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 Tiruvalanjuli

(i) Kapardisvara temple

The temple of Kapardisvara is a celebrated early Chola Siva temple in the heartland of the Chola country. The river Kaveri is said to have disappeared into an underground cleft, and after the self-immolation of Eranda Munivar, the river reappeared and took a turn here to the right. Hence the name of the place (valanjuli). The river Arisilar flows close by. The presiding deity of this temple is said to have been formerly worshipped by Indra, and is sung both by Appar and Sambandar.

This deity has received the devoted homage of the great kings of the land. On the south wall of the mandapa in front of the central shrine, there is an inscription of the 38th regnal year of Parakesarivarman who took Madurai. It mentions a gift of land (10¾ veli?) and one ma) (?) to Tiruvalanjuli Mahadevar for various services to the Lord. In the body of the record, we have the order confirming the grant in the 17th regnal year of Rajaraja I. Perhaps it was an old endowment regularised by Rajaraja I or the re-engraving of an older inscription of Parantaka I after the rebuilding of the new temple (SII, VIII, no. 217; A.R. no. 620 of 1902).

(ii) Kshetrapaladevar shrine

In the days of Rajaraja I, a shrine for Bhairavar (Kshetrapaladevar) was built of stone by his chief queen Danti-sakti-vitanki alias Lokamahadeviyar (nam eduppitta tirukkarrali). Gold and costly jewels were presented to this deity both by Kundavai nangaiyar, the (youngest) daughter of Rajaraja I and the queen (Mahadeviyar) of Vimaladitta devar, and by Nangaiyar Madevadigalar (na the middle born) out of the gold presented by her father at the time of his abhishekam (Rajaraja devarkku adi arula prasadam perra port). This is recorded in an inscription of the 25th regnal year of Rajaraja I engraved on the north wall of the Bhairavar shrine (A.R. no. 633 of 1902; SII, VIII, no. 234).

And in the 24th year 285th day of Rajaraja I, a gift of land (made tax-free) as devadana was made by a royal order for various services to the two deities of Kshetrapala and Ganapatiyar set up in the temple of Tiruvalanjuli Alvar by Danti-Sakti-Vitanki alias Lokamadeviyar. This is recorded on the south wall of the mandapa in front of the central shrine (A.R. no. 124-A of 1902; SII, VIII, no. 223).

On the north wall of the Bhairava shrine, there is an inscription of the 3rd year 221st day of Parakesari Rajendra Chola I (son of Rajaraja I) which states that he passed through a hillock (mound) of gingely seeds (tila-parvatam-pukkaruli), and that he, on that occasion, presented as gifts 12 gold flowers for being placed at the feet of the Lord (Sri-pada-pushpam); another gift of a gold flower was made to this Lord by his queen Valavan Madeviar (A.R. no. 633-B of 1902; SII, VIII, no. 236).

On the same wall, there is another inscription (3rd regnal year) of Parakesari Rajendra Chola I which records a gift of two gold flowers to the Lord of the shrine of Kshetrapaladevar by Danti-Sakti-Vitanki-alvar queen of Rajaraja I out of the gold used by her for the Hiranyagarbha ceremony performed by her (along with her husband who performed the Tulabhara) at Tiruvisalur in the 29th regnal year of Rajaraja I (A.R. 633-C of 1902; SII, VIII, no. 237).

It may be added that his queen Danti Sakti Vitanki alias Lokamahadevi was also the builder of the temple of Vadakailasam at Tiruvaiyaru named after her Lokamahadevi Isvaram (SII, V, no. 521; A.R. nos. 219 and 222 of 1894).

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