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 Brahmapurisvara temple at Pullamangai, the Tiru-Alandurai Mahadevar temple at Kilappaluvur, the Kadambavanesvara temple at Erumbur, the Gomuktisvara (or Masilamanisvara) temple at Tiru-vaduturai (in addition to the temples at Tiru-namanaliur and Gramam on the northern borders of the Chola empire) form the nucleus of the next stage of development under Parantaka I.

In Parantaka I’s reign, an experiment is tried to enlarge the area of the garbhagriha and install the sculpture of Agastya in the antarala of the prasada. Such an enlargement of the plinth of the garbhagriha can be seen at Tiruvaduturai, Kilur (Virattanesvara temple) and Tiruvisalur. Sculptures at Pullamangai match those of Nagesvara at Kumbakonam. The Naltunai Isvaram at Punjai marks the next stage. In the days of Sundara-chola—second half of the 10th century—Bhuti Vikrama Kesari built at Kodumbalur a temple with three vimanas (vimanattraya)—all in a line, dvitala, and with square, curvilinear sikharas—and 16 shrines for the parivara devatas. This temple stands as a class by itself, and their sculptures (the vimana-devatas) are of high artistic merit. The age of this temple*is a matter of controversy (9th or 10th century a.d.). For reasons stated in the body of the book, I am inclined to attribute the temple to the latter half of the 10th century a.d., the age of Sundara Chola and Vira Pandya.

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