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....

Brahmadesam is about 22 kms from Seramadevi and has an ancient temple dedicated to Kailasanathar, one of the biggest temples in the district of Tirunelveli.

Brahmadesam, along with Tiruvalisvaram and Mannar-koyil which are both less than two kms from here, was part of an important military centre where Rajaraja I and his successors had stationed a strong army as they had done at Kottaru near Nagerkoyil. During their time, the three places came under a common jurisdiction known as Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam which was a brahmadeyam. As will be seen in the section on Tiruvalisvaram, the Munrukai mahasenai was an important contingent of the Chola army stationed at this cantonment.

Kailasanathar temple

The Kailasanathar temple perhaps came into existence during the days of Chola occupation of the Pandi Nadu. However beyond a stray valteluttu inscription of the period of Rajaraja I found embedded in the steps of the river in the village, we have little evidence of the shape of the temple during his time. The present day temple appears to belong to the late fifteenth century, the additions and renovations having gone on over the earlier centuries (ARE 373 to 381 of 1916). It is a vast complex consisting of the Kailasanathar shrine in the main axis; to the north of it are the shrines of Sundaresvara and Minakshi and further north of it is the Brigannayaki shrine; linking these three shrines is a common, multi-pillared, open hall called the Somavara mandapa; in the north-east corner of the campus is another, big, independent, multi-pillared hall called the Arudhra mandapa. All these shrines and halls are encompassed by a tiruch-churru-maligai. The main elu-nilai gopuram built during the days of Virappa Nayaka, son of Visvanatha Nayaka Krishnappa Nayaka of the Madurai Nayaka dynasty, dates back to the turn of the sixteenth century (ARE 377 of 1916) and stands in front of the Kailasanatha shrine (Pis 164 to 171).

There are a number of fine bronzes in this temple, some of which date back to the days of Chola hegemony over this region.

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