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....

Pasuvandanai, a small village in Tirunelveli district, is situated about 22.5 kms (14 miles) in an easterly direction from Kayattaru, which in turn is 27.36 kms (17 miles) north of Tirunelveli town on the Tirunelveli-Madurai highway. Kayattaru is the place associated with the martyrdom of the later-day Tamil hero, Kattabomman.

Kailasanathar temple

The temple has had a haphazard growth over the centuries so that no unified plan of construction is discernible; however, on a close study of the buildings, it is seen that the basic structures are two independent shrines, both facing east, one dedicated to Siva (Kailasanathar) and the other to Karttikeya.

Both the Siva and the Karttikeya shrines belong to the same period and bear the imprint of Chola construction. Each consists of a garbhagriha, an antarala and an in the case of the Karttikeya shrine, these three constituents together form a rectangular structure with only a token recess between the latter two; this recess is decorated with koshta-pancharas. The side-walls of the garbhagriha and the ardhamandapa have shallow niches in the centre; they have no icons in them as elsewhere in the Pandya country. Close to the perimeter wall, there are shrines for Ganapati, Subrahmanyar and Bhairavar.

The Kailasanathar shrine is an eka-tala structure, with a brick superstructure; the entablature is adorned with salas and kutas. There are sculptures over the hara and the griva; the former are Subrahmanyar on the elephant with His Consorts in the east, Dakshinamurti in the south, Lakshmi-Narasimha in the west and Brahma on a hamsa (swan) in the north; the griva-koshta figures are Dakshinamurti in the south, Yoga-Narasimha in the west, and Brahma seated on a lotus in the north.

On grounds of style and the general architectural features, the Kailasanathar and Subrahmanyar temples should be assigned to the period of Rajaraja I.

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