Early Chola Temples

by S. R. Balasubrahmanyam | 1960 | 105,501 words

This volume of Chola Temples covers Parantaka I to Rajaraja I in the timeframe A.D. 907-985. The Cholas of Southern India left a remarkable stamp in the history of Indian architecture and sculpture. Besides that, the Chola dynasty was a successful ruling dynasty even conquering overseas regions....

Temples in Uyyakkondan (Tirumalai)

Uyyakkondan Tirumalai is a village 3 miles (4.83 km.) west of Tiruchy. The temple here is now called Ujjivanathar temple. It is known to the Devaram hymnists (7th century a.d.) as Tiruk-Karkkudi. On a pillar in the inner enclosure of this temple, there is an inscription of the 10th year of a Parakesarivarman (470 of 1908) which can be attributed to Parantaka I. In this inscription, the principal deity is called Tirukkarkkudi Paramesvara and the temple is said to be located in Nandipanmamangalam (named after the Pallava king, Nandivarman III), a brahmadeya on the southern bank of the Kaveri; according to it, one Peranan Viranarayanan alias Sembiyan Marayan, a perundanam of Virasola Ilangovelan of Kodumbalur, gave a gift of 90 sheep for a perpetual lamp to this God. This temple of Karkkudi (=stone-temple) on the south bank of the Kaveri is also referred to by Sekkilar in his Periya Puranam.

Ujjivanathar temple (Tiruk-Karkkudi Paramesvara)

On a pillar in the south-east corner of the verandah surrounding the central shrine, there is an inscription of the 34th year of Madiraikonda Parakesari, i.e., Parantaka I (96 of 1892). In this inscription also, the temple is called that of Tiruk-Karkkudi Paramesvara in the brahmadeya village of Nandipanmamangalam. It records the gift of 90 ewes for the supply of one ulakku of ghee every day for the maintenance of a perpetual lamp by Pirantakan Madevadigalar, the daughter of Mala Perumal and consort of Gandaraditya devar, son of Parantaka I.

There is an inscription (427 of 1908) of the 2nd year of ‘Parakesarivarman who took the head of Vira Pandya, i.e., Aditya II, which records a gift of 90 sheep for a lamp by one Irunkolakkon alias kandan Avanivallan.

An incomplete record of Uttama Chola (456 of 1908) makes provision for offerings to the deity. It is a unique record, mentioning its date according to both the saka era (901) and the kaliyuga era (4080), equivalent to a.d. 979. This is of great importance in fixing the date of Uttama Chola.

In the 10th year of Rajaraja I, Sembiyan Maha-deviyar, the mother of Uttama Chola (who survived both her husband and her son), presented a costly jewelled crown to this God. It is said to have comprised 149 kalanju of gold, 190 kalanju of silver, 700 pearls, 3 rubies and 27 diamonds (95 of 1892).

Thus it will be clear that this temple, called Tiruk-karkkudi, was a temple built of stone sometime before the 10th year of Parantaka I, and that it received great royal benefactions (vide also Epi. Rep. no. 96 of 1892: SII, II, Part III, no. 75, pp. 374-375).

The temple is situated on a hillock and it faces the west. The original temple (stone temple) consists of the garbhagriha and the ardhamandapa. The devakoshtas have Durga and Brahma on the northern side, Ardha-narisvara in the east (rear side) and Dakshinamurti and Bhikshatanar on the south side. There are two dvarapalas in front.

As there is the figure of Ardhanarisvara in the rear devakoshta, we may be tempted to assign the construction of this temple even during the time of Aditya I. Except this, there is no other evidence. (Pls.7 to 10).

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