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Thread: Kudamulukku Peru Vilaa (Maha Kumbhaabishekam) at Gangaikondacholeswarer Thirukkoyil

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    Kudamulukku Peru Vilaa (Maha Kumbhaabishekam) at Gangaikondacholeswarer Thirukkoyil


    The "Kudamulukku Peru Vilaa" (Maha Kumbhaabishekam) of the "Gangaikondacholiswarer Thirukkoyil" built by the greatest "Tamil Chola Emperor - Rajendra Chola (A.D.1012-1044)" of Tamil Nadu - India - was held on the 2nd of February 2017

    The birth of Rajendra Chola - 1 as the son of Rajaraja Chola - 1

    Rajendra Chola - 1 was born on the Thiruvathirai Nakashathiram of the month of Adi (from mid July to Mid August) as the son of Rajaraja Chola - 1 (A.D.985=1014) by his 'second' Queen Uthaiya Piraatiyaar Thambiran Adikal - Vaanavan Maadeviyar 'also known as' (alias) Thiribhuvanamadeviyaar, and was named as Mathuraanthahan. During his young days he learnt all aspects of warfare and administration in addition to the religious, philosopical and literary compositions under his Guru Esaana Siva Pandithar. He successfully completed his studies and earned the title the 'Panditha Cholan'. In the year A.D.1012 he was made the 'heir apparent' (Ilavarasan = Uvaraja) to the Chola empire by his father Rajaraja Chola - 1.

    Rajendra Chola's war expedition towards Purvadesam and Gangetic region in the North-West and Northern-East of India

    Rajendra Chola - 1 with his capture of many regions in the Indian mainland, after a lapse of two years he became more ambitious in conquering the north-eastern and north-western regions of India. He commenced his war expedition in this direction in the year A.D.1021 with his capture of Sakkarakkoattam the south Chhattisgarh. From here he split his forces in to two and sent the first expedition in the direction of Ganges river in the north and the second expedition in the north-western direction, while he stationed himself at Sakkarakkoattam until the two expeditions were complete.

    The first expedition went towards towards river Ganges in the north from Sakkarakkoattam and captured the regions of Odda Vishayam of Orissa, Kosala Naadu the north Chhattisgarh, Thandabuththi in north Orissa , Thakkana Laadam in south Jharkhand, Vangala desam the Bangaladesh, Uttara Laadam of north Jharkhand and reached the great river Ganges. The first expedition was lead by the Chola Commander Sri Mahanayakan Rajendra Chola Pallavaraiyan Rajaraja Maaraayan. (SII - Ins No: 1351, P.age 491 - Inscription on Mahendra Malai in Orrisa State)

    The second expedition went towards the north-west of India from Sakkarakkoattam direct to the Mathuramandalam [u\crossing the Kalachuria, Chandella and Paramara kingdoms in between, enabled by the friendly ties the Cholas had with these countries[/u]. Chola forces thus captured the kingdoms of Mathuramandalam the west Uttar Pradesh, Namanaikkonam of north Haryana, Panchappalli of east Punjab (of Pakistan) Maasunidesam of north Punjab (of Pakistan) and Athinagar (the Purvadesam - Purva means ancient) of south Kashmir.

    "......Udaiyar Sri Rajendra Choladevar "Uttarapadathu bhupatiyarai jayittaruli" (Uththarapathathu Poopathiyarai jayiththaruli) 'yuddh-otsava' vibhavattal Gamgra parigraham (Ganga parikiraham) panni yarulina Gamkai-konda Solan (Gangaikonda Cholan ennum thiru namattal it tiru murrattil vaitt-arulina uttam-agram Gangai-konda Solan' unnum anaitu Vedamum, Apurvamum odum Brahmacharigal......"
    Inscription on the vertical face of the base at the temple Alagiya Narasingha Perumal temple at Ennayiram, South Arcot, Villupuram, Tamil Nadu.
    Epigraphia Indica - Vol 39, Ins No 34

    The Map showing the regions conqured in the North-West and in the North East regions of India by Rajendra Chola - 1's Forces


    The above Inscription of Rajendra Chola - 1 very positively confirms that his forces have won over the the kings of Uththarapatham. The last four regions towards North-West India namely Naamanaikkonam, Panchappalli, Masunidesam, and Athinagar were the regions of Uttarapatham. Rajendra Cholan - 1 claims in one of his inscription from Kulampandal that he also won the "kings of Uttarapatham". Dharmasastra of Manu states Uttarapatham lies to the west of the place where river Sarawathi disappears. Great Indian Epic Mahabharata states ".....the Yavanas, Kambojas, Gandaras, Kiratas, and Barbarahs who were born in Uttarapatham......", which were all situated in north-western India. Nepali Manuscripts says "....Purushapuram territory in Uttarapatham.....". Purushapura is the present Peshawar in the upper Sind valley region of present Pakistan. Kaviya Mimansa states the Uttarapatha lay on the western side of Prthudaka. The Prthudaka was formerly situated north of present Delhi. The great Kerala Tamil Epic - Manimekalai specifically states that "Purvadesam - was in the Gandhara country" which encompassed the south Kashmir region. Further Al-Beruni states "....Udunpur in Purvadesa.....". Udunpur is undoubtedly the present Udhampur of south Jammu & Kashmir - a derivation from Udunpur to Udhumpur and then to Udhampur. The foregoing indicates to us somewhat accurately the regions covered by Uttarapatham, which was conquered by Rajendra Cholan - 1

    The confedaracy that existed between the Bhoja king of Malawa and Rajendra Chola - 1 is 'confirmed' by an inscription from Balagamve in south Maharashtra which refers to Cholas "as the greatest of kings". Another inscription from Kulenur in Karnataka confirms this confederacy was not only between Bhoja of Malawa and Rajendra Chola, but also inclusive of Gangeya of Kalachuria.

    Evidence on the above References:

    "......Bhojadeva - together with the moon of Kalachuris - worshiped full of fear like a pupil, (this) master of warfare (the Vidyadhara) who has caused the destruction of the king of Kanyakubja......" (inscription dated Saka 941)
    Inscription of Vidyadhara the Chandella king, on slab from Mahaboba, presently at Lucknow Museum in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, India.
    Epigraphia Indica - Vol 1, Page 219.

    ".......O Kundiga when they name thee in respect of courage what further praise can others give? Is it not what is said by the troops of elephants of the Chola, Gangeya and king Bhoja with open mouths as they flee away in the battle where they are pressed by (thy) the cyclic year Vibava the 950th (Year) of Saka......"
    Inscription of Jayasimha-2 the Westeren Chalukiya king, on stone behind Hanuman temple at Kulenur in Dharwar district, Karnataka state, India.
    Epigraphia Indica - Vol 15, Page 333.

    "......that famous king Jayasimha - a moon to the lotus which was king Bhoja glorious as sun, a very lion to the elephant which was Chola the greatest of kings - was esteemed the supreme king of kings.....having searched out , beset and pursued ground down and put to flight the confederacy of Malava......Kundama the chieftain .....(in the year of the Saka era 941 repaired the temple of God Nandikesvaradeva......"
    Inscription of Kadamba Chieftain Kundama on stone slab at Balagamve in the extreme lower Maharastra State, India.
    Indian antiquary - Vol 5, Page 17/18

    The Indian Mainland expedition of Rajendra Cholan - 1 commenced in the year A.D.1019 and ended in the year A.D.1020 in one single expedition and the names of all countries conquered by his forces from Sakkarakkoatam onwards upto the Gangetic region and river Gangai in the east of North India, and Purvadesam (Gandara country) of Pakistan in the west of North India were included in his Meikeeththi (true glory) only from the year A.D.1021 and in it's short format as "Purvadesamum Gangaiyum konda Ko-Parakesari Rajendra Chola Devar".

    With the return of his forces from their great expedition in the north-east and north-west, he very soon embarked on his overseas war expedition towards South-East Asian Countries in the year A.D.1022. With the same vigor, vitality and enthusiasm created by these great victories. He immediately thereafter sent a large force overseas in many ships (alai kadal meethu pa Kalam seluthti) on a great war expedition towards Kadaram kingdom (Kedah Region) and other kingdoms of Malaysia, and Sri Vijaya kingdom in (Palembang Region) and other kingdoms of Sumatra Indonesia, and the other South-East Asian Countries including the regions of the present Thailand and Miyanmar etc. These forces very successfully conquered all these overseas countries by A.D.1024 and their names were further added to his Meikeerthi (True Glory) from the year A.D.1025. These victories condensed in a short format were also included in many of his Inscriptions as "Purvadesamum Gangaiyum Kadaramum konda Ko-Parakesari Rajendra Chola Devar".

    Construction of Gangaikonda Choleswarer Temple

    It was from this year onwards Rajendra Chola - 1 retired from all his ambitious war expeditions in the Indian mainland and Overseas, which is confirmed by the very fact that there were no other countries have been included in his Meikeerththi upto his death in A.D.1044. It was during the period from A.D.1025 Rajendra Chola - 1 could have given his full concentration in the construction of the Gangaikonda Choleswarem temple - a great divine edifice to God Siva, under his complete purview.

    We are aware the first endowments of Rajendra Chola - 1 himself were granted to the Gangaikonda Cholaeswarem temple built by him in the year A.D.1035 (as per Virarajendra Chola's Inscription on these endoments at this temple). Hence we are certain that the construction of the Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer Temple by Rajendra Chola - 1 commenced in the year A.D.1025 and was completed in the year A.D.1035 after 10 years and the first Kumbaabishekam too would taken place in this same year., the year Rajendra Chola -1 made his first endowments to this temple - "being the first among all other Kings who made endowments to this temple".

    With his return Rajendra Cholan - 1 from his expedition towards the great Ganges river region in the year A.D.1022 claimed a new title as "Gangaikondaan", and gave the title "Gangaikonda Cholan" (the Chola who captured Gangai) to his younger brother who lead the Gangetic expedition. Subsequently in the year A.D.1025 he commenced building the Great Divine Edifice to God Siva named the "Gangaikonda Choleswarer Temple". The presiding Deity of this Temple is refered to in the Inscriptions of Virarajendra Chola, Kulothunga Chola - 1, Sundera Paandiyan - 2, Vikkrama Paandiyan and Kulasekara Paandiyan in this very temple - as "Gangaikondacholapuraththu Udaiyar Gangaikonda Cholaiswaramudaiyar....."

    In this great temple "Gangaikonda Cholaeswarem" built by him, the presiding deity of the Karuvarai (Sanctum Sanctorium) was known as the "Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer" also known as "Peruvudaiyar" - the God Siva in the form of Lingam, the biggest Lingam among the Siva Temples both in India and Worldover, having a height of 13 ft and 20 ft in circumferance. The Goddess was known as Periyanayaki

    Note: Only during the subsequent period in the fourteenth century during the perid of Nayakkar kings at Thanjavur the changed the name of Peruvudaiyar as Birahadeeswarer and Periyanayaki as Brahmanayaki.

    The Essalam Copper Plates of Rajendra Cholan - 1 specifically states that with the conquest of the Gangetic region, it was Rajendra Cholan - 1 who constructed the new city the Gangaikonda Cholapuram, the great Gangaikonda Choleswarer temple, and the sacred Cholagangam Tank (at the Udaiyar Palaiyam region of Ariyalur district).

    ".....Gangaam thunga payotharam kunavatheem isvethesm iprathi
    praapthasri sa Bakeeratham ivyajayatha
    akruruch raaptha Gangaa jala.
    Rajenththro ivyathitha sa Gangaikoanda
    Cholapuryaam sathkunanithi aathmanaa ikruthaayaam
    'than naamaa-varapavana Maheswarasya'
    bakthyaa thath patha yuga paarijaatha iprunga

    "......the Ganga with straight breast and of good nature he brought to his country. He of grace who obtained without difficulty the Ganga waters considered as won Baghirathan. The Rajendran the wealth of good nature, built a temple to Sivaperumaan (God Siva) at Gangaikonda Cholapuram (already) constructed by him, having the same name (Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer). He remained a fly at the feet of Sivaperumaan......"

    Cholar Cheppedukal - by Ve. Mahadevan & Ka. Sankaranarayanan, Thanjavur University, Tamil Nadu.
    Esalam Copper Plates (A.D.1037) of the 25th Year of Rajendra Chola - Page 912.

    Among the 'available Inscriptions' of Rajendra Chola - 1 which refers the "royal orders" given by him from his various Royal Palaces in Tamil Nadu, the first "royal order" that has been given by him from Gangaikonda Cholapuram Palace was for a grant by him to Thiribhuvanam Chathurvedimangalam in A.D.1029. Hence we could conclude the construction of the Rajendra Chola's Royal Palace at Gangaikonda Cholapuram was completed by the year A.D.1029 (as pointed out by the Scholar in Chola Epigrapical Studies Dr Daud Ali). However there is another earliest dated Inscription of Rajendra Chola - 1 of the year A.D.1032 is found at the Thanjavur Rajarajeswarem temple on a "royal order" for grant from the palace "Mudikondan Cholan Thirumaalikai" at Gangaikonda Cholapuram. (SII, Vol 2, Part 1, page 1060)

    Further we note the first set of Inscriptions inscribed on the Kumuda of the central Shrine of Gangaikonda Choliswarem Temple of Virarajendra specifically states that the first endowments made by Rajendra Chola - 1 to this temple was in the year A.D.1035. Hence we could conclude that the completion of construction of Gangaikonda Choliswarem Temple was in the year A.D.1035.

    Three other temples named "Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer" were built in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to commemorate the Chola victory over Gangetic region

    During this period of Rajendra Chola - 1 'three other' small temples also named as "Gangaikonda Choleswarer" were built by his two Army Commanders, and his Guru to celebrate this great occasion.

    Gangaikonda Choliswarem - at Kolar District in Karnataka State
    During the great war expedition of Rajendra Chola - 1 towards Gangetic region, one of Army Commanders Paalaiyan Kamundan who participated in same, after the successfull Gangetic war expedition was given the honourary title as "Gangaikonda Chola" and was known as 'Paalaiyan alias Gangaikonda Chola Kaamundan'. He to celebrate this event constructed (eduppitta) a temple named "Gangaikonda Choliswaram" Udaiya Mahadevar Koyil at (the present Sidalaghatta Taluk), at Kolar District of Karnataka State
    Epigraphia Carnatica - Vol 10, (Tamil) Inscriptions of from Sidalaghatta Taluk No:....

    Gangaikonda Choliswarem - at Ariyalur District in Tamil Nadu State
    In the year A.D.1024 (the 12th year of reign of) Rajendra-Chola I, a grant was made being an allowance of paddy and gold for (maintaining) twenty-four dancing-girls at Gangaikonda Choliswarem stone temple at Kaaliyur Koattam of Paakurnadu built by "Isanasiva-Panditar".
    From the Siva Temple at the village Kulambandal (on the road from Kanchipuram to Wandiwash at a distance of five miles south of Mamandur).
    The Epigraphic Journal which carries this information is not known. Nilakantha Sastri in his book on "Cholas" mentions that the above information of "Isaana Siva having built this Temple and the grant being made for twenty-four Dancing Girls at this temple is found in the SII - Vol 7, Ins No; 1407. But in actual fact this information is not found in this Inscription.

    "....Isaana Pandithar Kaaliyur Koattaththu Paakur naattu Gangaikonda Cholapuraththu eduppiththa Thirukkattrali "Esvaramudaiya Mahadevar....."
    Author Chandramoorthy in his book titled "Tamilnaattu Sivalayangal" gives the above reference.

    Gangaikonda Choliswarem - at Kanyakumari District in Tamil Nadu State

    Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer "at Gangaikonda Cholapuram" Thirukkoyil (Temple) under Chola Kings

    Rajendra Chola - 1 (Parakesari) : A.D.1012-1044

    Rajendra Chola - 1 with his victory over the "Kadaram kingdom" (present Kedah of Malaysia) named a region adjacent to the Mannaikonda Cholavalanadu of Cholanadu as Kadaremkonda Cholavalanadu. He built his new capital city Gangaikonda Cholapuram in a region carved out partly from the Mannaikonda Cholavalanadu and partly from the Kadaremkonda Cholavalanadu. He constructed the Gangaikonda Choliswarem temple in the region of Gangaikonda Cholapuram which fell under Mannaikonda Cholavalanadu, and the Cholagangam Tank which fell under Kadaremkonda Cholavalanadu.

    During the period of construction of the Gangaikonda Choliswarem Udaiyar Temple by Rajendra Chola - 1, 'Sembikula Maanikkattar' an Anukkiyar (close female attendent) of the King, 'caused to be made' the 'palakaippatai ("[carved] layer [of granite] slab") outer frame' - to be fitted in-front of the plain niche housing the Kooththaadum Thevar (Aadavallaan = Nadarajar) on the south outer wall of the Karuvarai (the Sanctum Sanctorium) of God Siva in his dancing form.

    In the year A.D.1035 and A.D.1036 Rajendra Chola made the first endowments to the Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer Thirukkoyil. Possibly 'Sembikula Maanikkattar' the Anukkiyar of the King after the 'Kudamulukku Peru Vila' (Kumbaabishekam) of the Gangaikonda Choliswarer Temple, too provided gifts inclusive of a lamp, two cows for it's maintenence, and gold for it's ornaments. Rajendra Chola - 1 also gifted a land at Thiruvellarai (in the present Thrutchi district) as an endowment to this temple in the year A.D.1036.

    Inscription on the of kumuda, padma and jagati of the north and west walls of central shrine of the Gangaikonda Choliswarem temple.
    The Epigraphical Legacy at Gangaikondacholapuram : Problems and Possibilities - by Dr Daud Ali Ins No: 1, 35, 36, Also Page 22, Ins No: 2, SII - 4 Ins No: 529

    Inscription on the side wall of the entrance of the East Gopuram of Gangaikonda Choliswarem temple.
    The Epigraphical Legacy at Gangaikondacholapuram : Problems and Possibilities - by Dr Daud Ali Ins No: 1, 32, 33

    Inscription on the side wall of the entrance to the East Gopuram of the Gangaikonda Choliswarem temple.
    The Epigraphical Legacy at Gangaikondacholapuram : Problems and Possibilities - by Dr Daud Ali, Page 25, Ins No: 32

    Inscription on the west wall of the central shrine the Siva temple, at Thiruvellarai.
    Topograpical List of the Inscriptions of the Madras Presidency - V.Rangacharya, Vol 3, Page 648

    Rajadhiraja Chola - 1 (Rajakesari) : A.D.1018-1054

    Subsequently in the year of death of Rajendra Chola - 1 in A.D.1044 his son Rajadhiraja Chola - 1 made much more endowments to the Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer Temple (possibly for the merit of the Soul of his father Rajendra Chola - 1). He also made further endowments to this Temple in A.D.1048.

    Virarajendra Chola - 1 (Rajakesari) : A.D.1060-1070

    Note: Virarajendra Chola's 3rd Year was equivalent to the 6th year of Rajendra Chola's -2 6th year as per Inscription ------ Further we are aware that Rajendra Chola - 2 ruled from A.D.1054-1063. Hence it is clear Virarajendra was a 'yuvaraja' from A.D.1060-1063 and only in the year A.D.1063 Virarajendra became the successor to the Chola empire and ruled untill his death in A.D.1070.

    All the endowments that have been made both by Rajendra Chola - 1 and his son Rajadhiraja Chola - 1 verbally were recorded on Ola Leaves by the Olai Nayagam witnessed by high Officers of these kings and records were well preserved. However it was only during the period of Virarajendra Chola - 1 these details from Ola Leaves were inscribed on the basement of Outer Walls of the Karuvarai and Mahamandapam falling within the second Pirakara of the Gangaikonda Choleswarer Temple, on the instructions of Virarajendra Chola - 1 fourth Son of Rajendra Chola - 1. Further the donations made to this Temple by Virarajendra Chola - 1 himself in the year A.D.1068 too were inscribed in the same place, following the details of the endowments made by his 'father and elder brother' referred in these Inscriptions as 'Iyyer and Annar'. This long Inscription of Virarajendra - 1 is the 'longest and the earliest' inscription that has been inscribed in this Temple.

    Adirajendra Chola - 1 (Parakesari) : A.D.1066-1070

    Note: Adirajendra Chola's latest Inscription available was in A.D.1070 which was refered to as his 4th year. Further we are also aware that Virarajendra Chola - 1 ruled from A.D.1063-1070. Hence it is clear Adirajendra was a 'yuvaraja' from A.D.1066-1070, as he too demised in A.D.1070

    During the rule of Adirajendra, Marutan Sivakolunthu of Thirumanjanattar Velam (royal bathing unit) his Anukkiyar (close attendent) and Pendatti (wife) provided gift of gold for burning of a perpetual lamp at Gangaikonda Choliswarer temple. Further two merchants of Thiribhuvanamadevi Per-Ankadi (big market), one being Ativitantakan provided with this gift of gold on his undertaking to pay interest for same to the Gangaikonda Choliswarer Temple for maintaing the lighting of a perpetual lamp at this temple, while the other trader Tutuvan had stood as surety for same.

    In the year A.D.1066 Adirajendra Chola made an Order issued from his palace at Gangaikonda Cholapuram remitting some of the taxes from the village Selai in Kakkalur Nadu as devadana to the temple Thiruppasur (at Chengalpattu district).

    Kulothunga Chola - 1 (Rajakesari) : A.D.1070-1120

    With the demise of Virarajendra in A.D.1070 and Adirajendra in the same year with no successors in the male-line the Kulothunga Chola - 1 from the female-line of Cholas became the successor to the Chola empire and ruled for fifty years untill his death in A.D.1120.
    Kulotunga Chola - 1 too have made endowments to this temple the details of which are missing in an inscription on the mukamantapa of this temple. However the normal prelude on the king Kulotunga - 1 are found in the two Sanskrit verses which refers to his victory over the contemporary Paandiyan king the capture of his fort, and setting up of the pillar of victory. In the year A.D.1017 Kulothunga Chola - 1 gifted the village Tirundadevangudi at the present Veppattur in Kumbakonam Taluk as devadanam to Gangaikonda Cholisvaram Udaiyar Temple.

    Inscriptions on East Gopuram along outer wall of the second Thiruchuttru of the Gangaikonda Choliswarer temple.
    Annual Report on Epigrapy - Ins Nos: 328, 329, of 1965

    Inscription on south wall of mantapa in front of central shrine at Karkatesvara temple, Veppattur, Kumbakonam.
    Topograpical List of the Inscriptions of the Madras Presidency - V.Rangacharya, Vol 2, Page 1289

    Vikkrama Cholan (Parakesari) : A.D.1120-1163

    During the period of rule of Vikkrama Chola in the year A.D.1121, a sluice has been constructed to the lake "Cholagangam" built in the region of Gangaikonda Cholapuram carved out from the Kadaremkonda Cholavalanadu. In the year A.D.1124 "Thirubhuvanamadevi" the step-mother of Vikkrama Chola and one of the queens of the Kulothunga Chola - 1 donated money to the Gangaikonda Choliswarer temple from the interest of which a lighting Santhi Villaku daily at this temple was maintained. In the year A.D.1027 a land was acquired for the temple and the "Poopadai" Vilaa (Festival) was held in the region of Gangaikonda Cholapuram of Kadaremkonda Cholavalanadu.

    Kulothunga Cholan - 2 (Rajakesari) : A.D.A.D.1133-1150

    Rajadiraja Cholan - 2 (Rajakesari) : A.D.1163-1178

    Kulothunga Chola - 3 (Parakesari) : A.D.1178-1218

    During his period Thunthanatudaiyaan Ekavasakan Kulothungar son of Chandramauliyalvar a queen of Kulothunga Chola - 3 gifted to the Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple 482 Kalanju (a measure of) gold in the name of his mother in the year A.D.1187 who came in the main line of Kulothunga Chola - 1 the Sungam Thavirtha Cholan (the Chola who waived off customs levy on imported trading goods). In the year A.D. 1189 Ammangaiyalvar the daughter of the Kulothunga Chola - 3 gifted two flywhisks to the deity at Gangaikonda Choliswarer temple made of 8 mari (a measure of) gold. In the same year one flywhisk made of 20 pon of 8 mari by Pukaliyalvar the daughter of Vanavan Mateviyalvar another queen of Kulothunga Chola - 1 to the deity of the same temple. (An Inscription of Kulothunga Chola - 3 (Ko-Parakesarivarman alias Thirubuvanachakravarti) at the Chidambaram Temple, states Ammangai was the daughter of Kulotunga-Sola-deva - confirming the inscription at Gangaikonda Cholapuram)

    Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer Thirukkoyil (Temple) under Paandiya Kings

    'Maravarman' Sunthara Paandiyan - 1 : (A.D.1216-1253)

    It was in the year A.D.1236 Maravarman Sunthara Paandiyan sent his forces on war expedition to Cholanadu, which destroyed setting fire to the great Thanjavur (Thanjai) and Uraiyur (Uranthai) the and present former Chola capital cities. On seeing same Rajaraja - 3 who ruled from Thanjavur went into hiding in fear while Maravarman Sundara Paandyan who celebrated his Viraabishekam at the Chola abisheka mantapam named Ayiraththali at Thanjavur. However Maravarman Sunthara Paandiyan recalled the Chola king and offered him the Chola kingdom to rule but as his subordinate paying tributes. Rajaraja - 3 who earlier ruled from Thanjavur with much damage to Thanjavur changed his capital to Palaiyarai which was also known as Mudikonda Cholapuram.

    He after some years Rajaraja - 3 defied paying tributes and Maravarman Sundara Paandiyan, and the latter invaded Palaiyaarai captured the capital city and conducted his second Virabishekam at Mudikonda Cholapuram (Palaiyaarai).

    After his initial destruction of Thanjavur and Uraiyur had marched to Chithambaram temple for worship of God Siva, and on his way has not inflicted any damages to the city of Gangaikonda Cholapuram and its temple Gangaikonda Choliswarer as this capital was not the seat of rule of Cholas during the period Rajaraja - 3, who changed back to the former city of Thanjavur as his capital and as Gangaikonda Cholapuram city too have come under his authority.

    Among the two "Sunthara Paandiyan" kings who bore the title "Thiribuvana Chakkaravarththi Konerimaikondan" are Maravarman Sundera Pandiyan - 1 and Sadaiyavarman Sundara Pandiyan - 1.

    'Sadaiyavarman' Sunthara Paandiyan - 2 : (A.D.1251-1270)

    Sadaiyavarman Sunthara Paandiyan - 2 in the year A.D.1253 invaded and captured the Chola country and Rajendra Chola - 3 the son of Rajaraja Chola 3 met his death. With his death the Chola country came under the full control of Sunthera Paandiyan. Thus came the end of the great Tamil Chola empire of Tamil Nadu, after nearly four centuries from it's inception.

    He visited the Gangaikonda Cholapuram and the Gangaikonda Choliswarer temple, and made much endowments to the temple and arranged for the daily Saanthi Pusai valipadu (worship) named as 'Sundarapaandiyan Santhi' (Saanthi)" after his regnal name to Gangaikonda Choliswarer.

    For the expenses for the Amuthu-padi and Saaththu-padi for the daily worship as devadanam he provided a land - at Kulothunga Nallur bound by Aanaivettuvaan channel of Mathuranthaha vadavaru river in the west, the Vallaba Nagar in the east, and Kollapuram in the north, and a land - in the Rajendra Chola Nallur north of Kulothunga Chola Nallur bound b Athikainayakan channel of Mathuranthaha vadavaru in the west, the Rajarajan highway (peruvali) in the east, Kollapuram in the south - measuring twenty veli (veli measure of land).

    'Sadaiyavarman' Vira Paandiyan - 2 : (A.D.1253-1275)

    'Maravarman' Kulasekara Paandiyan - 1 : (A.D.1268-1311)

    During the period of rule of Maravarman Kulasekara Paandiyan - 1 who bore the title "Thiribhuvana Chakravarthikal" the northern region of Tamil Nadu was still under the sway of Paandiya kings, and Gangaikonda Choliswarer Temple too continued to be under the purview. In the year A.D.1272 Maravarman Kulasekara Paandiyan arranged purchase of Urnaththam, houses, the agrarian lands, the land to channel Eari (Tank) water, the village ponds, the tall shady trees, and water wells bought as temple properties at the (prevailing) prices, bound by the land Thevanipuththoor at Gangaikonda Cholapuram Pattru of Mannai Cholavalanaattu of Vikkrama Cholavala Nadu in the east, the lands named Kurungkudi, Mannar Thiruvidaiyattam Viranarayana Nallur Thiruvaalikakallukkum, Kannamangalam in the south, the lands Virarajendra Cholapuram at Kannamangalam, and Thevanallur in the west, the land Malavatharaiyanallur in the north, and planted thirisoolams as the boundry limits in this village and gifted same to Gangaikonda Choliswarer temple as temple properties.

    In the year A.D.1273 the people of the regions arranged sales of their lands to the temple authorities in the name Gangaikonda Choliswarer temple, the agrarian lands, Urnaththam, houses, temple bound by properties at the (prevailing) prices

    'Maravarman' Vikkrama Paandiyan - 2 : (A.D.1283-1296)

    Maravarman Vikkrama Paandiyan - 2 was the brother and co-ruler of northern region of Tamil Nadu under his elder brother Maravarman Kulasekara Paandiya - 1. He was ruling the northern regions of Tamil Nadu on behalf of Maravarman Kulasekara Paandiyan. Accordingly the Gangaikonda Cholapuram region came under purview of Maravarman Vikkrama Pandiyan (regnal name). While he was ruling this region in the year A.D.1289 he arranged for the daily Saanthi Pusai valipadu named as "Raasaakkanayan" Santhi (Saanthi)" (after his real name) to Gangaikonda Choliswarer.

    For the expenses for the Amuthu-padi and Saaththu-padi for the daily worship levied revenue tax on the (general) cultivatable land, the cultivateble house gardens, oil producing units and the connected lands, the water channels (outside the fortress), - within (main) Gopura vaasal Naaraasaththu (of the Gangaikonda Choliswarer) in the east, the Suthamalli Naaraasaththu in the west, the Rajendra Cholan Theru in the south and Vembukudi vaasal in the north.

    Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer Thirukkoyil (Temple) under Vijayanagara kings

    With the invasion of Tamil Nadu by Malik Kafur a commander of forces of Alaudin Khilji the Mugal Emperor of Delhi in the year A.D.1311, the Chola Nadu and Pandiya Nadu fell into their hands. It was during this period the Gangaikonda Choliswarer Temple Gangaikonda Cholapuram in Chola country underwent a raid of it's wealth and partial destruction. Further from the year A.D.1333-1364 it was in hands of the independent Muslim Rulers, and the Hindus underwent persecution under them.

    During this period the newly formed Vijayanagara Hindu kingdom of Karnataka was ruled by Bukka - 1 of Sangama dynasty, and seeing the prevailing conditions at Paandiya country sent his son Kumara Kambannan to invade Tamil Nadu in the year A.D.1365 to save the Paandiya Nadu from the Muslim Rulers, and on his way also relieved the Chola country from the Muslim forces and appointed a Viceroy to over look this region.

    In he year A.D.1397 during the rule of Vijayanagara king Hari Hara - 2 there had been an agreement made between the Naattar and the Thanthimaar of Paraiyur Nadu, and the temple management (sthanaththar) of 'Gangaikonda Choliswarem Udaiya Nayanar' of Gangaikonda Cholapuram of Chola country, at this temple regarding some temple lands.

    In the year A.D.1462 during the rule of the Vijayanagara king Mallikarujna son of Devaraya - 3 there had been some donations made to Gangaikonda Choliswarer temple.

    During this period a Gangeyar Chieftains who ruled over a small region named Vaippur in the close proximity in the north-west of Thiruvarur as the viceroy of the Vijayanagara king gained control over a larger region in the north of Vaippur beyond Kollidam river which included the region Gangaikonda Cholapuram, with the Gangaikonda Choliswarem Temple too coming under their control.

    In the year A.D.1483 during the rule of the Vijayanagara king Virupaksharaya - 2 son of Mallikarjuna who claims himself as Cholamandala Sthapanachaiyan, one Chanthira Athithan provided land at Chettrur in Cholaavalanadu as donation and a provision of house and water tank to Thirumalai Raasa Saamanthan to conduct the 'Sirukaala Saanthi' daily ? at Gangaikonda Choliswarer temple in Gangaikonda Cholapuram.

    Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer Thirukkoyil (Temple) under Gangeyar Chieftains

    In the year A.D.1462 while being the viceroy of the Vijayanagara empire the Gangeyar Chieftain who ruled the larger region from Vaippur to Gangaikonda Cholapuram named Thiruvenkadamudaiyaan Ehambaran made his donations to the Gangaikonda Choliswarer temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram.

    Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer Thirukkoyil (Temple) under Kalaakal Chola Udaiyars Kings

    Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer Thirukkoyil (Temple) under French

    Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer Thirukkoyil (Temple) under Nawab of Arcot Kings

    Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer Thirukkoyil (Temple) under English

    Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer Thirukkoyil (Temple) under Kalaakal Chola Udaiyars Kings (2nd Phase

    Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer Thirukkoyil (Temple) under Indian Government

    Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer Thirukkoyil (Temple) under Kalaakal Chola Udaiyars Kings

    Previous to last Kudamulukku peru Vilaa (Maha Kumbhaabishekam) (A.D.1932) Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer Thirukkoyil (Temple)

    Last Kudamulukku peru Vilaa (Maha Kumbhaabishekam) (Jan/Feb - A.D.2017) Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer Thirukkoyil

    (4) Basic Architecture and the General Layout of the Gangaikonda Cholaeswarem Temple

    The great temple Gangaikonda Cholaeswarem as originally built by Rajendra Chola - 1 comprised of the Karuvarai (garbagriha = sanctum anctorum) with Vimaanam (tower over Karuvarai), Sikaram (Crown-head), and Kalasam (pinnacle), Muha Mandapam (intermediate hall between Karuvarai and Maha Mandapam) with connected Maha Mandapam having two levels (main hall for religious rituals & discourses), and the Nandi Mandapam. In front of the north entrance to the main temple was the small Chandesvarar shrine. The main temple was surrounded by a large paved courtyard and a Thiruchchuttru Maalikai (surrounding cloister), connected to a single Gopura Vaayil (main gateways with 'ornate towers' i.e. Gopurams).

    The Karuvarai (sanctum sanctorium) is built on a square basement measuring 92 1/2 ft per side externally, with its four walls rising to a height of 70 1/2 ft in two levels, from where the Vimanam (Tower rising over Karvarai) rises tapering to a height of 185 ft in nine tiers upto a truncated basement of the tapering Vimanam measuing approximately 5 ft per side externally. On this basement was laid a single spherical stone estimated to be of a weight of ---- tons, and going to a further height of 6 ft with a Seppuk (copper) Kalasam adorning it at it's crown.

    The Seppuk (Copper) Kalasam laid covered with gold sheets and placed on the temple by the Saiva Acharya..... of this temple on the occasion of the Kumbha Abishekam of this temple.

    However my own description of the "General Layout" of the "original construction" is as follows:

    (a) Karuvarai with Vimanam, Sikaram and Kalasam

    Karuvarai of this temple was built on an Upa-Peedam (platform) measuring 150 ft square and of 8 Ft height. Karuvarai measuring 100 ft square outwardly is going to a height of 54 ft (22 ft + 32 ft) in two levels. Within this Karuvarai was consecrated the presiding deity of this great temple the "God Siva" (God - as Siva) in his 'aru-uruvam' form of Lingham, and was known as "Rajarajaeswaram Udaiyar" and also as "Peruvudaiyar". This is the second biggest Lingam among the Siva Temples both in India and Worldover, having a total height of 9 ft and of 23.5 ft in body circumferance .

    Between the inner walls and the outer walls of the Karuvarai there are two Unnaalikai (corridors), one running around the Karuvarai above the 'ground floor level', and the other running around the Karuvarai above this corridor at the 'first floor level'.

    From the top level of the top corridor of the Karuvarai, commences the pyramidical shaped Vimanam going to a further height of 113 ft vertically having thirteen levels and ending up in a truncated square basement of 26 ft square at the top.

    Unlike the southern, western and northern faces of the Vimanam, the lower part of the eastern face has a large stone panel depicting God Siva, Goddess Parvathi and Gangai depicted as a Mangai within three Thiruvaasikal (ornamented arch - behind the rear head of the God Idols), and Pillaiyaar on their left, and Murugan with Valli and Theivayanai on their right without any Thiruvaasikal - all depicted as residing on the Meru mountain (the Himalayas in the north).

    This concept seems to have deeply embedded in the mind of Rajaraja Chola - 1 for long and re-created by him on the Vimanam and known as "Dakshina Meru Vithankar". From the Inscriptions in this temple it is also known that Rajaraja Cholan had presented a bronze statue similer to this panel in a miniature form also named as Dakshina Meru Vithankar to be consecrated within the temple.

    On the truncated square basement of the Vimanam was the ornate Sikaram - with a vertical cylindrical stem over which is an Ettumuha Thalam (octagonal plinth). Above this plinth continues another cylindrical stem but flaring up at the top all round, to hold a inverted "Arai-koala Mudi (hemispherical dome) having total height of 28 ft, with a crowning copper Kalasam (pinnacle) of 13 ft covered with "gold plates". Thus the total vertical height of the Upathalam, Karuvarai at two levels, Vimanam, Sikaram and Kalasam totals to height of 216 ft.

    However in our normal reference, the term "Vimanam" is loosely used to denote the entire structure over the Sancturm Sanctorium, and it's total height too is indicated loosly as the "height of the Vimanam of this temple, from the (outside) ground floor level" being 216 ft.

    (b) Artha Mantapams with connected Maha Mantapams

    The Artha Mandapams is in between the Karuvarai and the Maha Mantapam, and have four levels vertically, with three entrance doors at first three levels and a large window at the fourth level all facing towards east.

    (1) at the ground floor level

    At the ground floor level the relevent door facing towards east opens into the existing Maha Mantapam. There are two Dwarapaalakar (guardian deities) on either side, of the door entrance falling into and within the Maha Mantapam.

    The Artha Mantapam at this level also has two other small doorways within and adjacent to each other on the right side, when facing the Karuvarai.

    The first doorway leads to the Unaalikai (corridor) rightround the Karuvarai where you find the Chola period paintings on the vertical wall panels right round.

    The second doorway has a Padiththalam (stairway) leading to the first floor level of Artha Mantapam and also to the Maha Mantapam of this level (which now remains as an open terrace).

    The Muha Mantapam at ground floor level has two further large doorways on the either side with two sets of Padiththalam leading to the outside of the Karuvarai, and the temple as a whole.

    (2) at the first floor level

    At the first floor level corresponding door facing towards east opens into the open terrace, which undoubtedly was another Maha Mantapam of the same area as the existing ground level Maha Mandapam that was there during the time of Rajaraja Chola - 1, but it appears the structure of this Mantapam has been damaged and got dismantled at a subsequent period, as we could see part of the front two corner walls of same still remaining.

    At the first floor level too there are two Dwarapaalakar on either side of the door entrance falling in to and within the Maha Mantapam confirming the existance of this Maha Mantapam.

    At this level too on the side of the Karuvarai there is a doorway leading to a second corridor right round the Karuvarai which has the beautifull Natya Karanas depicted carved out on the stone wall panels. It is to be noted that only 83 of the 108 Natya Karnas have been fully sculptured while other not completed for reason unknown.

    (3) at the second floor level

    At the second floor level the relevent door of Artha Mantapam facing towards east opens into the second level walled Thiranthaveli Thalam (open terrace) over the full area of the ground level Maha Mantapam which undoubtedly existed during Rajaraja's time, but now this floor which also served as the roof of the first level Maha Matapam with columns too have been possibly damaged possibly and was dismantled.

    There are two narrow stairways on both sides of the entrance door on the outer walls of th Artha Mandapam within the Mahamandapam going from the first floor level to the second floor level exists even today though the second floor no longer exits.

    The existance of this second floor level is confirmed by the fact the existing outer perimeter walls on both sides of this level have slotted holes to lock in position similerly the other consecutive granite wall panels going right round having the locking system.

    All the Artha Mandapams at the three levels are remaining even today unlike the second Maha Mantapam and walled "Open Terrace", and are of the same width when viewed from the main entrance (i.e from east).

    Last edited by virarajendra; 20th August 2017 at 03:20 PM. Reason: bound by the Gangaikonda Choliswara Naayanaar temple properties

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