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....

The village of Panayavaram, which has rich historical association, lies in the belt of great temples on the ancient route from Vriddhachalam to Kanchipuram, covering centres like Esalam, Ennayiram, Brahmadesam, Emapperur and Dada-puram: it is to the north-west of Villupuram town. In this village there is a temple dedicated to Netroddharakasvamin.

Netroddharakasvamin (Paravai Isvaram Udaiyar) temple

Among the inscriptions found on the walls of the central shrine of this temple, the earliest would appear to be one belonging to Parakesarivarman alias Udaiyar Sri Rajendra Chola deva I; it is found on the south, east and north walls of the shrine and the stones on which it is engraved are in disorder; undated, it seems to record a gift of land and money for worship and offerings, to the temple (ARE 317 of 1917). On the south wall, there is an undated inscription, whose king is also not known, which provides for offerings and lamps to Rajendrasola devar and Paravai nangaiyar, evidently metallic icons set up in the temple (ARE 320 of 1917). There are two dated inscriptions both belonging to the sixth regnal year of Rajendrasola deva; one of them, found on the south wall, begins with the introduction tirumagal maruviya and if therefore attributable to Rajendradeva II; it mentions a gift of paddy for a lamp to the temple of Paravai Isvaram Udaiya Mahadevar, by a native of Tandalam in Jayan-gondasola mandalam (ARE 318 of 1917). Thus, for the first time, we get to have the name of the temple, which confirms the association of Paravai Nangai with it. On the same wall is the other inscription of the sixth year of Rajendra Chola deva, which bears close similarity to the characters of the earlier inscription of Rajendra II, referred to; thus attributable to the same king, it mentions a gift of paddy for the purpose of keeping a lamp burning in the temple, whose deity is again named Paravai Isvaram Udaiya Mahadevar, in the city of Paravaipuram in Puraiyur nadu, a sub-division of Panaiyur nadu in Rajendrasola valanadu (ARE 319 of 1917)[1].

There is a stray and fragmentary inscription on the south wall of the first prakara which provides for various requirements of the temple of Madurantaka Isvaram Udaiyar at Paravaipuram in Puraiyur nadu, a subdivision of Panaiyur nadu which was a district of Rajendrasola valanadu. This is immediately above a later inscription of the Vijayanagara period (ARE 327 of 1917). This inscription cannot be far removed in date from the others found on the walls of the central shrine and in all probability is attributable to the reign of Rajendradeva itself (Pis 275 to 277).

Here is mention made for the first time of the Madurantaka Isvaram Udaiyar temple; since this record is a fragment, it is not possible to ascertain to which temple the record originally belonged. Perhaps there was another temple, named after a surname of Rajendra Chola I.

The remaining inscriptions are all found on the walls of the mandapa in front of the central shrine or on the prakara walls. One of them on the south wall of the mandapa provides for offerings and worship, reading of the Sivadh, recitation of the Tirup-padiyam hymns and musical performances on the vinai in the temple (ARE 321 of 1917).

An epigraph on the east wall of the same mandapa belongs to to the third year of Parakesarivarman alias Udaiyar Sri Adhirajendra deva and mentions a gift of land by purchase to the temple, by a native of Punganjeri in Milalai kurram, a district of Rajaraja Pandi Nadu (ARE 322 of 1917).

A fragmentary record (ARE 323 of 1917) found on the same wall mentions the temples of Paravai-Isvaramudaiyar and Rajendrasola vinnagar Alvar; unfortunately neither the name of the king nor the year of the record is available from the fragments; however, it provides for maintaining a teacher in a free school (dhanma-palli)and for three water-sheds, one each in front of the two temples of Paravai Isvaram Udaiyar and Rajendrasola vinnagar and the third in front of the mandapa called “Rajendrasolan”; provision was also made for the maintenance of one who supervised the devadana, salabhoga and the temples. A feeding house was also attached to the temple, like the one at Ennayiram, though smaller in size; provision was made for conducting a hostel (salai) which fed daily 50 brah-manas and 10 Sivayogins who were also given oil for bathing (Also see Appendix under section on Ennayiram in Chapter 2).

For the first time, we come to hear of the temple (or shrine) of Rajendrasola vinnagar Avar, in evident reference to a Vishnu temple named after Rajendra Chola I. This temple requires to be identified.

On the south wall of the first prakara there is a much damaged fifth year inscription of Maravarman alias Vikrama Pandya deva which refers to the temple of Kannamanda Nayanar in Puravar Panangattur in Panaiyur (ARE 324 of 1917). On the same wall is another epigraph also belonging to Vikrama Pandya deva; dated in his sixth regnal year, it records a gift of offerings and other requirements to the same temple (ARE 325 of 1917).

An inscription on the same wall belonging to Kampana Udaiyar, son of Bokkana Udaiyar, seems to record a gift of land; in it we get references to Puravur Panaingattur and Sembai in Vanagoppadi nadu on the northern banks of the Pennai (Pennar) (ARE 327 of 1917).

The Amman shrine in the same temple complex belongs to a much later period. The Consort is called Satyambika. On the south wall of this shrine there is an inscription that belongs to Viruppana Udaiyar, son of Ariyana Udaiyar (Harihara II) dated in Saka 1312; it records a tax-free gift of the village of Kunralur in Koliyapuranallur-parru for worship, festivals and repairs to the temple of Udaiyar Kannamanda Nayanar at Tiruppuravur Panaingattur alias Paravaipuram in Poraiyur nadu, a sub-division of Panaiyur nadu which was a district of Rajaraja valanadu (ARE 328 of 1917).

Panaiyavaram was the headquarters of the nadu of the same name; and Paravaipuram was perhaps a part of the township where the temple was situated; evidently the latter derived its name of Paravaipuram from Paravai Nanagaiyar, who was a great favourite of king Rajendra I (See section on Tiruvarur), The name of this Lady is reminiscent of Paravai Nachchiyar one of the two wives of the Tamil saint Sundaramurti Nayanar.

Footnotes and references:


Ennayiram alias Rajaraja-chaturvedimangaiam was a taniyur in Panaiyur nadu, a subdivision of Rajendrasola valanadu in Jayangondasola mandalam (Ennayiram: ARE 330 of I9I7).

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