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....

In my Early Chola Art Part I, I have dealt with the Pancha-nadisvara temple and its art and architectural features (pp. 149 - 152). In the campus of this big temple there are a number of smaller temples or shrines among which the more important are Uttar a Kailasam, Dakshina Kailasam and Dharmambika shrines. Uttara Kailasam (or Vada Kailasam) temple has been dealt with in the chapter on Rajaraja I’s temples.

Ten Kailasam Udaiyar (Dakshina Kailasam) temple

The shrine of Ten Kailasam is in the southern outer prakara of the Panchanadisvara temple. It is associated with the life of the Tamil saint Appar of the seventh century a.d. He is said to have been tirelessly wending his way to the north to reach Kailasa. Even after losing his legs in the strenuous journey, he struggled on to reach his goal. Siva was pleased with his devotion and desired to reward his labours. He ordered the saint to bathe in the nearby tank and promised him divine grace after he emerged from the holy tank at Tiruvaiyaru. The miracle happened. Appar, rising from the holy tank, saw the beatific vision of Siva and Parvati; and the saint poured forth a hymn of ecstasy on seeing “the divine vision that no mortal eyes had seen before” (kandariyadanakanderi). Ever since this episode, there has existed this shrine of Ten Kailasam at Tiruvaiyaru. {See Four Chola Temples).

It was this celebrated shrine that was rebuilt of stone in the days of Rajendra I. It bears on its east wall an inscription mentioning his full regnal tide and name as given in his copper plate grants. It reads thus:

“Svasti Sri: Raj ad raj any a makuta sreni ratneshu sasanam
                   Etad Rajendra Cholasya Parakesarivarmanah

An undated inscription of the same ruler found on the eastern base records in detail the various ornaments given to the temple (ARE 148 of 1918). A detailed record found on the east wall relates to Rajendra II and enumerates the list of ornaments gifted to Adavallar by a servant of Nampirattiyar Trailokyam Udaiyar, a queen of Rajendra II (ARE 213 of 1894, SII, V, 512).

The shrine consists of a garbhagriha, an ardhamandapa and a mukhamandapa. The peristyle round this main shrine is supported by 44 Nolamba pillars brought here perhaps as trophies of war from Hemavati, the Nolamba capital, by king Rajendra I, to beautify his temple. Some important sculptures on the walls of this shrine are Subrahmanyar, Durga and Brahma, all belonging to the age of Rajendra I (Pis 262 to 265).

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