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....

Tirukkalar is a village about 16 kms south-east of the taluk headquarters of Mannargudi in the Tanjavur district and has one of the oldest temples of Tamil nadu. The village has the alternate name of Parijata-vanam and hence the name of Parijatavanesvara for the deity of the temple here. Sambandar has sung the praise of the Lord who is also called Adaindaarkku Arul Seyda Nayanar—He who blesses those who seek him. The deity is also called Kalar-mulai-nathesvara and the Amman is called Alagesari Ammai. Parasara and Kalava munis are said to have worshipped the Lord of the place. The Nataraja here is said to have given darsana in His dancing stance to Durvasa muni. So the sacred tank of the temple is called Durvasa tirtham.

Parijatavanesvara Temple

In the inscriptions, the place is called Vengurkala Tirukkalar in Purangarambai nadu of Arumolideva valanadu, which in the days of Kulottunga I gets renamed Rajendrasola valanadu. The temple as it stands today is a sorry spectacle of uninformed renovation where all the original inscriptions, fortunately copied by the Madras Government in 1902, have been lost and some stray slabs containing those inscriptions in fragments are now seen fitted haphazardly into the northern wall of the Amman shrine. The temple of Siva has now lost all its original characteristics. The inscriptions copied in 1902, include those of Rajadhi-raja I, Rajaraja II, Virarajendra and Kulottunga III, the Pandyan kings Jatavarman Srivallabha and Maravarman Kulasekhara, and the Vijayanagara rulers Viruppanna and Vira Bhupati. What however is noteworthy about the temple today are the fine sets of copper plates relating to certain grants made by Rajendra I (eighteenth year), Rajadhiraja I (thirty-first year), Kulottunga I (twenty-eighth year), Rajaraja II (eighteenth year), and Kulottunga III (twenty-sixth year) dealing with grants of land and vessels and the last about the list of gold and silver jewels of the temple. There is also the fine set of metals found in the temple relating to the Middle Chola period.[1] The Raja-raj adeva copper plate makes an interesting point. It records that some of the families of the donees ceased to have male members and that in consequence a question arose as to how the feeding pertaining to those families should be conducted in future; the mahesvaras settled that the feeding, stipulated in the grant to be done by the donees, devolved on the female descendants as well. Arrangements were made by the families concerned in accordance with the ruling of the mahesvaras (SII, III, Pt IV, 210).

Among the exquisite bronzes housed here are the Adip-pura Amman (70 cm), Subrahmanyar (57 cm), Chandrasekharar (73 cm), Tani Amman (54 cm), Sukhasana Amman (55 cm), Chandesvara (60 cm), Sundarar (50 cm), Manikkavachagar (54 cm), Sambandar (50 cm), Appar (50 cm) and Nataraja and Amman (87 cm and 52 cm respectively). Most of them should be attributed to the age of Rajaraja I (Pls 71—75)

Footnotes and references:


See Sewell’s Lists of Antiquities, VoL, I, p. 1280; inscriptions 642 to 655 of the Madras Epigraphical collection for 1902; also SII, III, Pt IV.

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