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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view of Marata’s entrance with Keralanthakan rajagopuram on the back
Moat at the entrance of the temple
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
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
---OM SHIVAYA NAMA---