Wednesday, 28 February 2018

SRI RAJARAJECHARAM, ( SRI BRIHADEESWARAR TEMPLE ), THANJAVUR - A HERITAGE WALK WITH CHOZHAMANDALA VARALATRU THEDAL KUZHU.


25th February 2018.
More than 1000 years old living temples in Tamil Nadu,  are built by Chozhas and Pandya Kings and latter renovated by the Nayaks of Vijayanagara dynasty and Nattukottai Nagarathars. These temples has the mystery behind the construction using  stone.   It is a challenging task for the today’s engineers and Scientists to unfold the mystery. Till date nobody had given the concluding statement, how the temple was built. One such architecturally marvel temple is the Sri Rajarajechram  of Thanjavur. The original name of Sri Rajarajecharan was changed to Sri Brihadeeswarar due to the influence of Sanskrit. But still people used to call as Thanjai Peru Udayar Koil or Thanjai Periya Koil.

The Rajarajecharam temple was built by the Chozha King Rajaraja Chozha – I, who ruled major part of India, Srilanka and a part of south east Asia.  His ruling period was from 985 AD to 1012 AD, which is considered  as a golden period in Chozha’s history. It was told that the construction of  temple took around 6 years  from 1004 AD to 1010 AD, completely with stone.  The Kailasanathar temple of Kanchi was his inspiration to construct this temple.  The chief architect ( sthapathy )  was Veera Chozhan Kunjaramallan Rajaraja Perunthachan and assisted by Madhuranthaka NithaVinotha perunthachan & Ilathi Chadaiyan Kandarathitha Perunthachan.  The inscriptions are done by Chathankudi Vellalan Iravi Paloorudyan.

This temple is like an University for the students to learn architecture, Engineering, construction and the inscriptions is  an exhaustive documentation  for the Governance of the temple.  Tons and tons of granite stones are used to construct this temple was sourced from a quarry approximately  75 KM distance from the temple site. It might be a mammoth job of bringing 4 nos of   single granite stone pillars   measuring 40 feet length and 4feet x 3 feet size  and a 18 feet dwarabalakas to the site. Latter installation of  18 feet x 8 feet x 12 feet   size Nandhi by the Vijayanagara Nayaks might be an achievement.

This  Heritage walk  was conducted on 25th  February 2018. About 100+ Chozha history Enthusiasts  and the lovers of Kalki’s  Ponniyin Selvan Historical Novel participated in this walk. Even- though I visited no of times in connection with Ponniyin Selvan meet,  this visit is a special one and mainly  focused on heritage point of view.  Thought of learning at least a little, about this temple  like a drop of water in the ocean. Referred the book, on the previous day,  written by Mr Kudavayil Balasubramanian  and took some points to see at the temple during the walk. 

The history of the temple and Chozhas were  explained by Prof. Dr. Theivanayagam, our Chief Guest  and also he took us  for reading the inscriptions through our group member Mr Pon Karthikeyan. Mr Raman Sthapathy explained the structure of the temple. Latter in the morning & afternoon session Dr Udhaya Shankar, Mr Andavar Kani and  Pon Karthikeyan explained the various inscriptions which, speaks about the donations made to the temple like regular functioning of Pooja,  jewels, Moorthys made of Cheppu and articles made of gold & silver. The Administrators of the temple, the representatives of various divisions of Chozha mandalam who had taken care of the security of the temple, Musicians, Dancers were  documented in the form of inscriptions.

Went around the temple and tried to locate the miniature sculptures in the kabotham, which I had prepared what to see in the temple. We are fortunate to see Sri Agni thevar, Eesanar  ( Part of Ashta thikku balakas ) and the Anukkan Vayil or the entrance, through which King Rajaraja entered for dharshan of Lord Shiva. We are also fortunate to have the dharshan of Lord Shiva from the same place where King Rajaraja had the dharshan.

I extend my sincere  thanks to Prof. Dr. Theivanayagam and Mr Ramanathan on behalf of Prince, who  arranged a special dharshan. I also personally extend my sincere thanks  to the organizers, Mr Selvaraj Nayakkavadiyar, Mr Raman Sthapathy,  Dr Udhaya Shankar, Mr Andavar Kani, Mrs Fowzia, Miss Abirami Baskaran, the Vetrikaliru writer, Mr Pon Karthikeyan ( our Young Epigraphist ), Mr Monish, Mr Guhan and the participants for this informative and enjoyable heritage walk at Sri Rajarajecharam of Thanjai.  Thanks to one and all.

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 Sri Vimanam

 view of  Marata’s entrance with Keralanthakan rajagopuram on the back

Moat at the entrance of the temple

 Keralanthakan rajagopuram

 View of Rajarajan entrance Rajagopuram





 View of nandhi mandapam and Ambal temple



 The 5 tier Keralanthakan Rajagopuram view from Rajarajan rajagopuram 

 View of Rajarajan entrance Rajagopuram fron Nandhi mandapam

 The present nandhi under Nayak mandapam

 Garden and the Fort wall on the back side of the temple 

 Anukkan Vayil 


 The man worshipping Uma Maheswarar may be the King Rajarajar  - the stucco images in the Rajarajan Entrance Rajagopuram – experts may clarify

 Lord Muruga In one of the deva koshtam of Sri Subramaniyar Temple

 Dwarabalaka at the entrance mandapam


 Sri Saraswathy in Deva koshtam

 Chandran in one of the deva koshtam 

 Sri Sankara narayanar in Deva Koshtam

 Kalanthakar  in deva koshtam 

 Shiva with Uma and Ganga and on the right Kuda koothu 

 Natarajar a miniature sculpture 


  Miniature sculpture of Bairava.. or Kangalar ?


 The story of Markandeya – Kalanthakar


 Mr Raman Sthapathy explains the details of the temple and Dr Udhaya Shankar explains the meikeerthi of Rajaraja Chozha’s inscription


 FFE and Chozha mandala varalatru thedal Kuzhu members 

The Participants 
---OM SHIVAYA NAMA---