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....

Munnuru is a village dose to Tindivanam in the taluk of the same name in the South Arcot district. There are two temples here, one dedicated to Siva called the Adavallisvara temple and the other dedicated to Vishnu called the Arulalap-Perumal temple. The latter is an abandoned and neglected one. The former belongs to the Later Chola period and the latter to the Later Pandya period.

Adavallisvara temple

The earliest inscription found on the walls of the Siva temple relates to the 11th year of Rajakesarivarman alias Tribhuvana-chakravartin Kulottungasola deva whose prasasti begins with the introduction 'pu mevu valar\ He is thus to be identified with Kulot-tunga II. In this record a certain Palakannan Kaman Tiruvagat-tisvaram Udaiyan, a native of Iraiyur in Kunra nadu of Urrukkattuk kottam makes a gift of land to the temple of Mulasthanam Udaiya Mahadevar, for offerings to the image of Udaiya Pillaiyar which he had set up in the temple (a.d. 1144; ARE 65 of 1919). He seems to have been a prominent nobleman of the region; for, some years later (Kulottunga II’s 20th regnal year), he is seen making a gift to the Assembly of Munnur alias Rajanarayana chaturvedimangalam for strengthening the bund of the big tank of the village (a.d. 1153; ARE 66 of 1919). Yagna Bhatta of Pasindipuram, one of the members of the alunganattars of Munnur sold land for 8 kasus to certain brahmanas for maintaining half a lamp which was presented by a shepherd to the temple (of Mulasthanam Udaiya MahadevaV) (11th year of Kulottunga II, ARE 69 of 1919). Kulottunga II himself makes a royal gift in his 12th regnal year (a.d. 1145) of lands at Nagar alias Dinachintamaninallur, constituting them into a new village under the name of Kulottungasolanallur (ARE 75 of 1919) (pu mem valor introduction).

In the reign of his successor Rajaraja II, one Ammaiyappan Siyan Pallavandan alias Rajanarayana Sambuvarayan purchased and gifted land made tax-free to the temple of Adavalla Nayanar for celebrating the hunting festival of the god during the month of Chittirai (ARE 52 of 1919). Gifts came in flowing during the reign of Rajaraja II. In his second year a certain Periya nachchiyar of Kairur set up the images of Periya-Vinayakappillaiyar and gave land for offerings and lamps to it. She also built the sopana mandapa in front of the Dakshinamurti shrine in the temple (ARE 81 of 1919). Sengeni Ammaiyappan alias Rajaraja Sambuvarayan made a gift of certain taxes for a flower garden and other requirements to the temple of Mulasthanam Udaiyar (ARE 57 of 1919). A native of Rajasimhapuram of Tirumunaippadi made a gift of money for a lamp to the temple (of Mulasthanam Udaiyar) at Munnur alias Rajanarayana chaturvedimangalam in Oyma nadu alias Vijayarajendra valanadu in Jayangondasola mandalam (ARE 76 of 1919, introduction pu maruviya tirumadum). In the west prakara of the temple there is an empty shrine carrying an inscription at the top of the entrance to it which reads that one Ariyan Andan Kamalakara Bhattan set up the image of Visvesvara deva and repaired the temple (ARE 78 of 1919). He made a gift of a lamp to the shrine of Visvesvara deva, confirmed as having been built by him in the western prakara (tiruch-churru) of the temple of Aludaiyar Sri Mulasthanam Udaiyar (15th year ekadasi, tiruvadirai, somavara; ARE 72 of 1919). In the same year another gift is made for offerings and lamps to the same image (ARE 74 of 1919). In the 18th year of Rajaraja II, the grandson ofYajna Bhatta referred to earlier gifted 16 cows for another half a lamp (From this record we get the name of Sokkapperumal for Kulottunga II). In the same year a lady and her two daughters belonging to Sil arh int arnani parigiraha in Naduvil nadu gave a gift of three lamps to the temple (ARE 55 of 1919).

In the 11th year of Rajadhiraja II (a.d. 1177), Sengeni Ammaiyappan Siyan Pallavandan alias Rajanarayana Sambu-varayan made a gift of taxes for repairing the ‘Ediraganayan tirumaligai’ and other structures in the temple and for other repairs generally (ARE 71 of 1919). One Siyan Pallavandan alias Edirilisola Sambuvarayan gave a gift of land, made tax-free, in Sirupadi alias Kulottungasola-nallur und?r the orders issued by the king at the instance of Gangeyarayan and others for the temple of Adavallar. The royal secretary Minavan Muvendavelan is mentioned in this connection.

In the days of Kulottunga III, a native of Kiranur constructed the walls of the mandapa called ‘Madavarayan mandapa’ in the second prakara of the temple and gave land for a flower garden (year not known, ARE 64 of 1919). In his 33rd regnal year, Kudal Alappirandan Alagiya Pallavan alias Kadavarayan confirmed the gifts made to the temple by his grandfather (ARE 64 of 1919). Again in his 38th regnal year, at the request of a certain Vattarayan, the king made a gift of land at Vanniyanallur for a festival in the month of Avani named after the king, and for repairs to the temple of ‘Adavalla Nayanar’ at Munnur (the royal secretary is Rajanarayana Muvendavelan, ARE 50 of 1919).

In the third year of Kopperunjinga (a.d. 1246), Alagiya Pallava Virarayan alias Kachchiyarayan confirmed certain gifts made by Aiyadevar for repairs and worship in the temple (ARE 62 of 1919).

In the fifth regnal year of Jatavarman Vira Pandya, the people of Nagaraikkattu nadu gifted two hamlets in Kilinjalur with their names changed into Chittirameli-nallur for worship and repair of the temple of Adavalla Nayanar; in his tenth year, the people of the nadu made a gift of the village of Viluvur alias Adavallakuttanallur to the temple of Adavalla Nayanar of Munnur for a festival in the month of Masi (ARE 64 of 1919).

By the 33rd year of Kulottunga III (a.d. 1211), the Kamakshi Amman shrine in the temple would appear to have come into existence. The Tribhuvanachakravartin Konerinmaikondan referred to in ARE 89 of 1919 with a regnal year of 23 years could be Kulottunga III himself; this record mentions that a shrine for Tirukkamakkottam Udaiya Periya Nachchiyar was set up in the temple of Adavallar (ARE 89 of 1919).

The main temple of Adavallisvara (Adavalla Nayanar) faces south. It consists of a square sanctum preceded by an antarala, an ardhamandapa and a mahamandapa. Ganesa, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga are found in the niches of the ardhamandapa and the garbhagriha. A wall of enclosure with a tiruch-churru-maligai with square and cylindrical pillars goes round the temple. There are a pillared mandapa, an unfinished gopura, a bali-pitha and a nandi in front of the shrine.

Outside the first prakara is the shrine for Tirukkamakkottam Udaiya Periya Nachchiyar, now in a dilapidated condition.

Vishnu (Sittirameli vinrtagar emperuman) temple

On the north wall of the Vishnu temple in the village, there is a record dated in the tenth year of Jatavarman Tribhuvanachakra-vartin Vira Pandya which mentions that a tax-free gift of Singavanendal, a pidagai of Munnuru with its name changed into Purushottama-nallur was made by the people of Oyma nadu for worship and repairs to the temple of Purushottama alias Sittarameli vinnagar emperuman. In view of the presence of this inscription on its walls we could attribute this temple, now called the Arulalap-Perumal temple, to Vira Pandya. A Gajapati (Orissa) chieftain called Dakshina Kapilesvara Kumara Mahapatra son of Ambiradeva (Hamviradeva) made a gift of land for the festival called ‘Ahamvira-bhoga’—presumably in the name of the father—and repairs to the temples of Tirumulattanam Udaiya Mahadeva and Perumal Purushottama (ARE 92 of 1919). A copy of the same grant is found engraved also on the east wall of the central shrine of the Siva temple in the village (ARE 51 of 1919). Both the grants are dated in Saha 1386 (= a.d. 1464).

The Vishnu temple is a Pandyan foundation of the days of Jatavarman Vira Pandya (13th century a.d.).

Ammaiyappan Siyan Pallavandan alias Rajanarayana Sambuvarayan was a powerful chief in the Nadu Nadu region in the days ofRajaraja II and his immediate predecessor Kulottunga II and the village of Munnur would appear to have been named Rajanarayana chaturvedimangalam after him. Oyma nadu in Tondaimandalam was renamed Vijayarajendra valanadu after a surname of Rajadhiraja I.

Dr. R. Nagaswamy has dealt in detail with two interesting miniature panels carved in sandstone and considerably weathered and found embedded on either side of die entrance to the garbhagriha of the Adavallisvara temple. He calls them the Linga and the Jyeshtha panels: They are attributed to the fifth/sixth century a.d. A similar panel also belonging to the Pallava period was discovered by him at Munnur.

Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: