Temples in and around Madurantakam

by B. Mekala | 2016 | 71,416 words

This essay studies the Temples found around Madurantakam, a town and municipality in Kancheepuram (Kanchipuram) District in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Madurantakam is one of the sacred holy places visited by Saint Ramanuja. It is also a region blessed with many renowned temples which, even though dating to at least the 10th century, yet they c...

Introduction to Madurantakam

The landscape of Chengalpattu District formed the core part of the ancient Tondainadu or Tondaimandalam as it was known then. Following the reigns of the Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas and the Vijayanagar kings, it became the domain of the Mughals, placed under the immediate control of the Nawabs of the Arcot. Muhammed All Wallajah, the Nawab of Arcot, the Deccan Subedhar of the Mughal Government, conferred this area, then comprising about sixteen parganas on the British East India Company in 1760 as the reward for services rendered to him and his father.[1] This is regarded as the first important territorial possession in South India for the East India Company. The conferment was ratified by the Emperor Sha Alam in 1763.[2]

Origin of the Name of the District

The area was then known as Jahir and later (around 1800 A.D) when the British re-organised their acquired territories as administrative divisions, the districts came into being in the Madras Presidency and the Jahir became the Chengalpattu District named after the town of the same name situated in the district.

Chengalpattu, which literally means ‘lilly pond village’ has been mentioned in Sanskrit literature as Kuvalayapura meaning water lilly town. The British mostly called a district after the name of the town in which the headquarters of the district was located. But, in the case of Chengalpattu, it was not so. Karunguzhi, now administratively an insignificant village near Madurantakam, served as the headquarters of the district from the beginning up to 1859, when it was shifted to Saidapet. Since then, (except for a decade between 1825 and 1835 during which Kancheepuram, the historical capital of the Pallavas and other kings, served as the headquarters of the district). Saidapet was the headquarters of the district until 1967. The headquarters of the district was shifted to Kancheepuram with effect from 1st July 1968, from where it functioned.[3]

Chengalpattu District, the first of the districts demarcated by the East India Company for their revenue administration in the state, continued to bear the name till 1990 when it was renamed as the Chengai-Anna District, after C.N. Annadurai, a former Chief Minister of Tamilnadu who hailed from Kancheepuram, the present headquarters of the district. The ‘prefix’ Chengai was shortened form of Chengalpattu. Later in 1997, the district was rechristened as Chengalpattu-MGR District in memory of late M.G.Ramachandran, who was also a former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

Location and Area

Chengalpattu District, the north-eastern border district of Tamil Nadu State, lies between north latitudes 1 2°1 5 and 1 3°28’ and east longitude between 79°28 and 80°20’ rendering the district of Chennal as an enclave.[4] Being a littoral district, encircling the district of Madras which is abutting the coast of Bay of Bengal, it is bounded on the east by the Bay of Bengal and the Madras District, on the north by the Nellore District of Andhra Pradesh, on the south by the Villuppuram District and Thiruvannamalai District and on the west by the North Arcot District of Tamil Nadu and Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh.

Area of the District

The total area of the district is 7867. 16 sq.km.[5] The major change in the territorial jurisdiction of the district after Independence was in 1960 when the Pataskar Award was implemented with effect from 1st April 1960 by which 283 villages, two towns, (Tiruttani and Pallipattu) and a part of a village, hitherto formed part of the Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh were transferred to TamiLNadu and consequently annexed to the district. In turn, seventy two villages from Ponneri taluk, and 76 villages from Tiruvallur taluk of the district were transferred from Tamil Nadu to Andhra Pradesh.[6] Another important change took place in this district in 1978, when about 40 sq.km. of Saidapet taluk of the district was transferred to Madras District.[7] The City of Madras is expanding and so was the jurisdiction of the District of Madras. The expansion of the Madras District was at the cost of jurisdiction of the Chengalpattu District.

For the purpose of revenue and general administration the Chengalpattu District has been divided into four divisions viz. Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram. Tiruvallur and Saidapet comprising 13 revenue taluks. They are Chengalpattu, Madurantakam, Cheyyur, Kancheepuram, Sriperumpudur, Uthiramerur, Tiruvallur, Tiruttani, Pallipattu, Uthukkottai, Saidapet, Ponneri and Gummidipoondi., while in the development side, there are twenty seven development blocks.[8]


The population of the District as per the 1991 Census is 46,20,967 of which 23,61,071 are males and 22,59,950 are females.[9] The density of population per sq.km. works out to 588. The decennial growth rate of the population for the decade, 1981-1991, is 27.77 per cent.

Kanchipuram, the Headquarters of Chingleput District

Kanchipuram Taluk in Chingleput District is surrounded by Sriperurnbudur Taluk in the north, Chingleput Taluk in the east, Madurantakam Taluk in the south and North Arcot District in the west. Kanchi is in latitude 12° 50’ N. and Longitude 79° 40’ E. It is 250 feet above Mean Sea Level. It is well-connected in all directions by good roads and is also on the Railway map.

The Palar River which rises in Karnataka flows.west of the city and is joined by one of its tributaries, Vegavati, at a place called Tirumukkudal a few miles away from Kanchi. The River Cheyyar also joins Palar at Palaiyasivaram. On the southern bank of the Palar, the three important places of Pallava vestiges, Kuranganilmurram, Mamandur and Pallavaram are located. Siva Kanchi and Vishnu Kanchi lie between the Vegavati and Pälar Rivers. An interesting feature of this city, which is noted for its wide roads and its numerous temples is that Saivites and Viashavites have got their dwellings in and around the respective temple complexes. Vishnu Kanchi where Vaishnavites monoplise the four streets called madavithi around the Arulalaperumal temple.[10]

The vast and extensive plain area around Kanchi is irrigated by the numerous ponds, tanks and lakes which are seen in and around the city of Kanchi. The special feature of Kanchi is that there is no hill or mountain nearby on its four sides. The Sivaram hills, being the nearest, are sixteen kilometres away in the east.

The geographical observations made in the Chingleput District Manual are worth quoting here and they hold good even today. “The soil of this place is very inferior being either stony or mixed with lime, gravel soda and laterite. There are only two conical hills on the north east and its general appearance is tame and dreary in the extreme. The general level rises gradually from the River Palar towards north and west. There is an entire absence of wood and scrub jungle is to be found in very small quantities. Along the northern bank of the river palmyra, cocoanut and tamarind trees have been largely planted.”[11]

K V Raman opines that some of the early temples such as the Vaikuntha perumal the Kailasanatha the Muktesvara and the Matangsvara were constructed out of sand stones which are available in the city region while the granite stones that were used in the later constructions were probably brought from a few miles away from Kanchi.[12]

The chief industry of the town and the neighbourhood is silk-weaving. The quality and the exquisite design of silk goods have in fact put Kanchi on the international map. Kanchi was one of the administrative units of Todaiinandalam an ancient division, during the Sangam period as evidenced by the literature available in that period. Tondainiandalarn has been referred to variously both in literature and in inscriptions. Tundira, Tundiraka, Tunakarashtra, Tudaka-vishaya, Pallava-desa and Pallava-rshtra are some of the synonyms of Tonainadu. Or Tondaimandalam comprising the modern districts of Chittoor, Chingleput and North and South Arcots. Similarly the City of Kanchipuram is known by several names such as Kachchi, Kachchippedu, Kanchi, Kanchinagara, Kanchimanagara. The name Kanhchi is of considerable antiquity having been in vogue even during the Sangam age.

The origin of the word Kachchi or Kanchi cannot be explained satisfactorily. Fanciful explanations are found in later religious literature as well as in the legendary accounts grew in abundance in the subsequent periods of the city’s history. T.V. Mahalingam’s suggestion that the city was so named after Kanchi tree may be acceptable as it appears to be nearer the truth. However, the poetical explanation of Kanchi as a girdle to earth is also sensible for the word Känchi denotes a girdle in Sanskrit.[13] Other names Pralayasindhu, Sivapuram, Indupuram, Mummurtivasam, Kamapitam, Kamakottam, Tapomayam Sakalasuddhi, Kannikappu, Tundirapuram, Dapdakapuram, Satyavratakshetra, etc., can be explained by connecting them with the different mythological episodes involving Kanchi or with the deities that are enshrined in the three principal divisions of the city. However, whatever explanations are given regarding the origin of the name of the city can only be considered as tentative. A cursory examination of the inscriptions of the Arualaperumal temple shows that Little Kanchi, which is a part of Kanchi, was called Attiyur or Tiruvattiyur in ancient days.[14] It is significant to note that in early Vaishnava literature there is no mention of Kanchi as such, though Attiyur is referred to. It is interesting to note that Attyur later on came to be known as Vishnu-Kanchi. The Tamil name Attiyur which means the village of Atti trees (Ftcusglomerata) went out of vogue in course of time. The Tamil word Attigiri became sanskritised into Hastigiri and Hastipura meaning the ‘elephant hill’ or ‘elephant town’ where lord Varadaraja is installed. And the deity is sometimes called ‘Atti-Varadar’ even to this day.

Khchi [Kachchi/Kanchi?] enjoyed an advantageous position on account of its geographical and physical position. This enabled it to gain importance in the sphere of politics, education and pilgrimage. The Kadambas of the West Coast, the Western Gangas of Talakadu and the later Gangas of Kuvalalapura (Kolar) had some connections with this city in the above spheres. In the north-west the Chalukyas of Badami, the Rashtrakutas of Malkhed, the Kakattyas of Warangal and the Telugu Chodas in the north, the Vijayanagara rulers of Hampi, the Cheras, the Cholas and the Pandyas of the South came into contact with this city in different periods of South Indian History. It is evident, therefore, that right from early times Kanchi I was well-connected by roads with several places of importance. These routes greatly served the cause of trade and commerce between Kanchi and other places. The inscriptions of the Chola period gives information on the enriching of the temples of Kanchi by people from Malaimandalam (Kerala). This bears testimony to the fact that the city of Kanchi was well-known as far as Kerala.

So far as religion is concerned all the important indigenous religions flourished in Kanchi, This further gave an opportunity to other regions to have contacts with Kanchi. It attracted even Hieun Tsang from China. Mayurasarman came to Kanchi all the way from West Coast for prosecuting his studies. The Ceylonese prince Manavarman came to the Pallava capital for assisting the Pallava king in his wars against the Chalukyas of Badani. Jaina scholars of repute from Katnataka came into contact with the city of Kanchi. Similarly the Art and Architecture of the Pallavas influenced the Kannada rulers and vice-versa and the impact can be seen even today in the surviving early monuments of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

No other city in South India can claim to have played such a dominant, decisive and continuous role in the history of the peninsula. Kanchi rose to eminence for the first time under the Pallavas in the Seventh Century A.D. though it was known from very early times. The literary and archaeological evidences show that it was a very ancient and important centre of cultural and political activities.

There are however few references to Kanchi in the Puranas and Itihasas of the Pre-Mauryan period. In the Mahabharta,[15] Kanchi is mentioned along with Dravidas and Andhras probably in the sense of country or people. It also finds mention in the Markandeya -puraza.[16]

Location and Position of Madurantakam

Maduranthakam is on the Trichy-Chennai highway (NH45) at a distance of 89 km from Chennai and 25 km from Chengalpattu.Maduranthakam is a town and a municipality in Kancheepuram District in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The town is known for the man-made and second largest lake in Tamil Nadu, the Maduranthakam Lake. It is believed to be built by the Chola King Uthama Chola, also called as Maduranthakar, during his reign. It is also home to the Aeri Katha Ramar Temple. Madurantakam Taluk is one of the main paddy growing regions in Kanchipuram District.This taluk is blessed with innumerable tanks and notable among them is the Madurantakam tank, with an ayacut of 2900 acres. The presence of a large number of tanks has facilitated cultivation of paddy crop on a large scale. The climate of the taluk is moderate and is affected by both the monsoons, the south-west and north-east. The average normal rainfall amounts to 1242 mm. The surrounding nearby villages and its distance from Madurantakam are Padalam 9.7 km, Pazhamathur 13.3 km, Thonnadu 14.4 km, Onambakkam 15.1km, Neerpair 18.km, Arungunam, Vilvaravanallur, Nesapakkam, Pakkam, Pudupattu, Palavanur and Ariyanur

According to 2011 census, Maduranthakam had a population of 30,796 with a sex-ratio of 1,019 females for every 1,000 males, much above the national average of 929. A total of 3,184 were under the age of six, constituting 1,615 males and 1,569 females. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes accounted for 16.27% and 1.11% of the population respectively. The average literacy of the town was 75.4%, compared to the national average of 72.99%. The town had a total of: 7699 households. There were a total of 12,135 workers, comprising 158 cultivators, 1,040 main agricultural labourers, 283 in house hold industries, 8,066 other workers, 2,588 marginal workers, 21 marginal cultivators, 1,031 marginal agricultural labourers, 106 marginal workers in household industries and 1,430 other marginal workers. The reservoir near Madurantakam irrigates more than 1000 small villages in and around the town.

Significance of Madurantakam

Madurantakam is one of the sacred holy places visited by Saint Ramanuja. Unlike many other temples of Saint Ramanuja where the saint is dressed in moderate yellow to orange color robes Ramanuja's idol here is found dressed in white on all days.

In Eighteenth Century, Madurantakam was under the rule of the British East India Company and Colonel Lionel Blaze was the in charge collector on site. During his collectorship, he witnessed two breaches to the huge tank in Madurantakam Taluk. The gravity of the problem can be estimated matching to the size of the tank which was covering an area of 13 square miles (34 km) and a depth of 21 feet (6 m). Hence, the breaching of the tank due to heavy rain was any official's nightmare. In the year 1798 during heavy rains, Collector Colonel Lionel Blaze camped in Madurantakam exploring ways and means to contain any breaches. During his inspections, he came across a collection of granite and other stones in the premises of Lord Rama’s temple. He wanted to use them in restoration of the bunds. On hearing this, the priests of the temple stated that the stones were meant for constructing a separate shrine for Janakavalli Thayar (Goddess Sita) that was due to commence after collecting sufficient funds.

After listening to the priest, the collector questioned the priests in jest as to why the Lord was not able to save the tank every year from breaching. The priests replied saying that the Lord will always answer to a sincere prayer from the heart. Heavy rains came and within a few days the tank was full to the brim and a breach was about to occur. That night, the worried collector camped near the tank hoping against hope that the bunds would hold. Colonel Blaze saw a miraculous sight that night. He saw two warriors with bow and quiver guarding the bunds. The British officer went on his knees and worshipped Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana. It was strange that nobody else other than the collector saw the Lord. After a while the vision disappeared and the rain also stopped. The grateful collector took in charge of the building of the shrine for Janakavalli Thayer. The Lord Rama of Madurantakam temple came to be known as the Eri Katha Ramar (Rama who saved the tank). The receipt with the Collector's name mentioning him as a helper in construction can be seen even today in the temple. This town became popular due to Eri Katha Ramar temple.

Summary of the Study

Madurantakam is one of the holy places visited by Ramanuja though it has not been sung by the Aalwars. The place is also unique in that Ramanuja's statue is found dressed in white on all days while in almost all temples the saint is dressed in ochre.

In two of his poems, Saint Manavala Mamunigal asks everyone who wants to cast away his past sins to worship the Lord at this place. There are separate shrines for Lakshmi Narasimhar, Periya Nambi and Ramanuja, Andal, Sudarsana and Vedanta Desika. The holy tank is opposite the temple with a separate shrine for Anjaneya on its banks.

Sri Kodanda Rama, also known in this region as Yeri Katha Rama (the one who saved the village from flooding from Madurantakam lake), is enshrined in the Aeri Katha Ramar Temple. The temple is about 1300 years old. Sita resides in the temple as Sri Janaki Valli. The other deities enshrined are Sri Chakrathalwar, Sri Ramanuja, Sri Lakshmi Narasimha and Sri Hanuman. The Kodandaramaswamy temple has two sets of utsavar idols of the presiding deity and His consort, and Lakshmana. While one deity is named Rama, the other is known as Karunakaran. There is also a separate shrine for Goddess Sita, known as Janakavalli Thayar, which is claimed to be very rare. This shrine was built by an English Collector, Colonel Lionel Place who assured the people that he would build a shrine for Devi if the newly built surplus water weirs withstood the fury of monsoon rains.

Sri Venkateswarar Temple near Madurantakam railway station, too a renowned temples in the town. It is built by king who suffered form skin disease and then relived when he had bath in the tank. Then he realized his wonder and built this temple during British Raj. Similarly other temples includes Renukapara-meswari (Amman) temple, Siva temple adjacent to G.S.T Road, Murugar temple's, Chelliyamman temple and Anjaneya temple near to substation Madurantakam. Northern-thiru-nallar and Sri Ragavendrar temple and a Vishnu cum Anjaneya temple on the Karunguzhi mountain; then Prasana Venkateswarar temple in Padalam were in the perimeter of Madurantakam.

Choice of the Topic

Many temples of renowned nature are existing in and around of Madurantakam Taluk of Kanchipuram District. They warrant a detailed study. But the theme taken up for discussion is over all activities of these temples and their relations. As no historical attempt has been attempted hither to in this region, an endeavour is made in this study to highlight the temples in aroud of Madurantakam Taluk with special reference to renowned and historical temples. Hence the Scholar has chosen the title ‘Temples in and around of Madurantakam Taluk’. Now, some of these Temples are under the Hindu Religious Charitable Endowment Board and there are some others under private Trusts.

Scope of the Study

Like other districts of Tamil Nadu, Kanchipuram District is a significant one due to its economic prosperity and also due to its headquarters of Pallavas and Tondaimandalam. Like other areas, this area too has its own renowned temples of Saivism and Vaishnavism etc. Further the temple administration is expected to be efficient. Otherwise the temples will never survive in the modern period. Hence it is obvious that every temple is thriving successfully due to the efficient administration. As such the study widens the scope in assessing the historical and architectural significance of the Temples in and around Madurantakam Taluk of Kanchipuram District. Due to paucity of time and space the study, highlight is restricted only to the major and renowned Temples and general temple administration under the Hindu Religious Endowments Board and subsequently the Department.

Area of Study

The area of the study covers historically significant temples in Madurantakam Taluk of Kanchipuram District. Sri Kothandaramar Temple of Madurantakam, Sri Aksheeswaraswamy Temple of Acharapakkam and Sri Venkateswarar Temple is taken for the special attention. The temple administration was regulated by the Hindu Religious Endowments Act of 1925 or Act I of 1925, enacted during the rule of the Justice Party n the Madras Presidency. It was an important act in the history of the Hindu temple administration. It was the first law relating purely to Hindu religious endowments, enacted by the Madras Legislature. In 1972 an amendment was.made in the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act of 1959 which empowered the Government to appoint the members of the Scheduled Cates and Tribes as trustees in temples.


The main objectives of the study are the following

1. to know the historical background of the evolution of temples in Tamil Country an their role and influence in Tamil society

2. to identify the notable temples in and around Madurantakam Taluk.

3. to trace the historical significance of the major temples in and around of Madurantakam Taluk.

4. to understand the various Hindu Religious Endowments Acts and Amendments

5. to know the motive of the Justice Ministry to bring the first Hindu Religious Endowments Act of 1925.

6. to assesses the administration of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Board and subsequently Department with special reference to Kanchipuram District..


The antiquity of the Temples in and around of Madurantakam Talus occupies an important place in the history of temples of Tamil Nadu especially Kanchipuram District. They were built by the Pallava and Chola and Vijayanagar Rulers who were responsible for Hindu revivalism. Temple administration during their period was a significant aspect with regard to maintenance, upkeep and functioning. The administration of the temples differed from time to time in different forms without any negligence in Tamil Nadu with special reference to Kanchipuram District. The traditional significance of the temples in and around Madurantakam Taluk is quite convincing in understanding their architectural and temple related activities. Hence on that line, the present study gains significance..


The research study, ‘Temples in and around Madurandakam Taluk’ is arranged into eight chapters besides an Introduction and a Conclusion. In Introduction Chapters, Physical features of Tamil Nadu, Kanchipuram District is given. Besides in the methodological part, the choice of the study, period of the study, universe of the study, objectives, hypotheses, chapterization, sources, methodology and limitations is given.

The Chapter One, ‘Historical Backdrop’ deals with the with history of Tamil Nadu and Kanchipuram District. Many Dynastic rulers especially the Pallavas, Imperial Cholas and Vijayangar Rulers ruled the Tondaimandalam region (Kanchipuram region) at various occasions. Hence an attempt is made to highlight the history of Kanchipuram region and Madurantakam Taluk.

Temples: Role and Influence’ forms the Second Chapter. It discusses the origin and evolution of temples in Tamil Nadu, its significant role and contribution, its influence in the society, significance to the development of religion, culture, tradition, economy and polity. The multiple functions of the temples are also discussed. The spread of the Bhakti Movement spearheaded by the Tamil Alwars and Nayanmars was associated with the growth of Hindu religious activities in Tamil Nadu. The Bhakti movement revived the glorious past of Hinduism in Tamil Nadu. It also promoted the Brahmanical varna hierarchy. The history of temple in Tamil Country began with the rise of the Pallavas in the Seventh Century. The Royal temples enjoyed the patronage of the Imperial Rulers. These temples symbolised power and authority. The temples did secular functions such as fortresses, land holders, employers, treasuries, learning centres, court houses, parks, fairs, exhibition halls, and amusement centre Inscriptions found in the temple provides a a lot of information about the activities of the temples and its influence over the people.

Temples of Madurantakam Taluk’ is the title of the Third Chapter. At the outset, the religious condition of the Kanchipuram District is narrated. The Madurantakam Taluk is centre of many temples. There are some popular temples in the Maduratntakam Town itself. Sri Lakshminarayana Perumal Temple, Sri Picheeswarar Temple, Sri Brahmapureeswarar Temple, Sri Mahakaleeswarar and Sundararaja Perumal Temple Sri Vyagrapureeswarar Temple, Sri Agastheeeswarar Temple, Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Sri Veeravaranathaswamy Temple, Sri Adi Kesava Perumal Temple, Sri Prasna Varadarajaswami Perumal Temple, Sri Dharmarajar and other Temples, Sri Aksheeswaraswamy Temple, Sri Champakeswaraswamy Temple Sri Thanthonreeswarar Temple, Sri Subramaniaswamy Temple, Sri Kandaswamy Temple, Sri Kariamanicka Perumal Temple and Sri Valmikanathaswamy Temple etc, are in and around of Madurantakam Taluk are also portrayed to understand their antiquity. By visiting these ancient temples, various facts are collected through personal observation. The unique architectural and sculptural features of these ancient temples are the standing testimony for their marvel.

Prominent Temples in Madurantakam Taluk’ constitutes the Fourth Chapter. Sri Kothandaramar Temple of Madurantakam, Sri Aksheeswaraswamy Temple of Acharapakkam and Sri Venkateswarar Temple are the prominent and ancient temples in Madurantakam Taluk. Kothandaramar Temple is one mile away from the Madurantakam railway station. Uthma Chola alias Madurantakan created the village Madurantakam. The name of the presiding deity is Sri Kothandaramar and His consort Sri Jankavalli Thayar. Sri Aksheeswaraswamy Temple, located at Acharapakkam was built by the Pandya Kings His consort is Sri Balambal. Sri Venkateswarar Temple at Kadaperi village is four furlongs from Madurantakam railway station.This temple isa an ancient one, but it is not known when it was built. This chapter attempts to bring to light these ancient and historical temples.

Pujas and Festivals’ is the Fifth Chapter. The conduct of pujas and festivals become the fundamental importance of the Hindu temples. The daily worship in the temple is called nityapuja and special festival is called naimittika the ceremonial worship is conducted depending up on the traditions and agamas which governed the temples. Besides the daily pujas special pujas are performed in most of the temples in and around Madurantakam Taluk.. The festivals which are conducted provided an opportunity to the people to fulfill religious obligations and vows. Besides, the brahmotsavam, the teppotsavam and car festivals are being conducted in these temples. A number of commemorative festivals are conducted in these temples.

Social and Economic Activities’ forms the Sixth Chapter. The temple inscriptions reveal the then prevailed socio-economic condition of the peoples. In the inscriptions of the temples in Madurantakam Taluk there is an interesting data regarding the status of women, position of various castes and communities.The communities like Brahminas, Kaikolars and Manradis are portrayed. Further these temples played an important part in the economic life of the people. They provided employment. Different categories of servants were employed in the administrative setup. The services of the people of various castes namely Brahmins, Vellalals, Kaikolars, Panchalas Chettis and others were utilized who had a honest and peaceful livelihood. Besides, the temples encouraged cottage industries.

Colonial State and Temple’ is the Seventh Chapter.The British colonial State penetrated Hindu religious institutions, both temples and maths deeply and systematically. The penetration was something that was neither unknown at the time nor unintentional.The state’s relationship to the temple was formalized early in the Nineteenth Century and was a constant feature of the Twentieth Century and a half of imperial rule. In form and intensity the state’s activity varied over the years, but the Madras Government consistently maintained that a measure of control was essential both for the state’s security and income, and for society’s welfare.

Administration of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department’ is the Eight and the Last Chapter. After Indian independence many changes were introduced in the temple administration. In 1959 the Department started its function from its own building at Nungambakkam of Madras. The formation of the Andhra State and State Reorganisation of 1956 too had its own impact over the temple administration. Arrangements were made to appoint Gurumars, Vedaparayanakkarar, Odhuvar, Musicians and others. Steps were taken to distribute vibhudhi, and prasadams regularly. Rules and regulations were also framed for the maintenance of the temples, idols and other valuables. Categories of Executive Officers were also introduced. Uniformity was maintained in the administration. Rules were introduced for the functions of the Board of Trustees. The Journal, Tirukkoil was issued on 2nd October 1958. This period witnessed the increased number of temples and the progress in the income and expenditure of the temples. The movement towards tighter departmental control and promoting decentralisation in the administration of religious institutions received a fresh impetus during 1960s and the early 1970s. Further democratisation of the institution of trusteeship was brought about by an amendment in 1972 in the Hindu religious and Charitable Endowments Act of 1959. This amendment opened the office of trustees to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes. These things find place in this chapter.

In ‘Conclusion’, the summary of the chapters and findings of the study are given in a crisp and comprehensive way. Further, the hypotheses are substantiated.

Sources and Review of Relevant Literature

There are large number of sources helped to know about the History of Temples in Madurantakam Taluk. The present study is based on the use of both primary as well as secondary sources. The original records include both published and unpublished documents. By personal visits to the temples, the facts about the traditional practices, rituals, festivals and other relevant features are collected. Some of the facts about the temples are obtained from personal interviews with officials, devotees and people of those areas. Facts from the Notice Boards of different temples are collected. Archeological Reports on Epigraphy (ARE), South Indian Inscriptions (SII) and Epigraphica Indica (EI) for different years also consulted for this study. Administrative reports of the temples in Madurantakam Taluk, Reports of different Committees, Letters, Proceedings Madras Code, etc are also consulted as primary source of information. Madras Administration Reports are also utilised.

In addition to the above mentioned primary sources, many published works by various historians and scholars are used as secondary sources. T.V.Mahalingam’s South Indian Polity, S.R.Balasubrahmanyam’s Early Chola Art and Early Chola Temples, K.A.Nilakanta Sastri’s The Colas, History of South India, The Pandyan Kingdom, and Studies in Chola History and Administration, N.Sethuraman’s Early Cholas, P.Shanmugam’s The Revenue System of the Cholas 850-1279, A.Krishnaswami ‘s Topics in South Indian History (From early times up to 1565), V. Balambal’s Studies in Chola History, Kudavoyil Balasubramanian’s Thanjavur (A.D. 600 -1850) and Tamil Books such as T.V.Sadasiva Pandarathar’s Pirkala Cholar varalaru and Pandyar Varalaru, K.K. Pillai’s Cholar Varalaru, M.Rasamanickanar’s Cholar Varalaru, S.Krishnamurthy’s Tholiyal Nokkil Kanchipura Maavattam and R. Sivanandam’s Kanchipuram Maavattath Tholiyal Kaiyedu, provides valuable information for this research study. C. Minakshi's Administration and Social Life under the Pallavas and The Historical Sculptures of the Vaikunda Perumal Temple, R. Gopalan's History of the Pallavas of Kanchi, T.A.Gopinatha Rao's Elements of Hindu Iconography, C.Sivaramamurti's South Indian Paintings and Some Aspects of Indian Culture are useful to know the ancient temple history of Kanchipuram region. A.V. Shankaranarayana Rao's Temples of Tamil Nadu, K. R.Srinivasan's Temples of South India, K. Murthy’s Temples of Tamil Nadu, R.K. Das’s Temples of Tamilnadu, and V.Kanagasabai Pillai’s The Tamils Eighteen Hundred Years Ago, etc are treated as secondary sources.

Besides, Chandra Mudaliar’s State and Religious Endowments in Madras, Nirmala Kumari’s History of the Hindu Religious Endowments in Andhra Pradesh, P. Rajaraman’s The Justice Party, A historical perspective, 1916-1937, P.S. Narayana’s Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Manual, S.Selvam’s Religion, State and Social Policy, Franklin A. Presler’s Religion under Bureaucracy and B.L.N. Suneetha’s Temple Administration During Justice Government in the Madras Presidency (19221937) (M.Phil Dissertation) throws much light on the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Acts and Amendments in the given period of the study.

Michael Begunder, et al’s Ritual, Caste and Religion in Colonial South India, Arjun Appadurai’s Worship and Conflict under Colonial Rule, Nooru Karashima’s South Indian History and Society Studies form Inscriptions A.D 850-1800, Burton Stein’s All the Kings’ Mana, Papers on Medieval South Indian History, and Peasant State and Society in Medieval South India through much light on the socio-economic condition of the people in ancient and medieval and colonial society

S.P.Dubey’s Rays and Ways of Indian Culture, Chitra Madhavan’s Vishnu Temples of South India, K.V.Raman and T.Padmaja’s research article ‘Rama Temples and Traditions in Tamil Nadu’, Census of India, 1961, M.Desaiyar’s Temples and Social Integration, M.Gopalakrishnan’s Kanchipuram and Tiruvalluvar District Gazetteer, and Sthala Varalaru are useful to understand much the prominent Temples in and around Madurantakam’s Taluk. The issues of the journal, Tirukkoil, are also consulted. Annamalai University’s Papers on the Role of Temples in Promoting Spiritualism and Materialism in Tamil Nadu are utilized as secondary sources. In addition, the Journals such as The Indian Antiquary, Indian Archaeology 1985-86 -A Review, Studies in Indian Place Names Avanam, Kalvettu, Varalaru etc also throws light on the history of the Cholas.

Thus the study offer fresh and additional information with regard to the socio cultural history of Tamil Nadu. The growth of Saivism and Vaishnavism yielded much literature in this region which instead contributes much for the religious history of the Kanchipuram District. Though the study covers some specific temples of the Madurantakam’s Taluk, the study is model to the other scholars to pursue the remaining temples of the other Taluks in Kanchpuram District and the nearby other districts.


By adopting historical and interpretative method the thesis is written. The facts collected through primary as well as secondary sources are arranged cogently in different chapters which are essential to expose the main theme. The sources utilised are given in the form of genuine footnotes in the page itself. A Bibliography is also appended at the end for authenticity and credibility. Facts are collected by personal observation and oral interviews.

Footnotes and references:


Maclean, C.D., A Manual of Administration of the Madras Presidency, Vol.I, Madras, 1883, p.188; Vol.II, Madras, 1885, pp.66 and 260.


Gopalakrishnan, M., Erstwhile Chengalpattu Gazetteer, Vol.II, Chennai, 2000, p.999


Ibid., p.1005.


Report from the Deputy-General, Geological Survey of India, Southern Region, Madras, dated 27 September 1991.


Report from the Central Survey Office, Madras, dated 19 August 1991.


Census of India, 1981, Chengalpattu District, Tamil Nadu Series 73, Madras, 1991, pp.2-4.


Gopalakrishnan, M., op.cit., Vol.I, Chennai, 2000, p.2.






Srinivasan, C.R., Kanchipuram Through The Ages, Delhi, 1979, p.6.


Crole, Charles Stewart, The Chingleput Late Madras District-A Manual, Madras, 1879, pp.107-108


Ibid., p.2


Mahalingam, T.V., Kanchipuram in Early South Indian History, Madras, 1968, p..2


Raman, K.V., Varadarajaswami Temple–Kanchi -A Study of History, Art and Architecture, New Delhi, 1975,p.4


Mahabharata, Udyogaparva, Chapter-158; 17


The Markandeya Purana, Chapter-55, Verse 27.

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