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....

Tirukkadavur or Kadaiyur is about 21 kilometres east of Mayuram in the Tanjavur district, on the road to Tarangambadi on the seacoast, and is one of the eight virasthanams (places where Siva is said to have performed feats of valour in Tamil Nadu (Early Chola Temples, pp. 85 and 86). Appar, Sambandar and Sun-darar have sung the glory of this Lord. The main deity is called Amritaghatesvara, and the Amman, Abhirami Ammai.

Amritaghatesvara Temple

On the south wall of the central shrine of this temple, there is an inscription of the thirteenth year of Rajaraja I which mentions the purchase of land belonging to the temple of Tiru-virattanam udaiya Paramasvamin at the instance of the Assembly (sabha) of Kadavur in Ambar nadu in Uyyakkondan valanadu, by a certain Udaya Chandiran Amudakan alias Kalakala Mayilat-ti, a merchant residing in the village who got it made rent-free by the assembly with the stipulation that “he should pay a fixed quantity of paddy to the temple every year for the expenses of worship and for maintaining three lamps before certain images.” (ARE 242 of 1925). On the same wall, we have an inscription of the twenty-fourth year of Rajendra Chola I which seems to record the promise of regular delivery of paddy for the daily offerings throughout the year and for the requirements of eight days of the festival, celebrated in the month of Chittirai, in the temple of Kalakala Devar out of the land donated by Rajaraja Muvendavelan to the temple in the eighteenth year of the king. A third record found on the north and east walls of the main shrine relates to the thirty-sixth year of Rajakesari alias Vijaya Rajendra, viz., Rajadhirajal (a.d. 1054). It records a gift of some lands as salabhoga after bringing them under cultivation, by a certain Pichchan Adittan alias Vijaya Rajendra Muvendavelan of Komakkudi, to feed 17 persons in the “Rajadhirajan salai” and to meet the expenses of worship in the temple of Kalakala Devar (ARE 244 of 1925). The fourth inscription found on the main walls of the garbhagriha of this shrine relates to the twenty-seventh year of Kulottunga I and mentions that the mahasabhai of Tirukkadavur in Ambar nadu in Rajanarayana valanadu met in the Tiruchchirrambala velaikkaran tiru mandapam and sold 1¾ veils of land, which had been lying fallow for 50 years without any claimants, as a mathappuram to a certain Vanavarajar of Korramangalam for feeding daily, in the Mai'kandeyan matham, ten Sivayogins well-versed in the Vedas, for the welfare of the king.

Of these four inscriptions found on the main walls of the temple, the earliest relates to the thirteenth year of Rajaraja I; this together with the fact that the deity is called Kalakala Devar, the donor figuring in that record also being of the same name, would seem to indicate that the temple was set up by the merchant Udaya Chandiran Amudakkan alias Kalakala, as also certain images in the shrine. This temple must therefore have been reconstructed before the thirteenth year of Rajaraja I (a.d. 998).

We have a number of records of the Later Cholas on the walls of the prakara; one of them, of Rajaraja deva (II) belonging to his 14th year, is interesting and mentions that the mahasabha of lirukkadavur in Akkur nadu assembled in the Kulottungasolan tiruvenduttukkati (hall) in the temple of Kalakala Devar to confiscate to the temple the property of those mahesvaras who, contrary to their tenets, as the custodians of the Siva temple and its observances, “intermingled freely with the Vaishnavas and wore or sold the lotuses (grown for the god)”.

While dealing with the interest evinced by the Chola emperors in the performing arts of drama, dance and also music, we had mentioned under Rajarajesvaram the innumerable grants and facilities provided by them to musicians, dancers and dance-masters. We have a fine example here of the same in the period of Kulottunga III. In a record of his twenty-third year, royal sanction was accorded to the confirmation of the appointment of a certain Parasivan Ponnan alias Kalavinoda Nritta-Peraraiyan as nattuva nilai (dance master and musician) in the temple, together with the remuneration for him in kind (paddy) attached to the appointment, at the request of Viranattup-pallavaraiyan, a favourite poet of the king.

The temple faces west. There is a separate shrine for Kalasam-hara-murti. It houses a bronze image with four arms, issuing out of the Linga to save His bhakta Markkandeya from Yama’s clutches (“Markkandarkkahaanru kalanai udaippar polum kadavur virattanarey”—Appar Devaram) (Pls 54 to 57).

There are in this temple a set of fine stone sculptures which should belong to the Early Chola period.

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