The book is a more integrated and comprehensive account of the five Siva temples, widely known as 'pancharamas' since medie val times in Andhradesa. These are located at Amaravati, Bhimavaram, Palakollu, Sam alkot and Draksharama in Andhra Pradesh.
It was generally believed that these Siva temples were once the centres of Buddhist religion and that the Saivite temples were built on the ruins of the Buddhist stupas. The present study considered all these theories and also the recent archaeological data relating to the Early Brahmanical (Siva) temples in Andhra and successfully proved on the basis of the existing archaeological evidence that these five Siva temples are of Saivite origin even from their beginnings and Saivism is popular in Andhra in the early medieval times. Another misconcep tion about the pancharamas is that they were all constructed by one eastern Chalukyan king, Chalukya Bhima I, during his reign-period. This has also been closely dis cussed and reasonable conclusions have been derived out of the available data. The sthala puranas and the regional traditions that emerged around these five temples eliminated the discontinuity between the Vedic sects and non-Vedic folk religious activities. These regional traditions had a great impact on the political integrity of Andhra region during the medieval times.
The true significance of the lingodbhava murti, Sarabhesa, the stories of Kiratarjun iya, Kannappa, Mrigavyadha on the pillars of the Bhimesvara temples and the regional traditions reflected in carving the sculpture and iconography are also studied in detail. Besides the study of art and architecture of these temples, their role in the socio-economic life of the people in Andhra region as well as the impact of the changing religious ideologies of the people on the temple rituals and festivals is also discussed. The role of the pancharama temples in encouraging fine arts, metal industries, agriculture, trade and commerce are dealt with on the basis of the temple epigraphs. The inscriptional data is analysed systematically and is interpreted with the help of descriptive statistical methods.
The book is illustrated with a map, ground plans of the temples, 19 line drawings and 39 photographs.
The author passed her B. A. (1971), M.A. (1973) degrees in first class and was awarded Ph.D. degree in 1979 by the Andhra University. She specialises in epigraphy, art and architecture of the temples of the Andhra region. She has been on 'the teaching staff since 1974 and is now working as Reader in the Department of History & Archaeology in Andhra University. Besides publishing more than thirty research papers in leading academic journals, she has published two books-(1) The Rule of the Chalukya Cholas in Andhradesa 1985; (2) Studies in the History of Medieval Andhradesa (in Press). She is the recipient of U.G.C. Young Scientists Award in Humanities (Career Award) for the year 1984-85.
The present work is based on my intensive field study of the pancharama shrines of Andhra Pradesh, which has been funded by the University Grants Commission under the Young Scientist Award in Humanities and Social Sciences (Career Awards) for the year 1984-85. A monograph has been published by M. Rama Rao in the year 1964 covering the pancharama temples, which includes a general study of the art and architecture of these temples. Since then, so much new material has come to light, and ideas and approaches have so greatly changed that a completely new frame work is called for. It is now possible to write a more integrated and comprehensive account of the pañcharama temples and this is what has been attempted here. This work represents the first ever attempt to highlight in a systematic manner, the origin, antiquity, architecture and iconography besides the role of the puncharama temples in the socio-economic and religious life of the people of Andhradesa during the medieval times.
The architecture of the Hindu temple is primarily religious and is continuously inspired and sustained by the religious ideas and beliefs of the communities. The construction of structural temples is a religious exercise and not merely artistic or secular experimentation in pattern. To visualized the total personality of the temples it is essential to integrate the principles laid down in the canonical texts, ritual requirements, the historical, religious, cultural and finally the structural details of the temple architecture.
It is generally believed by the historians that the pancharama shrines were either built on the ruins of Buddhist stapas or the Buddhist centres were later converted into Saivite temples.
The principal aim of this work is to make a detailed study of the history and growth of the five Siva temples, widely known as pancha ramas since medieval times, which developed as powerful socio economic institutions. Further, it is also aimed to study its architecture, sculpture and iconography and to compare them with the principles laid down in the Silpa texts. For this purpose, I spent approximately three years in visiting the monuments and making the field observations of the architectural details as well as studying the epigraphical data of the temples. I have also attempted to date the five temples as closely as the evidence now available allows. The additional structures such as the kalyana mandapas, natya mandapas, pillared cloister (tiruchuttumala), the gopuras and the other enclosures constructed at these temples at various periods, reveal the important role played by the temples on the socio-economic life of the people of the period. All these temples have gopuras at the gateways and they, at times, supersede the central shrine as the largest and architecturally the most important buildings in the temple complex.
Inscriptions refer to the pancharamas as the important centres of pilgrimage and as the five Saivite centres. According to them, they are located at Bhimapuram, Dakaremi, Valkolanu, Drachyaramapuri and Amaradalu. In identifying these five places different opinions have been expressed by scholars. K.V. Soundara Rajan considers the Bhimesvarasvami temple at Chebrolu as the one and the earliest among the pancharamas in Andhra, while N. Ramesan had included Kotipalli in the list of the pancharama temples. Other scholars are of the opinion that Draksharama, Samalkot, Gunupudi Bhimavaram, Palakollu and Amaravati were the five places wherein have been located the pancharama shrines.
Though on stylistic and architectural grounds, the Bhimesvara temple at Chebrolu tallies with the plan and size of the remaining pancharama shrines, it is difficult to agree with the view that it is one among pancharama shrines. For, nowhere in the inscriptions and literature of the period, Chebrolu is mentioned as one among the pancharamas. Further, in some of the inscriptions Chebrolu is mentioned as one of famous religious centres of God Mahasena. In the present work it has been considered that the Siva temples at Draksharama, Amaravati, Samalkot, Palakollu and Bhimavaram as the ponchārāma shrines, which are located in Guntur, East and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Art & Culture (780)
Emperor & Queen (486)
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