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Saturday, February 24, 2007


South Indian Inscriptions


Part - I

Miscellaneous Inscriptions From the Tamil Country

II.- Inscriptions at Melpadi

No. 15 to 16 on the Cholesvara shrine

No. 17 to 19 Cholesvara & Somananathesvara shrine

Melpadi,[1] which I visited in 1889, is a village six miles north of Tiruvallam in the North Arcot district.  The antiquity of the place is established by the Karhad plates of the Rashtrakuta king Krishna III., who in A.D. 959 was encamped at Melpati.[2]  About a mile west of Melpadi is the hill of Vallimalai, an ancient site of Jaiana worship.[3]

Melpadi contains two temples of Siva, the larger of which, Somanathesvara, is still used, while the other, Cholesvara, is deserted.  I publish below four inscriptions of the Cholesvara temple (Nos. 15 to 18) and one of the Somanathesvara temple (No. 19).  Of these, four belong to the reign of the Chola king Rajaraja I.  (Nos. 15, 16, 17 and 19).  Of these, four belong to the reign of the Chola king Rajaraja I.  (Nos. 15, 16, 17 and 19).  Of these, four belong to the reign of the Chola king Rajaraja I. (No. 18).  From three of them (nos. 15, 16 and 17) we learn that the Cholesvara temple was built by Rajaraja I. himself.  Hence it is contemporaneous with the great temple at Tanjavur.[4]  The ancient name of the Cholesvara temple was Arinjigai-Isvara (Nos. 15 and 16) or Arinjisvara (Nos. 17 and 18).  The first part of this compound is probably a corruption of Arimjaya,[5] the name of Rajaraja’s grandfather.[6]  Rajaraja is said to have built the temple “as a resting-place (?) for the king who fell asleep (i.e., died) at Arrur” (Nos. 15, 16 and 17).  If I am correct in deriving the name of the temple from Arimjaya, it would follow that the same king is meant by the expression “the king who died at Arrur.”   According to No. 19, the ancient name of the Somanathesvara temple wasCholendrasimhesvara.[7]

Melpadi bore the two names Melpadi (Nos. 15 to 18) and Rajasrayapuram (Nos. 15  to 19).  The second designation has to be derived from one of the surnames of Rajaraja I.[8]  The same applies to the names of two street of Melpadi, viz., “the high-street of Mummadi-Chola”[9] (No. 15) and “the high-street of Arumolideva”[10] (No. 19).  Melpadi belonged to Tuy-nadu (nos. 18 and 19) or Tunadu (Nos. 15, 16 and 17) a subdivision of Perumbana-padi[11] (Nos. 15 to 18), a district of Jayankonda-Cholamandalam.[12]  Three of the inscriptions were put in writing by the accountant (karanattan) of the city (Nos. 15, 16 and 18).

[1]  No. 119 on the Madras Survey Map of the Chittur taluka.

[2]  Ep. Ind. Vol. IV. P. 281.

[3]  Ibid. p. 140.

[4]  See above, Vol. II. p. 1.

[5]  Compare Vol. II. p. 259 f.

[6]  See Vol. I. p. 112.

[7]  The same temple is incidentally referred to in No. 15.

[8]  See Vol. II. p. 260, note 5.

[9]  See ibid. note 3, and below, p. 29.

[10]  See Vol. II. p. 259, note 5.

[11]  The names Perumbana-padi and Vanasamudram (No. 19 below) bear testimony to the rule of the Bane dynasty over this part of the country.  See also Ep. Ind.  Vol. IV. P. 221, note 3.

[12]  See above, p. 2, note 3.

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