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....

Tiruvakkarai is a village in the Villupuram taluk of the South Arcot district. We have discussed the Chandra Moulisvara temple in e.c.a. part I (pp. 193 -5). There are two inscriptions of a certain Raja-kesarivarman of the 19th and 26th regnal years on the two sides of the southern entrance of the main shrine which have to be assigned to Aditya I. So we have held that this temple called in the inscriptions on its walls ‘Tiruvakkarai-Karrali Perumanadigal’ might have been in existence at least from the days of Aditya I.

(2) Paramasvamigal (Siva - Udaiyar) temple

There is an inscription (A.R. no. 200 of 1904) on the south base of the ruined Siva temple, of the 16th regnal year of Rajaraja I. It records the grant of the village of Manali in Amur nadu, a sub-division of Oyma nadu as a devadana to God Paramasvamigal of Sivalokam, the stone temple built by Sembiyan Mahadeviyar. It reads as follows:—

“Sri Gandaraditya devar tam-pirattiyar Sri Uttama Solarait-tiru -vayiru-vaytta Udaiya Pirattiyar Sembiyan Madeviyar eduppittarulina Sri Tiruvakkarai Tirukkar-rali Sivalokam Udaiya Paramasvamigalukku devada-namaga seyda ur”.

(1) Chandra Moulisvara temple

An inscription at the northern entrance of the first prakara of the temple of Chandra-moulisvara, of the 10th regnal year of a Parakesarivarman who is to be identified with Uttama Chola (no. 170 of 1904) records the decision of the Perunguri Perumakkal (the General Assembly) of Tribhuvana Mahadevi Chaturvediman-galam evidently christened after the name of the queen of Parantaka I making a gift of land at Aliyur for the maintenance of worship and offerings to the Gods Karrali Paramasvamin (Chandra-Moulisvara) and Vishnu-Bhattarakar (Varadaraja Perumal) and for the appointment of four persons for performing worship therein, and for four more for playing music during the Sribali service.

The main deity of the Siva temple is called in an inscription of Rajendra Chola I as Mulasthanattu Mahadevar (no. 106 of 1904).

(3) Varadaraja Perumal temple

A bilingual (Sanskrit and Tamil) inscription in the west wall of the mandapa in front of the local Varadaraja Perumal temple (within the enclosure of the Siva temple of Chandra-Moulisvara) mentions that the Kota-Cholaka vimanam formerly built by Kota-Chola was rebuilt of stone in the second year of Adhi-Rajendra Chola (a.d. 1068-69). This Kota Chola is considered to be a reference to Koch-Cholan or Kochchenganan, a Chola king of the late Sangam period, who is credited by Tirumangai Alvar to be the builder of many Siva and Vishnu temples in the Tamil land.

We have evidence of the existence, in addition to the Vakra-kali temple of Pallava times, of two Siva temples and a Vishnu temple at Tiruvakkarai.

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