CHAPTER -III SRIRANGAM DURING THE CHOLA .CHAPTER -III SRIRANGAM DURING THE CHOLA PERIOD The occupation

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  • 83

    CHAPTER -III

    SRIRANGAM DURING THE CHOLA PERIOD

    The occupation of Tanjore by Vijayalaya Chola, the founder in 850 A.D.

    and the construction of a temple over there marked the initial step in the rise of

    the Imperial Chola to power in South India. Later his son Aditya I took the

    opportuinity of Pallava king Aparajita and consolidated his territories 1

    which

    is confirmed by the Tirvalangadu plates.2

    Thus the Cholas slowly carved out an

    empire for themselves, a second time at Tanjore under a powerful monarch.

    The Chola rulers from Vijayala to Rajaraja I can be regarded as the builders of

    this great empire.3

    According to the available literary evidences the nucleus of the temple

    seems to have been in existence during the period of the Tamil Sangam, i. e.,

    roughly. One of the early Chola kings of Uraiyur, a Killi Chola, seems to have

    Prantaka I (907-955 A.D) succeeded his father Aditya- I

    and he is credited with having conquered Ceylon but he suffered a crushing

    defeat at the hands of the Rashtrakuta king Krishna III at Takkolam near

    Arakonam, where in his son Rajadiyta was killed. Prantakas country ( present

    Vellore and Tiruvannamalai districts and adjoining areas) was invaded by the

    Rashtrakutas and he was forced to fall back on Tanjore and Tiruchirappalli

    districts at Srirangam. But Adiyta II later regained all the lost territories as

    Krishna III was forced to concentrate his attention in the north.

    1. E. I., Vol. IX, 88; Madras Epigraphical Reports (M.E.R.) , Part II, 1906, Para 10

    and 16.

    2. S.I.I., Vol.VII, No. 205.

    3. Krishnaswami Aiyangar, S., Ancient India, Madras, 1911, p. 98

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    founded the temple. The earliest inscription in the temple belong to the Chola

    of the Tenth Century. Rajamahendra Chola (1060-1063), a son of Rajendra II ,

    is said to have built the second prakara wall, and the enclosure so formed is

    called Rajamahendran Tiruvidi. During this period the early Vaisnava

    Acharyas, Viz., Nathahmuni, Uyyakondar, Manakkal Nambi and Alavandar

    were active in Srirangam. They were not only propagating the Vaisnava faith

    but were controlling the affairs of the Srirangam temple. Ramanuja, the

    founder of Visistadvaita, made Srirangam his headquarters and reorgaised the

    administration of the temple. He was forced to go out from Srirangam to the

    Country of the Hoysalas by a persecuting Chola, called Krimikanda Chola,

    who entitled with Kutottunga II (1070-1120).

    In this Chapter are traced the fortunes of the Srirangam covering the

    period form 10th

    to the 12th

    Centuries, from 924 A.D. the date of the earliest

    Chola inscripttions in the temple, to 1178 A.D. the close of the reign of

    Rajathiraja II, when the Chola began to ecline and the Pandyas rose to power.

    This was an eventful period in the history of the temple. Srirangam became the

    headquarters of the Vaishnava movement under the resourceful Acharyas, the

    greatest of whom was Ramanuja. The latter was both the Vaishnava pontiff and

    the warden of the temple. Numerous inscriptions in the temple of the Chola

    kings of this period detailing their gifts and benefactions. They do not throw

    any direct light on the activities of the Acharyas, for which tradition as

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    recorded in the Guruparamparai is the only source. But in this period the

    temple grew in wealth and resources.4

    The Chola ruler Vijayalaya revived the Chola power and Tiruchirappalli

    region became a part of the Chola Empire with the Srirangam area

    Aditya I (871-907 A.D.)

    5. The

    Imperial Cholas established their power under Vijayalaya (850- 871) aroud 850

    A.D. Vijayalaya made his capital at Tanjore and built a temple for

    Nisumpasudari at the capital city. Vijayalaya was succeeded by his son Aditya-

    I. He ascended to the Chola throne in the 870 A.D6. An inscription of this king

    dated in the 4th

    year and 89th

    day of the reign of Rajakesarivaraman who may

    be identified with Aditya -I (871-907 A.D)7

    Record the resolution (Jayasthai i.e. Vyavastha) of the Perunguri-Sabha

    of Srirangam the terms of which were as follows: From the commencement of

    the Kings 5th

    year the devadana lands should be properly managed without

    allowing the growth of pests and weeds. Otherwise the varikar in charge of the

    pandaram the karanam in charge of accounts should be liable to a fine of 25

    kalanju gold individually in favour of the lamp service of the temple and they

    should be replaced by new incumbents.

    .

    8

    This irscription is placed right at the entrance into threshing floor in the

    fourth prakara of the Ranganatha temple. The second inscription registers an

    4. Hari Rao, V.N., Srirangam Temple Art and Architecture, Tirupati, 1967, p. 3. 5. Ibid., p.48.

    6. Nilakanta Sastri,K.A., The Colas, Madras, 1955, p.45. 7. A.R.E., 69 of 1892.

    8. Mahalingarn, T.V., A Topographical List of Inscriptions in the Tamilnadu and Kerala

    States, Vol. VIII, New Delhi, 1991,pp.10-12.

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    endowment 90 Kalanju of semmai gold by puittadigal, son of karaal

    vilupperaraiyar arivaladigal, towards the feeding of four Brahmanas. The sabha

    of Tiruvarangam (Srirangam) undertakes to supply 1120 kalams of ripe

    annually measured out with the measure called sennadaikkal for the interest on

    the endowed amount9

    The earliest Chola inscription in the Srirangam temple is dated in the

    17th year of Parantaka- I (A.D.907-955). It registers a gift of 30 gold pieces for

    a permanent lamp. 40 for camphor, one for cotton wick besides the gift of a

    silver lamp-stand made to the temple. The Sabha of Tiruvarangam took charge

    of the endowments. The donor was one Sankaran Ranasingan.

    .

    Parantaka- I (905-955 A.D)

    10The next

    inscription is dated in the 38th

    year of the same king and it registers a gift of

    100 kalanju of gold for the Tirumanjanam (holy bath) of Sriranganatha by the

    Sahasradarai (1000 holed) plate. The donor was one Pallavaraiyan. This gift

    too was entrusted to the Sabha of Tiruvarangarn.11

    Another inscription of this

    king dated in his 41st

    year records a gift of two plots of land by a certain

    Acciyan Bhattan Sri Sri Vasudevan Cakrapani of Peruvengur (in Vila-nadu)

    for cake offerings to the God of Srirangam on the ekadasi day during the

    Panguni festival in the temple.12

    9 . S.I.I., Vol. XXIV, No. 2.

    10. A.R.E., 72 of 1892; S.I.I. Vol. IV, No.519.

    11. Ibid., 71 of 1892; S.I.I., Vol. IV, No.518.

    12. Ibid., 95 of 1936-1937.

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    The inscription registers13

    a gift of some jewels by Thananjan narayanan

    of pullamangalam in kalark kurram. There are two inscriptions of this king

    dated 948-949 A.D., in the Srirangam temple itself. They records a gift by

    Brahma dhirajan alias Achchiyan Bhattan Sri Vasudevan Chakrapani of

    Peruvengur of two pieces of land in Sasanamangalam, a tax- free brahmadeya

    of his own in Vila-nadu, for sweet cake offerings to the god on the day of

    Ekadesi, during the panguni festival in the temple. Mentions the measure

    called Rajakesari. The last inscriptionof the kings reignal year may be an year

    between forty one and forty eight, recording a similar gift of jewels as recorded

    in no.8 above by ten (navan) Brahmasrirajan alias Narayana raiyan of

    Pullamangalam.14

    Another inscription of this king dated 945-946 A.D. records a gift of

    land in Sasanamangalam in Vila nadu for food offerings on the occasion of the

    bathing ceremony of the god on the day of Rohini, the day of

    Tirumulaippuludi during the Panguni -Uttiram festival by Achchiyan Bhattan

    alias Sri vasudevan, a brahmadhiraja of Peruvengur in Vilanadu. 15

    Uttamachola, son of Sembiyan Madevi and Gandaraditya, ruled the

    Chola Country during 969 or 970 to 985 A.D. There in only one inscription of

    Uttamacholas period in this region. The record is dated in the fifteenth regnal

    Uttamachola (970-985 A.D)

    13. Ibid.

    14. Ibid., 418 of 1961-1962.

    15. Ibid., 415 of 1961-1962.

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    year of Uttamachola. Records that the members of the sabha of Srirangam

    agreed to run the service of burning a lamp in front of Tiruvarangattu

    Perumanadigal with Bhima semni karpuram (Camphor) and ghee provided

    for,from the interest on 71 kalanju of gold invested by Sridharan Kumaran, a

    Malaiyali of Iravimangalam in Valluva nadu of Malainadu.16

    After the death of Uttamachola, Arumbivarman who was the greatest

    Chola ruler assumed the royal title of Rajaraja I, ascended the throne and ruled

    for about 30 years. He was the talented son of Sudara Chola Vanavan and

    Mahadevi. His reign was splendid as the formative period of Chola imperialism

    . There are nearly eighth inscriptions of this king which have been reported in

    various palces in the Srirangam region. A Tamil inscription of the period is

    found on the tiers of the Ottaikkal mandapam attached to the Unjal mandapam

    of the Srirangam Temple. This inscription registers a gift of gold by Kuravan,

    one of the commanders (Senapati) of the king.

    Rajaraja- I (985--1014 A.D)

    17The other details are lost as it

    contains a portion of the prasasti of the king.18

    The second inscrip