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Books > Hindu > Art > Tirukkalukkunram (Paksitirtham) And Its Temples
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Tirukkalukkunram (Paksitirtham) And Its Temples
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Tirukkalukkunram (Paksitirtham) And Its Temples
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From the Jacket

Tirukkalukkunram, "the sacred hill of the Eagles" are also called 'Pakshitritham' near Mamallapuram in Tamilnadu, is one of the sacred Saivite centres sung by the Tamil saints of the 7th century and later times but also known for its temples of remarkable architecture, sculptures and iconography. It has a rock-cut temple of Narasimhavarman I Pallava (7th), the picturesque Vedagirisvara Temple at the top of the hill and the magnificent temple complex of Bhaktavatsalesvara in the heart of the town.

The temples contain numerous inscriptions belonging to the Pallava, Chola, Pandya and Vijayanagara periods attesting to the remarkable historical continuity and change for more than 1200 years. The role of these temples in the social, cultural and religious traditions and heritage of Tamilnadu is presented here by the author with his scholarly insight.

The illustrations of the splendid Gopuras, the ornamental Kalyana-mandapa, the exquisite sanctum types, the finely planned spacious tanks like the Sangu-tirtham are bound to invite the admiration of the art-historians and town-planners.

About the Author

Dr. K.V. Gopalkrishnan had his education in Sri Ramakrishna School, Chegalpat, Madras Christian College, Chennai. He was awarded the post-graduate research degree of Master of Letters (M. Litt.) for his thesis on Tirukkalukkunram and its Temples in 1961, carried out by him as a research scholar in the Department of Indian History and Archaeology, University of Madras. In 1983, he obtained his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree from the university of Mysore for his thesis on the Language Politics of Tamilnadu. He distinguished himself as a dedicated teacher and researcher during his long service, first in the Gazetteer Unit of Government of Tamilnadu and later as member of the teaching faculty of the Vivekananda College, Chennai. An active participant in many seminars, he has several research papers to his credit. A fine sportsman, he was trained cadet in the National Cadet Corps (NCC).

Preface

The present work is based on my research work (for two years 1958-60) on the subject for Mutt. degree in the Department of Indian History and Archaeology, University of Madras. I am thankful to the University for permitting its publication.

I acknowledge my deep sense of gratitude to my esteemed teachers. Dr. T.V. Mahalingam, Dr. K.K Pillay and Dr. M. Arokiaswami, former Professors of Indian History in the University of Madras for their valuable guidance and advice.

I thank the Archaeological Survey of India and especially the Chief Epigraphist for providing access to the unpublished inscriptions and supplying a few photographs. My thanks are also due to Mr. Patrick Gassie of Boulogne, France and the H.R & C.E. Department, Tamilnadu for lending me a number of photographs included in the volume.

My hearty thanks are due to my parents K V. Parthasarathi Iyengar and Smt. janaki and my wife, Smt. Rajam for their encouragement and support. I should record my special sense of gratitude to my elder brother, Dr. KV. Raman, former Professor of Archaeology, University of Madras for his guidance and the keen interest in my work. I thank Shri Shakti Malik of Abhinav Publications, New Delhi for publishing the volume so well.

Introduction

T his work presents a historical study of an important pilgrim-centre of South India namely Tirukkal ukkunram, also known as Paksiti rtham or "Sacred eagle hill". The importance of the study of local history in a vast country like India need hardly be emphasized. Particularly South India, where there are numerous temples of great antiquity, affords a fertile field for research into local history. Often, these temples have gone through a long evolutionary process, documenting, as it were, the history of the locality and the activities of the people therein, through the ages. Inscriptions found in the temples are valuable source of information for the historical vicissitudes through which the locality passed. They also throw much light on the religious, economic and social life of the people of the locality. It is well-known that in South India the temples were important centres of cultural and social life. Their importance extended beyond the purely religious and spiritual realms. They were indeed the nucleus round which the village developed and the hub of all activities, social, economic and artistic. A study of architecture of such temples is also very revealing. Often, the temple-complex, as is present, today, is the product of centuries of growth and evolution. The various structures of the temple were added to the main shrine by stages. A close study of the architectural features of the structures gives us an insight into the different styles, prevalent in different times. Artistic excellence reached by the ancient people of the locality is also borne out by the sculptures and bronze images in the temples.

These facts amply illustrate the importance of temples in the study of local history. Tirukkal unram am is no exception to this general rule. It contains three ancient and venerable temples which in many ways symbolise the religion, art and culture of the area. Though, politically, Tirukkal ukkunram was of no particular importance, yet by virtue of its situation between the capital city of Kanci and the chief port of Mamallapuram, it has received the patronage of Pallava Kings. The inscriptions found in the temples of Tirukkal ukkunram belong to many a dynasty like the Pallava, Chela, Rastrakuta, Pandya, Vijayanagara, Kadavarayas and Sambuvarayas. This clearly shows the many-sided political vicissitudes through which this place had passed.

The influence of the temples over the place in its economic and social life is striking. They have played the role of an employer, consumer, landlord, an educational centre and a centre of culture and, to a great extent, shaped the economic and social life of the people.

The role of the temples in the religious history of the place is also of great interest. Throughout the eventful history, Tirukkal ukkunram has remained an active centre of Saivism and the great Nayanmars of Tevaram fame were associated with the place. Other great Saiva apostles like Manikkavacakar, Pattinattu Adigal, Arunagirinathar visited the place and were greatly inspired by it. The place is also, rich in religious traditions and practices which have made it an important holy place of South India. Most remarkable, is the regular visit of two eagles at about 11 a.m. every day to the Vedagiri Hill to take the sacred food offering prasadam, Hence the name Paksitirtham. According to popular tradition, this practice has been going on for ages. People from all over India and abroad visit this place to see this wonderful sight. Added to this, is the importance of the Sankutirtham where a conch is said to be 'born' once in twelve years. This is a unique occasion which draws thousands of people. Many other traditions and festivals have made this place worthy of study from the point of view of religious and social history of this place.

From the architectural point of view, Tirukkal ukkunram is also of considerable interest and importance. The Orukal Mandapa, the rock-cut temple half-way up the hill was the creation of the illustrious Pallava King Narasimhavarma I or Mamalla of Marnallapuram fame. The hill temple for Vedagirisvara, eulogised by the Tevaram hymners and other saints, also has many architectural features of the Pallava period. Down the hill, in the heart of the town is the large and magnificent temple complex of Bhaktavatsala with impressive gopuras or the four gateways in four cardinal directions besides beautiful sub-shrines and multi-columned halls (mandapas). We also have here representations of other styles of Dravidian architecture - early Cola, late Cola, Vijayanagara and post- Vijayanagara - which afford ample scope for the study of architectural evolution at the place. The temples of Tirukkal ukkunram am also contain remarkable sculptures and bronze-images of rare beauty and symbolism which deserve a detailed study.

Sources for writing the history of Tirukkal ukkunram and its temples are many. Traditions, literature, religious and secular, inscriptions and architectural evidences, which are set out in detail in the Appendices of the thesis, come to our help.

CONTENTS
  Preface VII
  List of Illustrations IX
  Abbreviations XI
  Introduction 1
Chapter 1 Topography, Place Name and Archaeology 4
  2Legends and Traditions of Tirukkalukkunram 9
  3 Historical Background 19
  4 Temples of Tirukkalukkunram Origin and Growth 34
  5 Religion and Festivals 46
  6 Temple, Economy and Society 62
  7 Architecture and Sculpture 73
Appendix I Chronological List of Inscriptions 91
Appendix II Abstracts of Inscriptions 96
Appendix III Text of Some Inscriptions 106
  Bibliography 108
  Index 113

Sample Pages



Tirukkalukkunram (Paksitirtham) And Its Temples

Item Code:
IDF184
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2005
ISBN:
8170173922
Language:
English
Size:
8.4" X 5.4"
Pages:
127 (Coloured Illus: 50)
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Weight of the Book: 422 gms
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$32.00   Shipping Free
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From the Jacket

Tirukkalukkunram, "the sacred hill of the Eagles" are also called 'Pakshitritham' near Mamallapuram in Tamilnadu, is one of the sacred Saivite centres sung by the Tamil saints of the 7th century and later times but also known for its temples of remarkable architecture, sculptures and iconography. It has a rock-cut temple of Narasimhavarman I Pallava (7th), the picturesque Vedagirisvara Temple at the top of the hill and the magnificent temple complex of Bhaktavatsalesvara in the heart of the town.

The temples contain numerous inscriptions belonging to the Pallava, Chola, Pandya and Vijayanagara periods attesting to the remarkable historical continuity and change for more than 1200 years. The role of these temples in the social, cultural and religious traditions and heritage of Tamilnadu is presented here by the author with his scholarly insight.

The illustrations of the splendid Gopuras, the ornamental Kalyana-mandapa, the exquisite sanctum types, the finely planned spacious tanks like the Sangu-tirtham are bound to invite the admiration of the art-historians and town-planners.

About the Author

Dr. K.V. Gopalkrishnan had his education in Sri Ramakrishna School, Chegalpat, Madras Christian College, Chennai. He was awarded the post-graduate research degree of Master of Letters (M. Litt.) for his thesis on Tirukkalukkunram and its Temples in 1961, carried out by him as a research scholar in the Department of Indian History and Archaeology, University of Madras. In 1983, he obtained his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree from the university of Mysore for his thesis on the Language Politics of Tamilnadu. He distinguished himself as a dedicated teacher and researcher during his long service, first in the Gazetteer Unit of Government of Tamilnadu and later as member of the teaching faculty of the Vivekananda College, Chennai. An active participant in many seminars, he has several research papers to his credit. A fine sportsman, he was trained cadet in the National Cadet Corps (NCC).

Preface

The present work is based on my research work (for two years 1958-60) on the subject for Mutt. degree in the Department of Indian History and Archaeology, University of Madras. I am thankful to the University for permitting its publication.

I acknowledge my deep sense of gratitude to my esteemed teachers. Dr. T.V. Mahalingam, Dr. K.K Pillay and Dr. M. Arokiaswami, former Professors of Indian History in the University of Madras for their valuable guidance and advice.

I thank the Archaeological Survey of India and especially the Chief Epigraphist for providing access to the unpublished inscriptions and supplying a few photographs. My thanks are also due to Mr. Patrick Gassie of Boulogne, France and the H.R & C.E. Department, Tamilnadu for lending me a number of photographs included in the volume.

My hearty thanks are due to my parents K V. Parthasarathi Iyengar and Smt. janaki and my wife, Smt. Rajam for their encouragement and support. I should record my special sense of gratitude to my elder brother, Dr. KV. Raman, former Professor of Archaeology, University of Madras for his guidance and the keen interest in my work. I thank Shri Shakti Malik of Abhinav Publications, New Delhi for publishing the volume so well.

Introduction

T his work presents a historical study of an important pilgrim-centre of South India namely Tirukkal ukkunram, also known as Paksiti rtham or "Sacred eagle hill". The importance of the study of local history in a vast country like India need hardly be emphasized. Particularly South India, where there are numerous temples of great antiquity, affords a fertile field for research into local history. Often, these temples have gone through a long evolutionary process, documenting, as it were, the history of the locality and the activities of the people therein, through the ages. Inscriptions found in the temples are valuable source of information for the historical vicissitudes through which the locality passed. They also throw much light on the religious, economic and social life of the people of the locality. It is well-known that in South India the temples were important centres of cultural and social life. Their importance extended beyond the purely religious and spiritual realms. They were indeed the nucleus round which the village developed and the hub of all activities, social, economic and artistic. A study of architecture of such temples is also very revealing. Often, the temple-complex, as is present, today, is the product of centuries of growth and evolution. The various structures of the temple were added to the main shrine by stages. A close study of the architectural features of the structures gives us an insight into the different styles, prevalent in different times. Artistic excellence reached by the ancient people of the locality is also borne out by the sculptures and bronze images in the temples.

These facts amply illustrate the importance of temples in the study of local history. Tirukkal unram am is no exception to this general rule. It contains three ancient and venerable temples which in many ways symbolise the religion, art and culture of the area. Though, politically, Tirukkal ukkunram was of no particular importance, yet by virtue of its situation between the capital city of Kanci and the chief port of Mamallapuram, it has received the patronage of Pallava Kings. The inscriptions found in the temples of Tirukkal ukkunram belong to many a dynasty like the Pallava, Chela, Rastrakuta, Pandya, Vijayanagara, Kadavarayas and Sambuvarayas. This clearly shows the many-sided political vicissitudes through which this place had passed.

The influence of the temples over the place in its economic and social life is striking. They have played the role of an employer, consumer, landlord, an educational centre and a centre of culture and, to a great extent, shaped the economic and social life of the people.

The role of the temples in the religious history of the place is also of great interest. Throughout the eventful history, Tirukkal ukkunram has remained an active centre of Saivism and the great Nayanmars of Tevaram fame were associated with the place. Other great Saiva apostles like Manikkavacakar, Pattinattu Adigal, Arunagirinathar visited the place and were greatly inspired by it. The place is also, rich in religious traditions and practices which have made it an important holy place of South India. Most remarkable, is the regular visit of two eagles at about 11 a.m. every day to the Vedagiri Hill to take the sacred food offering prasadam, Hence the name Paksitirtham. According to popular tradition, this practice has been going on for ages. People from all over India and abroad visit this place to see this wonderful sight. Added to this, is the importance of the Sankutirtham where a conch is said to be 'born' once in twelve years. This is a unique occasion which draws thousands of people. Many other traditions and festivals have made this place worthy of study from the point of view of religious and social history of this place.

From the architectural point of view, Tirukkal ukkunram is also of considerable interest and importance. The Orukal Mandapa, the rock-cut temple half-way up the hill was the creation of the illustrious Pallava King Narasimhavarma I or Mamalla of Marnallapuram fame. The hill temple for Vedagirisvara, eulogised by the Tevaram hymners and other saints, also has many architectural features of the Pallava period. Down the hill, in the heart of the town is the large and magnificent temple complex of Bhaktavatsala with impressive gopuras or the four gateways in four cardinal directions besides beautiful sub-shrines and multi-columned halls (mandapas). We also have here representations of other styles of Dravidian architecture - early Cola, late Cola, Vijayanagara and post- Vijayanagara - which afford ample scope for the study of architectural evolution at the place. The temples of Tirukkal ukkunram am also contain remarkable sculptures and bronze-images of rare beauty and symbolism which deserve a detailed study.

Sources for writing the history of Tirukkal ukkunram and its temples are many. Traditions, literature, religious and secular, inscriptions and architectural evidences, which are set out in detail in the Appendices of the thesis, come to our help.

CONTENTS
  Preface VII
  List of Illustrations IX
  Abbreviations XI
  Introduction 1
Chapter 1 Topography, Place Name and Archaeology 4
  2Legends and Traditions of Tirukkalukkunram 9
  3 Historical Background 19
  4 Temples of Tirukkalukkunram Origin and Growth 34
  5 Religion and Festivals 46
  6 Temple, Economy and Society 62
  7 Architecture and Sculpture 73
Appendix I Chronological List of Inscriptions 91
Appendix II Abstracts of Inscriptions 96
Appendix III Text of Some Inscriptions 106
  Bibliography 108
  Index 113

Sample Pages



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