Middle Chola Temples

by S. R. Balasubrahmanyam | 1975 | 141,178 words

This volume of Chola Temples covers Rajaraja I to Kulottunga I in the timeframe A.D. 985-1070. 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....

Alagadriputtur, or Alagar-Tirupputtur, as it is referred to in inscriptions, lies on the southern bank of the river Arisil (Arasalaru), 7.25 kms (4½ miles) south-east of Kumbakonam. On account of its location, it was also known as Arisir-karai-puttur. Tradition has it that Pugal-tunai-nayanar, one of the 63 Saiva saints, attained salvation at Tirunaraiyur Siddhisvaram not far from here.

Svarnapurisvara Temple

The Svarnapurisvara temple has ancient associations and is mentioned with reference to Kochchenganan of the Sangam Age, who is said to have built 70 madakkoyils.

From a multilated record of the seventh year of Rajaraja I (a.d. 992) found on the north wall of the central shrine (ARE 283 of 1908), we come to know that one Pullai Sattan Karivelar Gandaradittan alias Mummadi-soliyavaraiyar built the central shrine of stone and made gifts of land for offerings to the temple. The Lord of this temple is referred to in this record as “Tiru puttur Udaiya Paramasvamin.” A record of his twenty-second year found on the east wall of the temple (ARE 287 of 1908) refers to a gift of land for a lamp to the temple of Tirupputtur Mahadevar in Paradayakudi, a brahmadeya in Tirunaraiyur nadu, a subdivision of Kshatriyasikhamani valanadu. From a twenty-eighth year record of the same ruler (ARE 284 of 1908), we get to know of a gift of land for a lamp (Pls 39 - 41).

A shrine for Surya Devar was constructed in the campus of the temple by one Pattalakan Adittan, a native of Kallur in Mel-vemba nadu, a sub-division of Pandi Nadu alias Rajaraja mandalam and a gift of land was made for offerings to this shrine (ARE 289 of 1908), in the fourth year of Rajendra I. In this record there is mention of Kurugur matham also.

This temple was reconstructed in stone during the days of Rajaraja I. It was unfortunately dismantled and renovated during the early years of this century, to which fact a pathetic reference is made in the Annual Report on Epigraphy for 1908, which I quote below:

One of the trustees of the Svarnapurisvara temple at Alagapputtur in the Kumbakonam taluk wrote to me that the temple was being repaired. The report was subsequently confirmed by a letter from the Collector of Tanjore. When I visited the village, the work of demolition had reached an advanced stage. But the lower portion of the temple remained intact and all the inscriptions found on it were copied.

It is a pity that such unchannelled religious enthusiasm has often been the cause of considerable loss of precious inscriptional and sculptural material and the destruction of old monuments. During my recent tour I noticed to my horror the great violence and harm done to the fine temple at Velvidai Isvaram at Tiruk-kuruhavur near Sirkali, whose inscribed walls, devakoshtas and koshta pancharas are now irretrievably lost. I am, however, very happy that the old features of the ancient temple with rich associations will be preserved for posterity at least in the illustrations of this temple in my book, Early Chola Temples (a.d. 907—985) on pp. 186-7 (Pis 215—223).

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