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....

Temples in Pattisvaram (Palayarai-Malapadi)

(Also see Temples in Tirusattimuttam (Rajarajapuram))

These two centres are close to Darasuram and in the ancient days formed part of Rajarajapuram and Palayarai of the Imperial Cholas. They are celebrated centres of Saivite hagiology.

Pattisvaranathar temple

The temple of Pattisvaranathar is said to be situated in the locality called in Sambandar’s Devaram hymn as Palayarai-Malapadi and the presiding deity of the temple is called Pattisvaranathar, so called because He is said to have been worshipped by Patti, one of the four daughters of the celestial cow of plenty, Kamadhenu. When Sambandar visited the place (in the seventh century a.d.), the heat was unbearable and a miracle happened. A bhutam (supernatural monster) held a canopy of pearls (pandal) over Sambandar to protect him from the heat of the day. The hymn on this Lord is said to have been sung by him to celebrate this event.

This place was the home of a few Saivite of great prosperity and influence which had rendered valuable services to the promotion of Devaram hymns, Saivite philosophy and temple service. An inscription on the base of the sribali stone structure mentions the existence here of the Tiru-Jnana-Sambandar- tiru matham. A branch of this Tirujnana-sambandar tirumatham is said to have been established at Tiruvilimilalai in the 23rd year of Tribhuvanachakravartin Rajaraja deva (III?). This inscription mentions a gift of land to a matham called the Alagiya-tiruch-chirrambalam Udaiyan tirumatham by a certain Jnana Siva who is said to be the disciple of Tiru-Satti-Murrattu Mudaliyar of the Tiru-Jnanasambandar -tirumatham situated in the east of the temple of Tirusattimurram Udaiya Nayanar (the Siva temple) and the Tiruk-kamakkottam Udaiya Periya Nachchiyar (the Amman) temple at Rajarajapuram (Tirusattimurram) in Tiru-naraiyur nadu, a sub-division of Kulottungasola valanadu (ARE 392 of 1908). There were other branches of this matham at Tiru-naraiyur, Siddhisvaram during Vikrama Chola’s period (ARE 164 and 177 of 1908), Tiruppalturai (Adimulesvara temple, ARE 588 of 1908), Kovilur (Mantrapurisvara temple, ARE 218 and 220 of 1908) and Tiruvanaikka (Sankaracharya matham, ARp 486 and 487 of 1908)[1].

Pattisvaram is also closely associated with Govinda Dikshitar,' the great Minister and administrator under Achyuta and Raghu-natha Nayak, rulers of Tanjavur (in the late 16th and early 17th century a.d.). He was a versatile man. He was the author of vamsa-sara-charitam and the treatise on music, Sangita-sudhanidhi. He had two sons, one of whom was Yajnanarayana Dikshitar, the author of Sahitya Ratnakara, and the other was Venkatesa Makhin, the guru of Nilakantha Dikshitar, a great scholar and prolific writer. Govinda Dikshitar seems to have lived at Pattisvaram. The stone sculptures of this Minister and Philanthropist and his wife are found installed in a mandapa in front of the Amman shrine of this temple built by him. (There are stone statues also of four Nayak kings of Tanjavur.) The repairing and remodelling of the Mahamakham tank at Kumbakonam, the building of the Pushya mandapas at Tiruvaiyaru and other places on the Kaveri and the construction of the Ramasvamin temples at Kumbakonam and Srirangam are attributed to him. Thus, Pattisvaram is rich with old associations and past greatness.

The Pattisvaram temple is located in the northern street in this town-complex, close to the Tirumalairayan rivulet, and in the southern part stands the temple of Sivakkolundu-nathar of Tiru-satti-murram (or muttam). (Pls. 284-90).

Footnotes and references:


A branch of this matha is found in China.

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