The Indian Analyst

South Indian Inscriptions






Brihadhiswara Temple Inscriptions  

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Annual Reports 1935-1944

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  TANJAVUR Brihadhiswara TEMPLE Inscriptions 


No. 57 On the outside of the east enclosure

This inscription is engraved on the left of the entrance to the second gopura,[1] the inside of which bears the inscriptions Nos. 24 to 28. Paragraph 1 states, that it is the continuation of another inscription, now much obliterated, to the north of “the gate of Rajaraja,” i.e., to the right of the second gopura.  As the preserved portion of the inscription is not dated, it remains doubtful if it has to be assigned to the reign of Rajarajadeva or to that of Rajendra-Choladeva. It consists of a list of villages, which had to supply watchmen for the temple.


1. As, — after the stone had been inscribed on the north of the sacred gate (tiru-vasal) of [Sri]-Rajaraja........ up to the shrine (alaya) of Isanamurti, — the space at that spot was not sufficient, the portion which was missing there, was engraved on stone at this spot, (as follows) : -

2. The members of the assembly of Rajasraya-chaturvedimangalam in Uraiyur-kurram, (a subdivision) of Keralantaka-valanadu, have to supply two temple watchmen.[2]

3. The members of the assembly of Arinjigai-chaturvedimangalam[3] in the same nadu have to supply one temple watchman.

4. The villagers of Va[ya]lur in the same nadu have to supply one temple watchman.

5. The villagers of Karuppur in the same nadu have to supply [one] temple watchman.

6. [The members of the assembly] of......... tandalai in Mi[ko]t[ta-nadu],[4] (a subdivision) of [Keralantaka-va]landau, have to supply one temple watchman.

7. The [members of the assembly of] Utta[masili]-chaturvedimangalam in Vila-nadu, (a subdivision) of Pandyakulasani-valanadu, have to supply one temple watchman.

6. [The members of the assembly] of......... tandalai in Mi[ko]t[ta-nadu],[4] (a subdivision) of [Keralantaka-va]landau, have to supply one temple watchman.

7. The [members of the assembly of] Utta[masili]-chaturvedimangalam in Vila-nadu, (a subdivision) of Pandyakulasani-valanadu, have to supply one temple watchman.

8. The members of the assembly of Soramahadevi-chaturvedimangalam in the same nadu have to supply one temple watchman.

9. The members of the assembly of Idaiyarru-mangalam in Idaiyarru-nadu, (a subdivision) of Pandyakulasani-valanadu, have to supply one temple watchman.

10. The members of the assembly of Nallur, alias Panchavamahadevi-chaturvedimangalam, in Nallur-nadu, (a subdivision) of Nittavinoda-valanadu, have to supply one temple watchman.

11. The villagers of Kundavai-nallur in Ka[rambai-nadu], (a subdivision) of Nittavinoda-valanadu, have to supply one temple watchman.

12. The villagers of Kundavai-nallur in [Kir]ar-kurram, (a subdivision) of Nitta-vinoda-vala[nadu], have to supply one temple watchman.

13. The members of the assembly of Irumbudal, alias Manukulasulamani-chaturvedimangalam, in A[vur-ku]rram, (a subdivision) of Nittavinoda-valanadu, have to supply one temple watchman.

14. The villagers of [V]ilattur in Avur-kurram, (a subdivision) of the same nadu, have to supply [one] temple watchman.

15. The members of the assembly of Ja[nan]atha-chturvedimanagalam in Mudichchonadu,[5] (a subdivision) of [Nitta]vi[noda-va]landau, have to supply one temple watchman.

16. The members of the assembly of Sirrina[var], alias Paramesvara-chaturvedimangalam, in the same nadu have to supply one temple watchman.

17. The members of the assembly of [Ki]........ [p]undi, alias Olokamahade[I]chat]rvedimangalam, in Venni-kurram, (a subdivision) of Nittavinoda-va[landau], have to supply one temple watchman.

18. The members of the assembly of Puva[nu]r, alias Avanikesari-chaturvedimangalam, in the same [nadu] have to supply one temple watchman.

19. The members of the assembly of [P]erunangai-mangalam in the same nadu have to supply one temple watchman.

20. The villagers of Sirrambar in Pambuni-kurram, (a subdivision) of [Nittavi]-noda-va[lana]du, have to supply [one] temple watchman.

No. 58. On the outside of the north enclosure.

The outer face of the North wall of the temple enclosure bears five inscriptions, one of Kulottunga and four of Rajarajadeva. Of these, only the top lines are visible, while the lower portions are buried underground to a depth of about five feet. With the permission of the Municipal authorities, I excavated the whole of the first inscription, as it is the only inscription of Kulottunga at Tanjavur. It is dated in the 15th year of the reign of Ko-Rajakesarivarman, alias Kulottunga-Cholada, and opens with a panegyrical introduction, which describes the achievements of this king. Mr. V. Kanakaabhai pillai has already published an inscription of the 42nd year of the same reign at Tirukkarukkunram in the Chingleput district.[6] I have copies of a number of others. Three of these have the same introduction as the Tanjavur and Tirukkarukkunram inscriptions, viz., one of the 18th year at the Ranganatha temple, Srirangam, one of the 45th year at Alangudi in the Tanjore district, and one of the 47th year at the Jambukesvara temple, Srirangam. Others resemble the so-called smaller Leyden grant.[7]

The king, to whose reign these inscriptions belong, is identical with the hero of the kalingattu-Parani, a historical poem in Tamil, extracts from which were published by Mr. Kanakasabhai.[8] This identity may be safely concluded from the mention of the following particulars both in the inscriptions and in the poem : — 1. The conquest of Chakrakotta by Kulottunga, while he was still a Yuvaraja.[9] 2. The battle at Manalur[10] on the Tungabhadra.[11] 3. The defeat of the five Pandyas.[12]  4. The conquest of Kottaru.[13]  5. The conquest of Kalinga.[14] 6. The name of one of Kulottunga’s queens, Tyagavalli.[15] 7. His surname Jayadhara.[16]

According to the Kalingattu-Parani, Kulottunga’s father belonged to the lunar race, and his mother was the daughter of Rajaraja or Gangaikonda-Chola of the solar race.[17]  As pointed out by Mr. Kanakasabhai and Dr. Fleet,[18] it follows from these statements, that the hero of the poem is identical with the Eastern Chalukya king Kulottunga-Chodadeva I., who reigned from A.D. 1063 to 1112 ; that his unnamed father and mother were the Eastern Chalukya king Rajaraja I [19] and Ammangadevi ; and that his maternal grandfather, — though inaccurately called Rajaraja in the text of the poem, — was the Chola king Rajendra-Choladeva or Gangaikonda-Chola. A few important details regarding the reign of Kulottunga I are recorded in the Chellur grant of Vira-Choda.[20] He was originally called Rajendra-Choda, — evidently after his maternal grandfather, the Chola king Rajendra-Chola, — and ruled over the country of Vengi. Having conquered Kerala, Pandya and Kuntala (the country of the Western Chalukyas), he ascended the throne of the Chola kingdom under the name Kulottungadeva. By his queen Madhurantaki, the daughter of the Chola king Rajendradeva, he had seven sons. His original dominion, the country of Vengi, he governed through viceroys, viz., 1. his paternal uncle Vijayaditya VII. (A.D. 1063 to 1077) ; 2. his son Rajaraja II. (A.D. 1077 to 1078) ; and 3. his son Vira-Choda (A.D. 1078 to at least 1100). Some of these statements of the Chellur grant are confirmed by the Kalingattu-Parani and by the inscriptions of Kulottunga. His original name Rajendra-Choladeva occurs in two inscriptions o the 2nd year of his reign at Kolar and at Tiruvorriyur near Madras, while all later inscriptions call him Kulottunga-Choladeva. His early war with the king of Kuntala is referred to in the subjoined inscription (1. 3), and his subsequent accession to the throne of the Chola kingdom, which had fallen into a state of anarchy, is recorded by the same inscription (II. 4 to 9) and by the poem (x. 26 to 32). Victories over the Pandyas are also narrated in the inscription (II. 18 ff. and 39 f f.) The conquest of the Keralas is alluded to by the mention of the Western region ( I. 32), of the Western hill-country ( I. 54) and of the Sahya mountain (I. 52). A short Sanskrit inscription at Chidambaram[21] must be attributed to the same Kulottunga-Chola as the subjoined inscription, because it refers to the conquest of the five Pandyas, of Kottara[22] (i.e., Kottaru), of the Keralas, and of the Sahya mountain.

There is yet another source for the history of Kulottunga’s reign, — Bilhana’s Vikramankadevacharita. In this poem he is called “Rajiga,[23] the lord of Vengi,” and his accession to the Chola throne is placed immediately before the defeat of the Western Chalukya king Somesvara II and the coronation of the lattr’s younger brother Vikramaditya VI. In A.D. 1076. According to the Vikramankacharita, Rajiga was the ally of Somesvara II. And was put to flight by Vikramaditya VI while Somesvara II was taken prisoner.[24] Those who know the habits of Indian court-poets, will not be surprised to find, that the inscriptions of Kulottunga differ from the Vikramankacharita by claiming the victory for the Cholas. In the subjoined inscription (II. 23 ff.) Vikkalan, i.e., Vikramaditya VI., is said to have fled before Kulottunga from Nangili (in Maisur) to the Tungabhadra river, which appears to have then formed the southern limit of the Western Chalukya dominions. The smaller Leyden grant and a few similar inscriptions of Kulottunga couple the name of Vikkalan with that of Singanan, i.e., Jayasimha IV. Whom his elder brother Vikramaditya VI. Appointed viceroy of Banavase.[25] As the Vikramankacharita places Rajiga’s usurpation of the Chola throne shortly before A.D. 1076, it follows that the reign of 49 years from A.D. 1063 to 1112, which he was only heir-apparent of the Chola kingdom. The name of his predecessor on the Chola throne is not mentioned in the two chronicles. The Vikramankacharita relates that, before Rajiga usurped the Chola throne, Vikramaditya VI married the daughter of the then Chola king, and that after the latter’s death he secured the throne to his wife’s brother, who shortly after lost his life.[26]  The Kalingattu-Parani (x. 26) calls Kulottunga’s predecessor “the king of kings” (mannar mannavan). The eight canto of the same poem contains a short summary of the history of the Cholas. The last verse (3) of this poetical history probably refers to the reign of Kulottunga, and the preceding verse (29), which speaks of a king who defeated the Kuntalas (i.e., the Western Chalukyas) at Kudal-Samgama, to Kulottunga’s predecessor on the throne. The battle at Kudal-samgama, i.e., at the junction of the Tungabhadra and Krishna rivers,[27] is referred to in unpublished inscriptions of the Chola king Ko-Rajakesarivarman, alias Vira-Rajendradeva, who claims to have defeated Ahavamalla (II) and his two sons Vikkalan and Singanan at Punal-kudal-samgama. An inscription of the 5th year of the reign of this king at Manimangalam in the Chingleput district proves that he was still reigning after A.D. 1063, the year of the accession of Vijayaditya VII. off Vengi,[28] whom he alleges to have re-established in his dominions.[29] This Vira-Rajendradeva appears to be “the king of kings” who preceded Kulottunga, and the father-in-law of Vikramaditya VI. The verse of the Kalingattu-Parani which mentions the battle at Kudal-samgama, is preceded by another verse (27), which speaks of a king who won the battle at Koppai. This statement must refer to the Chola king Ko-Parakesarivarman, alias Rajendradeva, whose inscriptions record that he defeated Ahavamalla (II.) “at Koppam on the bank of the big river,”[30] i.e., at Koppa on the Tunga river in the Kadur district of the Maisur state. This Rajendradeva is perhaps identical with that Rajendradeva of the solar race, whose daughter Madhurantaki was married to Kulottunga according to the Chellur grant. The subjoined table shows the somewhat complicated relations between Kulottunga and his Chola predecessors : -

Relationship chart 1

Relationship chart 2

The last lines of the subjoined inscription contain the name of Arumori-Nangai, the queen of Vira-Rajaendradeva, who, as previously stated, appears to have been the predecessor of Kulottunga. There are no traces of letters after the word deviyar in line 64, though there would have been sufficient room for further lines on the same panel. It appears, therefore, that the inscription was left unfinished by the engraver, perhaps because political or private reasons prevented Arumori-Nangai from executing the donation, which she intended to make to the temple.


(Line 1) Hail ! Prosperity ! While the wheel of his (authority) rolled as far as the golden circle (i.e., Mount Meru) on the earth, which was surrounded by the moat of the sea, that was (again) surrounded by (his) fame, — Ko-Rajakesarivarman, alias the emperor (chakravartin) Sri-Kulottunga-Choladeva,[31] wedded first in the time (when he was still) heir apparent (ilango), the brilliant goddess of victory at Sakkarakottam (Chakrakotta)[32] by deeds of valour.

(L. 2) (He) seized a herd of mountains of rut (i.e., rutting elephants) at Vayiragaram (Vajrakara).

(L. 3). (He) unsheathed (his) sword, showed the strength of (his) arm, and spurred (his) war-steed, so that the army of the spear-throwing king of Kondala (Kuntala) retreated.

(L. 4) Having established (his) fame, and having put on the garland of (the victory over) the Northern region, (he) put on by right (of inheritance) the pure royal crown[33] of jewels, in order to stop[34] the prostitution of the goddess with the sweet and excellent lotus-flower (i.e., Lakshmi) of the Southern region, and the loneliness of the goddess of the good country whose garment is the Ponni (Kaveri)

(L. 9.) The kings of the old earth placed (on their heads) his two feet as a large crown.

(L. 11.) The river (of the rules) of the ancient king Manu swelled, (and) the river (of the sins) of the Kali (age) dried up.

(L. 12.) (His) scepter swayed over every region ; the sacred shadow of (his) white parasol shone (as) the white moon everywhere on the circle of the great earth ; (and his) tiger (banner)[35] fluttered on the matchless Meru (mountain).

(L. 16.) (Before him) stood many rows of elephants, unloaded from ships and presented as tribute by the kings of remote islands whose girdle was the sea.

(L. 18.) The big head of the brilliant king of the South (i.e., the Pandya) lay outside his golden town, being pecked by kites.

(L. 20.) Not only did the speech (of Vikkalan) : — “After this day a permanent blemish (will attach to Kulottunga), as to the crescent (which is the origin) of (his) family,”[36] – turn out wrong, but the bow (in) the hand of Vikkalan was not (even) bent against (the enemy).

(L. 23.) While (Vikkalan) lost his pride, and while the dead (bodies of his) furious elephants (covered) the whole (tract) from Nangili[37] of rocky roads to the Tungabhadra, which adorned the country (nadu) of Manalur, — (his) boasted valour abated ; the mountains which (he) ascended, bent their backs ; the rivers into which (he) descended, eddied and breached (their banks) in their course ; (and) the seas into which (he) plunged, became troubled and agitated.

(L. 32.) Being desirous of the rule over the Western region, (he) seized simultaneously the two countries (pani)[38] called Gangamandalam and Singanam,[39] troops of furious elephants which had been irretrievably abandoned (by the enemy), crowds of women (the angles of) whose beautiful eyes were as pointed as daggers, the goddess of fame, and the great goddess of victory, who changed to the opposite (side) out of fear, because (Vikkalan) himself and (his) father had turned their backs again and again on many days.

(L. 39.) Being pleased (to resolve) in (his) royal mind to conquer with great fame the Pandimandalam (i.e., the Pandya country), (he) dispatched his great army, — which possessed excellent horses (resembling) the waves of the sea, war-elephants (likewise resembling) waves, and troops (resembling) water, — as though the Northern ocean was about to overflow the Southern ocean.

(L. 43.) (He) destroyed the jungle which the five Panchavas (i.e., Pandyas) had entered as refuge, when they became much afraid on a battle-field where (he) fought (with them), turned their backs and fled.

(L. 46.) (He) subdued (their) country, made them catch hot fever (in) hills where woodmen roamed about, and planted pillars of victory in every direction.

(L. 50) (He) as pleased to seize the pearl fisheries, the Podiyil (mountain)[40] where the three kinds of Tamil (flourished),[41] the (very) center of the (mountain) Sayyam (Sahya, i.e., the Western Ghats) where furious rutting elephants were captured, and Kanni.[42]

(L. 53.) After (he) had fixed the boundaries of the Southern (i.e., Pandya) country, every living being[43] in the Western hill-country (Kudamalainadu)[44] ascended to the great heaven.[45]

(L. 55.) (He) was pleased to bestow on the chiefs of the agricultural tracts of his (country) settlements on the roads, including (that which passed) Kottaru,[46] in order that (his) power might rise (and) the enemies might be scattered.

(L. 57.) In the fifteenth year (of the reign) of (this king), who was pleased to sit (on his throne), while (his) valour and liberality shone like (his) pearl-necklace of great splendour, and like the flower-garland on (his) royal shoulders, — Arumori-Nangaiyar, alias...........[simha]n-mahadeviyar, who was the consort of the lord Sri-Vira-Rajendradeva,..............

[1] On the View of the Tanjore Temple, which is prefixed to Part II of this volume (Plate vi, page 121), the second gopura is visible between the central shrine on the right and the first gopura on the left of the beholder.

[2] Tiru-mey-kappu, ‘the sacred body-guard,’ or, as they are now called, Mey-kaval are the watchmen of the temple. Three divisions of the Mey-kappar, two of which guarded the Keralantaka gate and the Anukka gate, are referred to in No. 11, paragraph 1.

[3] A village of the same name is mentioned in No.17, paragraph 1. The deserted Cholesvara temple at Melpadi, near Triuvallam in the North Arcot district contains three inscriptions of the 29th year of the reign of Rajarajadeva, according to which the temple was built by “the lord Sri-Rajarajadeva” himself and was called Arinjigai-Isvara or Arinjisvara. The word Arinjigai may be a corruption of Arimjaya, the Sanskrit name of the grandfather of Rajarajadeva.

[4] Compare Mi-palaru on page 60, note 3.

[5] This is the same as Mudichchora-nadu in No.6, paragraph 10. Sonadu is a contraction of Sora-nadu, as Maladu of Malai-nadu ; see p. 167, note 5, and Ind. Ant. Vol. XXI, p. 324, note 11.

[6] Ind. Ant., Vol. XXI, pp. 281 ff.

[7] Dr. Burgess’ Archaeological Survey of Southern India, Vol. IV, pp. 224 ff. The introduction of the Tiruvarur inscription (p. 153, above differs from both types of the introduction and appears to belong to a later king of the same name.

[8] Ind. Ant., Vol. XIX, pp. 329 ff.

[9] Text line 1f. of the present inscription, and canto x. verses 18 and 23.

[10] Line 24, and xiii. 93

[11] Line 25, and iv. 7.

[12] Line 43, and xi. 69.

[13] Line 56, and iii. 21.

[14] This is described in the twelfth canto of the poem and referred to in two of Mr. Kanakasabhai’s inscriptions and in the Alangudi inscription of the 45th year.

[15] She is mentioned in canto x. verse 55, in two of Mr. Kanakasabhai’s inscriptions in the Alangudi and Jambukesvara inscriptions.

[16] This biruda occurs at xi. 68 and passim, and in two inscriptions of the 30th and 44th years of Tiruvorriyur and Chidambaram.

[17] Ind. Ant., Vol. XIX, p. 332.

[18] Ibid., Vol. XX, p. 279 f.

[19] No. 27 of the Table in Vol. I p. 32

[20] Vol. I. Pp. 49 ff.

[21] Vo. I, p. 168 f.

[22] This word was previously misread by me as Korggara, l. c.

[23] Rajiga is a familiar abbreviation of Rajendra-Chola, the original name of Kulottunga ; Ind. Ant., Vol. XX, p. 282.

[24] Dr. Buhler’s introduction to the Vikramankacharita, p. 37.

[25] Ibid., p. 38, and Dr. Fleet’s Kanarese Dynasties, p. 51.

[26] Dr. Buhler’s introduction, p. 35.

[27] Ind. Ant., Vol. XIX, p. 340.

[28] The fact that Vira-Rajendra was still on the Chola throne after A.D. 1063, confirms the account of the Vikramankacharita, according to which Kulottunga took possession of the Chola kingdom several years after A.D. 1063, the nominal date of his accession.

[29] Vengai nanadu meetukondu than ponkazharkadaikalam puguntha padaikalathadakkai vijayathitharkaruli “having recovered the good country of Vengai, (he) bestowed (it) on Vijaiyadittan, whose strong arm (bore) the weapon, and who had taken refuge at his handsome feet.” Another “protector” of Vijayaditya VII. Was Rajaraja of Kalinganagara (A.D. 1071 to 1078) ; Ind. Ant., Vol. XVIII, p. 171.

[30] Vol. I, p. 134.

[31] The name of the king is taken from lines 59 ff. of the inscription.

[32] See Vo,. I, p. 97, and Vol. II, p. 108. Two inscriptions of the 2nd year of the reign of Ko-Rajakesarivarman, alias Rajendra-Choladeva (i.e., Kulottunga-Choladeva I.) at Kolar and Tiruvorriyur read Sakkara kottathu thara varasanaithiku nigazhthurai kondaruli“(he) was pleased to take tribute which illumined (all) regions, from the king of Tara (Dhara) at Sakkarakottam.” Accordingly, Chakrakotta must be looked for in the dominions of the king of Dhara ; compare Ind. Ant., Vol. XIX, p. 340, and Vol. XX, p. 280.

[33] The mention of the Lakshmi of the South and of the goddess of the country on the banks of the Kaveri shows that the Chola crown is meant.

[34] Literally, “so that there might be removed.”

[35] The tiger is the emblem of the Cholas.

[36] This taunt appears to allude to the lunar (Eastern Chalukya) descent of Kulottunga and to his having joined the Cholas, who belonged to the solar race.

[37] Nangili appears to be the same as Nangali, a village on the eastern extremity of the Mulabagal talluqa of the Kolar district of the Maisur state.

[38] Another meaning of this sentence is : — “He seized simultaneously the two (right) hands (pani) of, i.e., he married, the female personifications of these two countries.

[39] Singanam is probably intended for Singana-mandalam, the country of Simhana, i.e., Jayasimha IV. ; compare line 2 of the smaller Leyden grant (Dr. Burgess’ Archaeological Survey of Southern India, Vol. IV, p. 224), where the sea is said to have rushed over Vikkalan and Singanam, i.e., Vikramaditya VI and Jayasimha IV.

[40] This mountain, which is usually called Podiyam or Podigai (Ind. Ant., Vol. XVIII, p. 241), is the source of the Tamraparni river in the Tinnevelly district.

[41] The mountain Podiyam is supposed to be the residence of the sage Agastya, the reputed founder of Tamil grammar, who bears the epithets Tamir-muni, ‘the Tamil sage,’ and Muttamir-uriyon, ‘the lord of the three kinds of Tamil.’

[42] Kanni, Kumari or Kanniyakumari (in Sanskrit, Kanyakumari) is the tamil name of the Cape Comorin.

[43] This translation of Saveru, ‘devoid of death,’ is doubtful.

[44] The same term occurs in the historical introduction of the inscriptions of Rajarajadeva, e.g., p. 9, above.

[45] I.e., he exterminated the inhabitants.

[46] This place is situated in the Travancore state ; see Mr. Sowell’s Lists of Antiquities, Vol. I, p. 258. 

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