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 Tiruppappuliyur (Cuddalore N.T.)

Tiruppappuliyur (Tiruppadirippuliyur) is said to be the southern Pataliputra, named after the famous Magadha capital. It lies on the southern bank of the Gadilam.

It seems to have been a flourishing Jain centre at least from the time of the Pallava king Simhavarman I of Kanchi (middle of the 5th century a.d.) to the period of Mahendravarman I (7th century a.d.). Appar originally of Jain persuasion was converted to Saivism by his elder sister. Mahendravarman I, under the influence of his Jaina guru, is said to have resorted to many acts of inhuman persecution. Appar was tied to a stone and thrown into the sea. Thanks to divine help, he had a miraculous escape. It was on the sea shore near this place that he landed safely after the ordeal. He also emerged unscathed when he was thrown alive into a burning lime-kiln. These miracles of Appar led to the conversion of the Pallava king Mahendravarman I into a zealous Saivite. This great turning point in the history of Mahendravarman I is graphically described in the inscriptions engraved in the upper cave temple on the Malaikkottai (the Rock-Fort) at Tiruchy. The Periyapuranam of Sekkilar (of the days of Anapaya alias Kulottunga Chola II, 12th century a.d.) describes how the Pallava king destroyed many Jain temples and monasteries at Pataliputram and, with these building materials, built a temple for Siva at Tiruvadigai.

Patalisvara temple

The Lord of this temple seems to have been associated with Vyagrapada. Hence the suffix Puliyur. The sthala vriksha is Patali.

On the south wall of the central shrine, there is an inscription of the 18th regnal year of Madiraikonda Kop-Parakesari, i.e. Parantaka I. The main deity of this temple is called in this inscription Tirukkadai-jnalal Perumanadigal;and the temple is described as being situated in the devadana village of Padirippuliyur on the northern bank (of the Kaveri). It records a gift of an areca garden to this deity by one Damodaran Orriyuran and it was placed under the protection of

Tirunattuk-kanapperumakkal (A.R. no. 116 of 1902; SII, VII, 740).

In the same place there is another inscription of the same year (18th) of Maduraikonda Kop-Parakesaripanmar and an endowment for food offerings (Tiruvamirdu) to this deity was made by one Narayanan Sendan, and this capital endowment was placed in charge of the Tiruvunnaligai ganapperumakkal (the members of the Temple stores) (A.R. no. 120 of 1920; SII, VII, no. 744).

There is a record of a Pandya ruler Vikrama Pandya (acc. a.d. 1283). It relates to an exceedingly interesting and sensational inquiry and settlement of a land dispute (A.R. no. 135 of 1902, SII, VII, no. 759). In the third regnal year of Vikrama Pandya a royal officer of the Pandyan empire installed and consecrated in this temple an icon of Subrahmanya Pillaiyar and bought two ma of land in a temple-public-auction as chandesvarap-peruvilai to be given as a gift to this deity. Then the brahmans of the village stoutly protested that the lands were theirs as part of the Brahma-kshetram, and the Mahesvaras assembled together to register their protest and one of them even burnt himself to death evidently to assert their rights.

Then the dispute was brought to the notice of the Pandya emperor, and he deputed two of his high ranking officers Pillai Pallavarayar and Pillai Alagiya Manavalaperumal to investigate the case. In the fourth regnal year the officers came to the spot and summoned all the local people including all kinds of land owners, the nattars and the sthanatthars of the temple and a thorough inquiry was held. On the demand for documentary evidence the brahmans claimed prescriptive rights over the lands, and declared that they were enjoying rights of sale and mortgage even as late as the period of rule of the later Pallava ruler Kopperunjinga (acc. a.d. 1243). Finally in the fifth regnal year of Vikrama Pandya the royal order cancelling the Tirunamattukkani was communicated to the parties concerned. The royal order (Sri-mukham) was received with great rejoicings and a festive procession of all the local people including the brahmans finely dressed and adorned marched in a gayous mood round the main streets of the town to the temple and had the king’s decision engraved on the temple wall. This inscription seems to be the record of this royal order (A.R. no. 135 of 1902; SII, VII no. 759); and this is found on the base of the verandah of the first prakara.

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