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....

Tirumukkudal in the Uttaramerur taluk of Chingleput district is picturesquely situated at the confluence of three rivers, viz., the Palar, the Veghavati and the Cheyyar. The name of the place means the sacred meeting point of three rivers. It is about three kms from Palaiya-Sivaram railway station (next to Walaja-bad) on the Kanchipuram-Chingleput section of the Southern Railway.

Venkatesa Perumal (Vishnu Bhattarar) temple

The temple of Venkatesa Perumal dates back to the times of the Pallavas, as seen from an inscription of the twenty-fourth year of Vijaya Nripatunga Vikramavarman, found on a slab in the inner enclosure of this temple. We also learn that the deity was called Vishnu Bhattarar and that one Ariganda Peru-manar, son of Kadupatti Kuttaraiyar, gave a gift of gold for a lamp, which was left in the charge of the assembly of Singapuram in Urrukkattuk-kottam. The original temple should have thus belonged to the Late Pallava and Early Chola period.

But the earliest inscriptions found on the walls of the srivimana relate to Rajaraja I and his son Rajendra I. There are two records of Rajaraja both dated in his twenty-eighth year, 141 st day (ARE 171 and 178 of 1915). From the first of these records, we gather that the great assembly of Madhurantaka-chaturvedi-mangalam (named after Parantaka I) met together in the great hall called Sembiyan-Mahadevi-peru-mandapam named after the mother of Uttama Chola and built by the king, and agreed to pay the taxes on certain temple lands from the interest on a specified quantity of gold which they had received from the temple treasury. Kudalur, a northern hamlet of the Chaturvedi-mangalam, finds mention in the inscription. One of the signatories to the agreement was the accountant of the Samvatsara variyam (Annual Committee). The second record also refers to a gift of gold and land for offerings to the temple by the great assembly.

There are a number of records of the period of Rajendra I. The earliest (ARE 175 of 1915) relates to the third regnal year and mentions a gift of gold on the occasion of the Masi maham festival. The next one (ARE 176 of 1915) dated in his fourth year, 352 nd day is in respect of a gift of paddy for offerings and festivals on new moon days, and mentions Rajaraja Vadya-marayan and the officer Sembangudaiyar. We noticed the title of Vadyamarayan in connection with the gifts of land made by Rajaraja I to the talip-pendir and other temple servants, among whom were a number of musicians and instrumentalists inducted into the service of the temple of Rajarajesvaram at Tanjavur. One of the fifth year records a gift of 90 sheep for a lamp to the temple of Tirumukkudal-alvar in Madhurantaka chaturvedi-mangalam, which was a taniyur in Jayangondasola mandalam (ARE 169 of 1915). Next comes a seventh year, 229th day record of Rajendra I which deals with a gift of land for the maintenance of a flower garden called ‘Rajendra-solan’ (ARE 172 of 1915). This record says that the assembly received seven padagams of garden land on behalf of the temple of Maha Vishnu at this place and arranged for its cultivation. The Vaikhanasas of the temple received the paddy from the wet lands accruing to the temple and arranged for the cultivation of the garden themselves. In order to do this, they employed persons to lift water, dig the earth, fence the fields and do all the other connected duties; also, they agreed to have 7,000 baskets of manure spread on the field. Two curious conditions connected with this lease of the garden land to the Vaikhanasas were (1) that the devakanmis, i.e., the priests of the temple, were always to enjoy the kil-bhogam right and the Vaikhanasas the lease (adaivu) for cultivating (ulavu), and (2) that a specified number of bundles of hay was to be collected from every tenant of the village by the Vaikhanasas and used for the benefit of the garden only, neither being sent out to Kachchippedu nor sold for private puposes; and it was laid down that the irrigation of wet lands from the channel was to be in the usual order, permitting the temple garden the first claim. A ninth year record refers to a gift of 90 sheep for a lamp from the headman of Mama-vur Kilinjalur, a hamlet of Vanavan-Mahadevi-chaturvediman-galam, a taniyur in Jayangondasola-mandalam (ARE 170 of 1915). The next inscription dated in the 38th day of the ninth year also deals with a gift of 90 sheep for a lamp, made by one Mandai Nangai, the senior wife of Perundanam Rajarajan alias Vanavan Brahmadhirajan (ARE 174 of 1915). An agreement entered into by certain Vaikhanasas of the temple to use the surplus paddy due by them, which had been brought to fight by an enquiry conducted into the accounts of the temple, for recitation of the Tiruppadiyam (the term used here for Vaishnavite hymns) in the temple is the subject matter of the next record which is dated in the sixteenth year, 32 nd day (ARE 183 of 1915). This also refers to the Sembiyan Mahadevi perumandapam in the middle of the village of Madhurantaka chaturvedi-mangalam. There are two records of the eleventh year, one referring to a gift of 113 sheep to the Vennai-kuttar (Lord Krishna) in Tirumukkudal and the other, also relating to a gift of sheep, to the temple of Maha Vishnu I (?) (ARE 167 and 168 of 1915).

The ancient temple of Maha Vishnu at Tirumukkudal received much attention during the reigns of Rajaraja I and Rajendra I; but the contribution of Vira Rajendra to this temple deserves special mention. We shall deal with it later under Vira Rajendra (Pis 128 and 129).

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