Triveni Journal

1927 | 11,233,916 words

Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....

Manikanteesvara Temple: Kani Pakkam

Prof S. Sri Pathi Naidu




Location: The temple is in the village of Kanipakkam, 6 miles from chittoor.

There are two Chola inscriptions in this temple.

The first dated Saka 1102 in the 12th year of Kulotunga Chola Deva (1). But it has been pointed out that 1102 should be 1112 (2). Hence the year is 1112. K ulottunga III came to the throne in 1178 AD. This inscription is dated in the 12th year of Kulottunga III. Therefore the year is 1190 AD. (1178-12).

The second dated saka 1108 in the 8th year of Virarajendra Chola Deva. This inscription in incomplete. Virarajendra is the title of Kulottunga III (3). Hence this inscription belongs to the year 1186 AD.

The above two inscriptions go to show that the temple must have been constructed between 1178 and 1186. Hence the temple belongs to the late chola period.

The two inscriptions mention a local Chief Siyagangan. He was a lord of Kuvalalapura or Kolar. He was a Chola feudatory. An inscription of Siyagangan is found on the south wall of the temple, which refers to remission of taxes by him. Siyagagan may be identical with his namesake referred to in Tiruvallam inscription as a feudatory of Kulottunga III (4) (No. 62 on the north wall of the mahamandapain Bilvanthesvara temple Tiruvallam). This in­scription is dated in (3) 4th year of the reign of Kulottunga Chola Deva and records the gift of two lamps by Ariyapalli, the Queen of Amarabharana Siyaganga. An inscription in the Ekamranatha Temple at Kanchi (5) mentions the same Chief (Siyaganga) as the supreme lord of Kuvalalapura (Kolar), he who was born from the Ganga family, Siyagangan Amarabharanan alias Tiruvengambhmu­daiyar and is dated in the 27th year of the reign of Kulottunga Chola III. Hence Siyagangan was a feudatory of Kulottunga III. 59 of 1907 refers to the remission of taxes by Siyagangan. Tradition and Epigraphy, give Kulottanga III the title “Sungam Tavirtta”. He who abolished tolls from 59 of 1907, it can be ascertained that the local Chola feudatory Siyagangan gave a remission of taxes in Kanipakkam region, following the state policy of Kulottunga III. Sungam Tavirtta.

Hence we can conclude that the temple belongs to the late Chola period.

The entrance to this temple is from the east. The temple is within a ruined Prakara.

The Mahamandapacontains two rows of three pillars each. The first pillar of the first row and the first pillar of the second row are of the Chola Order. These two plain Chola pillars have two quadrangular blocks, with a rectangular base, two square parts above and intervening octagonal sections. They have in the capital a rounded Kumbhakalasa, a flat padmaor idol, without showing the petals and an expanded square phataka, three feet square. Above this is a typical Chola Corbel. The height of the pillar is about 5 feet. The other pillars are of the Vijayanagar type. These pillars contain interesting figure sculptures. They have three quadrangular blocks, each containing sculptures, commonly met with in the Vijayanagar type. The corbels show the lotus stalk and the buds are attached to the base of the corbel by horizontal bands. This shows that this mandapa was reconstructed in the Vijaynagar period.

The Mahamandapaleads to an open pillared mandapa. The antarala, garbhagriha and another mandapaare set inside this pillared hall. On the eastern side of this hall there are three pillars on the light side in the first row and eight pillars on the left side in the same row.

In the second row there is one pillar on the right side and six pillars on the left side. All the pillars have a rectangular base, two square parts above and intervening octagonal sections. The corbels are of the typical Chola type. On the northern side there are five pillars, and nine pillars on the western side in one tow and three pillars in the other row. On the southern side there are only two pillars, All the pillars are of the Chola Order.

The Lingais found in the centre of the garbhagrihaon a somasutraplatform. The ridge of the somasutrais projected towards the north to drain off the abhisheka water. This water flows out through a gargoyle-shaped tunnel.

The mandapa before the antarala contains two rows of four pillars each. The pillars are of medium height. All the pillars are found and plain with typical Chola corbels. There is a Nandifacing the main god in the mandapa. There are two pilasters on either side of the wall of the antarala. Each pilaster has a square base, semi-octagonal shaft, and the usual members of the Chola capital. The shaft projects over this and bears the corbel, bevelled at 1350.

In the mukhamandapa there are icons of Vrishabha Kantika Siva and Surya.

            Siva stands in front of the bull. He has four arms. The upper right arm holds damaruand the upper left holds naga. The lower light arm holds trisulaand the lower left arm is in varadamudra. Siva wears an ornate mekhala, udarabandha, of three strands and an yajnopavita. The lower part of the yajnopavitatouches the knee of the right leg. He wears an elaborately ornamented necklace con­sisting of five strands, showing jewel projections. Different ornaments decorate his shoulders, arms and wrists. In both the ears, he wears patrakundalasof big size. Over his forehead is a jewelled headband. Above it is jatakamuta, the hair is dishevelled. The figure of Gangais shown as seated in the centre of the head. Behind the head is a circular prabhaconsisting of following plaits tied in three rows of knots, which bring up the edge of prabha. The figure is slightly less than half life-size.

Another icon found in this mandapais that of Surya. He stands in samabhangaand he has two arms. Both the arms hold lotus flowers. He wears ardhorukatied with a waist-band, one of the ends flows down his right leg like a ribbon. The jewelled part has semi-circular projections. Besides the waist ornament or mekhala, he wears a udarabandha, and an yajnopavitaof three strands. He wears round his neck an elaborate necklace, which shows six strands, every strand having a series of suspended jewels hanging down in semi-circular scrolls. He has makara-Kundalasin both the ears. Above the forehead and beneath the makutaruns a bejewelled head-band, ending up, on two sides, in scrolls flowing up the makutacovering its base. He wears a Karandamakutawhich is almost conical.


The adhishtanahas an additional base above the ground level. There is a ditch-like depression which separates the verandahs of the pradakshinafrom the shrine expect in the front which is projected into the antaralaand then on to the mukhamandapa.

The shrine is set in a pit and pillared verandah, is raised on three sides. There is space between the pillared verandah and the main shrine, which appears like a trench measuring 2 feet wide and 3½ feet deep.

The adhishtana is fully seen from the pradakshina. It has simple mouldings like upana(5”) a narrow patta, a wide patta(18”), gala (2”), tripatta, over which are inscriptions, gala cut into compart­ments by pilasters (8”) and alinga pattika (4½”). This shrine is singularly devoid of any decorative sculptures either in the adhishtanaportion or in the wall portion.

The southern niche of the antaralacontains the figure of standing Ganapati. On the pedestal is carved his mushika vahana. He has four arms. The upper right arm holds ankusaand the upper left holds pasa. Tile lower right is in abhayaand the left holds modaka, on which rests the tip of his trunk. He wears purnorukashown by folded lines, a mekhalawith a central knot and a thin scarf tied beneath the mekhalaand flowing down in loose fold lines. He wears the udarabandha, yajnopavita and graiveyakas. He wears karandamakuta, which has several pearl ornaments. He has elephantine ears. The figure is about 3 feet in height.

In the southern wall of the garbhagrihathere is the figure of Dakshinamurti. This figure is very ornately carved. He is seated on a pedestal beneath a tree and on the pedestal are carved rishis. Siva’s right foot is placed on the of apasmarapurusha, while his left foot rests on his right thigh. He wears mekhala, udarabandha of two strands and an yajnopavitawith the knot appearing all left chest. He wears an elaborately ornamented necklace consisting of four strands, all showing jewel projections and the last being a simple thread with the knot hanging loosely in front with the loose ends. He has four arms. The upper right arm carries a snake and the upper left holds a lotus. The lower right is in vyakhyana mudra, while the lower left holds a pustaka. In the left ear he wears a patrakundalaand in the right ear a makarakundala. The eyes are half closed. Over his forehead is a jewelled head-band. Above it is jatamakutato which a simhamukhaornament is fixed and is tied with Nagas. Behind the head is the circular Prabha consisting of flowing plaits tied in four rows of knots, which bring up the edge of Prabha. Over his head are the flowing branches of a tree, which show leaves, fruits and birds. The figure is slightly less than half life-size.

On the wall of the garbhagrihain the central niche, there is the figure of standing Vishnu. He stands in samabhanga. His left lower arm is held at kati, the right lower arm is in abhayamudra, while the two arms hold sankhaand chakra. He wears purnoruka, shown by fold lines, a mekhalawith an elaborate central knot, with two thin vastrastied beneath the mekhalaand flowing down in loose folds on the two sides of the slab. He wears the udarabandha, yajnopavita and graiveyakas. Above his right chest in Srivatsamark. He wears a tall kiritaover a headband whose bottom edge is lined with pearls. The kiritaalso has several pearl ornaments. The jatasflow out on either side and figure on the projections of the slab. He wears makarakundalasin both the ears. Beneath his feet is a lotus pedestal.

The eastern wall of the garbhagrihacontains the figure of standing Brahma in a niche. He stands in samabhangawith three faces. He has four arms. The left lower arm is at kati. The right lower arms shows abhaya hasta. The right upper arm holds akshamalaand the left upper arm carries Kamandala, He wears purnoruka, mekhala,Udarabandha, yajnopavita and graiveyakas. He wears a karandamakutaover a head-band, decorated with pearls. He stands on a lotus pedestal.

The eastern wall of antaralacontains the figure of Vaishnavi­durga. She stands in samabhanga. She has four arms. The upper arms holds samkhaand chakra, while the left fore-arm rests below kati. The right lower arms is in abhaya. She wears manjiras. She has a mekhalaand waist ornament flowing down in two folded lines and having pearl decorations which cover half of her thighs. Shewears a kuchabandha, which is a thin ribbon held across the breasts by means of two vertical ribbons going over her shoulders. Shehas a channavira. Around her neck is an elaborate necklace of three strands, the lowest one having a row of pointed projections. She wears patrakundalain her left ear and makarakundalain right ear. Over her head is karandamakutaof three layers with a jewel in front. She also wears a jewelled head-band. She stands on the head of a mahisha. The sankhaand chakra are linked by means of the slab.

The open pillared mandapain the south western corner contains the figure of seated Ganapati. The figure is about 5 feet in height and very attractive. Below Ganapatiis a mushika. The deity has four arms. The upper right arm holds pasawhile the upper left carries ankusa. The lower right is in abhayaand the lower left holds modaka. There are anklets for the two legs. He wears udarabandhaand graiveyakas. There are also decorated ornaments on the two shoulders. He wears a karandamakuta.

In the same pillared mandapabehind the garbhagrihathere is the figure of Kuntaraswami. Subrahmanya is sitting on a peacock which is holding a snake in the beak. He wears manjirisin both the legs. He has six faces, three on the front side and, three on the . He has twelve arms. While the 10 arms carry different weapons, the lower right is in abhayaand the lower left is in varaha. He wears an elaborately ornamented necklace, yajnopavitaand graiveyakas. He wears patrakundalasin both the ears. Over his three heads are jewelled head-bands. He wears kiritason three heads. Behind them is a prabhasawith a lion’s face in the centre.

Every niche contains two half pilasters, one on either side with a square base, semi-octagonal shaft and the usual members of the Chola capital. The niche tops are plain.


1 60 of 1908
2 EI. Vol. X Pp. 127-128
3 K.A.N. Sastry–Colas–1975–P. 397
4 a) ARE-1900–P. 11–Para 34
b) S II - Vol III – P. 122.
c) K.A.N. Sastry – Colas –1975 P, 401.
d) 195 of 1892            116 to 1922
10 of 1893             303 of 1897
5 10 of 1893
6 K.A.N. Sastry – A History of South India. 1971. P. 193.

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