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....

Tiruvoymur is about 24 km. south-east of Tiruvarur and is about 3 km. to the south-east of Tirukkoli, both sacred places in the hagiology of the Tamils. It is one of the Saptavitanka Kshetras and Surya is said to have worshipped the Lord of Tiruvoymur. There is a sacred tank in front of the temple called the Surya-tirtham. The main deity of the temple is called Tiru-voymur-nathar and the Amman is Palinu (m) nanmoli-ammai. The Lord of the place has been sung by both Appar and Sambandar. When Appar was worshipping the Lord of Vedaranyam, He is said to have appeared before him and commanded him to go and worship the Lord at Tiruvoymur; and the tradition is that as he was proceeding there to sing the praises of the Lord of Tiruvoymur, Sambandar also joined him and they sang His praises together.

Thyagarajasvamin (Voymurnathar) temple

The temple, presendy known as Thyagarajasvamin temple, received the attention of the Early Pandyan and Early Chola rulers, as a number of inscriptions of the Early Pandya kings, Varaguna and Maranjadaiyan, are found engraved on the tiers of the central shrine of this temple (ARE 605 and 608 of 1962—63). The Government Epigraphist has identified Varaguna with the Varaguna figuring in the Aduturai, Kumbakoriam and Tiruch-chirrambalam records (SII, XIV, Nos. 7, 8, 14). There are also a few Rajakesarivarman and Parakesarivarman inscriptions and they could be attributed to the Chola rulers of the tenth century. On palaeographic grounds, all these records appear to be copies of original inscriptions made in the early 12th century, and the earliest original record would appear to be one of Vikrama Chola, dated in his 12th year (ARE 598 of 1961-62). This points to the fact that the temple was reconstructed sometime prior to the 12th regnal year ofVikrama Chola (a.d. 1130).

A 11th year record of Rajadhiraja II (ARE 596 of 1962-63) mentions the existence of the Amman (shrine) also, a gift of 50 kasu being made and paid into the temple treasury by one Panchavan Villuparaiyan to maintain two perpetual lamps, one to be burnt before the Lord Tiruvoymur Udaiyar for the merit of one Velan Bhattan and the other before the goddess in the temple for the merit of the donor’s forefathers. Another record of Rajadhiraja II, found on the south wall of the shrine and dated in his 12th year, corresponding to a.d. 1178, also refers to a gift of money for a lamp (ARE 603 of 1962-63).

The earliest of (Virarajendra) Kulottunga Ill’s records is found on the south wall of the mandapa and relates to his sixth year, recording a gift of 112 kasus by one Punangai, a devaradiyal of Tiruvoymur, for a perpetual lamp. The Sivabrahmanas received the amount and undertook to maintain the lamp (ARE 588 of 1962-63). A 26th year inscription of Kulottunga III records a gift of a brass lamp with narasam (rod) and 600 kasus for maintaining the same, by Udaiya Nachchi alias Sivan Perundevi, wife of Vaippur Udaiyan Tirunagisvaram Udaiyan, a merchant residing at Pasai. The Sivabrahmanas received the amount and agreed to maintain the endowment (ARE 597 of 1962-63). Another inscription of the same reign whose date is lost records the exemption from taxes granted by the Perunguri-sabha of Para-mesvara chaturvedimangalam in Rajendrasola valanadu to some lands endowed for worship and offerings, and for meeting the expenses during the procession of some deity set up by an individual whose name is not known (ARE 600 of 1962-63). From another record we get to know that the Perunguri-sabha of Katti-mangudi alias Solapandya-chaturvedimangalam of Vandalaivelur kurram in Rajendrasola valanadu provided funds and undertook to widen the street leading to a top (grove) to which the deity was to be taken in procession (ARE 579 of 1962-63). Another record of the same ruler (Tribhuvanavira), also dated in his 33 rd year, mentions an undertaking given by the Sivabrahmanas of the muppadu-vattattuk-kani of the temple of Tiruvoymur Udaiyar to provide the necessary commodities for the tiruk-kalabhach-chirappu on the occasion of two festivals to (Adal) vitanka devar out of the interest on 1200 kasus deposited with them by Tiruchchirrambalam Udaiyan Divakara... who seems to have received the amount from the Sribhandaram of the temple for some lands sold to it (ARE 586 of 1962-63).

A 20th year record of Rajaraja III mentions a gift of 600 kasus by one Sembonsodi Vottanaiyadal udaiyar of Kattur for maintaining three sandhi lamps to be burnt before the deity Alagiya Vinayakap-pillaiyar set up by him in front of the sri-pitha in the temple. The Sivabrahmanas received the amount and undertook to burn the lamps (ARE 598 of 1962-63). A 27th year record (a.d. 1243) mentions an exemption from taxes granted by the Perunguri sabha of Kattimangudi alias Solapandya chaturvediman-galam to lands endowed for services and offerings to Pillaiyar, the deity set up by Sri Krishnan alias Udappirappu-Alagiya-peraraiyan, residing near the temple (ARE 584 of 1962—63). A similar exemption was granted in respect of lands in their village endowed to the same deity granted by the sabha of Isanur alias Paramesvara chaturvedimangalam (ARE 585 of 1962-63). A 29th year record mentions the sale of land as chandesvarapperuvilai (temple auction) for 4,000 anradu-narkasu (standard current coin) by the authorities of the temple to Pattarayappanivar alias Atkondavilli of Neydalvayil, to provide for worship and offerings to the image of Tirujnanam-perra-Pillaiyar (Sambandar) set up by the purchaser of the land (ARE 581 of 1962—63). Another inscription of the 30th year of the same ruler records an undertaking by Sirramur-udaiyan Arayan,Kambikkadan Pavalak-kunran to provide for the expenses on the Tirukkappu day of the festivals, in the months of Purattasi and Chittirai to god Vattanaiya-dal Udaiyar (Nataraja) from the proceeds of some land received by him as kani from the temple after paying the specified taxes thereon (ARE 582 of 1962-63). A record of the same ruler in the same year refers to the sale of land for 1400 kasus by the authorities of the temple to Atkondaviili alias Pattarayap-panivar ofNeyda-vayil, referred to earlier (compare ARE 581 of 1962-63), who in turn endowed the same to meet the expenses for worship, offerings and taking in procession of god Vattanaiyadal Udaiyar (Nataraja) on the day of Tiruvadira in the month of Margali (ARE 587 of 1962-63).

A 11th year inscription of Rajendra III records the declaration of the Perunguri mahasabha of Isanur alias Paramesvara-chaturvedi-mangalam exempting from taxes the lands endowed by Vanak-kovaraiyar as madappuram to the Tirutturai Nayakan tirumadam built by him near the temple (ARE 583 of 1962-63). A 20th year inscription (disarranged) records the sale of some land by the authorities of the temple in favour of Kuttan Andapillai of Iraiyankudi who endowed the land as jivitam for a guard at the western entrance of the temple after renovating it. The guard was to pay the taxes on the land into the temple treasury (ARE 589 of 1962-63). Another record of this ruler (year not clear) records a tax-free gift of some land to provide for the expenses in a matha which was established by a person (name lost) in the street on the southern side of the temple, by Kuttadu-nayan alias Rajendrasoia Karaikkadudaiyan (ARE 604 of 1962-63). A 21st year record of the same ruler found on fragments built into the gopuram of the temple refers to a grant of land made tax-free as madappuram for a matha by Rajendrasoia Karaikkadudaiyan and mentions that it was lying fallow (ARE 619 of 1962-63).

This celebrated temple has had a long and chequered history.

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