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....

Tirukkuruhavur lies about five miles (8.1 km.) from Sirkali in the Tanjavur district on the road to Ten-Tirumullaivayil on the eastern sea coast; on this main road about a mile (1.6 km.) from Edamanal, a branch road to the south leads us to this temple.

Tiruvelladai Isvara temple

The Lord of this place, Tiruvelladai (or Velvidai) Isvara is sung both by Sambandar (only six of the original 11 stanzas of his hymn are now preserved) and Sundarar.

There are seventeen inscriptions on the walls of this temple. Among them three of a certain Parakesarivarman on the south wall of the central shrine are the oldest, and they have to be assigned to Uttama Chola. One of his 13th regnal year records the building of this temple of stone, the appointment of nine persons for playing music during the Sri-bali service, the three sandhis, ardayamam and palli-eluchchi and an endowment of land for their maintenance by Semban Arulan Uttama Nidhi alias Uttama Chola Muvendavelan (no. 434 of 1918). The following is an extract from this inscription:—

“Svasti Sri Kopparakesaripanmarkku yandu 13 padinmunravadu Tiruvali nattu Tirukkuruhavurt-Tiru Velladai Mahadevarkku Semban Arulan Utta-ma Nidiyana Uttama Chola Muvendavelan Tirukkar-rali-ittu Ittevarkku vaitta Sri-bali Kottakkadava al-onbadu iwonbadu alungondu trikala munru Sandiyum ardayamamum palli-elucehiyum Kottak-kadavargalagavum—ivargalukku seydu kudutta nilamavadu.. .veliye munru ma mukkani nilam...”

An inscription of the 5th regnal year of Vikrama Chola (later Chola) mentions a matha called Tiruch-chirrambalamudaiyan and an assembly hall called Rajendra Chola Perambalam in Mummudi Chola Chaturvedimangalam included in Rajadhiraja Vala-nadu.

The garbhagriha is 15 feet square (4.6 m). There is a central projection 6 feet (1.8 m.) long covering each of the devakoshtas of the central shrine.

The adhishthana is four feet (1.2 m.) high. The kumudam moulding is octagonal. There is a koshta-panchara between the garbhagriha and the ardhaman-dapa; the latter stretches forward to the east by 12 feet (3.7 m.).

The devakoshta sculptures are: Ganapati and Dak-shinamurti in the south; Lingodbhavar (with Brahma in human form) in the west, Brahma, Durga with eight hands, and Vishnu and Mohini in the north.

There is a bhutagana frieze below and a yali frieze above the kodungai; there are two dvarapalas with two hands at the entrance to the mukhamandapa. Close by, there is a sub-shrine for Ganapati (Pis. 215-223).

The temple is an eka-tala one and has a round sikhara.

Maduvanesvara (Mullaivanesvara temple)

The Maduvanesvara or Mullaivanesvara temple at Tirukkarugavur (or Tirukkalavur) is in Papanasam taluk, Tanjavur district. This temple has the following inscriptions—nos. 36 to 46 of 1910 and nos. 393 to 400 of 1961-62.

The Tiru-velladai Isvara temple at Tirukkuruhavur is situated in the sirkali taluk, Tanjavur district. It is also called locally Tirukkadavur. Nos. 424 to 440 of 1918 are the relevant inscriptions of this temple.

Both these temples are wrongly clubbed together by the Epigraphical Department (see page 81 of the list of inscriptions copied by the office of the Superintendent for Epigraphy, Madras—List compiled up to 31.3.1969).

There is a yet another Siva temple called Tirukkadavur-Tiruvirattanam, 13 miles (21 km.) east of Mayuram also in the Tanjavur district. The presiding deity of this temple is Amritaghatesvara, and is associated with the exploit of Siva subduing Yama in order to protect, and to grant grace to his devotee Markan-deya. This deity is called Kalasamharamurti.

About a mile (1.6 km.) to the east of this temple is that of Kadavur—Mayanam whose presiding deity is Brahmapurisvara.

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