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....
Next to Sembiyan Mahadevi, whose magnificent philanthropy in the field of temple building activities is well known, Kundavai, the elder sister of Rajaraja I, holds an honoured place among the Chola queens. She should be distinguished from Kundavai, the daughter of Rajaraja I, and another of the same name, the younger sister (tirut-tangaiyar)of the Later Chola king, Kulot-tunga I. She is described as the daughter of Ponmaligai tunjiya devar (i. e., Parantaka II alias Sundara Chola), the elder sister of Rajaraja I (akkan, as she is called in his inscriptions) and the wife of Vallavaraya Vandya Devar, the chief of the Samantas of Rajaraja I. Her great filial devotion is seen from the fact that she is credited with the making of metallic images of her parents and presenting them to the temple built by her brother at Tanjavur. Her philanthropy was many sided. In addition to raising many temples and making gifts to maintain and glorify them, she is credited with the construction of irrigation tanks named “Kundavaip-pereri” and “Sundara-Cholap-pereri” which must have been excavated by her and named after her and her father respectively near Brahmadesam, close to Cheyyar, in the North Arcot district (ARE 264 of 1915).
She seems to have survived her brother, and two inscriptions of the reign of her brother’s son Rajendra I (third and seventh year, ARE 248 and 249 of 1923) mention her establishing at the Choi a capital at Tanjavur, a hospital named after her father, called the Sundara-chola-vinnagara-atular-salai, for which gifts of house-site and lands for its maintenance in perpetuity were made at Pandaravadai near Tanjavur.
We have already seen that an inscription of the Alagiyasinga Perumal temple at Ennayiram, of the time of the Vijayanagara ruler Sadasiva Maharaja (Saka i 467 =a.d. 1545) states that this temple was “the centre of 24 sacred shrines” (ARE 338 of 1917). An inscription in the same temple (ARE 335 of 1917) dated in the twenty-fifth year, 112th day of Rajendra I (a.d. 1036) states that at the king’s order the assembly of Rajaraja-chaturvedi-mangalam (Ennayiram) in Jayangondasola mandalam met in the hall of this temple called Mummudisola mandapa and made a settlement regarding the income derived from the lands belonging to a number of shrines, and apportioned them for various services (see Section on Ennayiram).
Manikantesvara (Iravikula-manikkesvaram) temple
An inscription of the 21 st year of Rajaraja I on the wall of the Sri Kari-varada Perumal temple (ARE 8 of 1929) here gives a list of vessels and ornaments made of gold, silver and pearls and presented to the temples of (1) Kundavai Vinnagar, (2) Iravikula Manikka Isvaram and (3) Kundavai Jinalaya built by Parantakan Kundavaip-pirattiyar, daughter of Ponmaligaitunjina devar (Sundara Chola) in the city of Rajarajapuram (modern Dadapuram).
Another inscription of the twenty-first year of Rajaraja I in this temple (ARE 17 of 1919) also refers to the construction of the three temples built by Princess Kundavai Pirattiyar in the city of Rajarajapuram referred to above (ARE 8 of 1919) and it records that, on receipt of a royal writ, the administrative officer in charge of Panaiyur ordered the temple treasury to be examined and a list of the various gifts consisting of vessels and ornaments of various descriptions made of gold, silver and pearls, to be engraved on stone in the respective temples.
Yet another inscription found in the Kari-varada Perumal temple (ARE 14 of 1919) registers an order of the twenty-third year of Rajaraja I which directs that the dancing girls attached to the temples of Iravikula Manikka Isvara and Kundavai Vinnagar Alvar should accompany the god in procession and sing and dance during the hunting festival of the Vishnu temple.
Dadapuram is now an obscure village in the Tindivanam taluk of South Arcot district about 3.2 kms (two miles) from Vallimedupettai. Dadapuram is the corruption of Rajarajapuram. The Siva temple now called Sri Manikantesvaram is named in the inscription on the temple walls that of Iravikula Manikka Isvara, evidently after one of the titles of Rajaraja I. The neighbouring village of Ennayiram is called the taniyur of Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam. If not identical with it Rajarajapuram might at least have been part of the city-complex of Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam. There are three inscriptions, of the 19th 21 st and 25th years of Rajaraja I (ARE 20, 17 and 18 of 1919), and one of the fourth year of Rajendra 1 (ARE 19 of 1919), on the walls of this Siva temple. The earliest (of the nineteenth year of Rajaraja I) mentions a gift of sheep for a lamp to this temple by a maid-servant of Kundavai Pirattiyar.
The next, of the twenty-first year of Rajaraja I, refers to the construction of the three temples of Iravikula Manikka Isvaram, Kundavai Vinnagar and Kundavai Jinalaya. The Iravikula Manikka Isvaram is no doubt the modern Sri Mani-kantesvara temple. This inscription states that on receipt of a royal writ, the royal officer ordered the temple treasury to be examined and the particulars of the gifts of vessels and ornaments of gold, silver and pearls made to the temples of the locality to be engraved on stone in the respective temples. The inscription of the twenty-fifth regnal year of Rajaraja I (ARE 18 of 1919) mentions a gift of ten lamps made by Parantaka Kundavai Pirattiyar. The inscription of the fourth year of Rajendra I also refers to gifts made to the above temple. Thus it is clear that this Siva temple must have been built of stone sometime before the nineteenth year of Rajaraja I (a. d. 1004) and we may add that the temple of Rajarajesvaram at Tanjavur should also have been built about the same time.
The main shrine consists of a garbhagriha and an ardhamandapa. The mukhamandapa seems to be a later addition, not elegantly dovetailed to the original structures; and even its base mouldings are different.
The main temple rests on a high and plain upapitham adorned with pilasters. In the cardinal points there are lions and elephants, one on each of the three free sides. The mouldings of the adhishthanam consist of the upanam, jagati, semi-circular (curved) kumudam, kapotam with kudus and a frieze.
There are devakoshtas crowned with makara-toranas on the outer walls of the garbhagriha and the figures found therein clockwise are the following:
1.Ganesa: A double lotus petal pitham, short stout legs, big belly, th e yajnopavita, the necklace, the, the drapery, the broad sash with loops and tassels falling over the right leg and the semi-circular umbrella above deserve notice.
3. Vishnu: The four-armed god stands with his proper right and left hands in abhaya and katyavalambita poses respectively, and holds sankha and chakra in the other two. He wears kirita-makuta, necklace, keyuras, bracelets and anklets. The uttariya has a central loop with a knot on the right side.
4. Durga: The eight-handed goddess stands in the tribhanga pose with her proper right and left hands in abhaya and katyavalambita poses respectively. In the remaining hands she holds a khadga, a chakra, a sankha, a long bow and a ketaka. She wears a karanda-makuta, channavira and kesabandha. The central loop and the side knots and tassels of the drapery are in evidence. There is a semi-circular chhatra over her head.
Subrahmanyar, Jyeshtha and Bhairavar: These should have been the deities of the ashta-parivara alayas—a feature of the Early Chola temples, found even in the temples of Rajaraja I (See PI 126 and Lalit Kala, 15).
Sri Kari-varada Perumal temple
About a kilometre and a half to the south-west of the Siva temple of Sri Manikantesvaram lies the temple of Sri Kari-Varada Perumal, dedicated to Vishnu, the bestower of grace on Gajendra. On the evidence of the inscriptions on the walls of this temple and those of the Manikantesvaram, this temple can be identified as that of Kundavai Vinnagar Alvar.
The earliest of these—of the twenty-first regnal year of Rajaraja I—gives a list of vessels and ornaments made of gold, silver and pearls presented to the temples of Kundavai Vinnagar, Ravikula Manikkesvaram and Kundavai Jinalaya, “built by the princess Pirantakan Kundavai Pirattiyar, the daughter of Ponmaligai-tunjina devar, in the city of Rajarajapuramin Nallur nadu, a sub-division of Venkunrak-kottam. It mentions an official called Parakrama sola Muvendavelan. The year of this inscription (a.d.ioo6) may be taken as the probable date of completion of this stone temple. Of the two inscriptions of the twenty-third regnal year of Rajaraja I, one mentions a gift of ninety sheep for a lamp by a maid-servant of the king, and the other records that the dancing girls attached to both the temples should accompany the Gods in procession and sing and dance during the hunting festival of the Vishnu temple.
An inscription of the twenty-fifth regnal year of Rajaraja I mentions a gift of sheep for lamps to the temple of Kundavai Vinnagar Alvar by Pirantakan Kundavai Pirattiyar. Incidentally, the inscription states that Senapati Mummudi-sola Brahmamara-yan was in charge of the management of this temple. This royal officer is the same person as Sri Krishnan Raman alias Mummudi-sola Brahmamarayan, the Senapati and the perundaram of Rajaraja I.
There are two inscriptions of Rajendra I. The first, of the fourth regnal year, relates to a gift of sheep for ten lamps to the temple of Kundavai Vinnagar Alvar by Kundavai Pirattiyar herself. The other, of the eleventh regnal year, stops with the mention of the name of the king.
The temple consists of the garbhagriha, the ardhamandapa and the mukhamandapa as in the local Siva temple. It is a dvi-tala structure surmounted by a semi-circular sikhara (renovated) and a stupi. There are devakoshtas surmounted by makara-toranas on all the free sides of the garbhagriha and the ardhamandapa. All the niches are now empty. There is a fine kodungai (kapotam) adorned with kudus on the top of the first tala and a yali frieze above it. Salas and kutas are found on the second tala. Among the vimana devatas may be mentioned Vishnu on Garuda, and Rajamannar. Sculptures of Hanuman perhaps adorned the edges; one such could be seen over the kodungai of the second tala (left side). (See PI 127 and Lalit Kala 14)