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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 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 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 Chola Indian Mainland expedition ended in A.D.1022 and details of the countries conquered by his forces in this single expedition were included in his Meikeerthi's from the year A.D.1023. Rajendra Chola - 1 in this year commenced the construction of a new city named the "Gangaikonda Cholapuram", and a big 'water tank' named the "Chola Gangam" where the holy water brought in from the Ganges River was poured commemorating his victory over the Gangetic region and river Gangai.

    Rajendra Cholan - 1 completed his North Indian expedition in the year A.D.1022 and added the names of all countries he conquered from Sakkarakkoatam onwards towards upto the Gangetic region and great river Gangai in east of North India, and Purvadesam (Gandara country) of Pakistan west of North India in his Meikeeththi (true glory) only from this year 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 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".

    Hence it is quite evident the great war expedition overseas to the South-East Asian Countries by Rajendra Chola - 1 took two years to complete from the year A.D.1022 to A.D.1024 and the countries conquered were further included in his Meikeerththi in the year A.D.1025.

    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. He instead visited the Gangaikonda Cholapuram and the Gangaikonda Choliswarer temple, made much endowments to the temple and arranged for a daily ritual at this temple to God Siva named after him as 'Sundarapaandiyan Santhi'

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

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

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

    Maravarman Vikkrama Paandiyan was the brother and co-ruler of northern region of Tamil Nadu under his elder brother Maravarman Kulaseka Paandiya - 2. While he was ruling this region in the year A.D.1289

    Gangaikonda Cholaeswarer Thirukkoyil (Temple) under Sambuvaraayer Kings

    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 (Temple)

    (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) Muha Mantapams with connected Maha Mantapams

    The Muha 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).

    (4) at the third floor level

    Above the third Artha Maandapam is a small "Open Enclosure" but of smaller width unlike the Artha Mandapam at the other levels, but with another doorway in front also facing in the same eastern direction, and two side slotted stone windows, but with no Maha Mandapam or Open Terrace in front of same.

    This enclosure terrace is in front of the Dakkshina Meru Vidandakar Stone Panel on the Vimanam. There should have been an approach stairway to this open enclosure terrace area too and possibly the daily religious rituals was also done to the Dakkshina Meru Vidandakar on the Stone Panel on the east face of the Vimanam.

    On all the top edge walls of the third Mahamandapam possibly was decorated with equi-spaced Nandi all right round. We even on the short width side walls on the forth level enclosure with final finish has three small Nandis on them. These damaged and dismanled Mahamandapams on the first level and second level would have been with stone windows all around for ventilation as seen in the existing ground floor Mahamantapam.

    From the three levels of Arthamandapam there are doorway on the western side too leading in the the Karuvarai of the temple.

    At the third level Artha Mandapam which is reached from the second level Arthamandapam by a stairway within second level Mahamandapam.the There appears to be another doorway at this level on the Karuvarai side which is possibly a corridor right round the base of the joint level Karuvarai and the start of the Vimanam over it.

    (c) Maha Mantapam

    (d) Chandeswarar Shrine

    Closer to the northern main entrance stairway leading to the outside from the ground level Artha Mantapam of the big temple, is the seperate small temple shrine to Lord Chandeswarer.

    (e) Nanthi Mantapam

    There apparently had been a Nanthi Mantapam in front of the Muha Mandapam during the period of Rajaraja Chola - 1 as we can still see in the paved flooring opposite Muha Mantapam at places square sections of granite levelled to surronding floor level but having slightly varied colour granite stones.

    The original Nanthi within the Mantapam during Rajaraja’s time, is now removed and kept in the Ullaalai (corridor) on the western side of the Thiruchchuttru.

    The original granite Nanthi more finely carved that existed during the period of Rajaraja Chola - 1 has been removed from it's original location in front of the temple, and placed in the west wing of the Thiruchchuttru-Maaligai at a subseqent period. (while the present Nanthi and the enclosing Mantapam over it were built in it's place during the period of emperor Kulothunga Chola - 1 and king Achuthapa Naayakar who ruled over Thanjavur at differnt periods).

    (f) Katthala Velimuttram

    Surrounding the main temple structure comprising of 'Karuvarai with Vimanam', Maha Mantapam and Muha Mantapam all in integral, is a vast Katthala Velimuttram (Stonepaved Outeryard) within the Thiruchchuttru Maalikai.

    (g) Thiruchchuttru Maalikai

    On the order of the emperor Rajaraja Chola, the single floor enclosure cloister (thiru-chuttru-maaligai) which surrounds the Rajarajaeswarem temple was caused to be built by his general (Senathipati) Sri-Krishnan Raman alias Mummudi-Chola-Brahma-Marayan.. This connects to the second Gopuram from the main entrance being called as the Rajarajan Thiruvaayil.

    The Thiruchchuttru Maalikai going all round the Katthala Velimuttram measures internally 500 ft length and 250 ft width and externally 800 ft length and 400 ft width. The entire cross section of this Thirucchuttru Maalikai comprises of an long Ullaalai (Inner Corridor) of single Tier, with an integral outer Wall having a height over the Ulaalai upto 28 ft.

    On the top four corners of the Thiruchchuttru Maalikai integral Wall there are four Sikarams, and inbetween these Sikarams along the top perimeter of the Wall, are the equi-spaced same size Nanthis to be seen.

    Within the Ullaalai of the Thiruchchuttru Malikai there were some smaller Shrines of the Parivaara Theivangkal (accompanying Deities).

    (h) East Gopura Vaayil

    Courtesy : 'Sashidharan' of Facebook

    There was only one Gopura Vaayil (main entrances) at the Gangaikonda Choliswarer temple. This Vaayil had an ornate Gopuram of ..... ft height in three tiers. This connects on both sides to the Thiruchchuttru Maalikai and Puramathil going right round the temple. The Thiruchuttru Maalikai Puramathil had small eqi-spaced Nanthis all round on the top of the Puramathil with ornate minor Gopurams at the four corners, like the Puramathil at the Rajarajeswarem temple at Thanjavur. This Puramathil on all four sides were named as "Rajendra Cholan Thirumathil".

    (i) Velichchuttru between the Thiruchchuttru Malikai and Pura Mathil

    The Velichuttru

    (i) Pura Mathil

    Last edited by virarajendra; Today at 12:08 AM.

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