Mayiladuthurai is a town in the Nagapattinam District of Tamil Nadu. It is the headquarters of the Mayiladuthurai taluk of Nagapattinam district and is the second largest town in the district. Mayiladuthurai is situated at distance of 281 kilometres south-west of Chennai, 70 kilometres north-east of Thanjavur and 40 kilometres north-west of Karaikal.
Mayiladuthurai is of great antiquity, its oldest extant temples dating to the time of the Medieval Cholas. The region, itself, however, is known to have been inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC. Sherds of megalithic black and red ware have been found at Akkur, 14 kilometres to the east of Mayiladuthurai. In 2006, artifacts with Indus Valley signs dated between 2000 and 1500 BC were found at the nearby village of Sembiyankandiyur. There have been references to Mayiladuthurai in the works of the 7th century Saivite saint Sambandar. The Thanjavur Nayak king Raghunatha Nayak constructed mandapams in Mayiladuthurai. During the 17th and 18th centuries AD, Mayiladuthurai was ruled by the Thanjavur Marathas who invited Brahmins from the Telugu, Kannada and Maratha countries to settle in the region and gave large amounts of land to them. In 1799, Mayiladuthurai, was ceded to the British East India Company, along with the rest of the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom, by the Thanjavur Maratha ruler Serfoji II. Mayiladuthurai prospered under British rule emerging as an important town in Tanjore district. Carnatic musicians Madurai Mani Iyer and Gopalakrishna Bharathi and Samuel Vedanayagam Pillai, who wrote the first Tamil novel Prathapa Mudaliar Charithram were born in Mayiladuthurai while Tamil writer Kalki Krishnamurthy M.S.Udhaya Moorthy studied at the Municipal High School in Mayiladuthurai. When the Tanjore district was trifurcated in 1991, Mayiladuthurai was transferred to the newly formed Nagapattinam district. According to local folklore, Mayiladuthurai was associated with Hindu holy men called "Sithars". To this day, a neighbourhood of Mayiladuthurai is called Sitharkadu.
Temples of Mayavaram
The Mayuranathaswami and Dakshinamoorthi temples are built in the Dravidian style of architecture. The Mayuranathaswami Temple was built during the time of the Medieval Cholas and is 719 feet long and 52 feet wide. The gopuram at the eastern entrance is 164 feet high. The idol of the Hindu goddess Durga in the temple is considered to be one of the best. Within the Mayuranathaswami temple, there is a carving of a devotee of Shiva trying to cut off his own head as an offering to the God. The oldest inscriptions in the shrine date to the reign of Kulothunga Chola I. The temple is maintained by the Thiruvaduthurai Adheenam. The Dakshinamoorthi shrine houses an idol of the God Dakshinamoorthi mounted on a Nandhi. There is another idol of Nandhi at the bathing ghat on the Cauvery River. The Punukeeswarar Temple at Kornad and Sri Kasi Viswanathaswami Temple are the other important Hindu temples in Mayiladuthurai. There is a Vishnu temple at Thiruvilandur on the northern banks of the Cauvery. Anandathandavapuram Panchavatiswarar Shiva Temple is located at around 5 km from Mayavaram. The other temples are Parimala Rangnathar Vishnu temple, Kolikutti Vanamutti Perumal temple.