Later Chola Temples

by S. R. Balasubrahmanyam | 1979 | 143,852 words

This volume of Chola Temples covers Kulottunga I to Rajendra III in the timeframe A.D. 1070-1280. 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....

This village is an important religious centre in the Mayuram taluk of the Tanjavur district. In an earlier volume, while dealing with the vira-slhanas, where Siva is held to have demonstrated His powers by the destruction of evil forces, we mentioned that Tirukkadaiyur alias Tirukkadavur was the centre where Siva reputedly subdued Yama, the God of Death (pp. 85, 86 of my Early Chola Temples).

Amritaghatesvara temple

On the walls and base of the central shrine of the Amritaghates-varar temple here, there are a number of inscriptions belonging to the period of the Middle and the Later Cholas. Those of the days of the Middle Chola rulers Rajaraja I and Rajendra I are found on the north, east and south sides of the base, while the earliest to be found on the walls of the shrine are of the days of Kulottunga I.

On the east side of the base of the shrine is the earliest of all inscriptions here—one relating to the fourteenth year of the king Rajarajakesarivarman, recording a grant of land; the temple is called that of ‘Sri Kalakaladevar at Padai eviya Tirukkadavur in Ambar nadu’ (ARE 122 of 1906). We learn from another inscription of the fifteenth year of the same king that the sabha of Kadavur gave some land as kani to a person for performing certain services in the temple. There is also a reference to a shrine called that of Tiruvirattanaltu perumanadigal (ARE 23 of 1906). There are two inscriptions of the days of Rajendra I, one of which is incomplete, and the other, of the 15th year, records an agreement of the sabha of ‘Padai eviya Tirukkadavur in Ambar nadu in Uyyakkondan valanadu’ (ARE 20 of 1906). These are all (as stated above) found on the base of the shrine. There is only one record of the days of Kulottunga I found on the base of this shrine, registering an agreement of the Assembly of Ulpadam eviya Tirukkadavur (ARE 43 of 1906) in Ambar nadu, a district of Rajanarayana valanadu. We note that, by the time of Kulottunga I, Uyyakkondan valanadu had been renamed Rajanarayana valanadu, perhaps after a surname of his (also cf. ARE 25 of 1906). Of the inscriptions of his days found on the walls of the shrine, two are dated in the forty-fourth and forty-eighth years, and the years of two others have been lost (ARE 16 to 19 of 1906). There is a second year inscription of the days of Vikrama Chola on the walls of the shrine (ARE 32 of 1906).

The earliest record found on the walls of the mandapa in front of the shrine is one on the south wall and relating to the sixth year of Vikrama Chola (ARE 30 of 1906).

On the south wall of the first prakara of the temple, there is a record of the fourth year of the king Tribhuvanachakravartin Kulottunga Chola deva (ARE 39 of 1906). It records a gift of land in the locality by one Sekkilan Ammaiyappan Parantakadevan alias Karikalasola Pallavaraiyan of Kunrattur in Kunrattur nadu, a subdivision of Puliyur kottam alias Kulottungasola valanadu. In view of the reference in this inscription to the poet Sekkilar who was a contemporary of Vikrama Chola, Kulottunga II and Rajaraja II, the Kulottunga referred to in the inscription must be Kulottunga II alias Anapaya. We have a record of the 18th year of a Rajarajadeva on the same south wall, registering the lamps granted to the temple and the lands reclaimed at Mannar-kunru in Erukkattuch-cheri for their maintenance; one of the donors is Vedavanamudaiyan Ammaiyappan of Palaiyanur in Melmalai-Palaiyanur nadu. Hence the king referred to must be Rajaraja II, Vedavanamudaiyan being one of the Generals who fought successfully on behalf of the Chola emperor in the Pandyan war of succession (ARE 32 of 1906). We have two inscriptions relating to the period of Rajadhiraja II found on the same wall (ARE 35 & 36 of 1906). There are a number of inscriptions relating to the period of Kulottunga III, starting with one of his second year, in which the deity is still called ‘Udaiyar Sri Kalakaladevar at Tirukkadavur in Ambar nadu, a subdivision of Akkur nadu, a district of Jayangondasola valanadu’ (ARE 34 of 1906). A record of his sixteenth year mentions a gift of land to the image of Rajaraja Isvara by the sabha of Ulpadameviya Tirukkadavur and another, also of the same year, records a gift of land to the same image, which, it adds, was set up by Araiyan Rajarajadevar alias Vanadharayar (ARE 43 & 42 of 1906). From a record of the seventeenth year, we gather that ‘Svamidevar’ countermanded an order of the king appointing two Saiva, and put in two

others who possessed hereditary rights to the offices. The inscription mentions the shrines of Kalakaiadeva, Kuttadum devar, Kulot-tunga Cholisvaramudaiyar, and Vikramacholisvaramudaiyar in the temple of Tiruvirattanamudaiyar (ARE 40 of 1906).

On the basis of the epigraphical records, we may arrive at these conclusions: that the central shrine was in existence even in the days of Rajaraja I (with possibly the stone-base as of now and the superstructure including the walls of the garbhagrika in brick). Sometime in the early years of Kulottunga I, the brick walls were replaced by stone walls; the mandapa in front of the central shrine came into being during the reign of Kulottunga I or was perhaps started during the latter part of his reign and completed during the first year or two of Vikrama Ghola’s. The presence of an inscription dated in the fourth year of Kulottunga II on the walls of the prakara would go to show that that wall had come into existence in the last days of Vikrama Chola or the first few years of the reign of Kulottunga II. Thus, the entire complex of the temple excluding the basement of the central shrine can be said to have come into existence during the reigns of Kulottunga I and Vikrama Chola.

From a Tamil verse found on the third gopuram of the temple, we gather that a certain brakmana named Apatsahaya of Tiruk-kadavur repaired the temple. It is mentioned that he was also a military officer, who took part in a war against Raichur. The record belongs to the Vijayanagara period (ARE 47 of 1906).

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