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...

Later Cholas (in Chengalpattu)

The history of the Chola rule in the Chengalpattu District has been culled out from Nilakanta Sastri’s monumental contributions to the history of South India and other equally authoritative and authentic historical works.In the war of supremacy, followed by the downfall of the Pallavas, among the Cholas, Pandyas, Chalukyas and Rashtrakutars, the Cholas emerged victorious and their supremacy continued for about four centuries to come.

The inscriptions of Aditya-I have been found in Thirukalikundram, Tiruvidanthai, Kancheepuram and other places of the district Aditya calls himself as Tondainadu Paravina Cholan, meaning the conqueror of the Tondainadu. He died at Tondaimanadu in Chittoor District. Therefore the conquest of Tondairnandalam was completed in the time of Aditya-I.

There are many inscriptions of Pataritaka in Thiruvothiyur which reveal the association of the Chola ruler with this place in the district. His inscriptions in Uttiramerur speaks well of how democratic and autonomous were the village administration under the Cholas. The closing years of Parantaka rule witnessed a set back caused by the combined forces of the Rashtrakutas and the Gangas. Though the Ganga ruler Prithivipathi-II accepted the Overlordship of the Cholas, his successors, Butuga-II and Krishna-III invaded Tondaimandalam and defeated the Chola forces decisively, at Takkolam (near Arakkonam) in 949 A.D.[1] The occupation of Tondaimandalam by the Rashtrakuta becomes clear as there are about four inscriptions in the Thiruvothiyur temple belonging to Krishna-III (AD 939 -966)[2]. Rajaditya, the son of Chola, Parantaka-I, was killed while fighting on the battle field of Takkolam. The battle at Takkolam was immediately followed by the invasion and capture of Kanchi by KrishnaIII. After Rajaditya’s death at Takkolam battle field, his brother Gandaraditya succeeded to the Chola throne. Gandaraditya was succeeded by his younger brother Arinjaya Parakesàri who had a reign of perhaps only one year before he died on the battle field of Arrur. During the rule of Gandaraditya or Arinjaya, the Chola power did not witness any rapid recovery from the blow that it had sustained at the hands of Krishna-III. But the reign of Sundara Chola Parantaka -II (A.D. 956-973) who succeeded his father Arinjaya, witnessed some determined attempts at revitalisation of the Chola power. His son, Aditya-II also ably helped his father in the task of bringing back the Chola glory. AdityaII seems to have been murdered by his own brother Uttama Chola, who, after wards ruled on the Chola throne from AD 970-985.

The accession of Rajaraja (A.D.985-1014) is a great epoch in the history of Tamil Nadu, as the Cholas were at the pinnacle of their glory during his period. Rajaraja aimed at recapturing every province that had ever been held by Parantaka-l and extending the empire still further, sent an expedition in the northern direction early in his region. Rajaraja’s inscriptions have been found in Thiruvothiyur, Padi, Puliyur, Poonamallee, Pallavaram, Kanchipuram and other places in the district. During Rajaraja’s rule, Tondaimandalam came to be called as Jayamkondacholamandalam after one of his titles, Jayamkonda Cholan. Uyyakkondan was another title of Rajaraja and Poonamallee in the Chengalpattu district was called Uyyakkondan Cholapuram as evident from one of Rajaraja’s inscriptions.

Rajendra-I (A.D. 1012-1044) inherited from his father, Rajaraja a vast empire. Inscriptions belonging to the reign of Rajendra-l, have been found in Thiruvothiyur, Tiruvanmiyur, Poonamallee, Tirumullaivayil, Uttiramerur, Tiruttani, etc. of the district. During his period, Uttiramerur was also known as Rajendra Chola Chaturvedimangalam.[3] While Rajendra was returning from his Ganges Expedition, he had brought Saivas from the banks of the Ganges to his kingdom and established them in Kancheepuram and other parts of Chola country. The closing years of Rajendra’s reign formed the most splendid period of the histrory of the Cholas of the Vijayalaya. The extent of the empire was at its widest and its military and naval prestige stood at its highest.[4]

Rajathiraja (AD 1018-1054), Rajendra-ll (AD 1052-1064) VirarajendraI (AD 1063-1069) and Adhi Rajendra (AD 1067-1070), ruled the Chola empire ably after Rajendra-I. The prestige and extent of the vast Chola Empire was maintained by these rulers.[5]. Fierce Chola-Chalukya battles took place during the period of these rulers in which they emerged victorious ultimately. In the hotly contested battle of Koppam fought in AD 1052 between Someswara-I, the western Chalukya ruler and the Cholas, Rajathiraja fell mortallywounded. Rajendra-ll, younger brother of Rajathiraja crowned himself king on the battle field, continued the battle bravely and chased the retreating Chalukyas up to Kolhapura and planted a pillar of victory there[6]. Later on, Rajendra-Il inflicted yet another severe defeat on the western Chalukyas at Kudal Sangamam.

Rajendra-ll’s immediate brother Rajamahendra was chosen heirapparent in 1059 A.D. He met with premature death and his younger brother Virarajendra-I succeeded to the Chola throne. The District of Chengalpattu continued to remain under the Chola Empire undisturbed. Virarajendra appointed Madurantaka to rule over Tondaimandalam with the title Cholendra.[7]

In the year AD 1070 Virarajendra died and in the same year, after three weeks of his death, Adhirajendra (A.D 1067-1070), who became heir apparent and Yuvaraja and the emperor also died.[8] After the death of Virarajendra there was a rebellion in the Chola country and Chalukya Vikramaditya, who had marital alliance with the Cholas by marrying one of the daughters of Virarajendra, proceeded to Kanchi, nibbed a rebellion in the bud, installed Adhirajendra formally on the throne at Gangaikonda Cholapuram and returned after a month to his country.[9].

Kulotunga-I (A.D 1070-1120), the Eastern Chalukya prince was a Chola by distaff side as his mother (Ammangadevi, daughter of Rajendra -I) and grandmother (Kundavai, daughter of Rajaraja-l) were the Chola princesses. He married Madurantaki, daughter of Rajendra-Il. Soon after Kulotunga -I[10] heard that the Chola king (Adhirajendra) had lost his life in a popular rising, he captured the vacant Chola throne. Kulottunga exhibited the strength of the Chola power by under taking two successful invasion against the Kalinga territory in 1096 and 1110 AD. The second Kalinga expedition has been immortalised by poet Jayamkondar in his celebrated poem Kalingathuparani. Mahabalipuram and Kancheepuram have been mentioned in the Tamil work as important towns of the time. To Kulottunga-I, Kanchipuram was next in importance to his capital Gangaikonda Cholapuram, as there was a royal palace (in Kancheepuram) with an ‘abhisheka mandapam’from where the king issued several important grants[11].83 An inscription in the Adhikesave Perumal temple of Arapakkam, a village in Kanchipuram taluk, belonging to the regnal year of Kulottunga-I (AD 1072) gives an inference that one of the queens of Kulottunga belonged to Tondaimandalam as she seemed to be the daughter of a Chieftain of the Pallava origin.[12] One of Kulottunga’s inscriptions44 86 in Ekambaranatha temple, Kanchipuram belonging to his 40th regnal year (1110[13] AD) refers to the other queens[14] 67 of Kulottunga and the antiquity of the weaving industry in Kanchipuram.

After Kulotunga-I, came Vikrama Chola (AD 1118-1135) Kulottunga-II (AD 1135-1150) and Rajaraja-II (AD 1146-1173) in succession. Though Vikrama Chola’s rule was marked with warfare, others mentioned above ruled in peace[15] 88. Kulottunga-Il patronised the famous Tamil poets Kamban, Sekkilar, Ottakuthar and Pugalendi each of whom contributed his magnum opus to the Tamil Literature. Of these illustrations Tamil poets, Sekkilar and Pugalendi belonged to Tondaimandalam. Kulottunga-II was followed by his son, Rajaraja-Il, whose reign also like that of his father was peaceful. Rajathiraja-lI, brother of Rajaraja-Il succeeded on the Chola throne and ruled from about AD 1163 to 1179. His inscriptions have been found in many places of the district. Rajadhiraja-Il’s active association with the district is well attested by the presence of his inscriptions at places like Thiruvothiyur and Tirisulam. About 1178 A.D, the Chola throne passed on to the hands of Kulottunga-III the last of the great Cholas who ruled it till about A.D. 1216. Kulottunga-Ill has been called the last great Chola king to enjoy the benefits of an extensive His last years, saw one of the fiercest invasions of the Chola dominion spearheaded by Maravarman Sundarapandya, who was the first ruler of the ‘Second Pandya Empire’ and who retrieved the Pandya country from the whirlpool of civil war and made it the most dominate power of south India in the Thirteenth Century. With the Kulottunga-Ill, the Chola empire began to crumble giving way to the rising Pandyas.

The last phase of the Chola Empire was the reigns of Rajaraja-III (A.D. 1216 -1246) and Rajendran (A.D. 1246-1249).Their reigns constitute a pitiable record of how the central authority of the mighty empire was slowly undermined and finally overthrown by the disintegrating elements and the centrifugal forces that were gaining ground on account of the growing power of the Chola feudatories like the Telugu Cholas, the Kadavarayas and others, who wanted to shake off their position of vassalage and assert their independence.[16]

Rajaraja-III proved to be an incompetent ruler under whom confusion eased and the dissolution of Chola Kingdom hastened. In the north of Chola Kingdom, Hoysala forces were present in Kanchipuram perhaps combat the rising Telugu Cholas of Nellore. The Kadava Chieftain Kopperunjinga became more and more powerful and entered into an alliance with the Pandya King Sundarapandya against the Cholas and their Hoysala Protector[17] 93. The ruler of Tondaimandal am area during the time was the Yadavaraya Chieftain Vira Narasingadeva. He was a feudal vassal of Rajaraja-III. A fight that took place at Oratti near Madurantakam in.Ghengalpattu District between iranarasingaYadavaraya and Kadava Kopperumjinga.[18] The Kadavarayas came into conflict with the Hoysalas also. The Hoysala army advanced south and the Chola country became a protectorate of the Hoysalas during the time of Rajaraja-III.

Rajendra-Ill, unlike his predecessor, was an abler prince. In his task of regaining the lost prestige of the Cholas, he attained initial victory as he had defeated Maravarman Sundara Pandya but with Hoysala friendship. As the Hoysalas turned hostile to the Cholas, Rajendra-Ill won the friendship of the Telugu Chola Chieftains who were ruling over the territory of Nellore, Cuddappah and some parts of the present Chengalpattu district. Pandya Maravarman Kulasekara-l, waged the war against Hoysala -Ramanatha, who had allied himself closely with Rajendra-III and defeated both in AD 1297.[19] 100. That was the last blow landed upon the Cholas and Pandya Kulasekara became the unquestioned master of the Chola country and of the Tamil districts of the Hoysala empire over which Ramanatha had ruled.

Footnotes and references:


Ibid., p.131.


Raman, K.V., The Early History of the Madras Region, op.cit., p.65.


Mahalingam, T.V., (ed.), A Topographical List of Inscriptions in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala States, Vol.II, New Delhi, 1989, p.289; A.R.E., No.68 of 1898


Nilakanta Sastri, K.A., The Colas, op.cit., p.225.


Ibid., p.245.


Nilakanta Sastri, K.A., A History of South India, op.cit., p.186.


Nilakanta Sastri, K.A., The Colas, op.cit., p.267.


Ibid., p.285.


Nilakanta Sastri, K.A., A History of South India, op.cit., p.189.


His original name was Rajendra, as the Chalukyan ruler at Vengi.


Nilakanta Sastri, K.A., The Colas, op.cit., p.332.


Mahalingam, T.V., (ed.), A Topographical List of Inscriptions in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala States, op.cit., pp.111-112.


Ibid., p.135; A.R.E., 29 of 1921.


Madurantaki, Tyagavalli Ezhisaivallabi alias Ezhulagudaiyal, Trailoka Mahadevi, Kadava Mahadevi, Kanapamahadevi were other queens of Kulottunga-I


Nilakanta Sastri, K.A., The Colas, op.cit., p.349.


Raman, K.V., op.cit., p.79.


Nilakanta Sastri, K.A., The Colas, op.cit., p.420; A History of South India, op.cit., p.213.


Mahalingam, T.V., Readings in South Indian History, Delhi, 1977, pp.85-86.


Nilakanta Sastri, K.A., A History of South India, op.cit., p.216.

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