectural and ecological importance. Following are the important centers in this district.
Thiruvarur is located 290 kms away from Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu and is positioned between Nagapattinam (24 kms) and Thanjavur (56 kms). Thiruvarur district is famous for its evergreen paddy fields and temples with sky-high towers. This town is situated in the south east of Tamil Nadu. The Arulmighu Shri Thiyagarajar temple located in Thiruvarur town has many distinctions. It has the largest chariot or temple car among the temples in Tamil Nadu. The enormous Kamalalayam and the golden calm water in the temple tank are the glory of the town. The Arulmighu Shri Rajagopalaswamy temple in Mannargudi, Shri Subramanyaswamy shrine in Enkan, Arulmighu Shri Saraswathy temple at Koothanur and the Guru temple, one of the important Navagrahas at Alangudi are some of the prominent places of worship in Thiruvarur district.
The mangrove forests in Muthuppettai, occupies an important place among the nature’s beauty of this district, besides the sprawling paddy fields on both sides of rivers, canals and roads. The Birds’ sanctuary in Udhayamarthandapuram and Vaduvoor are wonderful places that attract tourists.
Other famous historical temples are located in Thiruveezhimalai, Thirupamparam, Thirumeichur, Shrivanchiyam, Thillaivilagam and Thirukkannamangai. At Jambavanodai near Muthuppettai there is an ancient and glorified dargah. The triumvirate of Carnatic music, Shri Thiyagaraja Brahmam, Shri Muthuswamy Dheekshathar and Shyma Shastri were born here and this adds admiration, dignity and glory to this district.
The Arulmighu Thiyagarasaswamy temple in Thiruvarur is famous in many aspects . This is the most revered and glorified of all Attaveeratta temples of Lord Shiva. Inside this temple, there is an art gallery depicting the greatness of the judicious king Manuneethi Cholan. The striking features of this temple are the Arulmighu Shri Kamalambal shrine and the sacred temple tank containing a small temple in miniature in the middle of it. The Shri Kamalambal shrine is one of the seats of the great mother, the goddess Shakti. This holy town has the glory of being eulogized in the Thevaram. The ancient musical instruments the Panchamuga and the PariNadaswaram were made here and it is interesting to note that these ancient musical instruments are used till today in this town.
The Carnatic music festival celebrated every year also garners large audience. The town has 10 parks, with the Somasundaram Park at Panagal Road and Municipal Park at Thendral Nagar being the most prominent of them.
Historically Thiruvarur has been a centre of eminent people in religion, arts and science. Sundarar, an 8th-century Saivite saint, mentions “I am the slave of all those born in Thiruvarur” in his works in Tevaram. Two of the 63 nayanmars of Saivite tradition namely, Kalarsinga Nayanar and Tandiyadigal Nayanar were born in Thiruvarur. The Periyapuranam, a 12th century Saiva canonical by Sekkizhar, dedicates a chapter to those born in Thiruvarur including these two saints.
The town was a traditional centre of music and dance–the inscriptions from Rajaraja Chola associates a large body of dancers associated with the temple. Thiruvarur is home to Trinity of Carnatic music namely Thyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Shastri. Muthuswami Dikshitar has sung eulogies of the temple deities of the Thyagarajaswami temple. There was large influx of the acumen of South Indian culture to the town during the 17th century due to the political unrest in Thanjavur and increased patronage of the Maratha kings to Thiruvarur, resulting in developments in music and dance. A unique musical instrument called Panchamuga Vadyam with each of its five ends ornamented differently is used in the temple. A type of nadaswaram (pipe instrument) called Barinayanam is also a unique instrument found only in Thiruvarur.