Muthu Thandavar, who lived in the 16th century, was not educated or cultured in the usually accepted sense of the terms. He dressed in rags and failed to clean his body properly. In disgust at his behaviour, his parents sent him out of the house. He roamed around and finally came to Chidambaram where he began singing in front of Nataraja's shrine.
Legend has it that he was blessed by Parvati, who removed his pain and disease, giving him a new life. The prefix of ‘Mutthu’ meaning pearl, to his name, may have described his glowing persona afterwards. Following the divine command he set of to Chidambaram or Kanaka Sabha and composed the song – Bhuloka Kailayagiri Chidambaram.
Many of his songs are quite popular in today's concerts. Among them: Arumarundena tani marundhu; Aarar asaippadar; Sevikka vendum ayya; Sadananda tandavam and Teruvil varano. The texts of only 84 songs are available. Tiruppamburam Swaminatha Pillai the flautist, has published notations for some 60 of them.
Mutthuthandavar, Marimuttha Pillai and Arunachala Kavirayar are refered to as the Tamizh Moovar or Trinity of Carnatic Music who composed in Tamil.
Tirupambaram Swaminata Pillai had set his songs to music.