Tiruvarur in the Thanjavur district of Tamilnadu was the centre of Saiva and Sakta worship from very ancient times.
The Saiva cult revolved around the Tyagaraja icon enshrined in a temple bearing the name of the image. Interestingly, Tyagaraja is not the principle deity but a processional icon and is in fact an amalgam of three deities - Siva his consort Uma and their child Skanda.
Tyagaraja is a Somaskanda and the first visual representation of this composite deity can be traced to the time of Pallava rule.
About the Author:
Rajeshwari Ghose teaches south and South East Asian Art in the Department of fine Arts at the University of Hong kong. She was a jubilee scholar of the University of calcutta and did her M.Phil. from the Universtiy of Hong Kong and Ph.D. from the school of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.