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 Pachchil Tirumerrali

Nearly 800 ms (half a mile) east of Pachchil Amalisvaram (Gopurappatti) lies another ancient Siva temple called in inscriptions Pachchil Tiru Merrali, its deity being called the Mahadevar or Udaiyar thereof.

Pachchil Tirumerrali Mahadevar temple

At the time of our visit, it was in a thoroughly dilapidated condition, even the Linga lying flat in the garbhagriha, dislodged from its original position. It is a huge fluted Linga. The temple has the features of temples of the Later Pallava king Narasimhavarman II alias Rajasimha (a.d. 700 - 728).

The basement of the temple is of stone, and its superstructure of brick. Stone sculptures of Chandesvara and two of the Sapta-matrikas are found in the inner precincts of the temple and a stone nandi in the east. A fine sculpture of Alingana Chandra-sekharar found in a neighbouring field may be ascribed to the Pallava period of about the latter half of the eighth century, and it is certain to have belonged to this temple. It is illustrated in Damilica (the journal of the Tamil Nadu Department of Archaeology), 1970: Plate 8 -b.

On the walls of this temple, there are about te’n Chola inscriptions. The earliest of them are two of the days of Parantaka I, and a third, which is damaged and whose date is lost, is palaeo-graphically close to them. One, of his thirty-fifth year, records a gift of land, and one, of his thirty-sixth year (on the south wall of the garbhagriha) mentions that a certain Kirti alias Sadasiva Acharyan, the uvachchan of the temple, made a gift of a lamp to the Mahadevar of Pachchil Tiru Merrali; Pachchil is said to be a sub-division of Malanadu.

There is an inscription of the fifth regnal year of a Mummudi Chola. This title was assumed by both Gandaraditya and Raja-raja I. Perhaps this inscription should be assigned to the former. It records the gift of a gold pattam weighing 20 kalanjus by the local standard of weight called Pachchil-kal, by Rajasikhamani Pallavaraiyan alias Nakkan Kilan Paraman Kunjaramallan of Kurugudi in Tanjavur kurram.

There are three inscriptions of Rajaraja I. One of his third regnal year records the gift of a lamp to the temple by a dancing girl called Nakkan Paravai Vallanaippaga Talarkoli by name, said to be the daughter of the devan (temple-manager?) of the temple.

Another begins with “tirumagalpola”, but its date is damaged. It records the arrangements made by Avanimulududaiyan Marttanda Uttaman, who was the Chola administrative officer of the nadu, for special offerings to the deity and for feeding thirty brahmanas (probably on the days corresponding to the natal star of the king). We have already noted similar arrangements made by the same officer in the twenty-first regnal year of Rajaraja I in the neighbouring temple of Amalisvaram.

This temple also supplied one of the four hundred talippendir deputed to the Rajarajesvaram at Tanjavur.

This temple may be taken to have been built in the latter half of the eighth century during the rule over this region by the Later Pallavas, and it was maintained in a prosperous and flourishing condition during at least the Early and Middle Chola periods.

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