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 Karuntattangudi (Karandai)

Karuntattangudi (or Karandai) is about 2 miles (3.2 km.) on the eastern outskirts of Tanjavur. And in inscriptions this place is named Karuntittaikkudi or karuvittaikkudi on the borders of Tanjavur in Tanjavur kurram. And in the Devaram hymns of Sambandar, it is called This temple should have been in existence at least as early as the seventh century a.d.

Vasishtesvara temple

There are three Parakesari inscriptions which have no distinguishing epithets. Perhaps they have to be assigned to Uttama Chola. One of his 10th year (42 of 1897) refers to a gift of a lamp by Madhurantakan Gandaradittan, perhaps the son of Uttama Chola who figures as a royal officer engaged in inquiries into temple affairs also in the early years of the reign of Rajaraja I.

Another refers to the installation of the dvarapalas on the eastern wall near the entrance to the ardha-mandapa of the central shrine by Vellatti Arunili Malay-piratti of Palampattinam in Patti nadu (51 of 1897).

The garbhagriha is a square 18 ft. (5.5 m.) side. There is a central koshta on each of the three sides of the wall of the garbhagriha with projecting panchara enclosed by two short and two tall pilasters.

It is an ekatala prasada. There is a bhutagana frieze below the cornice and a yali frieze above it. The grim and the sikhara are circular. They seem to be later structures.

There is an antarala (17 inches E. to W. - 0.5 m.) followed by the ardhamandapa. The latter projects 16 feet (4.9 m.) forward. This mandapa is supported by four pillars with bulbous capital. There are two dvarapalas at the entrance to this mandapa.

Some of the sculptures in the niches seem to have been later insertions in the available spaces of the outer walls of the garbhagriha and the ardhamandapa. The figures in the niches from the east end of the south wall are the following:—

Sambandar, Nataraja, Appar, Bhikshatanar with the Rishipatnis, Ganesa, Dakshinamurti, Agastya, Ardha-narisvara, Lingodbhavar (with Brahma and Vishnu), Kankalamurti, Kalyanasundarar, Brahma, Vinadhara Dakshinamurti, Kalarimurti (Yama, Linga and Markandeya), Bhikshtanamurti and Durga and Subrah-manyar (Pis. 194-202).[1]

Like the temple of Tiruppurambiyam, this is a temple of an earlier age, perhaps of the time of Parantaka I, but a larger number of sculptures than the usual original five have been crudely inserted into newly improvised niches made by cuttings into the old outer inscribed walls of the garbhagriha and the ardhamandapa causing damage even to the inscriptions. This is likely to have taken place in the period of Uttama Chola, when these additional devako sculptures became the fashion of the temples of the Sembiyan (Devi) style.

Footnotes and references:


Vide Transactions of the Archaeological Society of South India—Madras—1957-8—Art and Architecture of Kandiyur—by Mr. P.R. Srinivasan and Lalit Kala No. 5.

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