Manikkavachakar literally means 'One whose words are like gems'. He was born in Vadavur, on the banks of river Vaigai in Madurai district. A learned man, he served as a minister in the court of a Pandya King. When the king gave him money to buy horses for the cavalry, he used it to repair temples and was imprisoned. He gave up his position as prime minister to follow a renunciated life. He had no formal training in music. Apart from some of the Tevarams, his other famous works are the Thiruvachakam, which includes the Thiruvempavai, Kuyirpattu and Tirupalliyezhuchi.