Visiting Kashi and Rameswaram continues to be top in the agenda of every devout Hindu. It is considered as an act to open the Gateway to God. But our tradition which is bound by Sastras and Puranas shows enormous amount of compassion towards those who can ill afford to spend time and money to offer worship at these places. They are not only lenient but show the alternate path to reach the goal. While doing so, the direction shown always reminds people not to forget Kashi. For example, six places in the elstwhile Thanjavur Dt of Tamilnadu are indicated on par with Kashi. They are Mayuram (Mayiladuthurai), Thiruvidaimarudur, Thiruvaiyaru, Thiruvenkadu, Chayavanam, and Srivanchiyam.
Interestingly, we find many Kashi Vishwanatha Temples in Mayuram. Cauvery river that flows across the town is regarded as Ganges as a dip here is regarded equal to the bath taken at Kashi. The important deities of Kala Bhairava and Tundi Ganapathi are also installed in separate shrines on the southern bank of Cauvery.Utsava idols of Medha Dhakshinamurthi and Ganga Devi are taken to Cauvery during the Tamil month of Aipasi (Oct-Nov) and a dip in the river on that day is as Holy as the one we have at Kashi.
The Panchanatheeswara (Aiyarappar) Temple in Mayuram belongs to the Chola period.It is on Mayuram- Thiruvarur road and one can walk down about a KM from the Big temple of Mayuranatha.In the absence of Rajagopuram, the entrance is beautified by installing fine images of Shiva and Parvathi flanked by Ganapathi,Subramanya, Maha Lakshmi, Saraswathi and Dhakshinamurthi. Tall statues of Dwarapalakas are also seen on both sides of the entrance. Like in Thiruvaiyaru, the deities of The Lord and The Goddess are taken in a palanquin to seven Temples located in and around Mayuram. This "Saptha Sthana Utsavam" was restarted few years ago by the efforts taken by the Adheenam and the devotees.
The west facing Temple has beautifully carved deities in Deva koshtam. They include Ardhanareeswara and Dhakshinamurthi. A small tank is seen in the front and The Goddess' (Dharmasamvardhani) shrine is facing south. Lot of inscriptions are seen on the outer wall of the Sanctum. Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam who maintain the Temple have renovated it and performed Kumbabishekam few years back.
MahaGanapathi of this Temple remains in our memory for a long time after the visit. Mayuram has thus become the place where we get the opportunity of remembering both Kashi and Thiruvaiyaru together. Hence it is no wonder why the Tamil proverb claims the place an unparallel one ( "Aayiramaanaalum Mayuram aagaathu". )