There is a myth that the Tirudandishvarar temple was named so because it was at this place that Yama, the God of Death, regained his sceptre (danda) from Lord Siva. It was taken away from him to protect the devotees of Markandeya (Lord Siva) from death.
Tirudandishvarar is a typical Chola temple, which was later renovated and embellished by the rulers of subsequent periods. There are several inscriptions of Chola kings can be found in this temple, which includes those of Gandaraditya (10th century A.D.), Rajaraja I (985-1014 A.D.), Rajendra I (1012-44 A.D.) and Kulottunga III (1178-1218 A.D.).
The main shrine of the Tirudandishvarar temple has the garbagriha, antarala and mahamandapa. The gopuram or the entrance of the temple is five tiered.