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 Nallur

Nallur lies two miles south of Sundarapperumal railway station in the Tanjavur district. It has an ancient temple called that of Kalyanasundaresvara and it possesses the famous Nataraja (see E.C.A.I Pis. 5 and 6). It is a madakkoyil of great antiquity and celebrity. Sambandar (7th century a.d.) sings in his Devaram hymns that the temple is on an artificial hillock. (Tirunallur-malai-malgu-koyil Koyilaha magilindiree). Appar was blessed by the Lord by placing His feet on the head of his devotee. It was the home of the exploits of Amarnidi Nayanar, one of the 63 Tamil saints and of Bringu rishi. Agastya is said to have been favoured with the vision of the divine wedded-couple of Siva and Parvati; hence the name of the main deity Kalyanasundarar. Agastya is shown as a linga by the side of the main deity of this temple.

Kalyanasundaresvara temple

On the south wall of the main shrine, there is an inscription of the 10th regnal year of Uttama Chola. It records an inquiry into the affairs of the temple of of Mahadevar at Nallur under the orders of the king by a certain Manakkurai Yiranarayanar (A.R.E. 41 of 1911). There are two fragmentary inscriptions of Rajaraja I. One of them of his 23rd regnal year of... “.....Kesarivarman” records the gift of a lamp to the temple of Ilangoyil Mahadevar. So there should have existed here a temple for the deity of the preliminary consecration.

There are a large number of Chola inscriptions up to the time of Rajaraja III and of Hoysala Vira Rama-natha; but the existence of an inscription of Uttama Chola on the main wall of the central shrine proves that the original foundation belonged to the pre-Rajaraja I age.

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