Pronunciation and Phonetics

Learning proper pronunciation can be done without much knowledge of phonetics, actually. A basic knowledge, however, helps to make pronunciation clearer and thus facilitates the process of learning how to speak a foreign language properly.

eAmbalam introduces a phonetic chart which is based on Dhevanagari script. The sounds of vowels and consonants and other speech sounds in Sanskrit and the languages which have completely or mostly borrowed from it can be covered with the help of the chart. A few other sounds common to some languages in this group and outside are also put in. Unique sounds of some languages are specified too.

Diacritical marks are used to aid perfect pronunciation. World over, these marks have been created and propagated by scholars to make understanding of the differences in speech sounds in different languages better. Team eAmbalam also has created a phonetic chart which helps even first timers to pronounce words accurately.

Our Phonetic chart is unique, comprehensive, learner friendly and is divided into four columns wherein:
  • In the first column, the letter is written with the associated diacritical mark.
  • In the second column, an example is given in Dhevanagari language containing the letter.
  • In the third column, an example is given in English, which contains the sound closes to the letter or instructions in few cases, to facilitate better understanding.
  • In the fourth column, an audio button is placed with the help of which you can hear the actual pronunciation of the letter.
An open minded approach with the above introduction and guidelines will definitely enable the user to understand the speech sounds of any language and pronounce it like a native, which is eAmbalam’s aim in this exercise.

Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English
A or a Aḍavu Arise
Ā or ā Ānanda Vast
I or i Indhira Sing
Ī or ī Īśha Meal
U or u U ṣhā Good
Ū or ū Ū rdhhva Boost
R or r Riṣh i Try
Ṛ or ṛ Ni ṛ uti Grr!
Lr or lr   Pronounce L and R together.
E or e Eka Ate
AI or ai Aikya Sight
O or o Ojas Robe
AU or au Audh ā rya Now
A M or am Śhiva m Drum
A HA or aha R ā ma ha Aha!
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English

Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English
KA or ka Kavi Car
KHA or kha Khalu Mark -Him
GA or ga Gamana Gut
GHA or gha Ghata Ugh!
Ṅ A or ṅa Tura ṅ ga Ring
CHA or ca Chakra Chart
CHHA or cha Chhandas Branch
JA or ja Jagath Jug
JHA or jha Jhallari Fudge
NYA or nya Gnyana Knew
Ṭ A or ṭ Ṭ anka Top
ṬHA or ṭha Pāṭha Pothole
ḌA or da Ḍ amaruka Dog
Ḍ HA or ḍ ha Mūḍ ha Madhouse
Ṇ A or ṇ a Ga ṇ a Wander
THA or tha Thanu Health
THHA or thha Athha Theater
DHA or dha Dha śha This
DHHA or dhha Dhhana m Dha with an additional H sound
NA or na Namask ā raha Nut
PA or pa   Path ā ka Past
PHA or pha Phala m P with a H sound
BA or ba Bandhhu Ball
BHA or bha Bhadra Abhor
MA or ma Manas Money
YA or ya Yama Yummy
RA or ra Rajas Rub
LA or la Lath ā Lust
VA or WA, va /wa A śh va or A śhwa Water/Valour
ŚHA or śha Śhakthi Shutter
ṢHA or ṣ ha Ṣh a ṇ mukha Shunt
SA or sa Sarasvatī Sun
HA or ha Hari Hum
Ḷ A or ḷ a Ar āḷ a Bold
KṢHA or k ṣ ha Ak ṣh i Try to pronounce Ka, Sa & Ha – all at one time.
Extra Vowels in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada & Malayalam Scripts    
É or é Éṇi Angel
Ō or ō Ō m Ō M
ZHA Exclusive to Tamil & Malayalam Fold the tip of your tongue backwards and try to pronounce it with the aid of the audio button.
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English


Name of the Temple

  • Thāyagarāja temple.


  • Located in Thiruvārūr, near Thanjāvūr in Tamilnādu, South India.
How to reach there?
  • By Air: The nearest airport is Thiruchirāpalli Airport which is about 110 km away. From the Thiruchirāpalli Airport take the National Highway 83 east to reach Thiruvārūr.
  • By Train: The nearest railway station is Thiruvārūr Railway Station. It is 2 kms south of the temple.
  • By Road: Thiruvārūr is connected by the State Highway 23 from Thiruthuraipūnḍi to Mayilāḍuthurai and 65 from Parappanaṅgaḍi to Puthalam and the National Highway 83 from Thanjāvūr to Nagapaṭṭinam.

Rulers/builders and Time Period

  • The temple dates back to the time of the Medieval Cholas though the existing temple complex as it exists today has been constructed only in the 14th century AD.
  • There are plenty of inscriptions and paintings on the walls of the temple. The inscriptions either refer to the Medieval and Later Cholas or to the Thanjāvūr Marāthas.
  • The temple complex seems to have acted as the cultural model for the big Bruhadīśhwara temple at Thanjāvūr of Rājarāja Chola I, wherein he enshrined a  Vitankar which shared with the Āḍavallan of Chidambaram the status of state cult. The last Chola monarch to play an important role in the affairs of the temple was Kulotthunga Chola III in the early part of the 13th century A.D.
  • It attracted Śhaivas of all schools and was important centre of Golaki matha in the 13th and 14th century. It was also an important Jaina dwelling place, which was attacked by Śhaivas, as is evident from Periya Purāṇam, in the account of the life of Tantiyaḍigaḷ.


  • Vālmīkināthar represents the Mūlavar while the shrine dedicated to Thyāgarāja is the better known shrine in the temple.
  • Thyāgarāja (Somaskandha) image at Thiruvārūr was created and worshipped by Mahā Viṣhṇu. Somaskandha is symbolic of fertility, of royal lineage etc.

Architecture Style

  • The temples complex occupies an area of around 20 acres with the Kamalālayam tank to its west. There are numerous shrines and manṭapas (halls) in the three spacious enclosures (prakāram).
  • The two main shrines of the temple are for Vālmikināthar(Lord Śhiva) and Thyāgarāja. Of the two, the former is the most ancient, and derives its name from tha anthill (puttru), which takes the place of linga in the main shrine.

Special Reference to Fine Arts

  • The Thyāgarāja Temple at Thiruvārūr is famous for the ajapa thānam (dance without chanting), that is executed by the deity itself.
  • King Muchukuntha Chola obtained a boon from Indra (a celestial deity) and wished to receive an image of Thyāgarāja Swāmi reposing on the chest of reclining Lord Viṣhṇu. Indhra tried to misguide the king and had six other images made, but the king chose the right image at Thiruvārūr. The other six images were installed in and around Thiruvārūr. All seven Thyāgarāja images are said to dance when taken in procession (it is the bearers of the processional deity who actually dance).
  • The temples with dance styles are regarded as Saptha Vidaṅgam (seven dance moves). This causes tilting and lord Thyāgarāja is always visualized like doing a rhythmic dance which is known as "Ajapa Naḍanam" whenever, the lord moves from vasantha manṭapam to the chariot or to the thousand pillar manṭapam to give dharśhana to his bhakthas.
  • One can trace the history of Thiruvārūr through insights gained from the Thevāram hymns, temple inscriptions and other sources.

Other Special Features

  • Chandikeśhvarar - In all temples there's only one Chandikeśhvarar. At Thiruvārūr, there are two Chandikeśhvarars, one known as Chandikeśhvarar and the other called as Yama Chandikeśhvarar, with curly hair and a beard.
  • It is said that all those born at Thiruvārūr are Śhivagaṇas and lord Yama does not have any work to do. He complains to Īśhwara about not having any work.

Other Special Remarks

  • The chariot of this temple is the biggest in the whole of India and it is said that the chariot represents the earth and is continuously running with 64 Kalās. The whole chariot is a symbolism of the Universe.
  • The chariot’s lower decks are the seven Pāthāḷalokas. The centre portion is the earth, the upper portion the upper worlds. The six wheels are the six seasons. Lord Brahma who is in the chariot, steering it, is the guide and witness to the timeless, endless cycle of events of Lord Thyāgarāja.
  • The horses that run the chariot are the Vedhas and their aim is Dharma, Artha, Kāma and Mokṣha. The ropes that pull the chariot are Śhikṣhā, Kalpam , Vyākaraṇam , Niruktham , Chhandhas, Jyothiṣham-the six limbs of the Vedhas. The four entrances to the chariot are the four Mahā Vākyas of the Vedhas.
  • The Chariot is of 90 feet height, 300 tones weight. Apart from 6000 man power, 2 bull dozers and 5 tractors are used to pull the chariot.
  • The devotees pull the chariot chanting the words in praise of the lord Thiyagaraja “ĀRŪRA THYĀGÉSA” which gives them a spiritual power and excellent enthusiasm to pull with great vigor. This paves the way for the social harmony and national integration among the people, as people from all sections of society pulled the car together.
  • Story of Manunīthi Chola: There was a Chola king who ruled Thiruvārūr by name Manunīthi Chola. Once his son, when riding the Chariot, accidentally killed a calf on the road. As per the rules of the kingdom, a bell was kept outside the palace and anyone wishing to have one's grievance attended to should ring the bell. The cow, mother of the calf, pulled the bell on seeing the dead calf. The king, just ruler that he was, rode the chariot over his son. Pleased with the king's sense of justice, the gods are set to have revived them both.

Special Reference to Performing Arts:

  • The temple is referred by the Thevāram hymns of Śhaiva nāyanārs. Appar refers to the main deity in his hymn as puttritrukondān (one who resides in the ant hill).
  • Several literary works such as the Thiruvārūr Purāṇam   came to be written after the 15th century.
  • Muthuswāmi Dikṣhitar’s Thiruvārūr - Panchalinga kruthis are listed down.


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