THIRUVARUR
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Thiruvarur also spelt as Tiruvarur is a town and municipality in Tiruvarur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the administrative headquarters of Tiruvarur district and Tiruvarur taluk. The town was one of the five traditional capitals of the Chola empire, with one of the emperors of the dynasty, KulothungaChola I, having it as his capital. The town is believed to be of significant antiquity and has been ruled, at different times, by the Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Later Pandyas, Vijayanagar Empire, Marathas and the British. The town is known for the Thyagaraja temple, and the annual chariot festival held in the month of April. The temple chariot of the Thyagaraja temple, weighing 300 tonnes (660,000 lb) and measuring 90 feet (27 m) tall is the largest temple chariot in Tamil Nadu. Thiruvarur is the birthplace of Tyagaraja, MuthuswamiDikshitar and SyamaSastri, popularly known as the Trinity of Carnatic music of the 18th century CE. Thiruvarur was a part of Thanjavur district till 1991 and Nagapattinam district until 1997; it became the headquarters of Tiruvarur district when it was carved out of Nagapattinam district in 1997. The Odambokki river passes through the centre of the town. Thiruvarur covers an area of 10.47 km2 (4.04 sq mi) and had a population of 58,301 as of 2011. It is administered by a first grade municipality. The town is a part of the Cauvery delta region and agriculture is the major occupation. Roadways are the major means of transportation with a total of 94.06 km (58.45 mi) of district roads including three national highways passing through the town. The historic name of the town was Aaroor (Arur) and it finds mention in the 7th century saiva canonical work, Tevaram. The term Thiru is added to all temple cities that are mostly revered by the verses of Tevaram, which is the case of Arur becoming Thiruvarur. Another name of Thiruvarur is Kamalaalayasetra, meaning the "holy place that is an abode of lotuses"; the town is also referred so due to the presence of the Kamalaalayam tank and the temple deity, Kamalambigai. During the British Raj, the town was termed Tiruvalur,] Tiruvaloor, and Thiruvalur. As per the district and municipality websites, the district has the spelling "Tiruvarur", while the town has it as "Thiruvarur". Thyagaraja Temple – an important landmark of the town and one of the largest temples in Tamil Nadu As per folk legend, Thiruvarur is mentioned as the capital town of a legendary Chola king, Manu NeedhiCholan, who killed his own son to provide justice to a cow. Thiruvarur was one of the five traditional capitals of the Chola empire and the history of town revolves around the Thygarajaswamy temple. Thiruvarur is mentioned in the saiva canonical work, Tevaram by ThirugnanaSambanthar, Tirunavukkarasar and Sundarar, the foremost Saivite saints of 7th–8th century CE and classified as Padalpetrastalam. Tirunavukkarasar mentions several traditions of the temple like MarghazhiAathiraiVizha, PanguniUttiraiPerunaal and VeedhivitakaninVeedhi Panni. The granite structure of the temple was first constructed by Aditya Chola I (871–907 CE) in the 9th century CE and revamped during the reign of RajarajaChola I (985–1014 CE). The temple was upgraded and rebuilt with stone by Rajendra Chola I (1012–44 CE). The temple has inscriptions from both the emperors, later Cholas and Pandyas. The temple is believed to be an inspiration for RajarajaChola to build the Brihadeeswarar Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inscriptions from the temple indicate Thiruvarur as the capital of KulothungaChola I (1070–1120 CE), during which the town emerged a centre of saivism. After the fall of Cholas during the reign of Rajendra Chola II in the 13th century CE, the town was caught under a power struggle between Pandyas and Hoysalas. The royal patronage continued and the town flourished as a cultural centre during the rule of the Nayaks, Vijayanagar kings and Marathas. During the period of Marathas, the town became a temporary home to the Nataraja of Chidambaram temple. The town was briefly captured by French troops led by Lally (1702–66 CE) in 1759 CE. The Thyagarajar temple was ransacked in a failed attempt to discover hidden treasure. During the attempt, six brahmins of the temple, suspected to be spies of the British, were killed in an encounter. The province and Tanjore were annexed by British after the failed attempt of the French to attack the King of Tanjore. After independence, Thiruvaur continued to be a part of the Thanjavur district and Nagapattinam district till 1991 and 1997 respectively. Thiruvarur was made the headquarters of Tiruvarur district when it was carved out of Nagapattinam district in 1997.

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