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....

Toludur is a village in the Vriddhachalam taluk of the South Arcot district, situated about 1 km. west of the Madras-Tiruchy highway.

There are two temples in this village, one dedicated to Siva and the other to Vishnu. The Siva temple is called Madhurantaka Cholisvaram, and the Vishnu temple, situated on the western side of the village, that of Varadaraja Perumal. In this section, we shall deal only with the Siva temple.

Madhurantaka Cholisvaram (Siva temple)

We are not certain as to how the local Siva temple came to be named Madhurantaka Cholisvaram. We also do not know if there was an earlier structure at the site. In this temple, there are three inscriptions of the Later Chola kings. On the south wall, there is an inscription dated in the 32nd year of Tribhuvanachakravartin Tribhuvanavira deva, ‘who was pleased to take Madurai, the crowned head of the Pandya and Karuvur’ (a.d. 1210). It records that a certain Sediarayan Vellalan,

Chief of Sambai (Jambai), built the stone temple and the mandapa for the God Madhurantakesvaram-udaiya-nayanar at Perun-Toluvur in Ugalur kurram, a subdivision of Vadagarai Rajasinga valanadu. It further mentions that he also presented to the same temple the processional images of the God and the Goddess (ARE 460 of 1913).

A local Chief named Tiru-nirru-Vira-magada-solan alias Tayilunalla Perumal would appear to have played an important part in the locality during the reigns of Kulottunga III and Raja-raja III; for, on a conch preserved in the Varadaraja Perumal temple in the village, there is an inscription to the effect that that was a gift to the temple of Madhurantaka Cholisvaram Udaiya Nayanar at Toluvur (ARE A92 of 1913). He was also responsible for the excavation of a tank called Tiru-nirru-Viramagadasolap-pereri (the big lake); a reference to this lake is made in an inscription of the ninth year (most probably of Rajaraja III) concerning an exchange of wet land in Toluvur granted to the temple of Madhurantaka Cholisvaram Udaiya Nayanar, in place of the one adjoining this tank at Chandrasekhara-nallur given by Vanak-kovaraiyan (ARE 399 of 1913).

From these inscriptions, we learn that the Siva temple called that of Madhurantaka Cholisvaram Udaiya Nayanar was built of stone in the 32nd year of Tribhuvana Vira Devar (i.e., Kulottunga III, who assumed this title after his victory in the third Pandyan expedition) by one Sediyaraya Vellan, the Chief of Sambai (Jambai) and that it consisted of the main shrine of stone and the mandapa. The main shrine consists of the srivimana and the ardhmandapa. There is a later mahamandapa. The srivimana is dvitala. The devakoskta sculptures are Ganapati, Dakshinamurti, Lingodbhavar, Brahma and Durga. There are sub-shrines for Ganapati, Subrahmanya, Gaja-Lakshmi (in the rear) and Chandesvara.

There are bronzes of Somaskandar, Subrahmanyar, Astradevar, Dancing Sambandar and Nataraja. Bhairavar and Surya sculptures, of stone, are housed in the eastern side of the mahamandapa. There is a Nandi outside the mahamandapa.

There is a wall of enclosure round the temple. The only gateway of the temple is in the south. It has no gopuram.

The Amman is called Brihannayaki and is housed in a shrine of the same age, in the mahamandapa. This shrine faces south.

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