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....

The garbhagriha is the innermost, and the most sacred, part of the temple wherein is installed the main deity meant for worship. Its inner walls are generally free from sculptures except in Pallava temples built during the reigns of Narasimhavarman II alias Raja-simha and Nandivarman II. Its outer walls are adorned with devakoshtas surmounted by toranas.

There is an ardhamandapa in front of the garbhagriha. An inscription from Gandaradityam (No. 202 of 1928-29) calls this structure by the name idaikkattu. In some cases, the ardhamandapa is directly attached to the garbhagriha, but we know of at least two cases—the Panchanadisvara temple at Tiruvaiyaru and the Avani Kandarpa Isvaram at Kilaiyur—where the ardhamandapa was originally detached but was later linked by an antarala as in the case of the Pallava Kailasanathar temple at Kanchipuram. At Punjai, we have not only an antarala to connect the garbhagriha and the ardhamandapa but an additional antarala to connect the ardhamandapa and the mukhamandapa built later on.

At Konerirajapuram, there is a canopied mandapa running round the garbhagriha which is called Tiru-nadaimaligai (No. 660 of 1909).

Tillaisthanam and Vriddhachalam mention the erection of a snapana mandapa.

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