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....

Tiruvarangulam is a small village situated about 9 km. south of Pudukkottai town close to the road leading to Arantangi. There is a big temple here dedicated to Haratirthesvara; it is rich in historical inscriptional material covering the Chola and Later Pandya periods and has many post-Pandyan records also. The Amman in this temple is Brihadambal, for whom a separate shrine was built during the Later Chola period.

Haratirthesvara temple, Brihadambal (Amman) shrine

From an inscription found on the east wall of the Brihadambal shrine, relating to the 39th year of Tribhuvanachakravartin Kulottunga Chola deva ‘who was pleased to take Madurai and the crowned head of the Pandya’, we come to know that this shrine was built by Kannudaiya Perumal alias Piratti Alvar, the queen of Kodungunram Udaiyar alias Nishadaraja and daughter of Konandar alias Nishadaraya of Ponnamarapadi in Puramalai nadu, a subdivision of Rajendrasola valanadu in Rajaraja Pandi nadu (= a.d. 1217, ARE 320 of 1914). With the defeat of Kulottunga III at the hands of Maravarman Sundara Pandya I in the year a.d. 1216, this region passed over to the control of the Pandyas, and from a record of the 15th year of this (Pandyan) ruler (a.d. 1231), we learn of gifts being given for offerings to the image of Tirukkamakkottam Udaiya Nampirat-tiyar, as the Amman is called in the inscriptions, by Maravarman alias Tribhuvanachakravartin Sundara Pandya Deva who ‘having been pleased to take the Chola country, was pleased to perform the virabhishekam at Mudikondasolapuram’ (ARE 322 of 1914).

From certain inscriptions found on the second gopuram (ARE 310 to 316 of 1914), we learn that this gopuram and the wall of enclosure (of stone) were built at the time of a Maravarman Sundara Pandya by one Gangeyarayar, a native of Perunjunaiyur. The gopuram was named after this Gangeyarayar. Who this Maravarman Sundara Pandya is, whether he is the one who took the Chola crown, it is difficult to say. We are consequently unable to fix the date of the gopuram and the madil.

From some Vijayanagara records found on the walls of this shrine, we learn i) that in Saka 1438, the proceeds of certain taxes were gifted for celebrating the car festival of Arangulanathar by Kamalalayappadi Monnaiappan of Tiruvarur for the merit of Vira Narasinga Nayakar; ii) that in Saka 1452, the residents of Valla nadu in Rajaraja valanadu gave certain lands as kani-atchi to Sokkanar Pallavarayar, a native of Padaiparru, in Kana nadu alias Virudarajabhayankara valanadu; and iii) that in Saka 1453, land was gifted to a matha situated in the market street called Vallanadan Perunderu in the village of Arangulanathar-tiruppadaividu (ARE 319, 318 and 317 of 1915). More than three hundred years later, in Saka 1789 (i.e., a.d. 1867), a local Chieftain Ravachanda renovated the Amman shrine and performed the kumbhabhishekam ceremony of the God Haratirthesvara and the Goddess Brihadambal (ARE 325 of 1914 in Sanskrit and Telugu engraved on the left side of the first gopuram).

Thus, the Amman shrine, dedicated to Brihadambal, called in inscriptions merely Tirukkamak-kottam-udaiya Nachchiyar, was built by the Nishadaraja Chiefs who ruled this region with their headquarters at Ponnamaravati. We have referred to these Chiefs when dealing with the temple of Cholisvaram at Ponnamaravati.

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