History of Thyagaraja Temple
Thyagaraja temple was built in the period of Pallavas and it underwent renovation during the rule of Cholas. A number of inscriptions in the temple narrate significant incidents associated with the temple. In olden days the temple also served as an important centre of learning. Thyagaraja temple is also associated with Indian mythology which augments its religious value.
Deity of Thyagaraja Temple
Aadhipureeswarar is the presiding deity of Thyagaraja temple and his mud mound covered with armour is installed in the temple. This armour is removed on the full moon day of the Tamil month Karthigai and the representation of the lord is made visible to the devotees. The anointment of the deity is done with sampirani, javvadhu and punugu oils. Other deities of the temple include Ekapaadhar, Gowrieeswarar, Amirthakandeesar, Sagasralingam, Sundareswarar, Meenakshi, Nagalingar, Jambukeswarar, Annamalayar, Jaganadhar, Kuzhandhai Eesar, Thiruptheeswarar and others.
Other Shrines around Thyagaraja Temple
Towards the north side of the temple, a Durga shrine is located. In the temple complex there is also a Nataraja shrine standing just opposite to the main shrine along with a Ganapati shrine in the koshta. There is also an idol of Adi Shankaracharya behind the main shrine. Deities like Subrahmanya, Dakshinamurthy and Kali are also there in the temple complex. Till date, the worship in the temple is performed by a selected group of Nampoothiri families as per the desires of Adi Shankaracharya. Vadivudaiamman is another goddess of this temple and is housed in a distinct shrine in the complex.
Thyagaraja Cult of Thyagaraja Temple
Although Adipuriswarar is the presiding deity of the temple, it has close association with Thyagaraja cult of Shaivism. The iconic form of Thyagaraja, Somaskanda, is said to have emerged during the period of Raja Raja Chola, in 10th century. It is believed that the 8th century saint named Sundarar had spread Thyagaraja cult in this temple from Thiruvarur.
Festivals of Thyagaraja Temple
Thyagaraja temple hosts its main festival in the Tamil month of Masi which falls in the February-March months and allures a huge crowd. On the eighth day of the festival, another event called Mahiladisevai is organized. The Durgadevi shrine in the temple complex is related to Kannagi who is the protagonist of the 2nd-century Tamil epic, Silappadikaram. A 15 days festival is also celebrated annually in the honour of Durga Devi and the last day of this festival is marked by the burning of the thatch roof which symbolizes Kannagi burning Madurai at the end of the epic.