Shrines for Surya are seen in many temples but a stand-alone temple is an exception. It was built by the Chola kings. Inscriptions from the period of Kulottunga Chola I (1075-1120) refer to this temple as the Kulottunga Chola Martanda Alayam. Kulottunga Chola is said to have had a good relationship with the Gahadwal dynasty of Kanauj (1090 - 1194), whose rulers were Sun worshippers, and hence this temple is considered their influence in South India.
Inscriptions from the period of Krishna Deva Raya, states about endowments made to this temple. The Suryanar temple faces west. The presiding deity here is Suryanarayana in a chariot like vimaana, representing the sun's chariot. There are shrines for Kasi Viswanathar, Visalakshi and Brihaspati (Guru) in the sanctum. Shrines to the other celestial bodies are located outside of the sanctum.
The sanctum and the ardhamandapam are built of stone, while the rest of the shrines are brick structures. The Kol Theertha Vinayakar shrine is also important. A worship protocol involves circumambulating the entire temple nine times to devotees visiting the temple. Protocol requires that one visit the Tirumangalakkudi Shivastalam before visiting Suryanaar Koyil.
Festivals: Ratha Saptami in the Tamil month of Thai, and the first Sundays in the months of Aavani (Leo) and Kartikai (Scorpio) and Vijaya Dasami are celebrated in this temple.