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....

Kuttalam is about 11 km. west-south-west of Mayuram onl the Mayuram-Kumbakonam road, and there are three well-known temples here, viz., the Uttaravedisvara, Omkaresvara and Cholesvara temples. We have already dealt with the temple of Uttaravedisvara, rebuilt by Sembiyan Mahadevi during the days of Uttama Chola, in our Early Chola Temples, pp. 176-8. We shall deal with the remaining two important temples here as they both belong to the Later Chola period. Both of them are located within the town-limits. They are under worship and in a state of good preservation.

Omkaresvara (Omkaresvaram Udaiya Paramasvamin) temple

The earliest dated records found on the walls of the central shrine of this temple belong to the 25th year of Tribhuvanachakra-vartin Sri Kulottunga Choladeva ‘who was pleased to take Madurai, Ilam and the crowned head of the Pandya’ (Kulottunga III). While recording a gift of land to the temple of Omkaresvaram Udaiyar, one of them mentions that the temple was built by Pillai Jayadhara Pallavaraiyar (EI, X, pp. 129-30; ARE 479 of 1907). The other inscription, found on the north wall of the mandapa in front of the same shrine, records a gift of land to the same temple and confirms that it was built by (Araiyan Aludaiya Nayaganar alias) Jayadhara Pallavaraiyar; it mentions the village of Kavirinallur, a devadana of the temple of Udaiyar Son-navararivar at Vingunirt-turutti, i.e., Kuttalam (ARE 482 of

1907). From another inscription on the wall of the central shrine, we get the name of the deity as Omkaresvaram udaiya Parama-svami (ARE 591 of 1907). There is a Chandesvara shrine in the campus of this temple, and on its north and west walls, there is an inscription of Kulottunga III dated in his 25th regnal year, recording a gift of land and mentioning Anapayapuram in Tiru-valundur nadu, a subdivision of Jayangondasola valanadu.

From these inscriptions, we get to know that the temple of Omkaresvara came to be built before the 25th regnal year of Kulottunga III, corresponding to a.d. 1203, and that it was built by a local Chief called Jayadhara Pallavaraiyar. (Pis. 342-8).

Cholesvara (Vikrama Cholisvaram Udaiyar) temple

On the south wall of the central shrine in this temple, there is a record of the fourth regnal year of a king whose name is lost, recording a gift of land and an order of Jayadhara Pallavaraiyar, presumably the builder of the Omkaresvara temple in the same town; evidently the inscription belongs to the days of Kulottunga III or possibly Rajaraja III. This record refers to this temple as that of Vikramacholisvaram udaiyar (ARE 477 of 1907). From a record found on the north wall of the mandapa in front of the Omkaresvara temple, we get a reference to the shrine of ‘Vikrama Cholisvaram udaiyar at Kulottungasolan Kurralam in Virudaraja bhayankara valanadu’, and it refers to the revenue survey in the 16th year of Sungamtavirtta Kulottungasolan (I). The king is merely called Tribhuvanachakravartin Konerinmai-kondan arid the royal order is addressed to one Vanadarayan. Evidently r his refers to another temple or shrine, as we find that this valanadu (Virudarajabhayankara) was not far from the limits of Kuttalam, which was itself in Jayangondasola valanadu. We saw, When dealing with the Uttaravedisvara temple of

Kuttalam, that that temple got a gift of land from the brahmadeya of Bhulokamanikka chaturvedimangalam, which was in Nallarrur Nadu in Virudaraja bhayankara valanadu (ARE 491 of 1907).

This temple must have come into existence during the days of Vikrama Chola and has now come to be called by the shortened name of Cholesvara temple.

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