Monday, 10 August 2015


9th August 2015
While I was grazing the Alayam Kanden web site, understand that Srimathi PadmaPriya Baskaran is organising a one day trip to Thakkolam ( click here ), Melpadi, Pullalur and Thiruvalm on 9th August 2015 for Ponniyin Selvan Group ( Click here  Click Here ). Even-though I had been earlier to Thakkolam and Thiruvalam temples as a part of pilgrimage yathara to cover 276 Devara Padal Petra shiva Sthalangal (for details CLICK HERE ) thought of doing once again with a group of heritage enthusiastic peoples. The process of getting accommodated in this one day trip was like a getting  confirmed ticket under thakal, ( waiting for the confirmed ticket after hitting payment option). Finally I got through and was eagerly waiting  for the Sunday.

Landed TTD deavasthanam half an hour earlier and had Sri Balaji’s dharshan. The tentative schedule given was altered  during travel. We could not have our breakfast under the peepal tree ( Image given earlier in FB), instead we had it at an abandoned tea shop  due to fault in one of our van. Again instead of MelPadi, we reached Thiruvalam temple Via Walajapet – Muthupettai – Ranipettai.

Mrs Priya explained the history and reliefs in detail and went round the temple. Had the dharshan of Sri Dhanurmathyambal sametha Sri Vilvanatheswarar. ( For My Previous Visit details : CLICK HERE    
The new things learned in this trip are....
  1. The temple has the inscriptions of Pallava and Chola periods.
  2. The place was called in different names as per the inscriptions. Nandhivarman ( CE793) – Vaanapuram, Rajaraja Cholan (CE991) – Theekkali Vallam and in Arunagirinathar’s  Thirupukazh – Thiruvalam,
  3. The Iraivan was called in different names. Nandhivarma Pallavan III (CE863) – Theekali Vallamudaya Parameswarar, Mahavali Vaana  baana Raja ( Vikramathiya I) ( CE888) – Theekkali Perumanadikal,  Rajaraja Cholan ( ( CE991) – Thirutheekkali Alwar, Rajendra Cholan (CE1015)-Thiruvallamudayar, Vikarama Cholan ((CE 1123) –Thiruvallamudaya Mahadevar, Kulothunga Cholan III (CE1212) _ Thiruvallamudaya Naayanar.
  4. Sri Vinayagar is sitting on his vahanam –moonchuru holding mango in the right hand,
  5. The reliefs associated with the history of this temple are highlighted in the front mandapam during the recent renovation.
  6. The Adhi Shiva temple is at a lower level with lot of inscriptions. 
  7. As per Mr Venkatesh understood that Kalki's Ponniyin Selvan - Vanthiya thevan' s birth place is Thiruvalam. 
Kolattam by ladies
Cow is milking on Shiva lingam 
The priest bringing water from the hill for Shiva's abhishekam( The history of the temple )
When the demon Kanjan obstruct the way Nandhi killed the demon and tore to 64 pieces which forms as Shiva Lingas on the hill.( History of the temple )
Nandhi turned back to Shiva and watching not to repeat by anybody else ( History of the temple ) 
 The relief  on the pillar Bull and elephant 

 Symbols of Vijayanagars dynasty
Kannappar worshiping Lord shiva – removing his eyes and keeping his legs on Shiva’s eyes as a location – see the bow’s thread.
A relief on Adhi Vilvanathar Temple wall
 Adhi Vilvanathar Temple 
 Thiruvilayadal Puranam – Pittukku man sumanthathu 

 Iranya kasibu and Narasimhar
 Reliefs on Ambal sannadhi wall 
 Reliefs on Ambal sannadhi wall 
 Reliefs on Ambal sannadhi wall

From Thiruvalm we reached Melpadi. We are lucky and the temple was kept open. This temple and Arinjaya Cholan’s Pallipadai are under the control of Archaeological Survey of India ( ASI). Some of the important details are as follows.
Iraivan : Sri Somanatheeswarar
Iraivi    : Sri Thabaskirutha Devi. For making this moortham it was believed that Kundavai was the model.
Some of the Important features of this temple are 
  1. The temple is facing east with entrance on south side. There is no Rajagopuram, but up to mottai Gopuram level. There is a second level Rajagopuram. Dwajasthambam, Palipedam and nandhi are in the outer prakaram
  2. In the outer prakaram Sannadhi for Ambal ( No koshta moortham in the sanctum nitches ), Navagrahas and moorthams  of Pitchadanar, Shiva parvathy, Sapthamathakkal, Vinayagar  excavated at the temple ( Kept in an enclosure ), Bairavar, Yagasalai and madapalli.
  3. In the inner prakaram there is no sannadhi except Nandhi.
  4. In koshtam Vinayagar, Dhakshinamoorthy, Vishnu ( in place of Lingothbavar ), Brahma  and Vishnu Durgai.
  5. Lot of inscriptions  around sanctum wall.  Moolavar vimanam is of stone dome type and the kalasam is also made of stone. The dome and the kalsam are dark black/ green colour stones.
  6. There is a  big stone bowl and a Shiva Lingam ( avudayar in broken condition). Our experts said that this was kept on from of the original moolavar to fool the invaders ie, Muslims.
 second level 3 tier Rajagopuram view from Mottai Gopuram entrance
 The left side mandapam
 Moolavar Vimanam - Complete stone structure  
 Outer prakaram 
 Dwajasthambam, Nandhi and Palipedam 
Ambal Sannadhi in the outer prakaram
 In Koshtam – Dhakshinamoorthy 

 In Koshtam – Vinayakar 
 In Koshtam – Durgai
 Relief at the entrance of Mottaigopuram
 Sabtha mathakkal ( Not full )  & Vinayajkar 
 Sabtha mathakkal ( Not full )  & Vinayajkar 
 Relief of Subramaniyar 
A Pallava Style Pillar
 A stone bowl and Shiva lingam ( banam broken)

This temple is also maintained by ASI. This was built in the year AD 1014 by King RajaRaja I,  over the mortal remains of his grand father Arinjaya Chola ( AD 956 – 967), who died in a war at Arur near Thakkolam. The temple is called Choleswara. There are many inscriptions all over the sanctum wall. The vimanam is made of dark green stone with kalasam ( point is missing ). The same colour stone is used for the Pothiyal ( Pillar support). In Koshtam  Vinayagar, Dhakshinamoorthy, Vishnu, Brahma and Durgai. The moorthams were damaged on many parts, but still the beauty can worth to see.  

The inscriptions are mainly about donations made in the form of ewe to supply ghee to burn the perpetual lamp in the temple till moon and sun endure, Rajaran’s meikeerthi, the boundaries of the land given for construction of the temple, watering to illuppai field ( from the seeds oil is extracted to burn the lamps).

From the inscriptions the place Merpadi belongs to Tunadu, a subdivision of Perumbanapadi in a district of Jayankonda Chola Mandalam. The ancient name of the Melpadi is mentioned as Rajsrayapuram and the temple  Choleswara was called as ArinjigaiIswara or Arinjiswara. The temple is also called as Pallipadai ( Portion of the inscription image is given below). For further reading ... CLICK HERE 
 Arinjaya Chola’s Pallipadai shrine   
 Arinjaya Chola’s Pallipadai shrine Dawabakas  
Dhakshinamoorthy - a closer look
Durgai - a closer look
 Krishna killing demon – in the form of bird 
 Rajarajan is worshiping Choleswara 
 Lord Shiva at Tharukavanam 

After visiting Melpadi, we reached Mahendravadi via Sholingar- Banavaram. Mahendravadi is very much near to a quite large tank ( Mahendravarma tataka ) with high raised bunds. Mahendravadi must be a large city during Mahendravarman period. Since the time was around 14.00 Hrs decided to have our lunch before visiting the rock cut Vishnu temple ( incidentally the lunch also suits for Vishnu – Puliotharai )

The rock cut shrine was dedicated to Lord Vishnu ( from the grantha inscriptions – the god name was Murari. ). The Narasimha statue available is of very recent one. The cave consists of 4 pillars with 4 pilasters. Between front two Pillars and inner two pillars forms muka mandapa and inners two pillars up to wall forms artha mandapa. The four pillars are of cubical at the top and bottoms and octoganal at the centre. The Pothiyal ( Pillar support to ceiling ) are not artistically carved. The front two pillar cubical portions and pilasters are carved with Lotus medallions on all the four sides of top and bottom.

The Dwarabaklakas are  on either side of the sanctum standing in tribanga posture without thandam and resting their hands on the waist. Both are eroded or worn out very much. On the right side dwara balaka is wearing necklace, Mukuta and Yajnopavita.  For further reading please ....CLICK HERE.
 A Name board on the road
The Rock cut temple
 The Rock cut temple - A closer look 
 The Rock cut temple - still a closer look 
Un eroded Dwarabalaka – on the right – see the necklace  and pathra kundalam on his ears 
 Artha mandapam 
 Muka mandapam 
Muka mandapam Pillar with pothyal
lotus medallion
The translation of grantha  inscription is – Splitting the rock, Gunabhara caused to be made on ( the bank of ) the mehendra tataka ( tank) in the great city of  Mahendrapura this solid, spacious temple of Murari ( Vishnu), named Mahendra-vishnugriha, which is highly praised by good people, ( and which is) an abode of beauty pleasing the eyes of men. 

After visit to Rock cut Vishnu temple we had seen a Vinayagar temple on the opposite side of the road in a dilapidated condition. Trees were grown on the vimanam and roots splits side walls. The walls are constructed on a rock  and a relief of Vinayagar is carved on the surface of the rock. 

The crumbling treasure 
The crumbling treasure 
Vinayakar relief in the sanctum - carved on the surface of the boulder
The place Pullalur  area had witnessed may wars of which the wars otherwise called as Mysore wars between Britishers and Hyder ali & Tippu Sultan are important. Another important one is the war between Pulakesi –II and  Pallavas. This place is also referred in a historical novel written by Kalki’s Sivagamiyin Sabatham. The Monuments 2 obelisks were erected in midst of paddy fields by the Britishers.  
The first war  was in AD 1780, in which Hyder Ali /Tippu sultan captured Colonal Willam Baillie and taken to Mysore and kept in a dungeon. The obelisk dedicated to Lieutenant Colonel George Brown.
 The Mysore war monuments erected by English  – two obelisks 
Sacred to the Memory of Lieutenant Colonel George Brown
When Lieutenant of Grenadiers in ??? Regiment
he lost his Right Arm
On the storm of Conjevearam Pagoda occupied by Ye French
on the 18th of Apri ????
and fell
in a general Action fought on this Field between the English
Forces and the Troops of Hyder Ally??? Bahaduer
on the 27th of August 1781
esteemed by every Rank
a gallant Soldier,
an able Officer,
and ???? ??? an Honest
Man ???
In the second war on 27th August 1781, led by Sir Eyre Coote defeated Hyder and Tippu.  In both wars English solders suffered may causalities. The first Obelisks erected at Pullalur was in memory of Colonel George Brown who lost his right arm and the second obelisk was in memory of Captain James Hislop who lost his life.  
 Sacred to the memory of Captain James Hislop
who was killed by a Cannon Ball
from the Enemy near this Spot,
The Field of Battle,
27th August 1781
while serving as Aid de Camp to
Lieut. General Sir Eyre Coote kbe
Commander in Chief
His professional Abilities
and private Virtues,
Were felt and acknowledged by all his
Mr Anwar explains the sequence of war with the location map 
For further reading Please:  CLICK HERE     CLICK HERE 

It was around 16.30 Hrs, when we completed the Pullalur visit and decided to call off the day’s visit, skipping Thakkolam. From Pullalur we reached Sunguvar Chatram  and had coffee. The van dropped me around 19.00 Hrs  at Guindy with unforgettable memories.

I extend my sincere thanks to Srimathi Padmapriya Baskaran, Mr Venkatesh, Mr Vaidyanathan and other organizers Photo walkers (who published in the media before we return home) for organizing a wonderful one day trip without any flaw. I really appreciate the efforts put in organizing such a tour. The break fast and lunch was very excellent and the arrangements are very good. Hope you organize may tours like this in future. See you all bye  till the next tour..hope we will meet once again with Lord Shiva’s blessings.


  1. Sir
    As usual another excellent write up.I used to read your blogs and now after visiting along with you and reading this blog gives me type of lesson of how to write a blog,furnishing important details,photos wherever required and a brief of the photo linking to the site of visit etc.,.Also your sense of humour right from booking like Taktal ticket and relishing the lunch and even there relating to the temple of visit are excellent.I am really fortunate to have traveled with stalwarts like you on this tour.Thanks for the wonderful company.Hope to be part of such tours often.Raeders of the blog will get a feel of being present in the tour with the author of this blog.

    1. Thanks Mr Vaidyanathan for your positive and encouraging comments. Since our youngsters are posting their photos of our tour I thought of posting mine also. Really I enjoyed very much and learned a lot. Please keep me informed for the future tours also. It is pleasure to join with enthusiastic peoples..
      Thanks and regards
      On shivaya nama....

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment...expecting yours too.....
      On shivaya nama ...

    2. Thanks for the comment...expecting yours too.....
      On shivaya nama ...