Tiruvarur temple proof of TN’s ancient connect to chess

The temple claims to have proof that the game had originated from here around 1,500 years ago.
Devotees play chess at the Lord Shiva temple at Thirupoovanur
Devotees play chess at the Lord Shiva temple at Thirupoovanur

TIRUCHY: With the 44th Olympiad at Mahabalipuram fast approaching, an ancient Lord Shiva temple at Thirupoovanur near Tiruvarur has been receiving public attention for having Arulmigu Sathuranga Vallabhanathar as the presiding deity, which it believes has connection to the game of chess.

The temple claims to have proof that the game had originated from here around 1,500 years ago. According to legendary tales, Lord Shiva adopted the name Sathuranga Vallabhanathar and played chess to outwit the local king Vasusenan’s daughter Rajarajeswari, who is also denoted to be the manifestation of the goddess Parvathi, and marry her.

“As per the temple documents, chess had been played in Tamil Nadu about 1,500 years ago,” Thiruvadikudil Swamigal, founder, Jothimalai Iraipani Thirukoottam, a forum of devotees, told DT Next. “Tamil Saivite poet-saint Tirunavukkarasar had sung Thevaram in praise of the temple, which is situated in the southern banks of the Cauvery and is considered to be the 103rd Thevaram Sthalam,” he added.

Devotees play chess at the Lord Shiva temple at Thirupoovanur
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Thiruvadikudil Swamigal recently performed a special pooja with a chess board for the successful conduct of the Olympiad. “On Sunday, an awareness programme was organised in Tiruvarur, in which over 100s of students played the board game,” said Balagunasekaran, the organiser of the awareness programme. He added that a torch relay was performed in the district on Tuesday.

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