History: During the 1st Century BC, while Karikala Cholan was returning after his victory over Himachal, his Chariot got stuck at Tiruvaiyuru. He felt a powerful force. He cleared the forest area and dug into the earth on that spot and discovered a Siva Lingam, idols of Sakti Vinayakar, Muruga, Sapta Matas, Chandikeswarar, Suryan. He also found that a Yogi Appai Sittar had been doing penance. On the Yogi's advice he built a Temple on that spot. He also informed Karikala Cholan that the required funds could be found below the hoofs of Nandi.
The Yogi's hair had spread all around his head in a semi circle and because of this in this temple devotees are not allowed to circumambulate the Garbha Griha. 825-850 AD before the time of Nandivarman Pallava, tirupani was done and the temple arrangement was modified to Pallava Architecture.
985-1014 wife of Raja Raja I built the Ulagamagadeviswaram Temple ( Uttara or Vada Kailasam) and in 1014-1042 wife of Rajendra Chola I built the Dakshina or Ten Kailasam.
Krishna Raja Wodeyar is said to have constructed the outer prakaram walls. The marble pillars in the temple are of Chalukyan Architecture. The 3rd & 4th Prakaram walls and East Gopuram were built during Vikrama Chola period. Construction of a 100 pillar Mandapam was started in the North East but work stopped at basementr level. This was taken up again and completed by Acutappa Naicker and Murugan sannithi was installed. In 1937 Amman Koil tirupani was completed & several sculptured pillars around the garbha griha and a separate pillared mandapam were constructed by Deva Kottai Meyappa Chettiar. It is believed he went bankrupt after the kumbhabhishekam was completed in 1937. Another kumbhabhishekam was done at Tiruvaiyaru in 1971.
About the Temple: This temple is a Thevara Sthalam of great significance since Appar, Sambandar & Sundarar have all sung praises of the Lord. The Deity is called Ayyarappar or Panchanadeeswarar and the Ambal is Dharma Samvardini. This is also a Sapta Sthalam. As you enter through the main gopuram you see nandi and a double ganesa. Further inside just outside the Garbha Griha, you see a large image of Ganesha on the left & Subramania on the right at the entrance and also the two dwarpals - all images constructed from plaster.
In the first prakaram you find a pillared portico on the South side with spledid frescoes from Siva Puranas. On the West there is another pillared portico containing a series of Siva lingas & some other deities including an 'Avudai Vinayagar' apart from sub shrines for Ganesha, Subramania, Gajalakshmi. There is also a small portico on the South side called the Dhyana Mandapam which contained Panchabootha ligams representing agni, vayu, appu, akash & prithvi. Also a Chandrasekara Sannithi, Adi Vinayakar. It also contained the nava grahas. The Sivayoga Dakshinamurthy is of great significance here.
There is another larger outer prakaram popularly called the nada brahmam prakaram. To denote the primordial nature of Sound - Nada Bhrammam, there are spots in this temple designed to produce multiple echos. Other spots of significance are the shrines of Murugan , jorahareswarar, Agappei Sittar,Ambal Sannithi, Uttara Kailasam, Dakshina Kailasam, Surya Tirtham & Appar Kulam. Appar Kulam is a little distance from the temple.
We were extremely fortunate to witness the Puja of the 'maragatha lingam' which is normalyy kept locked in a steel safe & take out by the archakar just before the Puja.
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