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....

Temples in Mannargudi

Mannargudi, the headquarters of the taluk of the same name in the district of Tanjavur, is an important religious centre of great antiquity. There are four important temples in the city, of which the most popular is the Vishnu temple dedicated to Rajagopalasvamin, at the centre of the city. This temple is- very ancient and would seem to go back at least to the Early Chola times. It seems to have received considerable attention at the hands of Rajadhiraja I, who had Vaishnavite leanings, and came to be known as Rajadhiraja Vinnagaram after him. In the days of the Later Chola ruler, Kulottunga I, the temple underwent considerable expansion, similar to what occurred in the temple’ of Nataraja at Chidambaram; and was rechristened Kulottunga-sola Vinnagaram. The present extensive campus would be attributable to him. However, during the Nayak period the temple underwent further renovation at the hands of Vijayaraghava Nayak of Tanjavur (ARE 102 to 105 and 109 of 1897; Pis 347-348).

Rajadhiraja I bestowed great attention upon the city which during his days was renamed Rajadhiraja chaturvedimangalam. The present day Jayangondanatha temple in the outskirts of the town, was known as Jayangondasolisvaram said to have been located in the taniyur of Rajadhiraja chaturvedimangalam during the Middle and Later Chola periods. This temple might have come into existence during the days of Rajadhiraja I who perhaps bore the surname of Jayangondasolan[1] (ARE 85,87 and 90 of 1897).

Kailasanathasvamin temple

There is however definite epigraphical evidence to show that the present day temple of Kailasanathesvara in the town was built during the days of Rajadhiraja I. In a Later Chola inscription dated in the 22nd year of Rajaraja III, the temple is described as Udaiyar Sri Kailasamudaiyar alias Rajadhirajesvaram Udaiyar koyil, located in the tanyiur of Rajadhiraja chaturvedimangalam in Suttavalli valanadu. This is further confirmed by an inscription of Vira Somesvara who also describes the temple by the same name. We also learn that this ruler set up the Amman shrine in the temple campus (nammuril Udaiyar Sri Kailayamudaiyarana Irajadkirajesvaramudaiyar koyilil elundaruli vitta tiruk-kamakkottamudaiya Periya Nachchiyarukku... ARE 97 of 1897).

This temple like others in the town, has undergone considerable renovation in recent times, leaving us little evidence as to the original architectural features of the Middle Chola period.

Another temple of importance in the town is the Annamalai-nathar temple; this belongs to the Later Chola period, having come into existence during the reign of Rajendra III.[2]

We conclude our account of temples associated with the reign of Rajadhiraja I with a summary look at some of them located in Karnataka. These either are in ruins or have even disappeared without a trace.

Footnotes and references:


See temple No. 60, Tirumallaru, ARE 4737 of 1965-66.


The inscription no. 514 of Tanjore district in the Topographical list of V. Rangachari—ARE 95 of 1897—is wrongly attributed to Rajendra I. It belongs to the days of Rajendra III, the last of the Chola kings.

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