Temples of Munnur (Historical Study)

by R. Muthuraman | 2016 | 67,784 words

This essay represents a historical study of the Temples in and around Munnur, situated in the Dakshina Kannada district in the state Karnataka (India). Munnur is regarded as an important religious city for the followers of both Shaivism and Vaishnavism. The ancient history of Munnur traces to the reign of the Chola, from whom the city derives it's ...

Temples as Centers of Art and Culture

Every big temple had a Ranga mandapa (dance-hall) where dance and drama were staged and sacred music was recited. In other temples these were held in Mahamandapas. People met in the temple porches and listened to these varieties of entertainments. Several inscriptions refer to the promotion of dance, music and drama.[1] The Niruttamandapa of the Ekambaresvara Temple at Katchi and Niruttasabha or the halls of dance in the Nataraja Temple at Chidambaram were probably intended for this purpose. Thus the temples acted as centres of recreation where cultural programmes and entertainments were held for the sake of Kings and the people. They patronized both the time and space arts of dance, music, drama, painting and sculpture. The rulers preserved them for posterity. Music and dance were the inseparable limbs of upacharas offered to Gods and Goddesses.

The devadasis performed various kinds of dances.[2] It indicates the importance attached to dance in those days. The devadasis participated in dramatic shows a number of devadasis, trained by the Nattuvanars (dancemasters), were employed to sing and dance in front of the idols during worship, procession and festivals.[3] A number of instrumental musicians especially the drummers (uvachcar) were appointed to provide music in temple. They played various kinds of drums such as udukkai, kottimathalam and sagadai. Besides several singers were employed in this temple to recite hymns.

Encouragement was given to the performers of these arts. As the permanent staff of the temple establishment, the devadasis,[4] the kuttar,[5] and the uvachchar,[6] were provided with quarters in the Tirumadaivilagam. In recognition of their service, they were given their remuneration in the form of land, grain or cooked rice balls. When they were performed at times of sacred worship and festivals, their performance attracted hundreds of devotees to the temple. These facts indicate the importance attached to the preservation of fine arts in this temple. These devadasis also made endowments for conducting daily rites, rituals and pujas of the temple. For instance a record

Footnotes and references:


N.R. Bhatt, (ed.), Rauravagama, Vol.I, Pondicherry, 1963. p.43.


A.R.E., 55 of 1919.








S.I.I. Vol. VII, No. 192.

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