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Saturday, March 03, 2007


 

South Indian Inscriptions


 

SOUTH INDIAN INSCRIPTIONS

VOLUME XIII

CHOLA INSCRIPTION 

INTRODUCTION

The Chola kings who flourished between the 9th and 13th centuries A.D. adopted the titles Rajakesarivarman and Parakesarivarman alternately in their inscriptions. The early kings of the dynasty, from Vijayalaya onwards up to Rajaraja I, often used these titles exclusively without mentioning their proper names and this practice continued to some extent even after Rajaraja I.

In the following pages are published 355 inscriptions of kings bearing the title Rajakesarivarman copied by the Epigraphical Department from 1904 to 1935. The epigraphs have been arranged according to the regnal years of the king given in each, and hence this arrangement does not allow of their being specifically grouped under each king. It is necessary to study the records closely to identify the different kings bearing this title with the help of internal evidence like the details of date where they are given, the method of writing and phraseology adopted in each and the occurrence in them of names of feudatory chiefs, officers or other persons. Accuracy of readings for this purpose is very important and this could be secured in the case of many of the inscriptions only by constant reference to the original facsimiles, in the course of revising the proofs. I wish to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Government Epigraphist for India who readily supplied me with these impressions whenever required and also assisted me otherwise in the preparation of this volume.

Most of the records in this publication have thus been assigned to kings Aditya I, Gandaraditya, Parantaka II Sundara-Chola, Rajaraja I and to kings Kulottunga I and Kulottunga II. It has not been possible in some cases to refer the inscriptions definitely to any king in particular. Nevertheless, as reflecting the social, political, economic and religious life of South India in ancient times, a collective study of the material contained in this volume will be found useful to students of history and literature.

2. Aditya I : About fifty inscriptions have been ascribed to Aditya I, and these are found distributed in the districts of Tanjore, Tiruchirappalli (including the former Pudukkottai State), South and North Arcot and Chingleput. It is known that Aditya consolidated the conquests of his father Vijayalaya and extended his dominion by further conquests. Vestiges of the displaced powers generally continue to linger in such regions for some time and consequently these find mention in several of his District (No. 335) from which the date has been lost, refers to a previous gift of money made to the temple by Pandya Varaguna-Maharaja, which was now confirmed by the sabha of the place by the assignment of a tax-free land for that amount.

Reminiscent of the Pallava power and influence are the names of the following places : (a) Kumaramarttandapuram mentioned in a record from Tirunagesvaram (No. 13) ; (b) Amaninarayana-chaturvedimangalam mentioned in No. 300 from Tiruvaisalur ; (c) Dantivarmamangalam, the ancient name of Alambakkam (No. 314) ; (d) Marpidugu-chaturvedimangalam near Tirumalavadi (No. 324) ; (e) Videlvidugu-chaturvedimangalam (No. 325) near Lalgudi ; and (g) Aparajita-chaturvedimangalam, the same as Takkolam (No. 294).

3. Brahmadesam in the North Arcot District is mentioned in two inscriptions (Nos. 292 and 322) under the name Rajamalla-chaturvedimangalam, evidently after one of the Western Ganga kings named Rachamalla who must have been ruling in these parts, as evidenced by his inscription No. 6 of 1896 at Vallimalai. A Western Ganga subordinate of Aditya in the same district was Gangamarttanda alias Sembiyan Prithivi-Gangaraiyar, son of Mahadeva thechief of Pangala-nadu who figures as the donor of an ornament to the god at Tiruppalanam in the Tanjore District (No. 319). He has been surmised to be a brother of Alivin Kallarasi alias Sembiyan Bhuvani (or Prithivi)-Gangaraiyar also a son of Mahadeva figuring in the reign of Parantaka I (M.E.R. 1931, II, 8). Another chief who is already well-known to us as the recipient of certain honours at the hands of Aditya and his Chera ally Sthanu-Ravi was Vikki-Annan whose wife Kadambamadevi is stated to have made a gift of a hundred sheep for burning a lamp in the temple at Tillaisthanam (No. 337).

4. No. 288 from Kudimiyamalai mentions two local chiefs by name Perumbidugu-Muttaraiyar and Muttaraiyar Nambi Manatongalar, both evidently close relations of each other. Nangaiyar Nangai Dayanidhiyar, the wife of the former, is said to have made a gift of a lamp to the temple on behalf of Nangai Vikramakesariyar, the daughter of the latter. Perhaps of the same family and having jurisdiction over a tract of Ramanathapuram was Marpidugu Tirukkottiyurkalvan Makalan Anai-udaiyan (No. 299) who figures as a donor to the temple at Tiruppalanam in the 22nd year of the king’s reign.

Other subordinates of Aditya may also be mentioned. The names of Vayiramegan Pidaran of Vennayil in Misengili-nadu, the donor of a meeting hall (ambalam) at sendalai (No. 187) and Nripatungamangala-Peraraiyar whose son Nambi Mallanar was the donor of a land as eripatti at Nerkunram (No. 308) are both reminiscent of offices under the Pallavas. Two other persons who were perhaps new recipients of similar offices under Aditya himself were Sembiyan Malanattuvelan alias Korran Maran of Kaikalur in Kilalkuruvidam (No. 313) and Sembiyan Arkattuvelan alias Maravan Nakkan the headman of Purisai in Parivandatturai of Arkattu-kurram (No. 315). The latter’s son evidently was Nakkan Singan the headman of Purisai who endowed some land to the temple at Tirumalavadi (No. 324).

5. Inscriptions of Aditya in this volume give the names of two of his queens. One of them Vayiri Akkan alias Tribhuvanamadeviyar the donor of a lamp to the temple at Tiruchchatturai (No. 351) is said to have been the daughter of Kadupattigal Tamarmettiyar, who seems to have been a member of the Pallava family and who also made a similar gift to the temple at Tiruppalanam (No. 304). The other queen figures in an inscription from Tirumalavadi (No. 323) which records the gift of a lamp by Ilangon Pichchi who is called the Senior queen of Solaperumanar and the daughter of vallavaraiyar. This Solaperumanar has been identified with Rajaraja I (M.E.R. for 1920, II, 19). The epigraph is dated in the 27th year of the king, and one would expect to find in such a later record the characteristic historical introduction of Rajaraja beginning with Tirumagalpola, etc., and also prominent mention being made of the king’s elder sister undavaiyar the wife of Vallavaraiyar Vandyadevar. Both these are absent in this inscription, and hence we may not be wrong in assigning the record to Aditya in whose 27th year the details of the date work out for A.D.897 October 15. The Vallavaraiyar mentioned in this record might refer to the Rashtrakuta king of the period (Ep. Ind., Vol. XXVI, p. 233), and it is possible that Aditya who had extended his conquests into the West might have contracted marriage alliance with that family. The off spring of this marriage was possibly prince Kannaradeva referred to in No. 321 from the South Arcot District, the same as Adittan Kannaran figuring as donor in a record at Tillaisthanam (M.E.R. 1895, p. 5) and an otherwise unknown brother of Parantaka I.

Besides the two queen mentioned above, the king had also a mistress (bhogiyar) named Nangai Sattaperumanar who endowed 30 kalanju each to the temples at Tiruppundurutti and Tillaisthanam for burning a perpetual lamp therein (Nos. 219 and 247).

6. Tiruverumbur in the Tiruchirappalli District which was also known in its inscriptions as Srikantha-chaturvedimangalam is said to have been situated in Kavira-nadu (No. 166). The presiding deity at this place is called in all its epigraphs by the name Tenkayilayattu-Mahadeva or Tirumalaimel-Mahadeva except in one solitary record (No. 287) dated in the 19th year of Rajakesarivarman, where it is stated that one Tattan Sendi the wife of Agatyan Narayanan Nakkan of Timmigudi, a member of the alunganam of Srikantha-chaturvedimangalam, made an endowment of a tax-free land to provide for a lamp and for offerings to the (image of) god Tirukkoyildeva set up by her in ‘the temple of Aditta-Bhattaraka on the hill.’ The wording in the record clearly indicates that the reference is not to Sun-god but to the main deity only who should have been so called after king Aditya. In accordance with the statement in the Anbil Plates that Aditya caused to be built to Siva rows of tall stone temples on both banks of the Kaveri, the temple on the rocky hillock here seems to owe its origin to this king and it should have come into existence before his 4th year of reign, which is the earliest date for his inscriptions found on its walls (No. 88).

The construction of a srivimana to the temple by a chief named Sembiyan-Vedivelan is mentioned in other inscriptions of the place dated in the reign of a Rajakesarivarman, and it has been shown in the body of the volume that they should all be referred to the time of Rajaraja I.

7. Gandaraditya : It is rather difficult to ascribe clearly the inscriptions subsequent to Aditya between Gandaraditya and Sundara-Chola, as the interval between these two kings is too short for any palaeographical differentiation. The only sure guide is the details of date given in some records.

No. 117 from Palur near Tiruchirappalli is dated in the 5th year of rajakesarivarman. The mention of a lunar eclipse in the month of Kanya enables us to fix the year as A.D. 954 or 955 in both of which there was a lunar eclipse, one on September 15 and the other on September 4, and which may correspond to the 5th year of Gandaraditya. It records an endowment of land to a temple at Tiruppaluvur by Mahimalaya Irukkuvel alias Parantakan Virasolan. The same person is mentioned in No. 23 from Kudimiyamalai near Pudukkottai, dated in the 3rd year of the king, wherein a cavalier of his by name Sandaiyan figures as a donor of some cows to the temple. Irukkuvel or Ilangovel was a title assumed by the chiefs of Kodumbalur who, like the Muttaraiyars of Tanjore, were subordinates of the Cholas since the time of Aditya I and throughout Parantaka I’s reign (see e.g., Nos. 258, 316, 318 and 358 of 1903), but it is hard to fix up their genealogy with theavalable material. Mahimalaya should have been a member of this dynasty of chiefs.

In the temple at Uraiyur near Tiruchirappalli is an inscription of the 3rd year of the king (No. 36) which records an endowment of land by one Kirttimarttanda Brahmadharajan Kunjaramallan. He is different from his namesake mentioned in a record of Rajaraja I at Tiruvallam (S.I.I. Vol. III, No. 50). It mentions two fields called Kunjaramallan-vayakkal and Velkulabhima-vayakkal. The wording in the inscription suggests that they might both have been called after the donor himself. It has been suggested in the note to that inscription that Velkulabhima might have been a title of Parantaka I. The king had also the biruda kunjaramalla among his several titles (S.I.I. Vol. III, In., p. 14).

8. Three inscriptions of Rajakesari, all referable to Gandaraditya, mention groups of regiments called the virasola-terinja-kaikkolar (No. 45), the Samarakesari-terinja-Kaikkolar and the Vikramasinga-terinja-Kaikkolar (Nos. 47 and 48) named after the titles, evidently of Parantaka I. No. 46 from Kumbakonam refers to the Pandippadaiyar. This inscription, which is damaged, seems to contain some valuable information corroborating the other accounts of Parantaka’s conquest of Madurai and Ceylon, but the details are lost. The mulaparishad of Tirukkudamukkil who got the village Arisalur as abhishekadashinai on the occasion of the king’s coronation are said to have been levied an impost of 3, 000 kalanju of gold in the 38th year of the king for the maintenance of the Pandippadaiyar who were possibly prisoners of war (?) stationed in their village. The assembly had to make good this amount in the reign of his successor partly by the sale of 10 veli of land to the two temples of Tirukkilkottattu-Paramasvamin and Jalasayana.

9. Gandaraditya seems to have been assisted in the administration of his kingdom by his younger brother Arikulakesari or Arinjaya before he was succeeded by him to the throne, as evidenced by two inscriptions from Tiruppalatturai both dated in the 8th year of his reign (Nos. 177 and 181). These have been already published in S.I.I., Vol. III (Nos. 111 and 112). They register endowments of land to the temple at Tiruppanambudur by Tappildarma Pallavaraiyan alias Kilmandur Paruvur, an officer holding the high rank of perundanam in the service of prince Arikulakesarideva. It is possible that the donor is identical with Paluvettaraiyan Kodandan Tappildharman figuring in No. 609 of 1920 from Udaiyargudi in the 2nd year of Parakesarivarman (the same as Arinjaya ?) as the donor of a lamp to the temple.

From No. 126 from Tiruchchatturai dated in the 5th year of Rajakesarivarman who may be identified with Gandaraditya, we learn that a lamp was endowed to the temple at that place by one Velan Tiruvengadadigal of Pidavur who is said to have got the title muvendappidavur-velan for the reigning king, and that he was a chief whose fame was well-established.

10. Parantaka II Sundara-Chola : About sixty inscriptions in this collection are assignable to Sundara-Chola. No. 130 from Kaveripakkam in the North Arcot District which is dated in the 6th year of Rajakesarivarman, registers an endowment of lamp made by a merchant residing at Kirttimarttanda-Kalap[ri*]yam in Siru-Timiri-nadu of Paduvur-kottam, to the temple of Kirttimarttanda-Kalap[riyadeva]. Mr. Venkayya has surmised that the temple might be the same as the one dedicated to Kalapriya mentioned in the Karhad Plates of Rashtrakuta Krishna III as having been built among others by that king (M.E.R. 1906, II, 20). It is not clear whether the god referred to was Siva or Vishnu, but the inscription is now found on the walls of a Vishnu temple and Kaverippakkam also, where this temple is situated, is known in all the inscriptions of the place by the name Kavidippakkam only.

The Kodumbalur chiefs who were briefly referred to above under Gandaraditya were related to the Cholas by ties of marriage, and also played an important part in the military campaigns of their overlords. They figure prominently in a few records of the reign of Sundara-Chola. Nos. 9, 84 and 85, all from Tiruvisalur, register endowments of land and money to the temple in the early years of the king’s rule by Pirantakan Irungolan alias Siriyavelar of Kodumbalur the same as Pirantakan Siriyavelar alias Tirukkarralippichchan, the general of Parantaka II (A.R. No. 291 of 1908) who is said to have lost his life in battle in Ceylon in the 9th year of the king’s reign (S.I.I., Vol. III, p. 255). This is different from the Tirukkarralippichchan the donor of a number of endowments to the temple at Tiruvaduturai in the reign of Parantaka I (M.E.R. 1925, II, pp. 80 – 81).

No. 233 from Tillaisthanam dated in the 13th year of Rajakesarivarman (Sundara-Chola) records a gift of 25 kalanju of gold each by Tennavan Piridimarasan alias Katti-Orriyuran and Varaguna-Perumanar, the wife of Parantaka-Irungovelar, for burning two perpetual lamps in the temple. It is evidently the latter who figures in another inscription dated in the same year (No. 240) from Lalgudi, where she is referred to as the sister of the Chola king. As regards the former we may identify him with the chief Kollimalavan Orriyuran Piradigandavarman (also called Sundarasolan) who issued the two copper-plate grants Nos. 10 and 11 of 1913-14 in one of which, dated in the 10th year of Rajakesarivarman, it is stated that the dug a well for god Tirukkarrali-Paramesvara at Tusiyur in quench the thirst of his father who died at Ilam (M.E.R. 1914, II, 15 and S.I.I. Vol. III, pp. 476-9). Considering the fact that he made a gift to the Tillaisthanam temple jointly with Varaguna-Perumanar we may conclude that he was the son of Parantakan-Irungovelar (or Sririyvelar) by this Chola princess, and that he had been given the chieftainship of a nadu round about Tusiyur by the king. It may also be mentioned in this connection that the Rajakesarivarman in whose reign these copper-plate grants were issued is more likely to be identical with Sundara-Chola than with Rajaraja I as has been supposed in the volumes quoted above.

Besides varaguna-Perumanar, another wife of Siriyavelar by name Rajadichchi is introduced to us in No. 246 from Tirukkalittattai dated in the 14th year of the king. She is stated to have made a gift of 25 Ilakkasu for a perpetual lamp in the temple in the company of Kunjaramalli who is called the daughter of Siriyavelar, and who donated an equal amount for another lamp.

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