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....

While dealing with Ennayiram, we have mentioned how Dadapuram, Brahmadesam, Esalam and Ennayiram constituted something of a regional unit, all coming within the jurisdiction of the taniyur of Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam. Esalam, Ennayiram and Brahmadesam are within a distance of three kms from one another and are about seven kms from the nineteenth km-stone on the Villupuram-Ginjee road (Nemur). The Esalam temple is in a state of good repair.

Valisvara temple (Tiruviramesvaram)

There are two inscriptions found on the walls of the temples in the neighbourhood, which refer to this temple,

(i) One of them is an inscription of the eleventh year of Parakesarivarman alias Tribhuvanachakravartin Rajarajadeva (II?) found in the Alagiya Narasimha Perumal temple at Ennayiram. It mentions that at the order of the king, the assembly of Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam in Rajaraja valanadu made over the village of Nannaderpakkam alias Vikramasolanallur, which is said to have been a devadanam of Tiruviramesvaram JJdaiyar at Eydar, a hamlet of this city, to a person of Vanchiyur and his descendants as a janmakani (ARE 336 of 1917).

(ii) The other inscription, in the Patalisvaram temple at Brahmadesam close by, relating to the seventh year of Kulottunga deva I, mentions Eydari as a southern hamlet of Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam in Panaiyurnadu (ARE 190 of 1918). We should have no difficulty in identifying this Eydari with Eydar (i.e. Esalam) of the inscription mentioned above.

According to an inscription found close to the Dakshina-murti figure on the base of the south wall of the Valisvara temple here, the deity is called Tiruviramadevar (i.e., Tiru-Irames-varar). The following is the extract:

nam brahmasthanam gangaikonda-solaniley koodi irundu... yar Rajendrasola devar Kurukkal Soma Siva Panditar nammoor Eydar tiruvirama-devarkku... amirdukku...”

This record gives us the name of the deity as Tiru-Irama devar.

This temple is not the only instance of its kind where the original name of the deity of Tiru-Iramesvara got distorted into Tiru-valisvara, in course of time. Such an example could be found at Arppakkam, where the deity is referred to in inscriptions as Tiruviramesvara, but the present day name is Valisvara; so too at Tiruvalisvaram near Ambasamudram in Tirunelveli district. These temples are dedicated to Siva who was worshipped by Rama. Hence the name Tiru-Irama-Isvaram. There is a similar temple in Nannilam taluk called Tiru-Rama-nathisvaram.

The temple faces east and consists of a garbhagriha and an ardhamandapa. It is an eka-tala structure. There are three deva-koshtas on the three outer walls of the garbhagriha’, there is a bhutagana frieze below the cornice (and a yali frieze above it. The yalis of the latter frieze are interspersed with frolicking ganas. In the entablature there are neither salas nor kutas. There is a bell-shaped sikhara and a round stupi over the griva, which has griva-koshtas taking off from th frieze. The entire structure is in stone, and the sikhara closely resembles those of Kadambavanesvara temple at Narttamalai, the Madagadippattu temple and the Arinjigai-Isvaram at Melpadi.

The adhishthanam measures 0.92 m (3') in height from the ground while the wall of the garbhagriha measures 3.12 ms (10' 3"). The garbhagriha walls are divided into three vertical components. The garbhagriha measures 4.88 ms (16') square. The ardhamandapa projects 5.61 ms (18' 5") forward.

There are five devakoshta figures, viz., Ganapati and Vinadhara Dakshinamurti in the south, Vishnu in the west, and Brahma and Durga in the north. (Pis 121 to 125).

This temple should have come into existence in the days of Rajaraja I along with the various other temples in the neighbourhood.

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