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...

The Svetaranyesvarar temple is situated close to, and to the west of the Madurantakam railway station on the Madras-Villupuram section of the Southern Railway at the village of Kadapperi.. The deity of this Siva temple in inscriptions by the Tamil equivalent, Tiru-Venkattup-Paramesvarar.[1]

This temple has twenty seven inscriptions. The earliest inscription in this temple is that of the 12th year and 130th day of Madiraikonda Rajakesari, Sundara Chola.[2] It concerns a gift of land for the benefit of the king’s long life and victory. There are also two inscriptions of Raja Raja-I. The first makes provision for the celebration of a festival in honour of this deity, and the second refers to an assignment of land by the mahasabha of Madurantaka Chaturvedimangalam for opening a new street round the temple called Tiru Venkattup-Perunteruvu, to settle Siva-Brahmanas, Uvachars (pipers), Tapasvins and Devaradiyar.[3]

On the north, west and south walls of the central shrine in this temple, there is an inscription of the 15th year of Kulottunga I, from which it is known that the temple was built during the early years of this ruler by a Sengeni Chief who bore the name of Sengeni Sattan Solan alias Senapati General, Vanaraivar.

The relevant portions of the inscription read as follows:

Svasti Sri: pugalsuindapunari agal suinda puvyal... Bliuvanamulududa yalodum virrirundarulya kovirajakesaripaninarana Udayar Sri Kulottungasola deuarkku yandu 16 avadu naal 165, Jayangonda solamandalattu Kalattur ko ttattzt tanyur, Sri Madliurantaka chaturvedimangalattu perungurzsab/zazyom innaalaal... Sembiyan Mahadcvi perumandapattu.... (cha,) turvedimangalattup palli Sengeni Sattan Solanana Senapatigal Vaanarayar nammur eduppitta tirukkarrali tiruvenkadudaya Ma/zadevarkku havisale archchanaikkum archchana homattukkum ullittuch cheyarendum nivandangalukku naangal kudutta uravadu engalur tenpidagai viiacholappereri kil”[4]

Thus it can be deduced that this temple was built by the General, Vanaraiyar, before the 16th regnal year of Kulottunga I (A.D. 1086); he is given the alternate name of Sattan Virasolan alias Vanaraiyar, further down in the same inscription. This inscription gives the names of the members of the Ferunguri sabhai of the taniyur, who approved the arrangements for granting to the temple the revenue receipts from the lands of the village which were in lieu of two thousand kasus received from the same donor; from this inscription, one can also gather the names of a number of wards of Madhurantaka chaturvedimangalam; they are: Madhurantakach-cheri; Sri Irumudichcholach-cheri; Singalan takach-cheri; Virasolach-cheri; Sri Kodandaramach-cherj; Sri Purakesarich-cheri; Sri Rajase... cheri; Sri Surasulamanich-cheri; and Tribhuvana-mahadevich-cheri. There might have been others.

On the east wall of the central shrine, there is another inscription of the days of Kulottunga I, dated in his 29th year, beginning with the introduction “pugal madu vilanga jayamadu virumba”. It relates to a gift of ninety sheep for the purpose of burning a perpetual lamp before the deity of the temple.[5] A similar gift of ninety sheep was given, according to another inscription beginning with the same introduction. This is dated in the 35th year and says that one Periyal, daughter of Puliyurnattu Velar, set up a perpetual lamp in the temple and gifted the sheep for the maintenance of the lamp.[6]

On the outer side of the east waif of the second prakara of the temple, there is an inscription dated in the ninth year of Rajaraja II. It begins with the introduction ‘puyamaruya tirumadum puvimadum jayamadum naamaruviya kalai madum’. This inscription deals with the celebration of the utsavam (fetiva1) when the processional deity called Madurai-Nayaka-devar was taken out in procession on Saturdays (sani-bhavani,), by one Udayapalan alias Tiruchchirrambalam Udaiyan, belonging to Kiranur, in Tiruvalundur nadu, in Rajanarayana valanadu, in Chola mandalam.[7]

There is an inscription whose date is lost belonging to the reign of Rajadhiraja II, whose introduction begins with ‘Kadal sulnda paarmadarum pumadarum’. This is found on the same wall as the preceding and mentions the grant of 300 old kasus (palan-kasu) to arrange for the supply of tirumerpuchchu for the deity of Tiruvenkadu Udaiyar. The place is described as the taniyur of Sri Madhurantaka chaturvedimangalam in Kalattur kottam in Jayangondasola mandalam. This inscription gives the names of different types of temple servants or agencies: (i) Sri Mahesvara Kankanyar; (ii) Devakanmis; (iii) Srikarjam seyuar; and (iv) Koyil-Icanakkan.[8]

Besides these, there is a fragmentary inscription of the days of Kulottunga-III; a few inscriptions belonging to the Pandya Sri and Vijayanagara rulers are also found here. Thus, this temple is an old one of Parantaka I’s reconstructed in the days of Kulottunga -I. The second prakara was perhaps added during the days of Kulottunga-II alias Anapaya.[9]

Footnotes and references:


Balasubrahmanyam, S.R., Early Chola Temples, New Delhi, 1971, pp.100-101.


A.R.E., 396 of1922.


A.R.E., 395 and 397 of 1922.


A.R.E.,138 of 1896: S.I.I.. V, 1003.


A.R.E., 135 of 1896


A.R.E., 137 of 1896.


A.R.E., 132 of 1896.


A.R.E., 129 of 1896


Balasubrahmanyam, S.R., Later Chola Temples, Faridabad, 1979, p.71

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