chEkkizAr was born at kunRaththUr in the thoNdai n^Adu (part of Tamilnadu and Andhrapradesh which was ruled by pallavA kings) which was famous for its intellectuals. He was born in shaivite farmer family of chEkkizAr tradition with his younger brother pAlaRAvAyar. The chOza king - kulOththuN^ga chOzan II (an^apAyar) - who was ruling the region then wondered at the intelligence, honesty and excellence of chEkkizAr and made him his prime minister knighting him as uththama chOza pallavar. chEkkizAr was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva in thirun^AgEshwaram and did a lot of services to that temple. He built a temple in kunRaththUr and named that too thirun^AgEshwaram.
The king who was much interested in arts was mostly appreciating the thamiz book chIvaka chin^dhAmaNi. As a dedicated minister to guide the king in the proper way, chEkkizAr advised him that those books will do good neither for living nor for liberation and on his question he told the king that the lives of the devotees who were praised in the thiruththoNdaththokai(1) of chun^dharar(2), which was later sung by n^ambiyANdAr n^ambi in his thiruththoNdar thiruvan^dhAdhi, are the great thing to read and follow. Inspired by this the king asked chEkkizAr to sing in detail the lives of the devotees as an epic.
chEkkizAr agreed and worshiped the dancing Lord (n^atarAjar) at chithambaram.(3) The Lord gave him the first word to start the epic as ulakelAm. (chEkkizAr has used this word with respect in the beginning, middle and end of the work). Then he wrote the entire periya purANam and was made public in chithambaram in the presence of intellectuals, saints and others. After the araN^gERRam (publication), the king took chEkkizAr around the town on the royal elephant and he himself fanned chekkizAr during the procession. He made the periya purANam as the twelfth thirumurai.
thiruth thoNdar purANam is the only work available that was written by chEkkizAr. After writing the periya purANam chEkkizAr involved himself completely the lives of the 63 saints along with other devotees and finally reached the sweet feet of Lord Shiva.
Other names of chEkkizAr:
aruN mozith thEvar (original name)
thoNdar chIr paravuvAr
uththama chOza pallavar
gurupUjai : vaikAci pUcam