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 Tiruvaduturai (3rd to 25th year)

The earliest of the Chola temples built in the days of Parantaka I is the Gomuktisvara (or Masilamanisvara) temple at Tiruvaduturai.

In an inscription of the second year of a Parakesari-varman, who is to be identified with Parantaka I, a member of the Aditta-panmat-terinja-kaikkolar, a division of the army named after Aditya I, after buying some land from the local assembly, endowed it for the maintenance of a cocoanut grove and a flower garden in favour of the Lord of this temple. Another important donor called Tirukkarralip-Pich-chan figures in a number of inscriptions of the days of Parantaka I. In the third year of Parakesarivarman, he makes a gift to hymnists, pipers and carriers of sacred water for the bath of the God. An inscription of the 25 thyear of Parantaka I mentions that this temple was built by him. He also makes other gifts in later years. The king Parantaka deva I himself is said to have made in his 38th regnal year a gift of 500 kalanju of gold for the construction of the temple from the kudappadai upwards (no. 143 of 1925). Perhaps the king completed the work begun by Tirukkarralip-Pichchan. Another inscription gives a list of the gold and silver vessels, and of the metallic images of the deities in the temple with their measurements, as furnished later on by Rajaraja I in respect of similar gifts made to the Great Temple at Tanjavur (no. 104 and 117 of 1925). This temple has also the distinction of having portrait-sculptures of donors, devotees and masons and of Tirukkarralip-Pichchan who built this temple. This is the earliest epigraphical reference to the setting up of portrait-sculptures in Chola times. Other such portrait-sculptures are found at Konerirajapuram and Tiruvisalur (Pis. 43-50).

The original temple consists of the garbhagriha, the antarala and the ardhamandapa. The figures are Ganapati, Agastyar, Dakshinamurti, Lingod-bhavar, Brahma and Durga. There are toranas over the devakoshtas. The introduction of Agastyar in the devakoshta of this temple marks an important innovation in the early Chola period. The construction of this temple of stone is likely to have begun sometime in or before the third regnal year of Parantaka I, and been nearing its completion about his 25th regnal year (a.d. 932) when Karrali-Pichchan claims to be its builder and perhaps the final consecration took place in or after his 38th regnal year (a.d. 945).


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