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 Tirusattimuttam (Rajarajapuram)

(Also see Temples in Pattisvaram (Palayarai-Malapadi))

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.

Sivakolundu-nathar (Tiru-satti-muttam Udaiyar) temple

The present-day temple of Sivakkolundu-nathar was called in the ancient days the temple of Tiru-sattimurram Udaiyar. According to an inscription of the days of Rajadhiraja II found in this temple, this place is described as being at Rajarajapuram in Tirunaraiyur nadu, a part of Kulottungasola valanadu (ARE 266 of 1927). The temple is at least as old as the days of Appar (seventh century a.d.). Parasakti (Gauri, Uma, Parvati) is said to have done penance here to win the Lord’s grace, and at the end of the penance, embraced the Lord (Siva Linga) and kissed Him. There is a graphic local representation of this event in stone. The place is named Tiru-Satti (or Sakti)-muttam (meaning the kiss of Sri Sakti). Hence the modern and erroneous name, Tiru-Satti-murram.

While Appar worshipped the local deity, he prayed that he might be blessed with the placing of the Lord’s sacred feet on him (puvar adich chuvadu en mer porutti vai) and with inscribing the divine feet in his heart (inmai-yun-kal. This prayer was fulfilled when Appar visited the neighbouring temple of Tirunallur about which he sings in his hymns at Tirunallur where there is a fine madakkoyil called the temple of Kalyanasundaresvara. The relevant line of his hymn is: Nal-larulal tiruvadi en talai mel vaittar Nallur emperumanar nallavarey (See my Early Chola Art, Pt. I, Pis. 5 and 6, Nallur Nataraja). In his hymn there is a reference to the Lord having won him over to His grace and his having been converted from Jainism to the Saivite fold (Samanam-tavirndu-yuntan saran pugmden).

In spite of its antiquity and importance in Saiva hagiology, there are only a few inscriptions here, of the Later Cholas and ofVijayanagara rulers of the 15th century a.d. The earliest extant inscription is one on the east wall of the mandapa in front of the central shrine. It relates to the fifth year (88th day) of Rajakesari-varman Rajadhiraja deva II (with the introduction kadal sulnda) and mentions a grant of land to the temple of Tiru-Sattimurram Udaiyar at Rajarajapuram in Tirunaraiyur nadu, a part of Kulottungasola valanadu (ARE 266 of 1927). Another inscription found on the south wall of the outer prakara (the king’s name and the date are lost) may also be of the days of the same king or his successor Kulottunga III. It concerns a gift of sheep and five lampstands by the famous minister of Rajadhiraja II, Vedavanam Udaiyan Karunakara devan, the Amarkon of Palaiyanur, located in Palaiyanur nadu of Jayangondasola mandalam, for perpetual lamps to Tiru-Satti-murram Udaiyar. Another gift, of the second year (102nd day) of Tribhuvanachakravartin Konerin amaikondan Kulottunga (III?), makes a gift of money for a perpetual lamp to the temple (ARE 265 of 1927). Another inscription, of the 29th year of Kulottunga III (ARE 267 of 1927), deals with the levying of taxes on devadana lands of the temple.

On the gopuram over the second entrance to the temple, there are inscriptions of Praudadevaraya Maharaya (Saka 1369 = a.d. 1447J and Virapratapa Devaraya Maharaya (Saka 1373 = a.d. 1450). Another inscription, on the base of the gopuram (ARE 263 of 1927), mentions that the gopuram was erected by Maha-mandalesvara Gopayya deva Maharaya. No inscriptions earlier than those of the days of Rajadhiraja II are available. Perhaps they suffered damage during renovations of the temple. From the vimana devatas, we could roughly fix the age of the present fabric to the days of Sembiyan Mahadevi and the early years of Rajaraja I (about a.d. 1000).[1] (Pls. 291-300).

Footnotes and references:


Sembiyan Mahadevi stayed in the secondary capital of Palaiyarai when Tanjavur was the Chola capital and her son Uttama Chola and later her grand-nephew Rajaraja 1 were ruling from there. (For more details about Palaiyarai, sec the Section on Palaiyarai).

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