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....

Udaiyalur, a small village in the Kumbakonam taluk of the Tanjavur district, is at a distance of about 12 kms. from Kumbakonam and is on the southern side of the Nallur-Valangaiman road (at the second mile stone). It was formerly called, according to local inscriptions, Sivapada-sekhara-mangalam.

Kailasanathar temple

The Siva temple found here is called Sri Kailasanathar temple now. The earliest of the inscriptions here is found, not on the walls of the central shrine, but on the south wall of the mandapa in front of it, and belongs to the 49th year of Kulottunga I (= a.d. 1119) (ARE 306 of 1927). Therein, the Lord of the temple is called Sri Kailasam Udaiyar (alias) Sivapadasekharisvaramudaiya Mahadevar, and a gift of land by the Mahesvarap-perundarisanattar for the chanting of the Tiruppadiyam hymns in the temple is recorded.

In an inscription (ARE 303 of 1927) of the third year of Vikrama Chola (a.d. 1121) Sivapada-sekharamangalam is called a Sri Mahesvara-sthanam (a settlement of Sri Mahesvaras), A gift of money for purchasing 1£ velis of land was made by one Araiyan Ulagudaiyan. An inscription (ARE 305 of 1927) of the sixth year of Vikrama Chola (with the pu madu punara introduction) (= a.d. 1126) records a gift of one kasu by one Panchanadivanan Paran taka-devan alias Kulottungasola Kongarayan of Kurichchi in Vennik kurram, for burning a twilight lamp in the temple of Kulottunga-solisvaramudaiya Mahadevar at Sivapada-sekhara-mangalam, the temple presumably having come to be named after the late ruler. On the base of the north wall of the mandapa in front of the central shrine, there is an inscription (ARE 313 of 1927) of the 25th year of Kulottunga III; one Devanayakan Rajarajadevan alias Solendrasinga Pichchan, of Sivapada-sekhara-mangalam, consecrated a new shrine to Lord Devanayaka Isvaram Udaiyar, and two individuals made gifts of land for providing worship to this deity. Another inscription of that year records details of several parcels of land aggregating three velis and odd, gifted to the images of Nayanmars installed in the temple (ARE 314 of 1927).

There are five inscriptions of the days of Rajaraja III. One, undated, records that some temple documents were lost, and replacements thereof made, in his fifth year. Another of the sixth year, mentions the pilferage of some jewels and vessels belonging to the temple and the penalties imposed on the guilty parties (ARE 309 and 308 of 1927). An inscription of the 24th year informs us that the accountant of the temple was removed and later re-instated and another of the same year mentions a grant of land to him (ARE 304 and 307 of 1927). In his 30th year, provision was made for the chanting of Tiruppadiyam hymns in the temple (ARE 310 of 1927).

The temple would appear to have been constructed in the closing years of Kulottunga I’s rule; in fact, Vikrama Chola had already ascended the throne by the 49th year of his father (which corresponds to his first regnal year) and by the eighth year, the earlier name of Sivapadasekharisvaram had been changed to Kulottungasolisvaram. Thus this temple should be attributed to Kulottunga I.

The temple faces east and consists of a garbhagriha 6.00 metres square, an ardhamandapa that projects another 6.00 metres eastwards and a mukhamandapa nearly 11.50 metres square. There is an entrance to this last mentioned mandapa from the southern side also. The images in the wall niches of the ardhamandapa and garbhagriha are, in a clockwise order:

Dakshinamurti (a substitute), Bhairavar and Agastya (on the south ardhamandapa wall), Dakshinamurti, Lingodbhavar and Brahma (on the three walls of the garbhagriha) and Nandikesvara, Durga and Ardhanarisvara (on the north face of the ardhamandapa). At the rear of the central shrine there are subshrines for Subrahmanya and Ganesa.

The temple is in a good state.

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