The word thiru in Tamil denotes respect. It is mostly used by the tamilians to address elders, learned people, etc. Besides addressing people, this word is also used in the name of the places with esteem. Some reasons behind the words usage includes ancient practices, famous temple, religion, people or any historical evidences.
|Maada street at Thirumailai - Water colour done by artist Venkatesh|
Here we go:
Thirumailai (Mylapore), the city ofpeacocks, is one of the ancient places of Madras. It was once surrounded by thick foliage of Alexandrian laurel (punnai in tamil) trees with numerous peacock population. You can even see the depicts of peacocks worshipping linga in Kapalishwarar temple. The famous Shaiva saint Thirugnana Sambandarmentioned about this place in his songs in Tevaram.
Thirusulam is said to have acquired its name from the word surammeaning jungle path. It is known for Thirusoolanathar templethat was constructed way back during Choladynasty.
Thiruvallikeni (Triplicane) is named after a sacred lily pond situated beneath the Parthasarathy or Krishna temple. The temple was constructed during Pallava dynasty. Nandi Varman II built it during 731-795 CE. The famous Vaishnava saint Thirumangai Aalwar even sang about the place.
Thiruvanmiyur is named after the veteran Valmiki, author of the ancient epic Ramayana. It is said that he settled here during his final days. The another legend about this place is that during 7th century, Shaivite saint Apparrefers Vanmiyurisan as lord Shiva and hence the name Vanmiyur, which later with respect became Thiruvanmiyur.
|Thiruvottriyur Adipurishwarar temple|
PC - C.P.R. Foundation
Likewise there are several other places across Tamil Nadu starting with thiru. They are more than just names. Years of history is buried within. Next time if you visit these places, go deep into it. Observe, analyse and review the rock arts, carvings, inscriptions and other historical elements.
When books and words fail, the monuments come alive showcasing the history behind them. The land we live and cherish now is rich in culture, heritage, values and natural resources. And what we must try to understand and incorporate in our present is their sustainable value system.