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....
Manimangalam is a village in the Kanchipuram taluk of the Chingleput district about 10 kilometres west- of Vandalur, a station of the Southern Railway. This place was already famous during the Pallava period, having been the site of one of the battles in which the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I defeated the Western Chalukya king Pulakesin II. Reference to this village is found in the Kuram plates also.
Manimangalam bore the alternate names of Ratnaagrahara or Ratna-grama (SII, III, 27 and 40) and bore also various other names from time to time. During the Middle Chola period, it went under the name of Lokamahadevi chaturvedimangalam; Rajachulamani chaturvedimangalam and Pandiyanai-irumadi-ven-kanda-sola chaturvedimangalam were other names.
In this ancient place, there are a number of temples dedicated to Siva and Vishnu. Rajagopala Perumal temple, Vaikuntha Perumal temple and Krishnasvamin temple are the three Vishnu temples, and the Dharmesvara and the Kailasanathar temples are dedicated to Siva. We will make a brief reference to only two of them.
Rajagopala Perumal temple
The ancient name of the deity of this temple was Dvara-pati or Dvaraka-pati, the Lord of the city of Dvaraka, i.e., Sri Krishna, and in Tamil the name was Vanduvarapati. It also bore other names like Sri Kamakoti vinnagar (SII, III, 28, 29 and 30), Puravuvari Vinnagar and Tiruvaykkulam.
The earliest inscriptions found here relate to Rajadhiraja I. A sixth year Rajakesarivarman inscription that does not mention the name of the king could also be attributed to him, because it refers to the village of Manimangalam by the alternate name of Lokamahadevi chaturvedimangalam. Thus this temple was in existence well before the sixth year of this Eng (a.d. 1024). In other words, even during the lifetime of Rajendra I, this temple in its present form had come into existence.
The niche sculptures of Vishnu, Tumbikkai Alvar, Vaikuntha-nathar and Vishnu-Durga are noteworthy.
During the days of Rajendradeva (II), the village went under the name of Rajasulamani chaturvedimangalam, in Maganur nadu, in Sengattu kottam, in Jayangondasola mandalam and in another record the later name of Sri Kamakoti Vinnagar alvar is found (SII, III, 29). We come across another General evidently of Rajadhiraja I named Senapati Jayangondasola Brahmadhiraja. He is said to be the son of Kamakavvayal, who gifted certain sums of money to the great assembly and also land at Amanpakkam purchased by her husband Jayasimhakulantaka Brahmamarayar, a nobleman. The above-mentioned senapati is seen maHng a gift of 4450 kulis of land to the temple of Srimad-Dvarapati Sri Kamakoti Vinnagar alvar in the village of Manimangalam, alias Rajasulamani chaturvedimangalam, vide a sixth year inscription of the reign of Vira Rajendra (a.d. 1068). In the records dated in the last decade of the rule of Kulottunga I, the village assumes the name of Pandiyanai-irumadi-ven-kanda-sola chaturvedimangalam in Kunrattur nadu in Kulottungasola valanadu (48th year inscription,. SII, III, 31). 1050 kulis of land is purchased and gifted by a private citizen to the temple for carrying the god in procession on new-moon days. In the 18th year of Rajaraja III (a.d. 1234), two brothers, Brahmapriyan and Ahavamalladevan, the sons of Manimangalam Udaiyan Panchanedi Lakshmanan Malaiginiyaninran ‘caused to be made’ the stone work of a flight of steps with a tiger’s head at the bottom (pulimugamana sopanam) for the abhisheka-mandapa in the temple of Vanduvarapati-emberuman (SII, III, 39). An image ofNarasimha (Singa-perumal) was set up in the 18th year of Rajaraja III and the main deity is called Mannanar. The village acquires a new name of Gramasikhamani chaturvedimangalam in this age.
The same brothers referred to earlier made provision in the 18th year of Rajaraja III for burning of lamps in this temple whose deity is called in the inscription Tanmisvaram Udaiya Nayanar (SIX, III, 41). Some fine bronzes belonging to the Middle Chola period are found in this temple, particularly of Nataraja and Somaskanda.