Thiruvaiyaru: Indian Music’s Holy Ground
Situated on the banks of the River Cauvery, in Tamil Nadu, Thiruvaiyaru is a small, quiet town. However, its modesty belies its importance as a pilgrim centre. Home to the ancient Panchanadheeshwara and Aiyaarrappar Temples, this town is flocked by pilgrims throughout the year. That being said, Thiruvaiyaru is most renowned for its association with Saint Thyagaraja, who, along with Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri, were the flag bearers of the ancient art form of Carnatic Music. They are now popularly referred to as the Trinity of Carnatic Music and are the prolific composers of the genre. Thyagaraja spent a major part of his life in Thiruvaiyaru and some of his magnum opuses, which now form the foundation of this art form, were envisioned and created on this sacred ground. Saint Thyagaraja’s samadhi is also located on the banks of the Cauvery where musicians and music lovers from all over the country and across the globe visit to pay their respects and hold an annual festival in January called Thyagaraja Aradhana.
This region was the main centre of the famous Chola dynasty who ruled here as early as 300 BCE. Thiruvaiyaru and its surrounding towns are home to some of the most magnificent and well preserved art and architectural marvels of these times, which further enrich the cultural sanctity of this part of the country.