Thiruvaiyyaru, the place of five rivers, is a very holy place. This is the place where the Cauvery delta begins. The Cauvery water is blocked by one of the oldest dams built of a stone known as Kallanai; it was built by Sri Karikala Chola several centuries ago. The water is released as five rivers for the purpose of irrigation and made this delta region rich in agriculture making Tanjore district as the granary of South India.
The huge temple is dedicated to Lord Sri Shiva known as Sri Ayyaruappan in Tamil and Sri Panchanadeeswarar in Sanskrit, which means the Lord of the 5 rivers. The Devi's name is Sri Parvathi and is located in a separate temple within the same compound.
The very name Thiruvaiyyaru brings to one's mind carnatic music since the saint Sri Thiagaraja, though born in Tiruvarur, actually lived in Thiruvaiyyaru and composed all the Kritis while here. Even now every year in the month of January on Bakula Panchami (The death Anniversary day of Sri Thiagaraja) hundreds of musicians come here and sing in chorus the five famous Kritis of St. Thiagaraja known as the Pancha Rathna Kritis and thereafterAarathi is performed. A unique feature of the Pancharathna kritis is that St. Thiagaraja, even though he himself is a great saint, bows to all great people by the fifth pancharatna: "Enthro ma Mahanubavalu Andariku Vandanamu."
The five thirthams in this temple are Surya Pushkarani, Ganga Theertham, Chandra Pushkarani, Palaru and Nandhini Theertham, Sage Neymesa built this temple at the instance of Lord Sri Shiva. There are two shrines near east gopuram known as Dakshina Kalasha and Uttara Kalasha. The Mukthi mantapam is famous for performing Panchakshara japam. This holy place is considered as chief among the Saptha Stana Stalas, The other six are Thiru Pazhanam, Thiruvan chottu Thurai, Thiruvadai Kudi, Thirukandiyur, Thirupanthurai and Thiruvai thanam.