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....

Temples in Tiruviramesvaram

Tiruviramesvaram[1] is a small village reached through Tiruppugalur, which is at a distance of six kilometres to the east of Nannilam. At Tiruppugalur, the river Mudikondan is crossed and this village is about one and a half kilometres to the west. Kannapuram, where there is a Vishnu temple and to which references have been made in dealing with Tiruchchengattangudi, is close by, only a kilometre and a half to the east. Thus Tiru-viramesvaram, Tiruppugalur, Kannapuram and Tiruchchengattangudi lie close to one another, and, in the days of the Cholas, received considerable attention from royalty.

Ramanathesvara Temple (Tiru-ramanadichcharam)

The Devaram refers to this as the temple of Tiru-Ramanadichcharam, and its presiding deity as Ramanathar. In the records found in the temple, the place receives the surname of Madana-manjari-chaturvedimangalam. When dealing with the Rajarajes-varam temple (SII, II, p. 320), we found that the village of Nedumanal, like Tiruviramesvaram, was situated in Nenmalinadu, district of Arumolideva valanadu, and was called Madanamanjari-chaturvedimangalam; from one of the inscriptions found in this temple (ARE 152 of 1911), we get to know that the temple of Tiruviramesvaram Udaiyar was located in Nedumanal alias Madanamanjari-chaturvedimangalam. So it is evident that the modern Tiruviramesvaram is the same as Nedumanal mentioned in the Tanjavur Rajarajesvaram inscription. Amritavalli-chatur-vedimangalam which is referred to in one of the inscriptions in this temple (ARE 141 of 1911) also figures in the Tanjavur inscription referred to above, as one of the places in Avur kurram which supplied brahmacharins as temple-servants to the Rajarajes-varar temple.

On the walls of the central shrine, there are a number of inscriptions of Rajaraja I, one of Rajendra I, one of Rajadhi-raja I and also one of an un-identified Rajakesarivarman. The earliest of them all are two inscriptions dated in the twelfth year of Rajaraja I (ARE 119 and 120 of 1901) found on the north wall; one other relates to a gift of money for two lamps to the temple of Tiruviramesvaram Udaiya Mahadevar at Madana-manjari-chaturvedimangalam, a brahmadeyam, in Nenmali nadu which was a sub-division of Arumolideva valanadu (ARE 121 of 1911). The only inscription of the period of Rajendra I (ARE 122 of 1911) is dated in his third year and relates to a gift of money for four lamps. The inscription of his son Rajadhiraja I is dated in his twenty-ninth year and mentions a gift of a lamp to the temple by a brahmana of Tiruviramesvaram which is described as being in Madanamanjari-chaturvedimangalam (ARE 118 of 1911).

Besides these inscriptions on the walls of the central shrine, there are a large number of them on the walls of the mandapa, covering the periods of these three rulers; besides, there are also inscriptions relating to the reigns of some of the Later Chola rulers like Vikrama Chola, Rajaraja II (?) and Kulottunga III. An eighth year record of Rajaraja I mentions a gift of land for a lamp to the shrine of Brahmisvara and for offerings to the shrine of Tribhuvana Sundarar, both of which were perhaps situated in the same temple, by the cavalier (Sobhanayyan (ARE 146 of 1911). There is another record of the same year referring to a gift of money for a lamp by the wife of one of the ganattars “who managed the affairs of the village” (ARE 148 of 1911). A tenth year record deals with a gift of money for a lamp by a brahmana lady of Amritavalli chaturvedimangalam, a brahmadeyam in Avur kurram referred to earlier (ARE 141 of 1911). The same cavalry officer also makes a gift of land for a lamp to this temple in a record of the eleventh year. The inscriptions of the period of Rajaraja I range from his seventh to his thirteenth years only. There are a number of Rajendra I’s inscriptions on the walls of the mandapa ranging from his third regnal year to the fourteenth, mostly relating to gifts of land for lamps; one record mentions the provision made for the feeding of Sivayogins in the temple (ARE 124 of 1911), another registers the distribution of stores for oblations in the temple as settled by a certain Tirumanjana Pittar (ARE 129 of 1911). There is a record, whose year is lost, mentioning a gift of money for a lamp by a merchant who was living in the street named Virasolap-perunteru in the city of Tanjavur (ARE 128 of 1911). The only record on the walls of the mandapa, relating to Rajadhiraja I, is dated in his thirty-fifth year and contains only a portion of the historical introduction.

From a record in modern characters on a stone set up in a field in the village, we get to know of a gift of land at Tannir-kunnamangalam to the God Ramanathasvamin and the Goddess Tirumangai Nayaki of the temple of Tiruviramesvaram by a certain Archchandira Sayebu (ARE 155 of 1911). The name Ramanathasvamin of the deity is met with in this record for the first time. Otherwise, in the Chola period the deity went under the name of Tiruviramesvaram Udaiya Mahadevar.

The central shrine seems to be assignable to the age of Rajaraja I, but its extensions should belong to the Later Chola age.

Footnotes and references:


See para 4 of the footnote on Later Chola Inscriptions, of Tiruchchengattangudi p 99.

The village is locally called “Ramanandisvaram” another form of the name “Tiruvi-ramesvaram”: and in the Devaram it is referred to as “Ramanatich-charam.” In the inscriptions of Rajaraja I, the village is known as “Madanamanjari-chaturvedimangalam”, the alternate name being “Nedumanal”. It is said to be in Nenmali nadu in Arumolideva valanadu. The temple of Ramanathesvarar located in this village was among the numerous temples which furnished their own share of talippendir to the temple of Rajarajesvaram.

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