Thiruverakam, popularly known as "Swamimalai" is located at a distance eight kilometers from Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district on the northern banks of the river Cauvery. It is one of the six famous abodes (Arupadaiveedu) dedicated to Lord Muruga (also spelt Murugan). Lord Muruga preached Pranava mantra " OM " to Lord shiva and that why he is called "Swaminathan".
The temple is built on an artificial hill and is reached by a flight of steps. It is believed that the sixty steps of the temple ascending to the sanctum sanctorum represent the sixty months of the ancient Tamil calendar. Lord Shiva enshrined at the foot of the hillock is known as "sundaresar" and the Devi is known as "Meenakshi".
Legend Connected with The Temple
The Lord here presents Himself as Gurunatha Who taught the essence of Pranava to His Father, Shiva ('Swami') and thus became Swaminatha. It is said that once, as a result of the curse laid on him by Bhrigumuni, Lord Shiva forgot the "Pranava Mantra". He immediately sent for his son Subrahmanya and asked him if he knew the Mantra. The young Subrahmanya smilingly replied that he does and he asked Lord Shiva that if only the Lord is prepared to learn the Mantra in a proper manner, then he would teach Him. Thereupon. With folded hands and bowed head, Lord Shiva stood before his young Gure (Subrahmanya) with great veneration and learnt the Mantra. As this incident took place in this sacred place it came to be known as "Swamimalai" and the deity as Swaminatha, indicating that the son was superior to his Father.
It is in keeping with this legend that the shrine of Subrahmanaya is built on the hillock and that of Lord Shiva below the mound.