Two Jaina temples at Chittamur.
79. The Jainas in the Tamil country are mainly confined to the North Arcot,
South Arcot and Chingleput districts, and the pontiff who looks after their
spiritual needs has his headquarters at
Chittāmūr in the Gingee taluk of the South
Arcot district. His maṭha claims connection with the parent institution at
Śravaṇa-Beḷgoḷa in the Mysore State. There are two temples at Chittāmūr. one of
which is called the Malainātha temple and consists of a boulder of rock on
which an oblong panel of the Tirthaṅkara Bāhubalin, Pārśvanātha, Nēminātha
and Mahāvīra flanked by Yakshis is elegantly sculptured in half relief.
A modern maṇḍapa added in front provides shelter for the alter and the
worshippers. This must have been the original Jaina temple of importance at
this place, which is referred to as Kāṭṭāmbaḷḷi or Tiruvūrāmbaḷḷi in two records of
the time of Rājakēsarivarman (17th year) and Rājādhirāja (10th year) engraved
on two stray slabs (Nos. 201 and 202 of 1902) at that village, which are now lost.
The other, more modern, temple of Pārśvanātha is the official temple in the charge
of the Maṭhādhipati of this place, and it has now grown in importance to the
subordination of the older monument. The earliest inscriptions in this temple are
two records dated in Śaka 1500, engraved on the base of the Mānastambha in front,
which refer to the erection of the column by a merchant of Jagatāpi-Gutti
named Buśśeṭṭi, also called Būśrēshṭi, son of Bāyi-Śeṭṭi (Nos. 517 and 518).
About seventy-five years ago the temple was considerably improved and new
structures were added during the pontificate of Abhinava Ādisēna-Bhaṭṭāraka
(No. 520). The inscription recording this information is dated in Śaka 1787
corresponding to the 2529th year of the mōksha of Vardhamāna.
An interesting monument of late Vijayanagara workmanship kept in front
of this Jaina temple is a stone chariot on wheels, represented as being dragged by
a pair of caparisoned elephants. This is said to have been brought from the
Veṅkaṭaramaṇasvāmin temple in the fort at Gingee. A seated image of
a Jaina Tīrthaṅkara (Nēminātha) set up in the compound of this temple is similarly
alleged to have been brought here from a Jaina site at Mylapore in Madras.
From the Tirunūrrandādi of the Jain divine Avirōdhiyālvār (cf. Ajātaśatru), it is learnt that a Jaina temple of Nēmichandra was in existence at Mylapore in
his period and that the Jaina devotees, anticipating danger to the temple from
the threatening erosion of the sea, had the image removed to Śirrāmūr. It is
possible that the two images are identical, and it is unfortunate that this Jaina
image which had been removed to this village with so much devotion, is now
lying neglected in a corner of that temple.
80. No. 401 from Tiruppālaippandal in the Tirukkoyilur taluk of the South
Arcot district is not dated, but can, from its paleography, be attributed to the
16th century A.D. It registers a gift of
lands, a house site and a portion of the
daily offered food from the temple by the authorities to Kāliṅgarāyar
Uṇṇāmulai-Nayinār Ellappa-Nayinār, for having composed an ulā in honour
of the god Madhyasthanāthasvāmin at Tiruppālaippandal. From the verse
inscriptions engraved on the gōpura at Tiruvaṇṇāmalai (No. 419 of 1928-29)
and Pandanallūr (Nos. 117 and 118 of 1931-32), it is learnt that Ellappa-Nāyanār was a poet who flourished in the court of Śevvappa-Nāyaka of
Tanjore in about A.D. 1572 (Ep. Rep. for 1928-29. Para II, para. 69 and
for 1931-32, Part II, para 49). He was the author of the Aruṇagiri-purāṇam, and it is further learnt from the present record that he was the author of
an ulā also. It has not however been possible to trace this work now.
Chandraśēkhara, author of Iraiśai-purāṇam
Another inscription relating to the composition of a literary work in
Tamil is No. 485 from Elavānāśūr in the same taluk. It registers a gift of
and and a house-site to the author of the
work called Iraiśai-purāṇam, (i.e.), a st halapurāṇam on the god Śiva of Iraivānaraiyūr, which was the old form of 15