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Click here to go to --> 13. Uthama Nathaswami Temple, Tamilnadu
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Click here to go to --> 22. Kunnandar Kovil Cave Temple, Pudukottai
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The city of MADRAS is believed to be founded by the ancestors of MUDIRAJAS and the city was named after a local leader MUDIRAZU or MADDARAZU belongining to this caste of Royal origin.

According to history tought in schools in Tamilnadu, the founding fathers of the city were a chieftain Muthurasa Naik and his son Chennakesava Naik. The British corrupted the father's name and named the city "Madras," their version of "Muthurasapattinam,". Now the politicians, in some zeal to make a noise and be noticed, named the city as Chennai - after Muthurasa's son Channakesavan. In any case they were descendants of Telugu Mudiraj and it was a Telugu city with Tamil minority before the arrival of British in India.The word Chenna is a Dravidian word and seems to have originated from the Telugu word Chennu meaning beautiful.

While we will see how the city got it's name as MADRAS in part-II, let us first know the history and other information about the biggest cultural, commercial port city of South India.


MADRAS (Chennai) is one of the four major metro cities of India and the biggest of all the cities in South India. It is one of the major port cities on the East Coast and capital city of Tamilnadu State. It is a commercial and cultural city of South India and built on the sandy sea shores of Bay of Bengal. Before we know the stories behind the origin of the name of MADRAS city, let us know some more details which may broaden our knowledge about the city.

Climate of City : Chennai City, the fourth largest city in India and the capital of Tamil Nadu state, is comparatively a new city. The city was formerly known as Madras. Chennai is a coastal city with the second largest beach in the world, known as Marina beach. The climate is hot and humid. In summer (May) the temperature reaches up to 42 C (107 F) while winter (Dec.- Feb.) is slightly less hot than summer, 18 C (64 F). Monsoon season starts in Sept. and lasts till Nov.

Renaming of City : In late August 1996, the ruling party of Tamil Nadu announced that Madras would be renamed Chennai and was renamed Chennai, which evolved from old name, Chennapatnam. The Tamil Nadu government obliterated 300 years of Christian colonial influence by renaming India's fourth-largest city Chennai. The name is believed to be short form for Chennapatnam and traceable to the 16th-century regional ruler Chennappa Naicker.

Trade centre : Being attracted by the spices, the Dutch, French, Danish, Finishian, Arabian and even the Chinese established trade with Chennai (or fishermen's village) in the coast of Cormondal. British followed them and established a factory in Machlipatnam in 1611. It began in the early 17th century as a tiny settlement founded by the English East India Company, whose trade rivals made it difficult for them to operate either from Surat on the west coast or Machilipatnam on the east coast.

Founder of city : The credit of laying the foundation of the city goes to Andrew Cogan and Francis Day, who decided to establish a new factory down south on the east coast. In search of a suitable place, Day stumbled upon a strip of sandy coast which he was convinced would be appropriate for setting up a factory and trading post. Fine long cloth, the raw material needed for his trade, was available cheap here. The rivers Cooum and Elambore ran to the south and west of the strip, while to the east was the sea.

Land of Nayak's :Damarla Venkatapathy Nayak ruled all the coast country from Pulicat to the Portuguese settlement of San Thome now included within the City of Madras. He had his head-quarters at Wandiwash and his brother Ayyappa Nayak resided at Poonamallee, a few miles to the west of Madras, and looked after the affairs of the coast. Damarla Venkatadri was the local governor of the last ruler of Vijayanager empire and looked after the rajah's property.

City on sandy strip : It was probably Ayyappa Nayak that made overtures to Day, inviting him to choose a site in the territory of his brother. Beri Timmana, Day's dubash (interpreter), played a major role as an intermediary in this matter. Damarla Ayyappa Nayak was a close friend of Timmanna. Ayyappa persuaded his brother to lease out the sandy strip to Day and promised him trade benefits, army protection, and Persian horses in return.

Place recommended by Mr. Day : The offer looked good; and Day wrote to Machilipatnam for permission to inspect the proposed site and examine the possibilities of trade there. The results of his personal inspection were apparently favourable; and he wrote that the calicos woven at Madraspatnam which was the place offered by the Nayak for the site of the proposed factory were much cheaper than those at Armagaon.

Place approved by English Presidency : The English Factories at Machilipatam were satisfied with the action of Mr. Day and resolved that he should proceed again to Madras and contact the Nayak until the sanction of the superior English Presidency of Bantam (in java) could be obtained for their action. The chief difficulty, as usual with the English in those days, was lack of money. Francis Day then had to convince the local chieftains to give him the land.

Madraspatnam leased for two years : Mr. Day secured a Grant (copies of which endorsed by Cogan, the Chief of the Machilipatnam Factory, are even now preserved) giving over to the English the village of Madraspatnam for a period of two years and empowering them to build a fort and castle at that place. They got a 31 mile land on lease from the last king of Vijaynagar. Thus, the land was leased to the Company in 1639.

Factories shifted from Machilipatnam to Madras : At last, in February 1640, Day and Cogan accompanied by a few factors and writers, a garrison of about 25 European soldiers and a few other European artificers, besides a Hindu powder-maker by name Naga Battan, proceeded to Madras and started the English factory. They reached Madraspatnam on the 20th of February; and this date is important because it marks the first actual settlement of the English at the place.

St. George's Fort : It was the East India Company that developed Madras. Day is said to have spent his personal money in building the factory on the northern side of Kayum river. It was completed on April 23, 1640, and was called St. George's Fort. However, the higher officers of the Company did not encourage the venture. The whole Fort took fourteen years to construct and was finished only in 1653. It measured about 100 yards by north to south and by 80 yards east to west.

Black & White Towns : Chennapatnam grew, encompassing neighbouring villages. On its northern and southern sides, buildings and streets sprang up and constituted what came to be known later as the White Town. The British named rest of the colony 'Black Town'. It is believed that this Black Town was named Chennapatnam after the name of the feudal hero, Chennapa. This place was located in between Kayum River and the sea and was shaded by mango, coconut and guava trees. Today this city which is 350 years old is a modern metropolis which has retained much of its old world charm.

While Madraspatnam was the English settlement (White Town) near Fort St George, Chennapatnam (Black Town) was essentially a TELUGU settlement near the Fort.

East India Company: It was in Fort St. George that sea Customs duties were first collected by the British. Madraspatnam became a Presidency in 1654 and began to be known as Madras. For 23 years the Agent of the East India Company, the Governor, was in charge of collection of revenue in the Presidency. Later on, a Council of members was appointed to run the company affairs in Madras, with the Governor as President of the Council.

French captured city : It had a very humble beginning that belies its present size and status. In the 17th century Madraspatnam was a small fishing village till the British East India Company discovered that here, sitting almost at the southern tip of the peninsula with bay waters quietly lapping at its shores, was a strategic treasure on their hands from where they could sail up, around and out to their other trading posts. British started to develop it as a city in 1720. Though the French captured in it 1746 but as per Treaty of Aix La it again went to the hands of British in 1748. They expanded their empire slowly and steadily.

Madras was administrative capital : Madras/Chennai was the administrative capital of the British controlled South India called Presidency (the southern zone of the British Empire in India). A successful British campaign against the French saw them all but disappear from the region (barring the enclave in Pondicherry) and it was launched from here. Modern learning and universities were set up fairly early : the British merely wanted an army of docile vegetarian clerks but soon found the natives had other ideas.

Madras a cultural center of South : The Madras is still the cultural centre of South India. Chennai has a long history of association with other cultures. The names of its many streets reflect its early days of international trade importance. Even before the British arrival, its precious cargoes of handlooms, fabrics, silk and hides had attracted European interest, leading to the establishment of a small Portuguese settlement at San Thome.

Brief account about Madras : Accurate historical data is available from the 3rd C onwards. It is likely it was a small fishing village like the many of the area. Many such villages were absorbed into the later city , like the Mylapore area in south Chennai. It dates back to Buddhist and Jain times. The 16th century Kapaleeswar temple in Mylapore was moved from the ancient one almost on the seashore, near the present day San Thome church .

The great sage Thiruvalluvar is said to have lived in the Chennai region. In late medieval times, the Nayaks, governors appointed by the Vijayanagar empire ran the place. The surviving cultural monuments date from the time of the Nayaks. Triplicane, with an old temple dates back to the 16th century and possibly earlier. The name Chennai is said to derive from Chenna Bomma Nayak, the local 16th century governor. Around 1639 D.V.Naidu, agent of the Raja of Chandragiri sold a piece of land called Madraspatnam to the English. The Fort St.George and the later English town of Madras were based here.


Many theories and legends explain how the city came to be called Madras and Chennai.

Three inscriptions dealing with one and the same subject are found engraved in three different languages (Telugu, Tamil and Sanskrit) at Narasamangalam in North Arcot District (No.s 261, 262, and 264). No. 262 records the construction of a tank at Dusi Mamandur in Saka 1560 (1638 A.D.) by Venkatappa-Nayaka, son of Chennappa-nayaka and grandson of Venkatappa of the Irugala-gotra and of the famous Damarla family. This tank called Chennasagara after his father was fed by channels from the Palar and had irrigation channels supplying water to 32 villages. He is stated to have fought a battle against a Senji chief and his brother Akka is praised as Navabhoja in the Sanskrit version.

This Akka may be identified with Anka, author of Ushaparinayam who States therein that his brother Ayyappa (Venkatappa?) built the town of chennapatnam, one of the earliest names of Modern Madras (the other being Madras Pattanam) again named after his father.

Anka = Ankamma = Angamma
Mother Goddess Ankamma was a royal diety worshipped by both Chola & Mutharayar kings. This once again confirms that Madras was a corrupted name for Mutharasu and the people of Damarla surname belonged to Mudiraj / Muthuraj community. Today there are people having Damera in Mudiraj community. From this we can firmly say that Chennappa Nayaka was a Mutharasu, who founded the Madras city and the people of Telugu Mudiraj were the original inhabitants of Madras, the present day Chennai.

Damarla => Damara => Damera
Mutharasu => Mudarasu = Madarasu => Madras

City was named after fishermen chief Madarasan : The origin of the name Madraspatnam has long been a puzzle. The name Madras occurs in many forms like Maddaraspatnam, Madras Patnam, Madraspatnam, Madrapatnam, Madrazpatnam, etc. According to one version there was a village of fishermen on the site, the headman of which was a Christian named Madaresan who persuaded Mr.Francis Day, an East India Company trader to call the settlement after his own name. But we know that the name was in use even before the English came on the scene. It was unlikely that neither Madarasan was a christian nor Mr. Day persuaded the chief as poor never give importance for their names and they always bother to find ways of filling their hungry stomachs. So this story is not an acceptable account for the origin to the city of Madras.

It was not a french name : The European presence in Chennai is older, as the Basilica of San Thome, housing the tomb of the Apostle Thomas, dates back to 1504.9 Some believe that the Portuguese had set up a settlement here, named "Madre di Dios", after the Church of St. Mary, and the British eventually shortened the name to "Madras". However, the Church of St. Mary is an Anglican church, and this source claims that there was no town named Chennai, so this claim is suspicious at best. However, given the older Portuguese presence in the area, the source of the name seems plausible. In any case, the name Madras is older than Chennai, but Chennai has another source of authenticity, being the name in the language of the inhabitants.

Madras was known after Maddarazu : Otherwise writers have derived the name from the term Madrassa ( a college) and think that there might have been an old Muhammadan College at the place; or there might have been a Church of St.Mary (Madre de Deus) at Madras prior to 1640, probably founded by the Portuguese of San Thome which had been in existence from the previous century and the church might have given name to the village; or there was an Indian rulers, Maddarazu, who might have been some local chief in the region in the past after whom the village might have been named Maddarazpatnam.

Damarla wished to name after their father : One particular theory closely associated with Francis Day is as interesting as the others. To the north of the sandy strip of land, where Day built his factory, was a settlement of fishermen. The chief of this hamlet, Madarasan, agreed to give up his land only when Timmanna convinced him that the factory would be named after him. Meanwhile, the Damarla brothers wished that the new settlement be named after their father Chennappa Nayak. Day found a way to please both parties. And that is how the factory and settlement came to he called Madarasanpatnam and Chennapatnam respectively. Soon, the factory and the settlement merged and swallowed several other neighbouring hamlets and villages to grow into a bustling city. It emerged to be the bastion of the Company and chief settlement of the British Empire in India until it was ousted from its glory by the city of Calcutta in the 18th century.

At that time the Coromandel Coast was ruled by the Rajah of Chandragiri-Vellore,Peda Venkata Raya who was a descendant of the famous Rajas of Vijayanagar Empire. Under the Rajah, local chiefs or governors known as Nayaks, ruled over the different districts. Damarla Venkatadri Nayakudu, local governor of the Vijayanagar Empire and Nayak of Wandiwash ruled the coastal part of the region, from Pulicat to the Portuguese settlement of San Thome. He had his head -quarters at Wandiwash and his brother Ayyappa Nayakudu resided at Poonamallee, a few miles to the west of Madras, and looked after the affairs of the coast. Beri Timmanna Chetti dubash (Interpreter) of Francis Day was a close friend of damarla Ayyappa Nayakudu. Beri Thimmanna migrated in the early 17th century to Chennai from Palacole, near Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh. Ayyappa Nayakudu persuaded his brother to lease out the sandy strip to Francis Day and promised him trade benefits, army protection, and Persian horses in return. Francis Day wrote to his Headquarters at Masulipatam for permission to inspect the proposed site at Madraspatnam and examine the possibilities of trade there. Madraspatnam seemed favourable during the inspection and the calicoes woven at Madraspatnam were much cheaper than those at Armagon.

It is understood that in the schools of Tamilnadu, students are taught about the founders of MADRAS city. The city's founders were MUTHURASA (MUTHIRASA) NAICKER and CHENNAKESAVA NAICKER, both of whom most probably spoke Telugu and belonged to Muthurasa caste.

What Mudiraj people to say about city's name : Thougth there are several stories in circulation about the origin of the name MADRAS, the people of Mudiraj community has some thing to say which has astrong connection to their own community name and in all possibility it has all the necessary flavour to make most people believe in this version :

AS believed by some people that Madras was named after Maddarazu, who was a local chief and feudal hero in the region. The village was named after this local feudal hero as Muddarazupatnam. The people of Mudiraj community believe that the local chief and feudal hero was in fact a MUDIRAJU. If the chief was at all known as Maddarazu, it was just a modification for Mudiraju by local illiterate people and nothing beyond that.

Muthurasa => Muthirasa = Mudiraja => Mudiraju
Mudiraju <=> Mudirazu <=> Maddarazu
Mudirazu => Mudiraz => Mudraz => Mudras =>Madras

Alternatively :

Muthuraja => Mudiraja => Mudirasa => Mudrasa => Madras

Muthuracha => Mudracha => Mudrasa => Madrasa => Madras

There could also be some truth in what some people used to say that the chief of the hamlet was Madarasan and he was a fisherman. The Madarasan could be a Muthurasan. The name Madarasan closely sounds and resembles to Muthurasan. Muthurasan is one of the few community titles used by the present day people of Mudiraj / Muthuraja community in Tamilnadu. It was also possible that most of the people living in village were from Mudirazu community and their job was fishing, and hence the village was - either named after the village chief MADARASAN or after the community's title name MUTHURASAN.


The settlement on sandy coast was pehaps named by the local people as MUDIRAZA PATNAM in respect of the local chief and feudal hero long before the arrival of European traders at the east coast. It was also possible that the village was named MUDIRAZA PATNAM by locals as the majority people living in the helmet belonged to Mudirazu or Muthurasan community.

Madarasan Patnam => Madrasan Patnam => Madras Patnam => Madraspatnam

Though the people of Mudiraj community are not the traditional fishermen folk, but it is observed that the people of Mudiraju community are found to have general inclination for fishing, fish farming and fishing business since unknown times in addition to their soldiers jobs in support of their community chiefs and other chiefs who are closely associated with their community. One should remember that most of the civilizations which came up in this world are always seen in the vicinity of sea shores or on the banks of big rivers where the sea people and sailors played a vital role in building the civilizations.

A large population belonging to Mudiraj community in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh State too are seen in fishing and fishing business since unknown times. Some Historians believed that the Kakatiya kings of Warangal in Telangana region were the fishermen folk.

But there was no sea in Telangana region except Godavari river and so the Kakatiyas were possibly not the traditional fishermen folk but might be from Mudiraz (Bunt) community. This point gains strength due to the fact that Harihara Raya and Bukkaraya who laid foundation to Vijaynagar Empire at a later stage were in the Royol Court of Kakatiya Kings as treasurers. Harihara Raya and Bukka Raya were two great brave sons of Sangama Raya who was a treasury suprintendant in the kingdom of Kampili and also son-in-law of Kampila Raya. Kampilaraya was also a king from present day Bellary districts and belonged to Kuruba Bunt community.

It is worth to note that the people of Mudiraj are believed to be the descendants of Kalabhras (Kurubas). Tiraiyans who were a branch of Kalabhra race were believed to be Sea people by Tamilians and so it was possible that a section of Mudiraz might have descended from Tiraiyans of Kalabhra race.

The people who ruled Madras and surrounding regions from Chandragiri town were the subordinate Nayaks of Vijayanager Empire and possibly belong to Mudiraj community. The fact is that Saluva Narsimha Raya was the first Salva King who ruled Vijayanager Empire from Chandragiri and Elugu Rayudu was the last ruler of SALUVA dynasty who ruled his kingdom making PODILI TOWN of Rayalaseema districts of present Andhra Pradesh State as his capital.

The Saluvas ruled over the Podili area in the 15th century AD with their capital at Podili. A few inscriptions and the kaifayat of Podili form the sources of their history. The rule of the Saluvas of Podili ended with Elugu Rayudu. Their territory was appropriated among the Gajapatis and the Rajas of Vijayanagara.

The people having surname ELUGU belong to Mudiraju community. There is a small village known as ELUGU VARI PALEM near Podili Town where quite a considerable no. of Mudiraju families are living even today. This clearly indicates that the Salvas were Mudiraj and close variant of Mudiraj.

The chiefs Damarla Venkatapathy Nayak and his brother Ayyappa Nayak were perhaps Mudiraj or belong to a variant section of Mudiraj. His father Chenna Bomma Nayak and the local 16th century governor was a feudal hero. The Nayak brothers might have derived their inspiration to rename Madras town after their father's name Chennappa by replacing the old name which was also named after a Mudirazu feudal hero of their own caste. We should not forget the fact that the Salva kings who ruled Madras region from Chandragiri were all Telugu people and Madraspatnam / Chennaptnam was originally a colony of majority of Telugu people.

Let us not forget that MADRAS was a disputed city between the people of Telugus and Tamils at the time of reorganization of states on lingustic basis in independent India. The population of Telugus and Tamils in Madras city was very close to 50:50 with a very marginal tilt towards Tamils. The Telugu people had to remain satisfied for gaining the famous temple city of Thirupathi in spite of losing their loving city of Madras. There is considerable Telugu population in Madras city even today but a many of the young generation switched over to Tamil speaking for want of local jobs and became Tamilians forever. It is not a big matter whether the city belonged to Tamils or Telugus, but it is certainly a big matter for the people of MUDIRAZA / MUTHURAJA community, as it was founded by a feudal hero and local chief belonging to their own caste and community.

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This is a place of historical importance and the headquarters of the Muthuraiya Chieftains. The earliest structural stone temple, circular in shape, built by the Muthuraiyar. In the movement of scooping out live rocks for divine abodes minor dynasties like the Atiyas and Muttaraiyars also participated, though stylistically their excavations are much akin to those of their political master. The cave at Namakkal is evidently an Atiya enterprise while Muttaraiya involvement may be seen at Tiruvellarai, Narttamalai, Kunrlandarkoil etc.

NARTHAMALAI A cluster of small hillocks, 25 kms from Tiruchi on the Tiruchi-Pudukottai road hosts some of the finest and oldest architectural models and rock cut cave temples, and the longest of rock-cut edicts, similar to Asokan edicts the likes of which are extremely rare in the south. Narthamalai, a heritage complex, consists of nine small hillocks - Melamalai, Kottaimalai, Aluruttimalai, Kadambarmalai, Perayarmalai, Uvakkanmalai, Manmalai, Bommattimalai and Ponmalai and the shrub forests surrounding the same is a habitat for peacock, deers etc. According to mythology they were parts of the Sanjeevimalai carried by Lord Hanuman during the war between Rama and Ravana.

Narthamalai came under the sway of the Mutharayars from 7th to 9th century who were the vassals of the Pallava kings of Kanchi and Pandya kings of Madurai and was later conquered by the Cholas of Thanjavur.

During the reign of Raja Raja I (about 985-1014 AD) Narttamalai was called Telungu-kulakala-puram after one of the titles of the king. Here Telungu stands for Telugu language. We know that Mutharaiyars were basically the people of Telugu origin and Cholas were also related to Mutharaiyars. Some believe that Cholas and Mutharaiyars were one and the same people belonging to two rival warrior groups. The Mutharayars and Cholas were also connected through matrimonial relations. The title Telungu Kulakala to Raja Raja-I may be a pointer to his Telugu origins.

These hills were in early times the abode of Jaina ascetics. The natural cavern at Aluruttimalai, one of the Narttamalai group has traces of beds similar to those at Ezhadippattam in Sittannavasal, where Jaina monks practiced austerities. More of such Jaina caverns and Jaina vestiges are to be found on the southern flank of Kudagu-malai. Kudagu-malai is in front of Alurutti-malai, on the east across the high road and nearer the railway track. Mela-malai with its caverns and caves is, in fact, also known as Samanar-malai (hill-of-the-Jaina-s). Narttamalai appears to have been an important Jaina centre with temples and monasteries and also a mercantile centre (Nagaram) as attested by inscriptions. The local merchants were Silaya-chetti-s, according to the inscriptions.

During the reign of Raja Raja I (about 985-1014 AD) Narttamalai was called Telungu-kulakala-puram after one of the titles of the king. The Kadambar-koil was built about the close of the 10th century. There are inscriptions here of the reigns of Rajendra II and Kulottunga I. During the last years of the reign of Kulottunga III, Narttamalai came under Pandya rule. Rajendra III probably recovered it, since there is an inscription of his reign relating to this temple building, activities, but very soon it again passed into the hands of the Pandya-s.

Narttamalai could have come under the rule of the Madurai Sultans for about 50 years in the 14th century until the Vijayanagara dynasty reconquered the south. The only Vijayanagara inscription here, however, is dated 1431 AD and is in the reign of Devaraya II . Narttamalai came later under the direct rule of the Madurai Nayak-s.

Akkalraja, a Vijayanagara nobleman was persuaded on his way to Rameswaram to settle in this tract and put down the lawless Visengi-nattu Kallar-s. He lived in a fort on the Narttamalai hills. We hear of Akkachi, a Pallava-rayar princess, employing a Kallar warrior of the Kachiran sect to slay Akkalraja and bring his head. When Akkalraja was thus killed, his seven wives committed sati by throwing themselves into a pyre prepared near Nochik-kanmai by the side of the Narttamalai hills. The decedents of these Nayak-s or Raja settlers live in the adjoining place called Uppilikkudi, even today and are called Uppilikkudi Rajas.

The Tondaiman-s acquired Narttamalai from the Pallava-rayar-s. Owing to its natural advantages for defence it was for long used as a military station, and traces new exist of fort walls and citadels.

The earliest references to local assemblies are in the period of 7th-9th centuries. The Nagaram of Narttamalai came into prominence in about the 10th century, and, as a unit of local administration, it flourished for many centuries. It controlled the temples, received and managed gifts for them, controlled taxation, effected sales and other modes of conveyance of land, exempted land from tax, distributed among its members the revenue-survey and accounts work of the village and functioned through an executive body of its own creation. Silaya-chetti-s, who often bore the names of Chozha or Pandya kings, seem to have been the chief mercantile class in this.

The Vishnu shrine in the Mela-malai cave is called Padhinen-bhumi Vinnagaram, evidently after the ‘eighteen towns’ of the ‘Ainnurruvar’, assembly of five hundred), and we may conclude that this Nagaram was associated with or affiliated to the great corporation of Ainurruvar. By 14th and 15th centuries, from the inscriptions mentioning only about Ur or village assembly, it is possible that the mercantile community had at that time migrated from this place.


The two rock-cut temples atop Melamalai besides the Vijayaleeswara Choleeswaram temples tucked under idyllic settings are extremely informative and also a classic example of the fusion of different styles of temple architecture prevailing in different parts of the country. One cannot but marvel how in that distant past the Mutharayar s, whose contribution to the temple architecture and local government were not given due recognition and importance, had become master builders.

The Vijayalaya Choleeswaram in Narthamalai, though so called under the name of the founder of the Chola dynasty of Thanjavur, is a fine example of Mutharayar style of construction and indeed a forerunner of the magnificent temple at Gangaikondacholapuram built by Rajendra Chola. The first and second thala (base) of the temple vimanam is square in shape while the third is circular (vasara) and the griva and Sikhira also are circular.

There is an inscription at the base of the dwarapalaka statue which clearly states that the original temple was built by Ilangovathi Mutharayar (alias) Chathambuthi which was damaged by rain and the same was rebuilt with granite stones by Mallan Vithuman Mutharaya king in 886 A.D. This is a clear evidence that the temple was in existence prior to Vijayalaya chola, though at present the temple is called Vijayalaya Choleeswaram. This is an interesting Muttaraiyar temple constructed in Vesara style and with ashta-parivaras. These Araiyans were most probably the Chola Mutharaiyars kings who were having titles either Chola or or Mutharayar or Chola- Mutharaiyar.

The temple Vijayalaya Chozhisvaram is a marvellous piece of art built by a Muttaraiyar chief, Ilango Adi Araiyan. This is inferred from an inscription under one of the dvara-palakas. The inscription says that the temple was originally built by one Sembudi, also called Ilango Adi Araiyan, and that is suffered damage by heavy rains and was repaired by one Mallan-viduman also called Tennavan Tamil Adi Araiyan.

The temple obtained its present name after Vijayalaya Chozha, the founder of the imperial Chozha line (second half of 9th century AD). This name was referred to, for the first time, in a 13th century, Mara-varman Sundara-pandya inscription and it has survived obscuring the fact that the temple was erected by the Muttaraiyars . As far as the dating of the builder Ilango Adi Araiyan is concerned there are two opinions. Some are of the opinion that he belonged to the time of the Pallava king Nandi-varman II or even to that his predecessor (8th century AD). Other experts opine that he belonged to the time of Vijayalaya Chozha (second half of 9th century AD).

Located on the top ledge of the hill, there is a sombre magnificence about this Siva temple as it stands in its loneliness. As one approaches the site, the sighting of this temple edifice among the sparse vegetation and shingled rock, is breathtaking.

The shrine is an important one in the history of temples of the Tamil country. According to K.V. Soundararajan (in his book titled Studies in Indian Temple Architecture) this is ‘one of the important temples of the early Muttaraiyars, entirely circular from the ground tala up to the sikharam, constituting a single Vesara example’.

In the opinion of S.R. Balasubrahmanyam (in his book titled Early Chozha Art I) ‘it is unique in many respects. It is four tiered, and is the earliest and grandest of the early Chozha temples. It is built of stone. It has a circular garbha-griham (in Pranava form) and a wonderful vimanam. …. Above all it is the fore-runner of the glorious monuments of the Chozhas’.

This is an interesting Muttaraiyar temple constructed in Vesara style and with ashta-parivaras. The west facing main shrine would have been at the centre of a large courtyard and surrounded by the eight sub-shrines within the courtyard. These sub-shrines are in various stages of ruin. The complex is surrounded by a prakaram.

The door to the shrine is on the west, has a pleasing floral design, and is guarded by a pair of two-armed Dvara-palaka-s , one arm resting on a club and the other held out in the vismaya pose, and with legs crossed. Excepting these doorkeepers, figures and portraits adorn only the upper terraces. The main temple stands on a double lotus base with walls running round the sanctum and ardha-mandapam. These are embedded with elegant pilasters topped by palagai-s ( ‘stone-planks’).

The covered ardha-mandapam stands on six pillars that are square at the top and bottom but octagonal in the middle. These monolithic pillars are crowned with bracket capitals. Over the pilasters and palagai-s and the corbels, is the curved roll cornice with its chaitya arches and decorated with kudu-s, containing figures of human heads and animals and surmounted by trifoliate finials. There are usual rows of bhutha-gana.

The garbha-griham, sanctum) is circular and is enclosed within a square hall. Around the circular inner wall and the outer square wall there is a narrow pradakshina (circumbulatory) passage.

The vimanam is a hollow superstructure made up of four tiers, each separated from the next by a cornice. The lowest is rectangular and built over the ardha-mandapam and the garbha-griham, the rest are over the garbha-griham only.

On every tier under and over the roll cornice are rows of frolicking gana, vyali-s, Apsara-s and god-s. The first two tiers have broad parapet walls running over the edge. These are topped by domical cell-like roofs.

The parapets contain recesses and adorned with Apsara-s in dancing poses. Here one can see some of the most graceful poses of Indian Classical dance. The circular top tier is topped by a round sikharam . At the base of the sikharam on four coordinal directions are four beautifully moulded nandi-s with broad shoulders and with rippling muscles.

In between the bulls are four elaborate chaitya-arches with the niches containing superb portraits. One is Vina-dhara Dakshina-moorthi. He wears a look of supreme serenity. Another is a portrait of Siva seen with Parvathi in a tender mood caressingly tilting her chin with his right hand.

Very faint traces of paintings can be seen inside on the walls of ardha-mandapam. A Bhairava with eight arms is seen on the north wall, and what is probably Durga, on the south. These paintings are modern and not earlier than the 17th century, according to the Manual of the Pudukkottai State (1944).

Though badly battered by weather over more than a thousand years, the entire effect of Vijayalaya Chozhisvaram from its base to its terraced top is one of breath-taking beauty. Modeled with loving care, graceful figures and rollicking elephants and gana-s emerge continuously from the granite surface. The Apsara-s of the recesses have an alluring charm about them, their graceful pose offering unending delight.

As mentioned earlier, presently, only six out of the original eight sub-shrines remains around the main shrine. Each of them has a small square garbha-griham and a closed rectangular ardha-mandapam in front. They are all one-storied, eka-tala).

In front of the main shrine there is a nandi-mandapam with four pillars and without a roof. There is a stone Nandi inside.


This temple is also associated with an Ariyan of Telugu origin. There is an inscription which registers sale of land by the Nagarattar to thevan-periyan also called Mudikonda-chozha Telungai-araiyan for the conduct of daily worship to the arumanikka-azhvar of Thirumer-koil. It appears that Thevan Periran was an Araiyan (subcaste of Muthuraja of Tsmilnadu) and he was also Telungai (belonging to Telugu speaking origin )

Opposite to the structural temple Vijayalaya Chozhisvaram there are two cave temples, excavated on the steep slop of the rock. Of these, the one on the northern side is popularly called Samanar-kudagu (‘cave-of-the-Jains’).

This cave temple is also called Padhinen-bhumi Vinnagaram. ‘Padinen’ refers to the ‘eighteen regions’ (seats of the corporation of Ainurruvar). Vinnagaram means temple for Vishnu.

Perhaps, it was originally a Jaina cave in the 7th century AD, but converted into a Vishnu shrine in 12th or 13th century AD. The date of this conversion is still under debate.

After this conversion it came to be called as Thirumer-koil or Merrali and Padhinen-bhumi Vinnagaram. Presently it looks like a Vaishanavite shrine.

It consists of a rectangular garbha-griham and an ardha-mandapam in front, both excavated from the living rock.

Presently the garbha-griham is empty, except for a broken stone pitham . This pitham is also carved out of the living rock.

The ardha-mandapam has two massive pillars and two pilasters in the front, also carved out of the rock. It houses twelve identical but wonderful relief sculptures of Vishnu on the walls.

Each of them is six feet five inches tall and carved on the rock. The sankhu, conch), chakra, discuss), the garments and the ornamentation deserve praise. One of the lower hands is in the abhaya-mudra ( pose indicative of protection) and the other touches the thigh. The twelve figures perhaps represent those of the twelve common names of Vishnu – Kesava, Narayana, Madhava, Govinda, Trivikrama, Vamana, Achyuta, Sridhara, Padmanabha, Damodara, Vasudeva and Madhu-sudhana.

In front of this cave temple is a stone plinth of the maha-mandapam . Judging from the remains, this mandapam must have been a closed one supported by square pillars, with walls ornamented with pilasters crowned with capitals.

On the plinth of this mandapam, above the kumudam, runs a beautiful frieze of lions, elephants, and vyali-s. At the corners are projecting makara heads, with human figures sporting inside their gaping mouths. Carved with loving care, these graceful figures of elephants, lions and vyali-s in playing are one among the finest in existence in this region. They exhibit high levels of creativity, artistic skill and imagination of the sculptors.

There are a number of loose sculptures broken parts sculptures kept on this plinth and also inside the ardha-mandapam. Those on the plinth include two dvara-palaka-s, a Sapta-matrika group and an Ayyanar. Those inside the ardha-mandapam include two Ganesa-s. All these sculptures are excavated in and around Narttamalai.

There is an inscription on the moulded basement dated in the 45th year of the Chozha king Kulottunga I (1115 AD). This inscription registers a sale of land by the Nagarattar to thevan-periyan also called Mudikonda-chozha Telungai-araiyan for the conduct of daily worship to the arumanikka-azhvar of Thirumer-koil.

There is also another inscription dated 1228 AD on the rock, north of the cave temple (PSI 281) of the reign of Mara-varman Sundara-pandya I mentioning that the ‘western temple’ was consecrated and in it were installed the idols of Vishnu and those of his consorts.

So the date of conversion of the Jain cave into the Vishnu shrine is still under debate.


The Kadambar-koil is another beautiful temple complex in Narttamalai, situated at the foot of the Kadambar-malai, north-east of Mela-malai. In fact the rocky hillock, Kadambar-malai, is named after this temple. The temple has an air of simple grandeur, with its background of hills and beautiful natural scenery.

There are four monuments in this complex that attract the visitors. They are the main Siva shrine, the Amman shrine, another Siva shrine called Nagarisvaram and a large inscription on the rock surface.

The main shrine is ascribed to the reign of Raja raja I Chozha (985-1014). The earliest inscription in the temple belongs to the 22nd year of Raja raja Chozha (1007 AD). The presiding deity is called Malaik-kadambur Thevar. The other two shrines belong to the reign of the Pandya King Mara-varman Sundara-pandya I (first half of 13th century).

Here, there is a plethora of inscriptions. The inscriptions range over the entire Chozha period starting from Raja raja I Chozha till Rajendra III, the last of the Chozha rulers.

Assigned to the period of Raja raja Chozha I (985-1014 AD), this main shrine in the complex is called Tirumalaik-kadambur Isvaram. It is situated at the north side of the temple complex. Apart from the name Malaik-kadambur Thevar referred to in the Raja raja inscription, the presiding deity is also called as Thirumalai-Kadambur-Udaya-Nayanar, Sri Kailasam Udaiya Nayanar, Kooththadum-thevar, Nataraja) and Thiru-anaikka-udyaiya-nayanar in various other inscriptions.

Most of the inscriptions found in Narttamalai are on the mandapam walls of the Kadambar temple and on the rock-face adjoining to it. Eleven of these are of the Chozha-s and ten of the Pandya-s. These relate to gifts and conveyance of land by Nagarattar-s , instituting of festivals and sandhi-s (worships) and rewards for services to the temple.

The temple faces the west. It consists of a garbha-griham, an ardha-mandapam, a maha-mandapam, and a prakaram. A part of the hill serves as the northern wall of the temple prakaram.

In front of the temple are a fine sculpture of nandi and some broken parts of bali-pitham and dhvaja-sthambham.

Through a door, one enters to the western prakaram. Beyond this is the maha-mandapam. It is pillared structure with flat roof supported by eight pillars.

Beyond this are the ardha-mandapam and the garbha-griham. It is an imposing structure of well-dressed stones, showing great artistic skill. It resembles in some aspects to those of the Balasubrahmanya temple at Kannanur, in this district. It is, however, later in date.

The garbha-griham is a plain structure and has a moulded plinth. On the outer wall of the garbha-griham there are deva-koshtam-s surmounted by kudu-s with miniature shrines inside. The southern niche contains a sculpture of Dakshina-moorthi.

The pilasters are polygonal and have idal-s and palagai-s at the top. Above the cornice (kodungai) is a vyali frieze. The vimanam is of single tier. The grivam has niches (griva-koshtam,) on four sides and they are surmounted by simha-mukham-s . The sikharam of the vimanam is bell shaped. Further up over a base of lotus petals, padma-pattikai), stand the stone stupi .

In the recess between the garbha-griham and the ardha-mandapam are two pilasters carrying a pancharam surmounted by a kudu.

In the pillared-prakaram of this temple are kept the idols of the attended deities of this and idols brought from the adjoining temple. They include the Sapta-matrika group, a Vina-dhara Dakshina-moorthi and Ganesa holding in his upper arms a piece of sugarcane and a sheaf of paddy.

At the north-east corner of the prakaram, on the rock surface is a relief sculpture of Chandikesvara.

The tank in front of the temple is called Mangala-theertham.

To the south of Kadambar-koil is a Siva temple, called Nagarisvaram. According to an inscription (PSI 283) this temple was built in the 12th year of the reign of Mara-varman Sundara-pandya I (1228 AD).

This east-facing shrine consists of a square garbha-griham and an ardha-mandapam. It has a flat roof. The walls of the garbha-griham and the ardha-mandapam have pilasters and deva-koshtam-s. There are no sculptures in the niches.

The shrine is rather plain, and the usual dvara-palaka-s are absent. There is no lingam in the sanctum now.

Two inscriptions (PSI 279 and 325) in the reign of Mara-varman Sundara-Pandya (1st half of 13th century) refer to the building of this shrine by one Periya-thevan called Marududaiyan Periya-devanudaiyan in the first inscription and Paluvurudaiyan Periyan in the second.

The shrine consists of a garbha-griham, an ardha-mandapam and a small mandapam in front with two pillars. All these have a common moulded plinth. The approach into the front mandapam is from the sides by a flight of steps having rolled-balustrades.

There is a Devi idol inside the garbha-griham.

The walls of the garbha-griham and the ardha-mandapam are adorned with polygonal pilasters with idal-s and thin palagai and corbels ( potikai). There are deva-koshtam-s on the walls. They are flanked by circular pilasters and surmounted by pancharam-s with wagon shaped tops (sala). Presently there are no sculptures inside these niches, but traces of their existence can be seen.

On the west wall of the garbha-griham is a small relief sculpture depicting a cow performing the abhishekam on a lingam with its milk.

The shrine has a flat roof and no superstructure remains above the sanctum.

To the east of the main shrine and north of the Nagarisvaram temple, on the surface of the living rock is a rectangular area which hosts inscriptions. A rectangular area of about 6 feet by 20 feet is carved in and then inscribed on the rock surface.

It contains two inscriptions. The older one is a 11-line long Tamil inscription (PSI 91) is executed in the 28th year of Raja raja I (1012-1013 AD). This incomplete inscription records a grant of land by the people of Telungu-kulakala-puram in Annavayil-kurram , a sub-division of Konadu in Keralantaka-valanadu for uvachchu service in the temple.

The other is a 28-line Tamil inscription (PSI 170) belongs to the 37th year of Kulottunga Chozha III (1214-1215 AD). This registers a sale of land by the residents of Telungu-kulakala-puram in Irattapadi-konda-chozha-valanadu, to two merchants of the same place.

Narthamalai is a place of historical importance for the people of Muthuraja / Mudiraja . Narthamalai is a cluster of small hillocks, 25 kms from Tiruchi on the Tiruchi-Pudukottai road .

Narthamalai has some of the oldest structural stone temples, built by the Mutharaiyars (Muthurajas). This temple has six large, skillfully carved statues of Lord Vishnu in the central hall. A 9th century Pallava cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva lies to the south, and in front of this is the Vijayalaya Choliswaran temple.

In Narthamalai, there is Vijayalaya Choleeswaram, a structural stone temple, circular in shape built by the Mutharayars. Vijayalaya was the first of the later Cholas and as such, this Shiva temple is one of the earliest Chola creations. Besides the structural stone Temple built by the Mutharayars, there is the life size scluptures carved out of the rock during the Chola King Vijayalayan. However, glimpse of artistic greatness that was still to come can be seen in the beautiful figures of the dancers in front of the vimana, the elegantly carved dwara-palakas and the figures of other Gods.

There are also two cave temples here known as Pathinen Boomi Vinnagaram and Paliyili Eswaram. There is also another stone temple near the Kadambarmalai on the plains north of the village.

Narthamalai hosts some of the finest and oldest architectural models and rock cut cave temples, and the longest of rock-cut edicts, similar to Asokan edicts the likes of which are extremely rare in the south. Blessed with many rocky hillocks, Pudukottai district now has about a dozen rock cave temples of which the most famous are Narthamalai, Kudumiyanmalai, Thirumayam, Sitthannavaasal, Malayadipatti etc.

Besides 200 brilliant inscriptions dating back to the 8th century, the world famous Pandya Musical inscriptions in Kudumiyanmalai date back to the 4th century. Some Megalithic Burial sites and Jain Rock-cut beds too have been found in this district, which throw a great deal of light on the ancient history of the region.

Narthamalai, a heritage complex, consists of nine small hillocks - Melamalai, Kottaimalai, Aluruttimalai, Kadambarmalai, Perayarmalai, Uvakkanmalai, Manmalai, Bommattimalai and Ponmalai and the shrub forests surrounding the same is a habitat for peacock, deers etc. According to mythology they were parts of the Sanjeevimalai carried by Lord Hanuman during the war between Rama and Ravana.

Narthamalai came under the sway of the MUTHARAYARS from 7th to 9th century who were the vassals of the Pallava kings of Kanchi and Pandya kings of Madurai and was later conquered by the Cholas of Thanjavur.

The two rock-cut temples atop Melamalai besides the Vijayaleeswara Choleeswaram temples tucked under idyllic settings are extremely informative and also a classic example of the fusion of different styles of temple architecture prevailing in different parts of the country. One cannot but marvel how in that distant past the MUTHARAIYARS, whose contribution to the temple architecture and local government were not given due recognition and importance, had become master builders.

The Mutharayars according to the available information had their headquarters at Nemam near Tirukattupalli and held their sway over Tiruchi, Thanjavur and Pudukottai regions until the emergence of the mighty Cholas of Thanjavur.

Collected & compiled by
kokolu Ankarao

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Th image of Skanda in the sanctum of Subramanyar temple is an exquisite one and said to have been installed during the rule of the Muttaraiyar chieftains.

Sri Subramania swamy temple is situated facing towards East at Ettukudi about 30 km south west of Nagapattinam, 28 km South East of Thiruvaarur, NorthEast of Thiruthuraipoondi 19 km from Thirukuvalai. It is easily accessd from Tiruvarur. It has been revered by the hymns of Arunagirinathar. The name Ettikkudi is derived from the Etti trees which dominated this area. The name Ettukkudi is derived from the fact that this shrine is surrounded by Shivastalams in all eight directions.

A monolithic Scupture of Lord Muruga with 3 faces and 12 arms is seated on a Peacock which is facing towards North is seen here. The Scupture is carved in such away the whole weight of the Sculpture is supported by the peacocks legs Architectural style of (Chola period) is seen in the temples of Lord Muruga and Vinayaga.

The sanctum enshrines an imposing image of Shanmukhar with 6 faces, seated on a peackock mount. There are also shrines to Sundareswarar and Anandavalli here. Other shrines here include those to Mahalakshmi, MahaVishnu (Venkatachalapati), Natarajar, and Valmiki Munivar.

As the temples of Swami, Ambal and perumal had been destroyed due to the ravages of time, new stone temples were constructed in their place following 20th Century Architectural style. This image of Skanda in the sanctum is an exquisite one. The entire image is supported only by the 2 legs of the peacock mount. This image is said to have been installed during the rule of the Muttaraiyar chieftains of Tamilnadu. Accorcing to historians this temple is considered to be constructed during the period of Mutharasa,15th cpentury. Apart from Thirupugal by Arunagirinathar.There are no proofs for the period of this temple.

The shrine is called Ettukudi as the Sthalavriksham here is Ettimaram. Here Lord Murugan appears in a sitting posture on the peacock with his consorts Valli and Devayanai. According to the legend, while a king named Mutharasar was ruling this place, a sculptor with divine blessing was in a process of creating an image of Lord Murugan with six faces sitting on a peacock. To his surprise he noticed that there was blood circulation and sweat while creating the same. Afraid by the site, he thought that after creating the image the peacock will come to life and Lord Murugan would fly using the same. So he made the peacock by tying a chain around it so that it cannot fly. At last when he opened the eyes of the peacock, it came life and it tried to fly, to prevent flying the sculptor curtailed the foot nails. This is a very famous shrine visited by many devotees.

This temple is linked closely with Sikkal and Ennkann through the legend that the images of Skanda in all three of these shrines were made by the same sculptor.

This shrine is closley tied to the legend of Ardhanareeswarar, and Parvati's performance of Kedara Gowri Vratam, to become a part of Shiva. No Tevara Patikams exist for this shrine though. Valmiki is said to have worshipped here.

The theertham here is Saravana Poikai and the stala vriksham is the vanni tree.

Karthigai festival is celebrated by performing Archanai, Paal Kaavadi and the presiding deity is taken on procession through the streets during Night kandhasasti festival is celebrated for 10 days during which procession of presiding deity takes place in the morning and Night. Soora samharam is performed on the 6th day Divine wedding of Deivanai on 7th day Divine wedding of Valli on 8th day.

Chithira Pouranami festival is celebrated grandly once a year. Ollai chappara festival on 7th procession of car on 9th day. The temple day is kept open for continous two days to facilitate devotees taking part in Paal Kaavadi abishekam and Archanai.

Worship Time :
Morning 6.00 to Afternoon 12.00
Evening 3.00 to Night 9.00 (during normal days)

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Thirumaiyam temple is located in Pudhukottai district of Tamil Nadu . This cave temple was established by Kuvavan Mutharayar during his rule at Thanjavur from 610 AD – 649 AD. There stands a statue of Kuvavan Mutharayar in the form of Twara Balaga ( Dwara Palaka = Gate keeper = Security guard) on the right side of temple door. It is believed that Kuvavan was brought from Renadu (Rayalu Seema) as a step son by his ancestor Nalladi alias Bhimasolan . Mahendra Pallavan took over Kanchi from Bhimasolan by defeating him in war.

Raya + Seema => Rayalaseema
Raya + Nadu => Rayanadu
Seema = Nadu = Desh = Region / country
Rayalaseema = Rayanadu
Rayanadu => Raya + Nadu => Ray + Nadu
Ray + Nadu => Re + Nadu = Renadu

On the left side of temple entrance, there stands an other Twara Balaga, which is said to be the statue of Kuvavan’s younger brother Punniakumaran. At the time of kuvavan’s rule Punnia Kumaran was the Yuvaraja. That is why the Dwara Palaka on left entrace is seen without crown. At that time his father was on the seat of power in Renadu. The elder brother Kuvavan was only crowned as king at Thanjavur in Tamilnadu. The younger brother was serving his elder brother faithfully by staying with him. The elder brother Kuvavan honoured his younger brother for his love and faithful services by installing his statue along with him as Dwara Palaka in Thirumaiyam temple in Pudukottai Temple. The other temple details are as given below:

Moolavar: Sathyagiri nathan, Sathyamurthy Ninna Thirukolam - Facing east
Uthsavar : Maiyappan
Thayar : Vuyaiavantha Nachchiar
Theertham : Kathamba pushkarni, Sathya theertham
Vimanam : Sathyagiri Vimanam
Prathyaksham : Sathya devathaigal
Mangalasasanam: Thirumangai alwar ( 9 pasurams)
Archagars :
Location :Pudhukotai to Karaikudi rly line

This article on Twara Balagas (Dwara Palakas) of Thirumaiyam contributed by Mr. C. Sundararajan, Researcher, Mutharaya Cholar Research Center, Thanjavur.

This information has great importance to assert the fact that Muthurajas of Tamilnadu were Telugu speaking Mutharaya (Mutharacha) warrior kings who migrated from integrated Rayalaseema (Renadu) which includes Bellary districts of Karnataka also. This information strongly supports the caste and community oneness of RAYA KINGS of Rayalaseema and the Mutha Rayars who ruled Tamilnadu and parts of Kerala.



It is on the State highway that connects Madurai to Tiruchi. There is a lone cannon atop a raised platform, which peeped innocuously out of the ruins of a fort raised on a hillock. A blue board on the road to the fort from the highway informs every one that it is a heritage town — Thirumayam. The main attractions of the place are the fort, and the Shiva and Vishnu temples.

The fort is ringed with houses and there are rock-cut temples in each of its corners. It is a living heritage, one of the four protected monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India in Pudukkottai district. Miles before reaching the town, one can see this fort atop a large hill. In past centuries, the fort was much larger than what now obtains; this is affirmed by the fact that the main entrance to the old fort lies about one kilometer south of the present-day fort. This extrance to the old fort still stands, it has a courtyard with pillared corridors and shrines of various deities. The sculptures on the pillars are truly beautiful.

The Thirumayam fort, set in 40 acres, is of great historical importance. The fort is said to be built in 1687 by Vijaya Regunatha Thevar, the Sethupathy of Ramanathapuram. This is among the well preserved citadels. Another fact of historic interest is that the founder of the princely state of Pudukkottai had served as governor of Thirumayam fort before founding his own kingdom

History has it that the fort played an important role during the Tondaiman rule in Pudukkottai. During World War II, the fort was used as an arsenal by the British Army. Originally, it seems there was an additional fortification that ringed the existing structure with seven concentric walls and a broad moat all around. Today, the remnants appear to be balanced solidly on huge rocks. The walls above the rocks, which enclose the main citadel, are well preserved.

One can look out of the jagged edges of the fort walls or peep through the square spy holes to see the. There is a small water body, which is fenced now. The story goes that hidden under the water there are eight steps that lead to an underground tank. The water in it is believed to be as holy as the teertham in Rameswaram.

As for the temples around the fort, there is a rock-cut Siva Temple assignable to the times of MUTTARAYARS of the 8th Century. There is a Vishnu temple, and there are also shrines of Bhairava, Hanuman and Ganesha, guardian deities of the fort.

This Bhirava temple, which faces the main road, is a favourite with vehicle-owners who traditionally halt and pray there for a safe journey. This temple was actually built on the outermost wall of the old fort.

There are two famous rock-cut shrines, one of Siva and the other of Vishnu, adjacent to each other. The Siva temple, which stands to the west of the Vishnu temple, is the older of the two. These are located at the foot of a hillock on the south side of the town. The rock cut Shiva temple is situated on a hill amid the relics of another ancient and ruined fort. Near this temple stands one of the largest rock inscriptions in Tamil Nadu. The inscriptions are of particular interest since they deal with music, a rare subject for inscriptions.

The word ‘Thirumayam’ is derived from the word ‘Thiru-meyyam’ which means the ‘place of truth’ in Tamil. It is from 'satya-kshetra' do the two deities of the place, namely, Siva and Vishnu, get their name, Sathya-girisvara and Sathya-moorthi, respectively. The earliest monument, the Siva cave temple is assigned to first half of 7th century AD on epigraphical evidences and its architectural style. The Vishnu cave temple may be ascribed to a date not latter than the first half of the 8th century.

The Vishnu temple is located on the foot of the hill; it is much a much-venerated temple and is considered second in importance only to the temple at Srirangam. It contains one of the largest Anantasayi group icons in India. Anantasayi groups have Vishnu reclining on Anantha (Seshanaaga) as the central figure. The Vishnu temple contains an octagonal sacred tank called ‘Satya-pushkarani’. These monuments are well worth a visit.

How to get there:

Thirumayam lies 20 km south of Pudukkottai, on the road from that town to Karaikkudi. The Town lies on the Chennai-Rameswaram railway line. This is actually National Highway NH-210, which connects Tiruchirapalli and Rameshwaram. Thirumayam is the first main junction on this road; the Madurai road takes its diversion from Thirumayam.

Thirumayam is well connected by road and rail. The nearest railhead is at Pudukkottai. Bus facility is available from Pudukkottai, Karaikkudi, Thanjavur, Madurai and many other places. The nearest airport connected is at Trichy, 50 km away. Accommodation is also available at nearby Pudukkottai.

The district is rich in archaeological sites, one of which was covered in an earlier RLT — Sittanavasal. There are decent hotels in Pudukkotai and day trips can be undertaken to these various sites with help from guides.

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King Mutharayar was the founder of Thanjavur. Perumbidugu Mutharaiyar ruled his kingdom with Thanjavur as the capital. Mutharayars were the first ruling clans who established their kingdom at Tanjavur and became the first kings who built the forts.

Mutharayars are believed to be the descendants of Kalabhras and according to most satisfactory theory from historians, kalabras are said to be the native people of Thiru Vengadam ( Present day Thirupathi Region). Thanjavur could be another major city which was founded by the Telugu Kalabra (Mudiraj) warriors with the establishment of their political power in those regions. A lot of native old Tamil Muthuraja people used to write their caste name as Muthracha which points their descendancy to Telugu Mutharacha ( Telugu Mudiraj ). These were the same people who founded Muthurasa Pattanam, which was called as Madra by Britishers and later named as Chennai by Tamil Politicians.

Thanjavur was the capital of the Mutharayars ( Mudirajas & Muthurajas ) and Cholas when they were at the peak of their power. Since then, Thanjavur has been one of the chief political, cultural and religious centres of South India.. The city was once the stronghold of the historic Mutharayar and Chola dynasties. Later it was ruled by the Nayaks of Vijayanagara and the Maratha rajas. . The influence of Thanjavur began to diminish when Rajendra Chola I built a new city named Gangaikonda Cholapuram and moved his capital there. Thanjavur contains over 90 temples, as it was favored by the Chola rulers between the 1st - 12th centuries, the Nayakas in the 16th century, and the Marathas in the 17th and 18th centuries

After the Cholas the Pandyas conquered the Chola country. Madurai was the Pandya capital and Thanjavur remained in the background, as a province of Vijaynagar empire.Later in 1535,the Vijaynagar king installed a Nayak king hence the era of Tanjore Nayaks which lasted till mid-17th century, until attacked by the Madurai Nayaks. Later slipped into the hands of Marathas.

The Thanjavur area, where a majority of Mutharayar and other families are presently located, has a rich historical heritage and is a prism of ancient as well as the modern south Indian civilizations.

The Cholas had destroyed the Mutharayan clan. The Thanjavur fort came into the Cholas' possession only after the Mutharayans were destroyed. Tanjavur was ruled by the Muthuriyars for about 350 years under the overlordship of the Pallava kings from from the eighth century to eleventh.

The Muttaraiyar and Kodunabnalar chiefs of Kalabhra origin, according to one view, were feudatory to the Pallavas and the Pandyas respectively, and in the contest between two powers, they fought on opposite sides. The Muttaraiyar ruled over Tanjore and Pudukkotai as the feudatories of the Pallavas from the eighth century to eleventh.

There is a reference to Perumbidugu - Muttaraiyan II who attended the coronation of Nandivarman Pallavamlla. One of the titles of the Muttaraiyar was Lord of Tanjore. Vijayalaya Chola, who conquered Tanjore from a Muttaraiyan in the ninth century, was a Pallava feudatory.

When the last Muthurayiar King tried to assert his independence,Vijayala Cholan with the support of the Pallava King, defeated the Muthurayiars. Vijayalaya Chola conquered Thanjavoor around 850 A.D. from the Mutharayar Chiefs and made it the capital for his newly founded line of Imperial Cholas. Later Raja Raja Chola came into power.

The area round about Tanjavur was under the sway of a dynasty of chieftains known as the Muttaraiyuar whose inscriptions are found at Sendalai and Niyamam, and who seem to have ruled either independently or as vasslas of the Pallavas. One such chief was Kataka-Muttaraiyan mentioned in theVaikuntha-Perumal temple inscriptions at Kanchipuram as a Pallava subordinate in the reign of Nandivarman II. No. 18 of the “Pudukkottai Inscriptions” refers to a Muttaraiyar chief called Videlvidugu Muttaraiyan as a feudatory under Dantivarman. Another chief of the same name was a vassal under-Nripatunga (M.E.R. No. 365 of 1904).

The Cholas through all these three centuries should have been playing a very minor role in the wars, through frequent mention is made of them in the records of other dynasties, thus recognizing their separate individuality as a power. The Pallava-Pandya strife in the latter half of the 9th century A.D. in which Nripatunga claims a victory over the Pandyas and the counter-effort sometime later by pndya Varaguna, seem to have proved propitious for the rise of the Cholas who were now feeling their strenghth under Vijayalaya. This prince who probably fought on the side of the Pallavas at the time is said to have captured Tanjavur and made it his capital (Tiruvalangadu Plates). The circumstances favouring this adventure might have been the growing weakness of the Pallavas and the defection of Muttaryaiyar chief to the more powerful Pnadya, if not his incapacity to stand against the ambitious attach of Vijayalaya. It is also possible that Vijayala befriended the Pandya king to advance his own interests.

Tanjore, also known as Thanjavur or Thanjavoor is located on the eastern coast of Tamil Nadu. Also called the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu, Tanjore is famous for many reasons since the time of Cholas.

The name itself has many interesting legends related to it. According to one of them, Tanjore probably was called Tanjai. The other legends attribute the name of the city to Tanjam, a demon who was haunting the locality and was destroyed by God Vishnu. The demon's dying request to Vishnu was to name the place after him. His request was granted. Some others also give a derivation from Tanjam meaning refuge; the city being thus called the city of refuge.

( Thanjavur derives its name from Tanjan - an asura (demon) who according to local legend caused devastation and was killed by Sri Anandavalli Amman and Sri Neelamegapperumal. Tanjan's last request that the city might be named after him was granted. )

Thanjavur also known by its anglicized name Tanjore, is a city and a municipality in Thanjavur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur is also the capital of the Thanjavur District. The city lies on the south bank of the Kaveri River. Mutharayar is the founder of Thanjavur and Perumbidugu Mutharaiyar ruled his kingdom with Thanjavur as the capital.

The legend behind the name of this city seems to be a cooked up story and not based on the fact. The high class brahmin priests, who were patronised by some kings, always used to create myths to suppress the real facts, which they do not like and give popularity among the masses. The brahmins very intelligently used to erase the portions of history which they not not want & like by overwriting the old thing by a new thing through their invented legends. Here, the name of a Muthuraja king Dhananjaya (Thananjaya), who perhaps ruled Thanjavur seems to be replaced by a demon's name Tanjam". We know that Mutharayars were the descendants of anti-brahmin kalabhra clans and naturally the Brahmins were anti-Mutharayars at some pont of time. This could be one of the reasons why the legend writer cooked up his story about the the city's name. It is obvious that the brahmins never wanted people to remember Kalabhras and their Mutharaya descendants and they tried their best to erase the history.

The city name could be "Dhananjaya Uru". Dhananjaya is one of the several titles by which Arjuna of Mahabharat was praised. The city seems to be named after a Muthuraja king Dhananjaya, who perhaps ruled at some point of time. "ThananjayaRayar" is one of the surnames of Mutharayar kings who appears to have ruled their country with Thanjavuru as their capital city. Mutharayar kings were patrons of Buddhism and Jainism and this Muthuraja king could be a Buddhist or Jain and naturally Vaishnava Brahmins were anti-Mutharayars. This name Dhananjaya might have got modified gradually to "Thanjavuru". Thus the Thanjavuru city might have got its name from this Mutharayar clans having surname or name - Thananjayarayar. The city name Tanjai is also due to gradual modification of the name - Dhananjay. Thanjairayar surname is can also be seen among Tamilians. There are people having names such as Thananjeyan Mutharasu.

Dhananjaya = Thananjaya = Thananjeyan <-- A Hindu name of a male person
Thananjayarayar <-- Name of a Mutharayar king who ruled Tanjore.
Uru = Ooru = Vooru = city / town
Thananjaya + Uru = Thananjayavooru => Thananjayvoor
Thananjayvoor => Thanjavoor => Thanjavur => Tanjore

Thananjayarayar => Thanjayrayar => Thanjairayar => Thanjai
Dhananjay => Thananjai => Thananjai => Thanjai => Tanjai

Thanjavur area, where majority of Mutharayar and other families are presently located, for last several centuries, has a rich historical heritage and is a crystal ball of ancient as well as the modern south Indian civilization. Thanjavur was the capital of Mutharayar and Chola when they were at the peak of their power. Since then, Thanjavur has been one of the chief political, cultural and religious centres of South India. Thanjavur is home to the famous Brihadeeswara Temple, one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Tanjore became famous during the reign of Raja Raja Chola I and his grandson. Raja Raja I ruled during the period 985 to 1013 A. D.

Arts and Culture :
Tiruvaiyaru, which is close to Thanjavur, is the place where the great musician Saint Tyagaraja (Telugu Saint ) lived. Ethnically most of the people are Tamils. There is also a large Telugu population along with Saurashtrians and Thanjavur Marathi people.

Thanjavur is home to the famous Brihadeeswara Temple, one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.The Brihadeeswara Temple is the main attraction. The massive temple built by Rajaraja Chola reflects the Cholas' contribution to the development of arts in this area. It is also regarded as the Chola dynasty's finest contribution to the Dravidian temple architecture.

Raja Raja I built the magnificent temple of Brihadeswara or Raja Rajeswara. It is said that the king was suffering from black leprosy. The remedy to get rid of this was to build a great temple to Lord Siva after bringing the Sivalingam, from the river Narmada. The disease was the result of infliction of injuries to animals during his past birth as hunter, said his spiritual preceptor.

Though the poems are generally attributed to the authorship of erudite Jain ascetics, who flourished at the Dramila Sangha of Vajranandi (A.D. 450) in Madurai, some poems (200, 296) seem to be of later origin. They eulogise the philanthropic chieftains, Mutharaiyars, the powerful feudatories reigning in and around Thanjavur under the sway of Pallava kings during 650 A.D. to 750 A.D.

Vaarahi Temple:

The Great Temple of Thanjavur, otherwise known as the Brhadhiswara Temple or Peruvudaiyar Koyil was completed by Raja Raja Cholzan and the kudamulzukku took place in 1012 AD.

But the Vaaraahi sannidhi has already been there and scholars consider that it comes from an earlier temple that must have been in existance somewhere around. During the times of Thevaram hymns, there is mention of a temple called 'Thanjai Thalikkulaththaar'. Whereabouts in Thanjavur it was, nobody knows.

The figure of Vaaraahi of Thanjavur belongs to the 6th century AD. She is two-armed. As a rule, Vaaraahi figures are usually four-armed. That was time when the worship of Vaaraahi, Nisumbha Sudhini, Mahisha mardhini, Vaishnavi, Jyeshta, Sapth Matrikas, etc., were popular. Ritualistic self-sacrifice, slitting of own throat, etc., were rather in vogue.

Many royal and feudatory dynasties had such deities as their kula devathas. The Vaaraahi must have been important to the Post-Sanggam Age Cholza or the Mutharaiyars, or even the Post-Sanggam Pandiyas who held the territory for sometime. She must have been worshipped by them.

Some of the Tamil Siddhars have been ardent worshippers of Vaaraahi. There was one Siddhar called Muthu Vadugar who was an upasaka of Bala and Vaaraahi. His grandson has written a ballad called Muthu Vadugu Naadhar Ammanai. He graphically describes one of the mid-night rituals that Muthu Vadugar used to perform in a puja. This puja was done in the month of Aadi, which is the month wherein the Aashaada Navarathri is celebrated.

It is said that vadugars were basically Telugu people settled I Tamil speaking lands.

Aashaada Navarathri is dedicated to Vaaraahi. She is praised by celestials like GhONeevadanaa - vaaraahi, etc. for her worshipful conduct. She transcends three guNas - satva, rajas, and tamas and is revered by Brahma and Guruguha. Her eyes are like those of the dove and She absolves sins. She is the sister of the lord of Lakshmi and has a slender waist.

Legend has it that the shakti from Bhramha's self emerged as Bhrahmi and the from other Gods Vishnu, Shiva, Narasimha, Varaaha, Kumara and Indra - arose the female goddesses Vaishnavi, Shivani, Narasimhani, Vaaraahi, Kaumaari and Indraayani. The seven of these Shaktis are collectively known as the Sapta Maatas, or the seven mothers. Village shrines dedicated to the seven mothers are seen commonly in the southern state of Tamilnadu. Shrines dedicated to the sapta maatas are also seen in the outer precincts of aagamic temples.

The seven mothers merged together to form Durga - the powerful. Durga is regarded as Shakti - the power the enables existence, Maayaa the illusion and Prakriti - that which gives shapes and forms to objects of existence. Durga armed herself with Shiva's trident, Vishnu's discus and mace, Kumaraa's spear and Indra's thunderbolt.

So the origin of the shrine of Thanjai Vaaraahi is shrouded in mystery.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Date – 05/08/2007
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

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There was a great contribution of Mudiraja related kings of Vijayanagar Empire in building, developing and managing the piligrim center of Thirupathi from its very early days. The temple was sacred to the people of Kalabhras, the ancestors of Mudirajas, even before the establishment of Vijayanagar Empire. It was initially believed to be the temple of Bala (Devi) and then the temple of Jains and later the worship place of Buddhists and finally that of God Vishnu. In all its forms of worship, the God / Goddess was that of Mudiraj related. The God continued to change its form of appearance to general public with the change of Mudiraja and related kings from one form of worship to another and from one religion to another.

The great Vijaynagar Empire, which was founded by Sangama brothers, Harihararaya and Bukkaraya, with pious and patriotic aim of protecting Hindu people, and Hindu Religion from the on slaught of Muslim invaders, paved the way for all round growth of many Hindu shrines as piligrim centres in South India. Tirupati is one such Hindu shrine which received great attention of various devouted kings of Vijayanagar Empire for about 300 years. Saluva Narasimha Raya, who ruled Vijayanagar Empire from Chandragiri, a nearby town to Tirupati was the first king to lay the foundations for the real growth of Tirupati. The king Saluva Narasimharaya was a highly devouted person to the Lord of seven hills (Tirupati) as Balaji was the family diety of Saluva kings.

Tirupati was a sacred place and the Lord of Tirupati was worshipped as Emperuman by devotees since unknown times. Balaji was believed to be a statue of bala (girl = shakti) by shaktaites and shivaites believe it be a Shiva Temple. Jains claim it to be the statue of Mahaveer and Buddhists claim it to be the statue of Buddha. The prime reason for the contraversy is that Tirupati was a sacred place for the people of Kalabhra race and the kings of Kalabhra origin accepted all religions with open heart. They initially used to worship nature in the form of mother Goddess and were perhaps the founders of Shaktipuja. The people who worship Goddess Ankamma, Mumbadevi, Kakatidevi, Durgadevi, etc., are all one and the same people and belong to aboriginal kalabhra race of Indian subcontinent.

The kings of Kalabhra origin became shaivites during the vedik period and later became jains under the influence of Mahaveer. They became staunch followers of buddhism and antoganized bhrahmins by snatching away the lands which were given to them for maintaining the Hindu temples by earlier hindu kings. The brahmins inturn became furious and destroyed all historical evidences and information about the great kings of Kalabhra origin. Thus the period of Kalabhra regime during which Kalabhra kings ruled South India is termed as dark age by historians and if anything is known today about Kalabhra kings, it is only through some Buddhist literature and nothing else.

Tirupati remained a sacred place and Lord vengadam hills continued to be worshipped in different forms as the kalabhra kings went on accepting different religions and supporting the same. So the statue of Thiru Vengadam underwent all possible trasfermations and finally today thiruvengadam is giving darshan to millions of devotees as Sri Vishnu. Thiruvengadam doned the appearance of Srivishnu as because the later kings of Kalabhra race embrassed the religious path of Sri Vaishnavism. It was due to unpreceedented influence of Adi Shankaracharya, who profounded the theory of Advaita phylosophy and included Buddha as 9th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This brought about a magical change in the minds of people and they started seeing buddha and vishnu as well in the statue of thiruvengadam. With the revival of Hinduism under the influence of Adi Shankara and decline of buddhism, the statue of Thiruvengadam gradually got transformed into Srinivas ( Srivishnu ) with sridevi occupying a permanent seat in his heart.

Millions of devotees of Tirupati Balaji, who reach on top of the seven hills join the long ques to see the statue of Balaji directly with their own eyes. During summer days the devotees come in such a large numbers that they have to wait for almost 3 days to enter into the que line to have the personal darshan (vision) and feel emotionally satisfied. It will take nothing less than 5-6 hours to come out of the long que after having Balaji's darshan. It is customary for about 80% of the devotees from South India to have a clean shave of their heads as a token symbol of their devotion to Balaji. This is considered as one kind of devotional sacrifise of personal beauty by his devotees to Balaji. This custom of clean shaving of heads by devotees and offering of hair to Balaji might be having its links to Buddhist tradition when Tiruvengadam was worshipped as Lord Buddha during the rule of Kalabhras. The devotees of Buddha, who perhaps used to visit Perumal of Thiruvengadam hills might have started this practice of clean shaving of heads as a symbol of sacrifise of world pleasures and personal beauty. Clean shaving of heads is a buddhist tradition and prevelent among all Buddhist monks even today. This practice of of clean shaving of heads by Hindus thus continued by the devotees of Tiruvengadam without knowing its origins, even though Tiruvengadam had changed his incornation from Buddha to Vishnu.

Afterall the perumal of vengadam hills has no option other than taking a form which his devotees love and demand from him. The Kalabhra kings proved to be the real founders of Hinduism by accepting GOD in all possible forms i.e Shakti, Shiva, Buddha, Vishnu and so on. It is understood that the puja at Tirupati is quite unique from that of any other Vishnu temple and it includes many traditions of shaktaites, shivaites also. It is perhaps the only Vishnu temple where God is worshpped with bilva leaves, which are in fact the favourite leaves Shiva. Thus the lord of vengadam hills truly represents universal God of all human beings and all traditions.

It is also believed that Rama and Laxmana while launching their war against Ravana, the demon king of Lanka, came here with their army of vanaras (monkey men) on their way to Lanka and rested here for a while. As such the region of vengadam hills was also possibly the land of vanaras as it is very closely located to Kishkinda i.e present Hampi region. The possibilty of Kalabhras to be the descendants of Vanaras is quite high as both were wild, valour and warrior in nature and belonged to the same geographical region in deccan India.


Tirumala is a celebrated holy shrine from times immemorial. It has been attracting large number of pilgrims from all parts of India. The first available reference to the temple of Sri Venkatesvara on Tirumala (Chittoor district) is literary; it occurs in the sangam poetry of Tamil Nadu, ascribed to the first three countries of the Christian era. Then the early Alvars, or vaishnavaita saints, who lived and sang from about the fourth century to the ninth, refer to Vengadam, the original name of Tirumala.

A jain tamil work, 'Silappadhikaram' , probably of the late Sangam age, shows that Vengadam was held in reverence even then. It was known as Vada Vengadam, which was at that time on the border land between the Tamil country and that of the Vadugar (Andhras). This Temple bears on its walls several inscriptions which are of historical, cultural and linguistic importance. The number of inscriptions on the Hill Temple and in the temples of Lower Tirupati and Tiruchanur exceed one thousand and they furnish a continuous and authentic record of the transactions of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams for over seven or eight centuries. We have evidence to believe that many early inscriptions on the walls of the temples have disappeared beyond recovery due to restorations and renovations undertaken from time to time.

The earliest stone record of the temple goes back to the 51st year of the reign of Ko-Vijaya-Danti Vikram Varma of the Pallava Dynasty (830 A.C.) when a certain 'Ulagapperumanar of Solanur in Sola-Nadu instituted the service of a lamp, nanda-vilakku, i.e., burning a lamp. The last one belongs to Kilaka (1909 A.C.) when the gilded kalasam was fixed over the Vimanam of Sri Venkateswara's shrine during the regime of Sri Mahant Prayagdasji. Even though these records cover roughly a period of 11 centuries, the dynasties that ruled South India are not fully represented.

Inscriptions belonging to the Vijayanagar period are large in number, while those of earlier dynasties are only a few: Raja Raja Chola is the earliest king, whose name is associated with the main temple at Tirumala in a Tamil inscription issued in the 16th year of his rule.

It is probable that, to start with, there was an image of the Lord set up in a small mandapa on the hill. The earliest inscription found in the hill temple records a gift by a prince who lived in the first half of the ninth century to the temple of sri venkatesvara in Tiruchanur, in the plains. This was probably a 'proxy' fane. Further gifts are recorded in the epigraphs of the Pallavas and the Cholos . A Pallava queen , Samavai, presents very costly jewels, while in the reign of Rajaraja 1, the great cholo(985-1014) , another queen gifts a superb gold jewels.

Matli Kumara-Anantarajayya is the last in the line of great royal benefactors. A long Telugu stanza consisting of 41 lines in the Sisamalika metre engraved separately in Telugu and Tamil is found on the walls of a small shrine dedicated to Sri Venkateswara at the foot of the hill. It refers to the Sopana Marga, (flight of stone-steps) forming the pathway commencing from the foot of the hill usually called 'Alipiri' (i.e., Adipadi, the bottom or the lowest step) and extending on the side of the hill in a zig zag course upto the small tower commonly known as the Galigopuram, which stands on the summit of the front hill prominently visible on the plain country for a distance of about 8 to 10 miles.


It was during the rule of the Vijayanagar dynasty that the contributions to the temple increased. The foundations for the real growth of Thirupathi Temple to become a great Hindu shrine was laid by the Saluva kings, who ruled Vijayanagar Empire with Chandragiri as their capital. Chandragiri, which is about 12 KM from Tirupati was one of the capital towns of Vijaynagar empire. The Salva kings of Telugu origin made Chandragiri as their capital city and took a great interest in protecting Hindu people, Hindu religion and development of many Hindu shrines. Tirupati was developed into a famous Hindu Vaishnava piligrim center by the dedicated services of various saints and acharyas who lived and associated with pious king Saluva Narasimharaya of Vijayanagar Empire. The total credit to the magnificient growth of Tirupati shrine as the busiest and richest piligrim center of the world as on today must go to Saluva & Tuluva line of kings who ruled the great Vijaynagar empire.

Saluva Narasimha Raya :

Saluva Narasimha Raya, who ruled Vijayanagar Empire during 15th Century AD was a pious king and belonged to one of the popular royal dynasties of ancient India. This king was an ardent devotee of Lord Venkateswara of Tirupati and used to visit the temple by walking up the hill for worship. When the king became old and physically incapable to walk, he prayed the Lord to see him daily. One day a sculptor appeared before him and agreed to make an idol of the Lord for his daily worship. The king gave the sculptor the required materials for making the idol and the sculptor shut himself up in a room. As he did not come out of the room even after a reasonably long period, the room was broken open only to see the idol of the Lord; the sculptor missing. It is believed that the Lord himself came as the sculptor and the idol is considered as Swayambhu or self born. The king built a temple for the idol and he was instructed by the Lord in his dreams to consecrate the idol during the auspicious time, when the heavenly drums dundubhi would be heard.

As fate would have it, some crows happened to fly over the royal drums with twigs in their beaks and the twigs accidentally dropped on the drums producing a sound, which was mistaken for the auspicious hour indicated by the Lord. The idol was duly consecrated at that hour which was inauspicious.The grief stricken king was pacified by the Lord in his dream that He would remain with him till his death, after which he would leave for a place by name GOSRIPURAM. After the demise of the king, a great fire broke out in the kingdom and the idol was thrown into a dilapidated well. As the legend has it, Swami Vijayindra Tirtha of Sree Kumbhakonam Mutt who happened to traverse that region during one of his tours, is said to have been led by a serpent to the well wherein the idol of the Lord was deposited. The Swamiji recovered the idol from the well and started worshipping the idol along with his other idols.

Swami Vijayindra Tirtha visited Cochin and performed Chaturmasa Vrita among the Gauda Saraswat Brahmin Community of Cochin. Upon seeing the radiance of the idol, the community of Cochin under the leadership of Sri Mala Pai, requested the idol from the Swamiji. The Swamiji agreed to hand over the idol in exchange for a heap of gold coins that would immerse the idol. All the gold coins brought in by the wealthy Mala Pai could cover only the body of the idol and not its tip. It was presumed that the Lord did not want to stay at cochin as a property of an individual. Only gold coins and ornaments brought in from the home of every community member could cover the tip of the idol. Kanakabishekam, a symbolic ritual of this immersion of the idol in gold is performed to the Lord even to this day during any special occasion.

Lord Srinivasa of the Seven Hills, known to Tamilians as Tiruvengada mudayan, had been praised, worshipped and enjoyed in several ways by the great Alwars, those mystics of Tamilnad who have set a new standard in the cult of bhakti. One can see the great popularity that Tiruvengadam and the Lord of Tiruvengadam enjoyed during the period of the earliest of the Alwars. The first four of them, all of the whom hailed from Tondaimandalam (the region round Madras - Chingleput) have sung many verses about the greatness of this great Hill and about its presiding Deity. This outstanding prominence is not to be found in the works of the later Alwars. Even the early Tamil classics like Silappadikaram have celebrated the greatness of Tiruvengadam and its Lord.

In the open courtyard of this prakara stand four graceful and historic mandapas at the four corners . These were built by saluva narashima(1486-1491) in the name of himself, his queen and his two sons. he arranged for the processional image to be taken to each when Prasadam would be offered offered to the devotees. abutting the second gopura is a mandapa which contains the flagstaff and the Balipitha. the entrance gopura is of five tiers and rises to a height of 15m. On its basement are inscriptions of the thirteenth century.Outside the temple , facing it from the right, is the Thousand Pillar Mandap, which was built with the annual income from a village that saluva Narasimha endowed to the Lord in 1472. A fine museum of the temple's artifacts is housed here. Sometime ago music concerts used to be given here. in a straight line from the temple's entrance there is a shrine of Sri Anjaneya .

Tirumala Raya Mandapam : Adjoining the Ranga Mandapam on the western side, and facing the Dhvajasthambha Mandapam is a spacious complex of pavilions known as the Tirumala Raya Mandapam or Anna Unjal Mandapam. It consists of two different levels, the front at a lower level and the rear at a higher. The southern or inner portion of this Mandapam was constructed by Saluva Narasimha in 1473 AD to celebrate a festival for Sri Venkateswara called Anna Unjal Tirunal. This structure was extended to its present size by Araviti Bukkaraya Ramaraja, Sriranga Raja and Tirumala Raja. It is in this Mandapam, that the utsava murthi Malayappan, holds His annual darbar or Asthanam during the hoisting of the Garudadhwaja on Dhwajastambham to mark the commencement of Brahmotsavam.

Incidentally, the prasadam distributed on this occasion is still called Tirumalarayan Pongal. The Mandapam has a typical complex of pillars in the Vijayanagara style, with a central pillar surrounded by smaller pillars, some of which emit musical notes when struck with a stone. The main pillars have rearing horses with warriors mounted on them. Some of the best sculptures of the temple are found in bold relief in the Mandapam. The bronze statues of Todermallu, his mother Matha Mohana Devi and wife Pitha Bibi, are kept in a corner of the Mandapam

Pavitrotsavam festival is thoroughly puritan in character. The Pavitrotsavam is different in character from the Samprokshana ( purificatory ceremony ) which is usually performed in temples to remove the evil effects of acts of defilement or pollution committed within the consecrated area of the temple proper and the space enclosed by the spots where Bali is offered before the commencement of a Brahmotsavam. During Pavitrotsavam the Deity Himself acts as the dynamo generating power by the recitation of Mantras, the Vedas and the Puranas. Its celebration in Tirumalai is mentioned for the first time in an inscription of the year 1464 A.D. The Tamil wording of the inscription does not make it clear whether the festival was instituted only in 1464 A.D. or whether the donor, Sriman Mahamandaleswara Medinimisara ganda Kattari Saluva Mallayadeva Maharaja merely caused the festival to be celebrated in his name.

Sri Krishnadeva Raya :

Sri Krishnadeva Raya of Tuluva dynasty was the next prominent king who consolidated the developmental plans of Thirupathi Shrine. It is under the Rays of Vijaynagar that the temple enjoyed its great days. In particular, two of them, Krishnadeva (1509-30) and his successor, Achyutha (1530-42), were much devoted to it and showered splendid gifts on it.Sri Krishnadeva Raya constructed many beautiful palaces and temples with mandapas and gopurams. The Tirupati temple is one of them.

Sri Krishnadevaraya paid seven visits to the temple of Sri Venkateswara (From 1513 A.C. to 1524 A.C.). Krishnadeva visited the temple for the first time in February 10, 1513, and gifted a crown of nine jewels, a a three-stringed necklace containing pearls and precious stones, and twenty-five silver plates. His two queens Tirumaladevi and Chinnadevi were present with him during almost all his visits to Tirumala and they shared with him the credit for the gifts and grants made by him. His queens, Chinnaji and Tirumaladevi, each gave a gold cup.

It was during his second visit on may 2 of the same year, that he made the most splendid and most numerous of all his gifts. These included a sword set with the diamond, ruby and sapphire, a sword sheath, a pendant, two gold strings and three crowns for the processional images.

On July 6, 1514, during his return journey to Hampi after having captured Udayagiri fort & defeating Prataparudra, the gajapati king of Kalinga, Krishnadeva performed the splendid ceremonial of the "Karnatakabishekam" , or bathing the Lord's image with gold coins. He also gave three stringed ornaments. Queen Chinnaji gifted a necklace, and Queen Tirumaladevi, a jewel set with the diamond, ruby, emerald and pearl.

On his return from another victorious expedition against Kalinga on October 25, 1515, the emperor gifted an enormous jewelled halo, or Prabhavali . On july 2, 1517, in thanksgiving for yet another victorious campaign against Kalinga, during which he planted a pillar of his fame in Simhardi Potnuru, near Simhachalam, he spent 30,000 gold coins in order to gild the Vimana, and gave two jewels.

He seems to have made yet another Pilgrimage to Tirumala on October 16, 1518. An inscription in Kamalapuram, near hampi, records this visit, but none on Tirumala or in Tirupati. Queen Tirumaladevi accompanied him. His last visit was on February 17, 1521, when he gifted four costly jewelled ornaments. Queen Tirumaladevi gave an ornament with nine jewels to Lord. In addition, many magnates of the empire made gifts.

He not only presented diadems and ornaments set with precious stones, gold and silver vessels to his patron God, but also endowed the temple with villages in the districts of Chandragiri, Udayagiri and Penugonda. Sri Krishna Deva Raya had bronze statues of himself and his two consorts Tirumala Devi and Chinnadevi installed at the inner right side to the entrance of the temple of Sri Venkateswara at Tirumala, and these statues can be seen to this day. There is also a statue of Venkatapati Raya in the main temple.

Achyutha was equally devoted to the Lord. His first act on accession to the throne was to come to Tirumala & crown himself. He then went to Sri Kalahasti and crowned himself here again . He frequently revisited the two temples, the the most famous in his empire. Though the Vijaynagar power was broken in battle in 1565, the devotion of the Rayas continued. After removing there capital to Penukonda, they ruled from Chandragiri, contiguous to Tirumala.

Their devotion to the Lord may be judged from the fact that they would not take there first principal meal of the day untill they had learnt that worship had been completed in the temple. To ascertain this they erected huge gongs in succession. One of these gongs still stands on Chandragiri . There were troubled times after the final disappearance of the Vijayanagar power in the seventeenth century. But the British, who re-established law & order, followed scrupulously a policy of non-interference with local religions & customs.

The Maratha general, Raghoji Bhonsle visited the temple and set up a permanent endowment for the conduct of worship in the temple. He also presented valuable jewels to the Lord, including a large emerald that is still preserved in a box named after the general. Among the later rulers who have endowed large amounts are the rulers of Mysore and Gadwal.

Under the patronage of almost all important dynasties of South India, this sacred Temple of Tirumala enjoyed the full benefits and glories. There is ample literary and epigraphic testimony to the antiquity of the temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara. All the great dynasties of rulers of the southern peninsula have paid homage to Lord Sri Venkateswara in this ancient shrine. The Pallavas of Kancheepuram (9th century AD), the Cholas of Thanjavur (10th century AD), the Pandyas of Madurai, Kadavarayas, Yadavarayas, Telugu Cholas, Telugu Pallavas, the kings and chieftains of Vijayanagar (14th - 15th century AD) were devotees of the Lord and have left the marks of their patronage and endowments on the walls of the Temples of Tirumala and Tirupati. In addition to the epigraphical lore of the temple we have a unique collection of about 3000 copper plates on which the Telugu Sankirtanas of Tallapaka Annamacharya and his descendants are inscribed. This collection forms a valuable source of material for a historical linguist in Telugu, apart from its importance to musicologists.


After the fall of Hindu kingdoms, came the Muslim rulers of Karnataka and after their downfall the British took over, and many of the temples came under their supervisory and protective control. In 1843 AD, the East India Company divested itself of the direct management of non-Christian places of worship and native religious institutions. In AD 1843, the administration of the shrine of Sri Venkateswara and a number of estates were entrusted to Sri Seva Dossji of the Hatiramji Mutt at Tirumala, and the temple remained under the administration of the Mahants for nearly a century, until AD 1933.

It was after the country's independence that the people's devotion became magnificently explicit through large donations to the temples treasury. These have made the temple the richest in the country. With its funds, a university, many colleges, learned institutions and social welfare organisations are being maintained. In 1933, the Madras Legislature passed a special act, which empowered the Tirumala Tirupati Devastha- nams (TTD) Committee to control and administer a fixed group of temples in the Tirumala-Tirupati area, through a Commissioner appointed by the Government of Madras. In 1951, the Act of 1933 was replaced by an enactment whereby the administration of TTD was entrusted to a Board of Trustees, and the Government appointed an Executive Officer.


Tirumala is located in the extreme southeast of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. It is situated in the Chittoor district of the state. The Tirumala Hill is 3200 ft above sea level, and is about 10.33 sq miles in area. It comprises seven peaks, representing the seven hoods of Adisesha, thus earning the name Sesha- chalam. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrishabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri. Lord Venkateswara resides on the 7th peak Venkatadri and so he is called Sri Venkateswara. It is the sacred hill of Tirumala, which was considered so holy that before 1870 non-Hindus were not permitted to ascend it. Tirupati is 137 km from Chennai, 258 km from Bangalore, and 562 km from Hyderabad (via Kurnool and Cuddapah).

The Temple has its origins in Vaishnavism, an ancient sect that advocates the principles of equality and love and prohibits animal sacrifice. The Lord Venkateswara Temple is the busiest and richest temple in the world, eclipsing even Rome, Jerusalem and Mecca in the number of pilgrims visiting it.


The temple is 126.5 metres long and 80 metres wide. Three Prakaras, or enclosures, surround the central shrine of Sri Venketesvara. The original must have been limited to the sanctum and perhaps a mandapa or two in front. In the thirteenth century it was considerably expanded. Then further structures continued to be added from time to time so that today it occupies 0.9 hectares. Together with the four streets running around the temple, the Swami Puskarani, another tank which is now a flower garden, and the private or secular structures on the streets, the entire area measures 6.5 hectares. Some of these structures are monasteries erected by royal and noble patrons. The original temple consisted of the sanctum, a squre mandapa called the sayana mandap, a pillared verandah named the Mukkoti Pradakshina and another mandapa of the name of Rama Meda. The Mukkoti Pradakshina is considered the first Prakara, so that the temple has three of them. But it is open only on one day in the year . Vaikunda Ekadesi Day.

Today the sanctum stands at the western end of a complex of structures. The first is an open hall, borne on sixteen pillars. It is called the Tirumamani Mandapa from two huge bells which are placed there. It was built in 1417 by a resident of Chandragiri. From this mandapa to the next, the Snapana mandapa, the entrance is by way of a golden door, the Bangaru vakili. on either side of the entrance are two dvarapalakas, Jaya and Vijaya. The door is plated with gold. The famous morning hymn, the Suprabatham, the singing of which is a feature of Hindu customs today, is recited in front of this door. The snapana mandapa, which has four central pillars, belongs to Vijayanagara times.

The complex of structures, including the sanctum, stands in a pradakshina. It contains three shrines, an ornate mandapa, and a number of rooms. The shrines are of Sri Varadaraja, Sri Narasimha and Ramanuja. The kalyana Mandapa is a typical Vijayanagar structure, with a beautiful inner mandapa borne on four pillars. In a room on the northern side were discovered hundreds of copper plates, on which are inscribed the compositions of a great composer, Annamacharya, in praise of Sri Venkatesvara. A fine portrait of the composer is on the walls. His compositions have been edited and published. They are very popular with musicians and listeners. An inscription of 1469 refers to Sri Narasimha in the shrine here.

The inner, or second , gopura which leads from the Vimana Pradakshina to the first prakara, called the sampangi Prakara, or Pradakshina, is similar to the outer one in design. There are a number of inscriptions in the outer walls. In general, the oldest epigraphs in the temple occure on the basements of the gopuras, those next in time on the inner faces of the prakara walls, and those of the fifteen and sixteenth centuries on the outer faces of these walls.

The first prakara is much bigger and contains a number of structures. On either side of the first gopura entrance there is a mandapa. Each wing has a row of four pillars . The mandapa, called the Krishnaraya Mandapa, contains some celebrated portrait bronzes. The finest are of Krishnadeva, Titumaladevi and Chinnaji, their names inscribed on them. Another emperor, Tirumala, and his consort also stand here. There is, further, a portrait of Venkatapathi, still another of the emperors. In addition, there is group of three, Todarmal, his mother Matha Mohan De, and his wife Pitha Bibi. He was a general under Muslim rulers at the begining of the 8th century A.D. All the figures are in attitudes of respectful veneration, facing in the direction of the Lord in the sanctum.

In the neighboring Ranga Mandapa there is a shrine there is a shrine permanently closed where, it is said, the main image of Sri Rangananth, of Srirangam , was preserved for a time in the fourteenth century because the muslims were occupying that great temple. A third mandapa in this prakara, the tirumal Raya or Anna Unjal mandapa, was originally built in 1473 and extended to its present dimensions in the last quarter of the sixteenth century. A fourth structure here is the Aina mandapa. In the open courtyard of this prakara stand four graceful and historic mandapas at the four corners .

These were built by saluva narashima(1486-1491) in the name of himself, his queen and his two sons. He arranged for the processional image to be taken to each when Prasadam would be offered offered to the devotees. Abutting the second gopura is a mandapa which contains the flagstaff and the Balipitha. The entrance gopura is of five tiers and rises to a height of 15m. On its basement are inscriptions of the thirteenth century. Outside the temple , facing it from the right, is the Thousand Pillar Mandap, which was built with the annual income from a village that saluva Narasimha endowed to the Lord in 1472. A fine museum of the temple's artifacts is housed here. Sometime ago music concerts used to be given here. in a straight line from the temple's entrance there is a shrine of Sri Anjaneya.

The Vimana, as it is called, is the most sacred spot over the Lord Venkatesa. From an inscription of the Varadaraja temple of Conjeevaram, we learn that one Tatacharya built the Vimana of Lord Venkateswara with gold in the year Pramodoota, corresponding to 1492 Saka Era or 1570 A.D. This Tatacharya was the General Superintendent of the temple affairs of the Vijayanagar king Venkatapathi Deva Maharaja. He was also the spiritual guru of the king and the king is said to have offered his entire kingdom to him in his admiration for the Acharya. Lord Vishnu as Varahaswami has his shrine on the banks of the Swami - pushkarini Tirtha.

While the vast majority of Pilgrims ascend the hills from Tirupati, there are two other mountain paths from the plains. One leads from Mamandur in Cuddapah district. The other, covering a short distance of some 6.5 Km, but with no steps most of the way, only huge boulders piled up, leads to Tirumala from Mangapuram and Chandragiri. This was the route to Tirumala Vijayanagar capital in the sixteenth century. There is a lovely, almost Hoysala-like, temple of Kalyana Venkatesvara in Mangapuram. Chandragiri contains two places, the Raja Mahal & the Rani Mahal . The former is a magnificent structure, in the fully developed secular vijaynagar style.

The Tirupati pilgrimage has been a time honoured institution. It attracts thousands of pilgrims from all parts of the country. The queues they form in the Tirumala temple, winding in & out of many buildings and structures inside & outside the fane, so that one might easily need three hours at the least to obtain darshan of the Lord, are remarkable sights, hardly paralleled anywhere in India. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthamans, which administers the affairs of the Tirumala and its allied temples, is a vast organisation.


At Lower Tirupati the temple is dedicated to Govindaraja Perumal in contra- distinction to the Venkatachala- pati shrine at the top of the hill. There is also a tower called Galigopuram, which is famous. In the Gopura downhill many puranic legends are commemorated in sculptures. The wealth of epigraphic details in Tirupati takes us to the times of the later Cholas, Yadavarayas, and Vijayanagar and Saluva dynasties.

In the lower Tirupati we have the temple of Sri Kodanda Ramaswami. In Tiruchanur, which is two miles from Tirupati is the temple of goddess Alamelumanga, the consort of the Lord on the top of the bill. A visit to Tirupati will not be complete unless a Darsan of this Goddess is also had. Sri Adisankara in the course of his tours is said to have established a Dhanakarshana. Yantra at Tirupati. This is established by the fact that even today the income of the temple from the offerings of the devotees is going up by leaps and bounds.

Sri Kodandaramaswami Temple : It is situated in the heart of Tirupati town. The presiding deities are Sita, Rama and Lakshmana. A Chola king built this temple during the 10th century AD. The temple of Anjaneya Swami, which is directly opposite, is a sub-shrine of this temple. According to legend, this temple commemorates the visit of Sri Rama to Tirupati.

Kodandarama swamy Temple built by Narasimharaya Mudiliyar ? : One of the inscriptions in the temple says that Sri Venkateshwara Swamy is incarnation of Sri Rama, and Padmavathi whom he married was at the time of Ramavatara a woman named Vedavati, who was substituted for the real Sita at the time of Ravana's abduction. It is believed that Narasimharaya Mudiliyar started the temple construction. The pilasters found on the walls of the garbhagriha and antarala have Vijayanagara capitals.

Muthuraja => Muthuraya => Mutharai
Mutharai+ yar => Muthraiyar
Muthraiyar => Muthiriyar => Mudiliyar

Sri Venkateshwara as a representative of the original God of the vedangam hill : Tiruchanur is of great importance in the history of Tirupathi region, particularly for the evolution of religious activity therein. This region came under the influence of Vaishnavism as early as the 8th Century A.D. There was an important Vaishnava settlement at Tiruchanur by the beginning of the 9th Century A.D. Though Tirumala and Sri Venkateshwara were known by this time, the hill continued to be inaccessible and could not attract many pilgrims. The Vaishnavas at Tiruchanur established a Tirumantrasalai and carried on proselytising activity. They also constructed a Tiruvilankoil and set up in it an image of Sri Venkateshwara as a representative of the original God of the vedangam hill.

Cholas conquered Tondamandalam of Kalabhra strong hold : Tiruchanur being situated in a plain country, this proxy temple of Sri Venkateshwara attracted large numbers of Pilgrims who came here to pay their homage to the Lord. The Cholas conquered Tondamandalam of Kalabhra strong hold in which the Tirupati-Tiruchanur area was situated by the end of the 9th century A.D. They were patrons of Shaivism and Shaiva influence reached this erstwhile Vaishnava stronghold of Tiruchanur. A Lord Shiva temple, named after Parasareswara, was constructed in the western part of the village (in the present hamlet Jogi-Mallavaram) and it soon grew popular.

The decline of Chola power about the middle of the 13th century A.D led to the rise of many local chieftains to independence. Tiruchanur is important for five temples, four of which exist even to this day. These are the Tiruvilankoil, the Krishna temple, The Parasareswara Temple, the Varadaraja temple and the temple of Padmavathi.

The Kalabhras were the natives of Vengadam Hills. Thiru Vengadam was believed to be the statue of Lord Buddha when Kalabhra kings were Buddhists. The statue changed its face to Lord Vishnu when the Kalabhras came back to the fold of Hindu faith. It was


Saint Vyasa Tirtha :

In addition to his pellucid and luminescent writings, Sri Vyaasa Tiirtha is also known for the influence he had on the Vijayanagara empire, especially for the fact that it was under his tutelage that it had its heyday, and produced its greatest ruler. Perhaps even more importantly, it is noted that he was responsible for providing a healthy atmosphere in which the Hari-daasa tradition could sprout and flourish; he disregarded all highbrow disapprobation of the lower castes, as he showed by his acceptance of the low-caste Kanaka Daasa as a shishya, on par with his other students, and by his even arranging to prove to them that Kanaka Daasa was a greater devotee than any of them.

Vyasa Tirtha is believed to have read under Sripadaraja for nearly twelve years. Others say it was only five to six years. shri sripadaraja who was honored by the saluva king decided to send his disciple shri Vyasa Tirtha to the court of Saluva Narasimharaya. On the advice of Sripadaraj, Vyasa Tirtha went to Vijayanagar and the 'Kings Court' (1485-86 A.D), and became known for his radical statements regarding Brahmanism, Vaisnavism, Varnasrama, and who was worthy to worship the Lord.

The latter part of the biography of Vyasa Tirtha (Vyasayogi Charita, chapter IV.) gives a brilliant account of the arrival of Vyasa Tirtha, at the court of Saluva Narasimha at Chandragiri, and the grand reception that they had there for him. Being worshipped by the king bathed in presious jewells, pure gold and silver powders, and presented with all kinds of oppulences befitting such a worthy ' acharya'. Vyasa Tirtha spent a couple of years there in this way being honoured by the king. Here he met and vanquished in intellectual debating tournaments many of the leading scholars of his day and conducted debates on such treatises on Logic as the Tattvacintamani of Gangesha.

shri vyasaraja was honored and worshipped by the king. He was made the rajaguru after debating and defeating several other scholars. His name and fame spread far and wide. shri vasaraja treated scholars of other traditions with exemplary kindness and regard. An example was shri basavabhatta, whom he had vanquished in debate. He accepted the shiva-linga offered by basavabhatta and has even composed a stotra on Lord shiva laghu shiva stuthi.

During shri vyasaraja's time in the court of saluva narasimha, the archaka (pujari) of Tirupati devastana was murdered. As a result there was no one to perform pooja to Lord Venkateshwara. As per the king's request, shri vyasa tirtha went to Tirupati in the year 1486. He stayed in Tirupati for 12 years and performed the pooja of Lord Venkateshwara. Sripada Vyasa Tirtha's Mutt is still at Tirupati on the hill of Tirumala. Before leaving that place, after about twelve years of being there (1486-98.), he gave the worship over to his disciples. His South Indian tour must have come at this time (B. Venkobarao. Notes to Vy-carita. page 18.)

According to the commentator Somanatha, Vyasa Tirtha returned to Chandragiri for a while after 1498. He evidently did so at the request of Saluva Immadi Narasimha, the son and successor of Saluva Narasimha, untill Narasa Nayaque became defacto ruler of Vijayanagar soon after the settlement which he concluded with King Tamma Raya, in 1498.,(Proddattur 386 of 1904, Madras Insc. B.N.K. Sharma. 1961.

During that time, there was a drastic change in the Vijayanagara Empire. After Saluva Immadi Narasimha Raya there came Narasa Nayaka as a defacto ruler and then viranarasimha became the ruler of Vijaynagar empire and then Krishnadevaraya became the ruler of Vijayanagara in 1509. But the position of shri vyasaraja Tirtha did not change. krishnadevaraya honored shri Vyasa Tirtha even more and continued him as the rajaguru in his palace and considered him no less than "kuladevata".

Annamacharya :

`Annamacharya Charitra' was a detailed biography of Annamayya written by his grandson Chinnanna. According to the biography - Probably because of poverty, Annamayya was put under the care of his uncle by his father. The eight-year-old Annamayya, unable to cope with harsh treatment meted out to him, ran away to Tirumala by joining a group of pilgrims. That was a turning point not only in the life of the bard but also for the Carnatic music tradition.

At Tirumala he was given Sri Vaishnava deeksha by a mendicant. Later, Annamayya went to Ahobilam and studied philosophy as a disciple of Adivan Satagopa Yateendra, the founder of the Ahobila Mutt. After his studies, at the age of sixteen Annamayya started singing his `Dwipada Ramayana' along with his keertanas. His fame spread far and wide.

Saluva Narasimha Raya, the local ruler and childhood friend of Annamayya, invited him to his place and treated him as his guru. When Saluva Narasimha Raya became the governor of Penugonda, Annamayya was honoured with `Sapta Lanchanas'. Annamayya spent the rest of his life composing keertanas and wrote a few Yaksha Gana plays. He led the life of a prince without giving up his devotional service to the Lord of Seven Hills.

Kantadai Ramanuja Iyengar(KRI) :

In a recent article in the Journal of Vaishnava studies, Prof. Vasudha Narayanan has a lot of input on Kantadai Ramunuja Iyengar (KRI), his times and his contributions to the growth of Thiruvengadam temple, "a far away temple in the hills to a major pilgrimage center."

1. He was a " Sattatha Parama Ekaanki"(superior ascetic Srivaishnava of Nonbrahmin class) according to the A.D 1489 temple inscription of Srirangam.

2. He built Ramanuja Kutams at Srirangam, Kanchipuram and Thirumalai to feed the pilgrims and to provide shelter during their pilgrimage.

3. He was a trusted freind of the Vijayanagar King of his time known as Saluva Narasimha, who played an equally important part in the transformation of Thirumalai temple from its state as a difficult to access, remote Divya Desam to a temple receiving 60M$ revenue today (Sreekrishna's Numbers). The seed for that growth was sown by KRI and two of his contemproaries.

4.KRI was a disciple of Koil Kanthadai Annan of Srirangam. Latter was himself a well known disciple of the famous Srivaishnava Theologian, Manavala Maamuni. Kantadai wa sthe family name of Mutalinatan, the nephew of Acharya Ramanuja. KRI adopted His Acharya"s family name to reveal his association with the prime line of descendants of Acharya Ramanuja.KRI also refers himself as the disciple of Azhagiya Manavala Jeeyar. The Tenkalai -Vadakalai disputes had not arisen at his time. The prediliction of the Vadakalai Acharyas for Sanskrit Texts for the defense of Srivaishnava theology and the Tenkalai Acharya's leaning to Alwar's Tamil works for the same was however taking shape during KRI's time.

5. His Major Contributions to the growth of Srivaishnavism .

*** In the Year A.D 1476, He arranged for a major endowment to initiate Adhyayana Utsavam at Thirumalai in front of the Sannadhi of Ramanuja. He also arranged for the celebration of the Janma Nakshtrams of the Alvars to be celebrated annually along with the recitation of their Pasurams. That tradition continues even today in front of Ramanuja's sannidhi at the temple.

*** He was not only involved with the establishment of grants and supervising the above celebrations related to Alwars, but made sure that the recitation of the Divya Prabhandam was done by people of ALL castes.Until then , the temple liturgy was dominated by the Brahmin Srivaishnavas. KRI's reform has thus deep social and theological significance. Since the recitation of the 4000 verses has salvific import, the theological significance has a major impact in the style of Ramanuja, who opened up Srivaishnavism to one and all independent of Caste or the accident of birth or scholarship.

*** He established a sannidhi for Kulasekhara Alwar at lower Tirupati. Srirangam records indicate that KRI was a brother of Saluva Narasimhan, the king of Vijayanagar and suggest that KRI's special respect for Kulasekara could have come from latter's heritage as a King of the Royal family of Cheranadu.

He lived during the time of another great devotee of the Lord of Thirumalai, viz., Talapakkam Annamacharya, whose Sankirtanas . Hence the Vijayanagara King(Saluva Narasimha), Annamachar and KRI must have combined their energies to raise the flag of Thiruvenkatam as the most popular pilgrim center for people of all faithsin general and Srivaishnavas in particular.


Among the other murthis, one of the important ones is the silver replica of the Lord called Manavalapperumal (Bhoga Srinivasa). In this murthi, the sankha and chakra are not detachable unlike in the mula murthi. It was consecrated in the snapana mandapa "by keeping open a power line consisting of gold and silver cords in between Mula murthi and Bhoga murthi. The power line exists to this day." The date of this consecration is worked out by scholars to be 966 A.D. from the inscriptional sources. The worship was not regular before this Murthi was installed. It is only since this was installed, the puja started regularly, which was a significant development.

Veer Raghavacharya, has pointed out the changes that took place around that time. He observes that the worshipers of Vishnu down to the year 936 A.D. styled themselves as Emperumandiyar. Thereafter they came to be called Sri Vaishnavas. Sri Vaishnava Rakshai became the subscription in all later inscriptions. The significance and implication of this change would be apparent to all.

Before the days of Sri Alvandar, Vaishnavas did not form and organized community, but only individuals who had faith in Emperuman, (Vishnu) as the Supreme deity. Sri Devi was not considered as being coequal to Vishnu. It was Sri Alvandar who first made it an essential article of faith that Sri and Vishnu should be worshipped together and as forming one entity. Vishnu worshipers who did not subscribe to this doctrine such as Dvaitins are only Vaishnavas. And not Sri Vaishnavas.

It is not clear whether emperumandiyars refers to some agency, which looked after the due performance of the charity. This term obviously intended to denote those who were devotees of Emperuman, whether Vishnu in general, or the particular deity Tiruvenkatupperuman. This term marks one phase in the history of Vaishnavism. We will see that a quarter of century later, this phrase yields place to "Shri Vaishnava Rakshai" when Samavai consecrated the silver idol of Manavalaperumal in the Vengadam Temple in 966 A.D.

Emperuman could mean Buddha : These are very important observations in understanding the events around that time. All the inscri- ptions before 966 A.D. have got the concluding part of the inscription as Emperumandiyar Rakshai and not as Sri Vaishnava Rakshai, but after or around the time of installation of Bhoga Srinivasa, this name was changed by the Brahmins to Sri Vaishnava Rakshai. Any inscription bearing the words Emperumandiyar Rakshai is always considered to belong to times earlier than 966 a.D. Why did the Brahmins do it? The situation becomes clear when we consider that the word Emperuman need not necessarily mean Vishnu. The word Emperuman could be equally applicable to Lord Buddha, as were the words 'Bhagavat' and 'Hari' originally applied to Buddha.

The difference between the Vaishnavas and Sri Vaishnavas is explained by Raghavacharya to be due to Lakshmi (Sri) , but what was the difference between Vaishnavas and the Emperumandiyar, and why this change was necessary to be made? If Emperuman always referred to Vishnu in the historical times, and if it was a common knowledge and belief that Emperuman meant Vishnu, it would be equally pertinent to ask why the name was changed to Sri Vaishnava Rakshai from Emperumandiyar Rakshai, if it was not to avoid reference to Lord Buddha, and make clear reference to Vishnu, so that there remains no confusion on the minds of recent converts to Vaishnavism. Emerging importance of Lakshmi cannot explain the change in subscription It is clear that Emperuman is a general term whereas Vishnu is a specific term. If Brahmins wanted only to increase the importance of Lakshmi, they have added to word 'Sri' or some of its equivalent to Emperuman. So the emerging importance of Lakshmi in 10th century cannot, alone, explain the change in subscription in epigraphic records. If Lakshmi was not considered to be a consort of Vishnu till the times of Alvandar, how do we account for Her presence on the Lord's chest?

The word Emperumandiyar which was used in the sense of Vaishnavas before 966 A.D. got the meaning of dancing girls, attached to Vishnu temples, in inscriptions of about 1230-1240 A.D. in the time of Raja Raya III. [Raghavacharya: I,118] It must be clearly understood that it has got not only economic facets but also religious ones. For example, devadasis have a firm religious belief that they must not get married, which poses a difficult problem, not only to find them husbands but also to persuade them for marriage. Instances are abundant that these girls refused to get married and some of those who did get married, lost their prestige in the eyes of their kith and kin. This kind of orthodoxy can only be explained on religious grounds and not on economical ones.

Unfortunately the present Devadasis are ignorant of their glorious past and that the prominent among them and their families have dissociated themselves from the problems of Devadasis. They are against any kind of reform and are associating with the very social institutions and people, who made them cheap prostitutes from servants of god What more evidence is needed?

It is a matter of understanding. 95 per cent of Devadasis are untouchables. Being untouchables they were Buddhists of olden days as shown by Dr. Ambedkar very aptly. Before the name 'Vaishnava' came in vogue, the devotees of the Lord of Tirumalai were known by the name 'emperumandiyars'. The same name was being applied to these women who became devadasis from Buddhist bhikkunis. This is a direct evidence that the ancestors of todays devadasis who were devotees of Venkateswara, were Buddhists and that the Lord of Tirumalai was the Lord of these Buddhists.

The name by which these erstwhile Buddhists are known today, was the name of the devotees of the Lord Venkateswara. What more direct evidence could there be that the Lord Venkateswara was the Buddhist deity. The moot question is, untouchability started around fifth century, and the devadasi system started around 1000 A.D. How were the untouchable girls allowed inside the temple after practice of untouchability started? The obvious answer is that these girls were already present in the temples as Buddhist nuns, and when the temples were taken over by the Brahmins, these girls were degraded as devadasis.

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Chandragiri was the stronghold and last capital of the mighty Vijayanagar Empire.

The warrior people of Mudiraja were one of the major strengths of Vijayanagar army and they were part and parcel of vijayanagar empire from the time of its foundation by Hakkaraya & Bukkaraya. Elugu Rayudu, who ruled his kingdom from podili town in present Andhrapradesh was the last ruler of Saluva dynasty of Vijayanagar empire and was a Mudiraj. There are many people with surname – Elugu, in Mudiraj community even today in and around podili town. The Telugu speaking bunts were the ancestors for many mudiaj families of today and played a great roll in the integrity of Vijayanagar empire for about 300years. Sri Krishna Devaraya was a telugu speaking bunt having origins of Tulu ancestry. .

Chandragiri was ancient and historically important capital town which came into prominence during the last days of Vijayanagar Empire. Chandragiri was located at the distance of 14 km from Tirupati in Chitoor district and lies about 80 miles (130 km) northwest of Madras City in southeastern Andhra Pradesh state. Chandragiri Fort lies three kms. south of Kasargod town. Chandragiri (Lat.130.35’N, Long. 790.19’E) denoting the ‘Hill of the Moon’. God is believed to have performed penance at this place for pleasing Lord Shiva.

Chandragiri is also a famous for its large square fort on the left bank of the Chandragiri river. The fort is said to have been built around AD 1000 by Immadi Narasimha Yadavaraya and situated strategically and ideally adjacent to the South of famous Hindu pilgrimage centre of Tirumala Hill on the right bank of the Swarnamukhi River. Once the capital of the Vijayanagar rulers in AD 1600, the town is famous for the Chandragiri Fort that has been built on a huge rock about 56 mts. High. The fort has the remains of palaces and temples of the Vijayanagar era.

The Vijayanagar Empire lasted for about 230 years. After its fall, the last of the Vijayanagar Kings shifted to Chandragiri. The palace at Chandragiri comprising the ‘Raja Mahal’ and ‘Rani Mahal’ was built in the early 17th century. Built in the Vijayanagar style of architecture, it has a number of ‘gopurams’. The modern town of Chandragiri lies to the east of the hill on which the fort stands.

The Vijayanagar Kings made additions at a later time. The well-secured fortification is a marvelous feat of construction, with cyclopean walls buttressed with the typical bastions at regular intervals and pierced with gateways and zig-zag entrances.

The empire contributed vastly to Telugu culture, art & literature. The surrounding country is fertile & picturesque - with interesting archaeological remains - temples, reservoirs & finely carved ‘mantapams’. The last capital of Vijayanagar kings was Chandragiri on the banks of River Swarnamukhi in Chittoor District. Ruins of the fort exist to this day & amidst them stand the Raja Mahal & Rani Mahal palaces that have been given a facelift. The fort atop a huge rock that stands 56 meters tall is just 12 kms from the temple town of Tirupati.

Although the glorious days of Vijayanagar came to an end with the battle of Talikota in 1565, the Imperial splendour of the fallen monarchs was maintained in their former state to a large extent by the Aravidu dynasty.

With its natural surroundings, strong fort, and the sacred temple on the Tirumala Hills, where generations of Vijaynagar kings had been crowned, Chandragiri became the favorite royal residence and the kings of this dynasty even came to be popularly known as Chandragiri Rajahs. It was a flourishing centre of activity with a large population.

Nothing in the later history of these king's is more striking than their devotion to Venkatesha, the Lord of the Seven Hills. Chandragiri, it appears was a frequent rendezvous for the Vijayanagar kings, because of its proximity to the great temple of Lord Venkateshwara at Tirumala and particularly Kalyana Venkateshwara at Mangapuram, which too is not far from Chandragiri. There is a tradition that these kings would take meals only after hearing the gong sounds of Mahapuja at the hills. These temples must have been a source of inspiration to them.

The fortress of Chandragiri is said to have been built by Immadi Narasimha Yadava Raya, a Karvetinagar Chief of Narayanavanam during the early part of the tenth century. Tradition says that Krishnadeva Raya and Achyuta Raya of Vijayanagar improved the fortifications and made them stronger. The fort is very strongly built on a huge granite rock, rising to about 200 metres above the surrounding country. A deep moat at the southern side of the hill, was once continuously fed by water from a natural spring - now almost dry.

Within the walls of the forts stand the remains of the palace of the Chandragiri Rajahs, a few deserted temples and mandapams. The main building is known as Raja Mahal, and is considered as the King's palace with its southern facade of three storeys and crowning towers, in Hindu style over the terraced roof. The palace named, Raja Mahal is associated with Venkatapatideva, the Aravidu ruler. It is a fine example of 16th and 17th century Indo-Saracenic architecture of the Vijayanagar period

Nearby is another structure called Rani Mahal, similar in style and construction to the Raja Mahal. Though popularly known as the Queen's Palace, there is nothing to suggest that it was the actual residence of the royal ladies. . It is two storied and the lower storey served as the gateway. The ground floor is designed like a stable and the first floor as quarters with ornamental towers above its roof. Remains of elaborate stucco ornamentation in colours are still evident. An inscription on the basement however indicates that it was the army commandant's quarters. At end of the village of Chandragiri is the Kodandarama temple.

Chandragiri must have been a very prosperous capital city. Many Telugu works of the celebrated Vijayanagara Court, such as Vasucharita ana Pandava and Maha kavyam are believed to have been composed here. The popular poet Tenali Ramakrishna is said to have lived at this place during his last days. A small memorial in his name still exists among the ruins of the buildings.

Sports and Pastimes formed an important part of everyday life of the people in Vijayanagara times. It being the age of strength and valor, physical culture was given proper attention not only by the royalty and the nobility but by the commoners as well. The daily exercises of Krishnadevaraya as described by the Portugese traveller Domingo Paes are well known [1]. Father Du Jarric has left an interesting description of the gymnasium at Chandragiri where noblemen took exercises in boxing, jumping, fencing and wrestling in order to grow strong

It is said that Chennai / Madra was founded in 1639, on a piece of land given by the Raja of Chandragiri, the last representative of the Vijayanagar rulers of Hampi.

The modern town of Chandragiri is neatly built and lies almost adjacent to the old town, which has totally disappeared, its site having been converted into fertile fields. In order to preserve the cultural relics pertaining to the period of the Aravidu dynasty, the Raja Mahal has now been converted into a Museum. Besides a variety of stone sculptures and other excavated materials from nearby places, the museum also contains beautiful bronze material of the later Chola and Vijayanagar periods. APTDC offers a beautiful sound and light show everyday in Telugu and English at Chandragiri fort.

Travel facts:

Chandragiri is just 11 kms from Tirupathi almost adjacent to the highway to Chittor. Taxis and autorickshaws are easily available from Tirupathi town to visit the place. A number of private buses, vans and State Transport buses operate on this route, passing through Chandragiri. Lodging facilities are available at Tirupathi.

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Podili was politically an important town during the time of Vijayanager kings. The Saluvas ruled over the Podili area in the 15th century AD with their capital at Podili. Elugu Rayudu was the last ruler of Saluva dynasty and he was a Mudiraja by caste.

Podili town is located in Prakasham district of Andhra Pradesh and it also falls under Rayala seema region of A.P. It is well connected to Ongole which is its district head quarter.

Rayalaseema got its name due to the brilliant rule by Raya kings of Vijayanagar empire. Interestingly, all the three capital cities – Hampi, Chandragiri and Penugonda, from where Vijayanagar empire was ruled, were located within the undivided Rayalaseema region. The Bellary districts were also part of undivided Rayalaseema and basically Telugu speaking areas, still having lot of Telugu population. Bellary district, now falls under Karnataka state after the formation of Andhra Pradesh on the basis of languages.

Podili was politically an important town during the time of Vijayanager kings. The Saluvas ruled over the Podili area in the 15th century AD with their capital at Podili. A few inscriptions and the kaifayat of Podili form the sources of their history. The rule of the Saluvas of Podili ended with Elugu Rayudu. Their territory was appropriated among the Gajapatis and the Rajas of Vijayanagara.

ELUGU is one of the surnames of many Mudiraj community people who still live in Rayalaseema region and many other parts of Andhra Pradesh. Narasimha Raya, the founder of Saluva Dynasty, who took over the reins of Vijayanagar empire to protect it from Muslim invaders by dethroning the last weak Sangama kings, was a Saluva. Elugu Rayudu was also a Saluva king.

There is also village by name “Elugu vari paalem” in Prakasham District of Andhra Pradesh where there are several Mudiaj families living today. Some of them are also having their surname – Elugu.

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Hampi was the seat and first capital city of the famed, fabulously rich and the largest Vijayanagar empire in post-moghul India, covering several states. The empire reigned supreme under Krishnadevaraya, the Emperor.

Krishna Devaraya was a Telugu speaking bunt with Tuluva ancestry. The other kings who ruled Vijayanagar empire were all Telugu speaking people. The founder brothers Hakka and Bukka were supposed to be of Telugu origin from the fact that they worked as treasurers in the Royal court of Kakatiya Kingdom with Warangal as capital city. Most of these kings and chieftains who were the rulers in Vijayanagar empire belonged to bunt / kuruba / koli / Naik / mudiraj. The dominating people who ruled Vijayanagar empire were of Telugu speaking bunts and the Telugu speaking bunts of today are essentially the people of Mudiraj.

This was an important place where great warrior Telugu people took birth since immemorial times of Vali, Sugreeva and Hanuman. They were all tribal Dravidian bhill / gond warriors who spoke a language that gave birth to mant South Indian languages including Telugu. Hospet and Hampi still holds a lot of Telugu speaking people even though thses places are now under Karnataka. It was once an integral part of undevided rayalaseema just after formation of Andhra State based on languages. The Bellehary areas were given to the then Mysore state by Andhra state in exchange of some other telugu speaking areas from Mysore.

Hampi was a land of many surprises. The extensive ruins of this city today lie at about 12 kilometers from the little town of Hospet in Karnataka. Hampi also contains traces of establishments of Jain monks togerher with the ruins of the Vijayanagara empire.

Hampi was the 14th century magnificent capital of one of the greatest empires of the world in the Deccan heartland,in the state of Karnataka. Hampi is situated at 74 kms from the city Bellary and 13 km from Hospet city in Karnataka. The ruins of Vijayanagar Empire in and around the village of Hampi are spread over an area of more than 26 sq kms in the midst of a rugged landscape. They are one of the most fascinating historical sites in South India. Hampi is protected by the tempestuous Tungabhadra river on the north and by rocky granite ridges on the three sides.

Kishkinda, near Hampi, where Rama first met Sugriva and Hanuman, is a major Ramayana site, where every rock and river is associated with Rama. Anjanadri, near Hospet, was the birthplace of Hanuman (Anjaneya); Sugriva lived in Rishyamukha on the banks of the Pampa (Tungabhadra); Sabari probably also lived a hermitage there. Rama and the Vanara army left Kishkinda to reach Rameshwaram, where the Vanaras built a bridge to Lanka from Dhanushkodi on Rameshwaram Island to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. While parts of the bridge — known as Adam’s Bridge — are still visible, NASA’s satellite has photographed an underwater man-made bridge of shoals in the Palk Straits, connecting Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar.

Hampi is one of the important pilgrimage center for both Hindus and Jains. The objects of jaina art and architecture including jain temples are scattered in the area of 26 kms lying between the three hills and River Tungabhadra. They are one of the most fascinating. Rocky hills and the mighty Tungabhadra River, which flows through this landscape, dominates the terrain.

Hampi is famous for its ruins belonging to the erstwhile medieval Hindu kingdom of Vijaynagar and it is declared a World Heritage site. The monolithic sculptures and monuments along the temples are attractive because of their excellent workmanship. The architecture found at Hampi reflects the Hindu culture and splendor of the Vijaynagar Empire. The rugged landscapeAdds to the historic ambience of this site.

The rocky region of Bellary known for its neolithic culture, dotting around 66 centres according to Bruce Foote, has the heritage landscape which covers the UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre of Hampi,the home of rich Indian heritage (The ruins of Vijayanagar Empire); the sandal wood and the medicinalplants forest of Sandur, which is famous for its scenic grandeur, praised as one of the most beautiful scenes by Mahatma Gandhi; the archeologically famous Sangankal Neolithic site dating back to 10,000 BC and craggy mountains through which the Tungabhadra meanders.

The Sloth Bear Sanctuary on the Billikallu reserve forest near Daroji village has been a realization of the dream project of all wildlife lovers and committed environmentalists.The Kishkinda mountains which is home to sloth bears has been legendarily associated with the epic Ramayana and the mythology proclaims the region as the kingdom ruled by Vali and Sugreeva with the help of Anjaneya, all associated with monkey hordes.The Kishkinda is even now crowded with Hanuman Langurs or the black faced Langurs. The Ramayana epic also associates the region with the immortal Jambavatha – The great sloth bear warrior,who appears both in Ramayana helping Rama and in Mahabharatha with lord Krishna. Now these sloth bears are found not only near Kishkinda area but also in the area extending right upto the historically known Chitradurga in Karnataka.

The genesis of Hampi goes back to the age of Ramayana, when it is believed to have been Kishkinda, the great mythical monkey kingdom. In Valmiki Ramayana, there is a separate Kishinda Kaanda. Kaanda means sugarcane.

As per Kishkinda Kanda, it was a land mountainous and full of sylvan splendor. It was also a land quite unlike any other, inhabited by a race of monkeys, simian in stature but divine in lineage. They could walk and speak as if human but were endowed with powers unlike any mortal man. Their noble nature commanded respect from all other creatures.

These were the highly civilzed and intellectual warrior race of people from whom a large stock of Muthuracha / Muthuraja people descended, who later created a havoc in entire South India in the name of Kalabhras by imprisoning the Adhiraja of Chola, Chera and Pandya kings. These were the people who had an amaging power and built the bridge ( Adam’s Bridge) over mannar straights as a part of their war against Ravana to rescue Sita for Rama.

Kishkinda Kanda starts with Sugreeva Sambhashanam, Vali nirdalanam. As per Kishkinda kanda , here Rama met Sugreeva, forged a friendship with him & killed his brother Vali. Search operations for abducted Sita were spread out from here. Hanuman finally found out the location of Sita in Linka, where she was kept as a prisoner, after going towards South and by taking a gigantic leap to Lanka. Kishkinda was the place where decision was taken to launch a war against Ravana of Lanka with the help of vanara (monkey) army.

Again, Rama while flying by a Pushpak Viman along with Sita and vanaras on their way from Linka to Ayodhya, after rescuing Sita from the clutches of Ravana had a short stop over here at Kishkinda. Then they took Sugriva's family also. They all got in the pushpa-viman.

Legend has it that Hanuman, Rama's devoted ally, was born here at Anjanadri hill. This was also supposed to be the kingdom of Bali and Sugriva, hence, perhaps, the name of this region, Bellary. Matanga rishi of the Ramayana was supposed to have had his ashram here, and there are ruins of a temple on a hill that is called Matanga hill. Then of course, there is Rishyamuka hill, the fort of Bali, Pravarshan hill and so forth, all around the river Tungabhadra, close to which exists a little pond which, in ancient days, could have been the Pampasar.

Saint Vidyaranya established the seat of Vijayanagara empire in 1336 A.D, with the help of his devotee disciples Hakka and Bukka to consolidate the concept of the Deccab being a Hindu state. The empire later became famous for its support towards renovation / reconstruction of temples through out India. It also became renowned for re-establishment of Indian culture, its support for music, art and literature. With the prime purpose of caring for the people and their welfare, this empire stretched physically covering Karnataka, Andhra and Maharashtra and became a by-word for golden rule.

The subsequent two centuries saw the Empire of Vijayanagara growing to an amazing heights. It attracted international commerce and was known for it's enormous wealth. Hampi owed much of this status to Krishnadevaraya, acknowledged as one of the greatest rulers of the imperial kingdom. In 1565 A.D. The Vijayanagar Empire came to be celebrated for its might and wealth and as a show piece of imperial magnificence.

“Vijayanagara is such that the pupil of the eye has never seen a place like it... " So eulogized Abdul Razaq, a Muslim envoy who visited Hampi.

In the mid 1500's, Portuguese travelers Paes and Nuniz described Hampi bazaar: "In this street lived many merchants and there you will find all sorts of rubies, and diamonds, and emeralds, and pearls, and seed pearls, and cloths, and every sort of thing there is on earth and that you may wish to buy." They go on to describe some inhabitants of the city laden in all their finery: "Who is he that could tell of the costliness and the value of what each of these women carries on her person? So great is the weight of the bracelets and gold and jewels carried by them that many of them cannot support them, and women accompany them assisting them by supporting their arms."

Hampi was destroyed by the combined forces of the Deccan Sultans. As history has seen, the destruction of an Empire necessarily means a ruthless assault of it's architecture and culture. The splendid city was pillaged and reduced to shambles within six months. The city was sacked pillaged and burnt in 1565 AD, after the combined attack of armies of Muslim Sultanates of the Deccan defeated the Vijayanagar Military Commander and the King fled the Capital.

The destruction of Vijayanagar by marauding Moghul invaders was sudden, shocking and absolute. They reduced the city to ruins amid scenes of savage massacre and horrors beggaring description.

The magnificent city of ruins, Hampi is not far from Bangalore. A World Heritage Centre, Hampi is the most beautiful and evocative of all the ruins in Karnataka, This erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagar Empire boasts of some exquisite examples of Temple architecture of that period.

Although in ruins today, this capital city once boasted riches known far beyond the shores of India. The ruins of Hampi of the 14th Century lies scattered in about 26 sq. km area, amidst giant boulders and vegetation. Protected by the tempestuous river Tungabhadra in the north and rocky granite ridges on the other three sides, the ruins silently narrate the story of grandeur splendor and fabulous wealth. The splendid remains of palaces and gateways of the broken city tells a tale of men infinite talent and power of creativity together with his capacity for senseless destruction.

Local Sights

Most of the ruins are along the road leading from Kamalapura to Hampi. Three kms down the road, on a commanding site, stands the temple of Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy. It is built in the Dravidian style. Strange-looking fishes and marine monsters carved along its outer walls are worth noticing.

The Virupaksha Temple rises majestically at the western end of the famous Hampi Bazaar. The temple has a 120 feet tall tower on its eastern entrance. The temple contains the shrines of Shiva, Pampa and Bhuvaneswari. Parts of this temple are older than the Vijayanagar kingdom itself. The work of this style dates back to the 11th or 12th century.

Nearby is the 6.7m tall monolith of Ugra Narasimha. An inscription nearby states that it was hewn from a single boulder in 1528 during the reign of Krishnadeva Raya.

Vithala Temple Complex : The most splendid monument of Hampi is undoubtedly the Vithala Temple Complex with its 56 musical pillars.

To the east of the hall is the famous Stone Chariot with stone wheels that actually revolve. In front of the shrine stands the great mantapa. Resting on a richly sculpted basement, its roof is supported by huge pillars of granite, about 15 feet in height, each consisting of a central pillar surrounded by detached shafts, all cut from one single block of stone. Several of the carved pillars were attacked with such fury that they are hardly more than shapeless blocks of stones and a large portion of the central part has been destroyed utterly.

Nearby is the 'Purandra Dasara Mantapa' which has been also declared a protected monument.

House of Victory : It was built when Krishnadeva Raya came back from his victorious expedition against the King of Orissa. The spaces between the rows of the plinth-mouldings here are most elaborately and elegantly carved. The kings of Vijayanagar used to sit on a grand throne in the House of Victory and witness the nine-day Dasara festival.

Westwards from the House of Victory, leading through two ruined gates, the path leads to the Hazara Ramaswami temple. This temple is believed to have been the private place of worship of the royal family. The chief attraction of the temple is the series of scenes from the Ramayana carved on two of the inside walls of the mantapa. The genesis of the place known today as Hampi dates back to the age of the Hindu epic Ramayana when it was the site of Kishkinda, a monkey kingdom.

King's Balance : Hampi is also full of surprises: like the King's Balance where kings were weighed against grain, gold or money which was then distributed to the poor, the Queen's Bath, a swimming pool, 50 ft.long and 6 ft.deep, with its arched corridors, projecting balconies and lotus-shaped fountains that once sprouted perfumed water, the two-storeyed.

Lotus Mahal : shaped like a lotus flower from top, this two-story structure has beautiful arc ways set in geometric regularity. It was an air-cooled summer palace of the queen.

Elephant Stables : This huge stable, a beautiful example of Hindu-Muslim style of architecture, housed about 11 elephants in separate compartments.

Pushkarini Tank

Mahanavami Dibba : The foundation of a lion story wooden structure from which the royalty viewed Hampi with pomp, colour and revelry during the Mahanadu festival. This platform has beautiful carvings.

Mustard Ganesh : This is a 9 feet tall single stone statue which is also known as Sasivikalu Ganesha.

Noblemen’s Palace: This place was recently discovered and they suspect this was for aristocrats and high-ranking officials.

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Haihaya King Mahishman was the founder king of Mahishmati :

Mahishmati was a capital city of Haihayas, Chedis and Kalchuris for several thousands of years after it was established by Haihaya king Mahishman. It is believed by historians that Mudiraja / Muthuraja kings were the descendants of valiant Kalabhra warriors of South India and who were in turn had their roots in famous Kalchuri kings of central India.

The famous king Mahishman was son of Samhat (Sahajit) and is said to have founded the famous city of Mahishmati as his capital, from where all future kings ruled, including Sahasrarjuna. Mahishman’s period is roughly stated to be 2800 B.C. Mahishman had a son by name Bhadrasena, who had a son Durdranta, whose son ‘s name was Kanaka. He was the grandfather of our Sahasrarjuna. This Kanaka who was also known as Danaka had four sons by name 1 Kritagni, 2 Kritaveerya, the father of Sahasrarjuna , 3 Kritadhama , and 4 Kutanja. King Kritaveerya had a only son namely Kartaveeryarjuna, who lateron came to be known as Sahasrarjuna, [2600 B.C.]

It is understood that the great conquerer Vasu-Chaidya, whose son Brihadratha was the founder of the Chedi kingdom. Down the lane of chedis, there came their descendants to be known as kalchuris. Kalchuris established their kingdoms in North and central India and ruled them in the name of chedi dynasty and also Haihaya dynasty. Kalachuris were no doubt the descendants of Chedis and Haihayas but with a mix up of Indian tribal warrior blood. Mahishmati was one of the important capital cities from where Kalchuris ruled North and central India apart from Tripuri which is now known as Jabalpur in M.P and Tumman in Chettisgarh state.

Soma --> Budha --> Pururava --> Ayu --> Nahusha --> Yayati
Yayati --> Yadu --> Sahasrajit --> Shatajit --> Haihaya
Haihaya --> Dharmanetra --> Kumbhi --> Samhat --> Mahisman

Recent explorations in the beds / tributaries of Narmada have revealed traces of the Paleolithic men in East Nimar district. Omkar Mandhata, a rocky island on the bank of Narmada river, about 47 miles North-West of Khandwa, is said to have been conquered by the Haihaya king Mahishmant, a scion of Yadu family, who had named the same as Mahishmati.

Mahishmati was the capital city of Kalchuri Kings:

It is said that Mahissmati Kalchuris, an extremely small dynasty was able to hold a surprisingly large area which included Malwa and Gujarat in the Era –6th century AD.

Tripuri (Jabalpur) Kalchuris ruled central India from 7th – 10th century AD. A member of the Mahismati Kalichuri family, Vamraj, first established his kingdom in the areas of Jabalpur, Satna, Rewa and Panna. There were about 14 kings in the family. There was also another branch of the exhaustive Kalichuri family, which was the Ratanpur Kalichuris. They lasted from around 890 AD till well into the 14th century.

If we rewind to the dawn of Hindu civilization, we’ll find that Maheshwar was a glorious city veritable hotbed of culture, religion and politics. It was the capital city of King Kartvirarjun. It even made it to the great Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, where it finds mention as, Mahishmati. The sacred Narmada that flows by lends Maheshwar charm and sanctity. Maheshwar is located 90 kms from Indore.

Mahishmati remained forgotten for a very long time till it resurfaced as Maheshwar, revived due to the efforts of Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore. Most of the town’s temples and forts date from the 18th century. Rani Ahilya Bai was a great ruler, so beloved and revered by the people that she almost gained the status of a deity during her lifetime itself. A visionary and a just ruler, she was against such horrible and repulsive rituals as sati. Yet she had the courage to watch her own daughter become sati, after vainly seeking to dissuade her.

Jamadagni, in penance, was beheaded and his skull was taken away to Mahishmati :

At the same time, the sons of Kartaveeryarjuna at Mahishmati were pining for vengeance. Having once faced the wrath of the axe-wielding Parashurama, they were afraid of confronting him again and hence conceived a secret plan.

Parashurama, accompanied by his brothers, had gone out on an errand. Hearing of this from there. Spies, the sons of Kartaveeryarjuna laid siege to the hermitage of Jamadagni. They vowed to seek their revenge by killing the sage. The sage was sitting in meditation. Kartaveeryarjuna's sons stormed the place. Renuka, realizing the danger confronting them, entreated the invaders to spare the life of her husband. But her plea went unheeded. Jamadagni, in penance, was beheaded and his skull was taken away to Mahishmati and to ashram was destroyed.

Renuka shouted 'O Rama! O Rama! O Rama!'

Parashurama and his brothers who were approaching the ashram heard their mother's cry and rushed to the place. They were shocked to see the body of their father lying in a pool of blood; his head was missing. Their mother had lost consciousness and collapsed. The children helped her to regain conscious- ness. She wept and narrated the happenings. Renuka and the boys surrounded the headless body of Jamadagni and wailed and wailed.

But Parashurama did not sit quietly and cry. He learnt from the inmates of the ashram the details of the incidents. Reddened with anger, he picked up his axe and hurried towards Mahishmati.

On reaching the city, he first butchered the guards at the main entrance. Breaking down the heavy gate, with his eyes like a couple of fireballs, he stalked to the palace like an enraged lion. There he destroyed the whole army, which came to attack him. He killed all the princes, picked up his father's head and returned to the ashram. There the children performed all the obsequies in honor of the departed soul.

Even after this, Parashurama's wrath did not subside. He felt uneasy and full of anguish whenever he saw his sorrowful mother.

In his anguished heart was slowly taking shape a plan of action.

Finally, Parashurama vowed:

"All these kings are evil men. They stole the cow which had fed them; they killed my father They made my' mother suffer widowhood. This entire kingly class should be destroyed. The pious cannot live in peace till then. Let me sharpen the axe. I am going to wipe out the whole lot of them.'"

Carrying the axe on his shoulder, he traversed the earth twenty-one times chopped off all the anogant Kshatriya, wiping out the entire royalty.

(This dreadful incident lead to the break of Aryans into Aryan Brahmanas and Aryan Kshatriyas. The Aryan Kshtriyas under no choice to save themselves got mixed up with Indian Tribal Dravidian warrior races, thus creating many famed Indo-Aryan kings, of whom Mudirajas were one of them)

Adi Shankara debated Advita with Mandana Mishra at Mahishmati: Shankara, who was the proponent of the Advaita philosophy of hinduism, comes to debate with Kumarila Bhatta. But Kumarila Bhatta informs him about his decision to commit suicide by entering tushanala (death by immolation in the middle of a pit of burning rice husks) as a part of self punishment for having debate with his guru at Nalanda, and asks Shankara to go to Mahishmati to debate with Mandana Mishra, who was a renowned scholar in the karma marga. Naga Bhatta witnesses the tushanala and travels to Mahishmati bearing the sad news of Kumarila Bhatta’s death to his old guru, Mandana Mishra. Kumarila Bhatta’s sister Bharati Devi was married to Mandana Mishra and was a great scholar in her own right. While Naga Bhatta was there, Shankara comes to invite Mandana Mishra for a debate on the karma theory and his advaita philosophy. It was customary to accept a serious debate, and Shankara suggests Bharati Devi to be the judge, and he agrees to accept whatever judgement she will deliver. The debate goes on for several days, and Shankara gains an upper hand in proving that the practice of advaita is superior to the path of karma in achieving self- realization. Bharati Devi declares Shankara as the winner in the debate. Mandana Mishra has to leave his family, and follow Shankara as his disciple. Bharati Devi shows extraordinary strength when her husband is about to take leave of her and the family. She asks Shankara a question about the physical relationship of a husband and wife, and how that is related to Nirvana. Shankara does not know the answer to this being a sanyasi, and he requests for some time to find the appropriate answer, and takes off from Mahishmati.

Naga Bhatta follows Shankara to Taravati, and witnesses some super natural powers of Shankara by which he enters the dead body of king Amaruka to experience the life of a married man. Shankara finally comes back with a satisfactory answer, and Mandana Mishra follows him.

Mandana Mishra’s original name was Sri Sureswaracharya and native of Mahishmati. He was called Mandana Mishra before he was inducted into the ascetic order. One of the older disciples of Sri Sankara, a stone icon of Sri Sureswaracharya is found inside the Kanchi Math.

He wrote the famous philosophical treatise, Naishkarmya-Sidhi. He attained mukti in 407 BC.

Kartaviryarjuna arrested Ravana and put him in Jail in Mahishmati:

Ravana taken prisoner

Ravana was out touring to gain victory over all other countries (dig-vijaya), and he had camped on the bank of the Narmada River near the city of Mahishmati. Kartavirya was the contemporary of Ravana, and when that demon monarch came "in the course of his campaign of conquest to Mahishmati (the capital of Kartavirya).

Kartaveerya was bathing in the river Narma with his harem and spread his thousand arms across it. As a result, the river was swollen and the waters inundate the golden Linga Ravana was worshipping. Ravana challenged Kartaveerya to battle for this insult. He fell on the ground when Kartaveerya hit him with his club. Kartaveerya swooped upon in prostrate body, tied, took him captive and dragged him to Mahishmati. Thus Ravana was captured without difficulty, and was confined like a wild beast in a corner of his city."

Ravana set free

Pulastya learned about Ravana's captivity through the Devas and headed for Mahishmati to free him. Kartaveerya received him with reverence. Pulastya praised him, " You are no ordinary person, you have taken captive my grandson made invincible by the boons of Brahma. Please set him free." Ravana was set free and made friendship with Kartaveerya. Pulastya chastised Ravana for his behavior and advised him to behave properly.

Kalchuris ruled Vidarbha from Mahishmati :

While a majority of the ancient Nandapuri silver coins remain untraceable, they have been finally positively identified, bringing the series of hypotheses about the issuers of the coins to an end.

The coins have been identified as those issued by Kalachuri King Krishnaraj of Mahishmati region in Madhya Pradesh, who ruled from 550 to 575 AD. It is well-known in history that in the post-Vakataka period (fifth/sixth century), the Vidarbha region was ruled by the Kalachuris of Mahishmati through Swamirajas (deputed rulers).

The identification has been made by Dr Ajay Mitra Shastri, eminent numismatologist from Nagpur city. Dr Shastri's views have been seconded by Dr A K Sharma, archaeologist, who was instrumental in the recovery and initial decoding of the coins. It was earlier suggested by Dr Sharma that the coins might have been issued by one of the lesser-known successors of Pravarsena-I, a prominent Vakataka king.

The silver coins, found allegedly in two earthen pots from a pit in village Nandapuri near Ramtek, have been in the centre of controversy as majority of them have remained untraced till now.

Giving details about the Kalachuri coins, Dr Shastri mentioned that these coins have been known since more than a century now and are found over an extensive area covering large parts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. A large cache of similar coins was found in Dhamori area of Amravati district in 1923. Some of these coins have now been kept in Central Museum, Nagpur, for the benefit of common people.

The typicality of these coins is that they have the king's head with a prominent moustache facing right on the obverse side. On the reverse side, it has a dotted circle along the edge with the Brahmi (Sanskrit language) legend `Param-Maheshwara-mata-pitri-padanudhyata-Shri-Krishnarajah'. The legend describes Krishnaraj, the issuer of these coins, as a devout worshipper of God Maheshwara (Shiva) and a king who was devoted to his parents. In the centre, there is a figure of Nandi (mount of Lord Shiva) -- on two parallel lines with three dots in between.

Dr Shastri further mentioned that as the Kstrapa coins were already in circulation in Vidarbha during the advent of the Kalachuris, Krishnaraja, who is the first known Kalachuri king, might have issued similar-looking coins with a different legend and his own bust.

He said that anyway, the finding of these coins in the Mansar area is of great value for political and economic history of the region, as it more than ratifies the fact that the Kalachuris ruled Vidarbha in the post-Vakataka period.

The fact has come to light through an earlier inscription, found at Nagardhan (very near Nandapuri). The finding of these coins also demonstrates that Kalachuri coins served as legal tender during the post-Vakataka period.

The Temple Attraction : This temple town became famous when Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar made it her capital. Famous for sarees, which are renowned for their unique weave. Maheshwar is an important place in M.P. from religious, historical and cultural points of view. In ancient times it was called Mahishmati and was the capital of Kartijun. It had been the centre of the activities of Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar in the 17th century.

The Fort : An awesome fort dominates the dusty landscape of Maheshwar. A palace on its premises has now been converted into a museum displaying heirlooms, paraphernalia and other trivia belonging to the Holkar Dynasty.

A really special exhibit is the small shrine on a palanquin which is carried down from the fort during the annual festival of Dusshera. Another must-see is the beautiful statue of Rani Ahilya Bai seated on her throne.

The Ghats : The ghats of the serene Narmada are charming and definitely cleaner than those of the Ganga or the Yamuna. Running along the banks are countless temples dedicated to the numerous Hindu deities.

The huge ghats on the banks of Narmada are beautiful. The temples on these ghats are excellently carved and sculpted: every pillar and panel would occupy a pride of place in any museum in the world. In addition to these features, the temples and ghats become colourful during festivals particularly the major ones of Dussehra and Diwali.

The Temple Attractions : Most of the temples are multi-storeyed and have intricately worked doorways and overhanging balconies. Don’t miss the Kaleshwara, Rajaraheshwara, Vithaleshwara and Ahileshwara temples. Do check out the Peshwa, Fanese and Ahilya Ghats to watch the daily rituals of ordinary villagers. You’ll get a pretty good idea of how life still revolves around the river in most villages of India. Do go for a swim in the mighty Narmada – it’s an exhilarating experience. Another highlight of the ghats are the stone memorials to all the women who ever committed sati here.

Maheshwar is also famed for the manor, the walled mansion of the 18th century queen of Indore and the state of Holkar, Ahalyabai. She was a very wise, powerful and virtuous woman who has now been virtually deified by her subjects. She introduced and encouraged the weaving of Maheshwari saris: still a popular craft in Maheshwar. More than anything else, Maheshwar is now synonymous with the exquisitely delicate cotton and silk.

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There is an inscription on the moulded basement dated in the 45th year of the Chozha king Kulottunga I (1115 AD). This inscription registers a sale of land by the Nagarattar to thevan-periyan also called Mudikonda-chozha Telungai-araiyan for the conduct of daily worship to the arumanikka-azhvar of Thirumer-koil.

This clearly indicates that Ariyans (Ariyars) who belong to subcaste of Muthuraja of Tamilnadu were also a variant of Cholas (chozha). It is also clear that todays Araiyans of Tamilnadu were the descendats of telugu (telungai) warriors. These Araiyans belong to fishing community of Tamilnadu & Kerala. Matha Amrithanandamayi belongs to Araiyar fishing community of Kerala. We must not forget one fact that a large section of Telugu Mudiraj belong to fishing community even today in Telangana and Rayalaseema)

The Samanar-kudagu: Opposite to the structural temple Vijayalaya Chozhisvaram there are two cave temples, excavated on the steep slop of the rock. Of these, the one on the northern side is popularly called Samanar-kudagu (‘cave-of-the-Jains’).

This cave temple is also called Padhinen-bhumi Vinnagaram. ‘Padinen’ refers to the ‘eighteen regions’ (seats of the corporation of Ainurruvar). Vinnagaram means temple for Vishnu.

Perhaps, it was originally a Jaina cave in the 7th century AD, but converted into a Vishnu shrine in 12th or 13th century AD. The date of this conversion is still under debate.

After this conversion it came to be called as Thirumer-koil or Merrali and Padhinen-bhumi Vinnagaram. Presently it looks like a Vaishanavite shrine.

It consists of a rectangular garbha-griham and an ardha-mandapam in front, both excavated from the living rock.

Presently the garbha-griham is empty, except for a broken stone pitham . This pitham is also carved out of the living rock.

The ardha-mandapam has two massive pillars and two pilasters in the front, also carved out of the rock. It houses twelve identical but wonderful relief sculptures of Vishnu on the walls.

Each of them is six feet five inches tall and carved on the rock. The sankhu ( conch), chakra ( discuss), the garments and the ornamentation deserve praise. One of the lower hands is in the abhaya-mudra ( pose indicative of protection) and the other touches the thigh. The twelve figures perhaps represent those of the twelve common names of Vishnu – Kesava, Narayana, Madhava, Govinda, Trivikrama, Vamana, Achyuta, Sridhara, Padmanabha, Damodara, Vasudeva and Madhu-sudhana.

In front of this cave temple is a stone plinth of the maha-mandapam. Judging from the remains, this mandapam must have been a closed one supported by square pillars, with walls ornamented with pilasters crowned with capitals.

On the plinth of this mandapam, above the kumudam, runs a beautiful frieze of lions, elephants, and vyali-s. At the corners are projecting makara heads, with human figures sporting inside their gaping mouths. Carved with loving care, these graceful figures of elephants, lions and vyali-s in playing are one among the finest in existence in this region. They exhibit high levels of creativity, artistic skill and imagination of the sculptors.

There are a number of loose sculptures broken parts sculptures kept on this plinth and also inside the ardha-mandapam. Those on the plinth include two dvara-palaka-s, a Sapta-matrika group and an Ayyanar. Those inside the ardha-mandapam include two Ganesa-s. All these sculptures are excavated in and around Narttamalai.

. There is an inscription on the moulded basement dated in the 45th year of the Chozha king Kulottunga I (1115 AD). This inscription registers a sale of land by the Nagarattar to thevan-periyan also called Mudikonda-chozha Telungai-araiyan for the conduct of daily worship to the arumanikka-azhvar of Thirumer-koil.

There is also another inscription dated 1228 AD on the rock, north of the cave temple (PSI 281) of the reign of Mara-varman Sundara-pandya I mentioning that the ‘western temple’ was consecrated and in it were installed the idols of Vishnu and those of his consorts.

So the date of conversion of the Jain cave into the Vishnu shrine is still under debate.

kokolu Anka Rao

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The mysterious events that took place have been recorded by Dr.AV Jeyachandrun, a very great versatile and many faceted scholar of the last century. He was a District Information Officer of Tamilnadu State Government.

The Great Temple of Thanjavur, otherwise known as the Brhadhiswara Temple or Peruvudaiyar Koyil was completed by Raja Raja Cholzan and the kudamulzukku took place in 1012 AD. But the Vaaraahi sannidhi has already been there and scholars consider that it comes from an earlier temple that must have been in existance somewhere around. During the times of ThEvAram hymns, there is mention of a temple called 'Thanjai ThaLikkuLaththaar'. Whereabouts in ThanjavuR it was, nobody knows.

The figure of Vaaraahi of ThanjavUr belongs to the 6th century AD. To have a look at Tahnjai Vaaraahi, please visit the following URL :

You will notice that She is two-armed. As a rule, Vaaraahi figures are usually four-armed.That was time when the worship of Vaaraahi, Nisumbha Sudhini, Mahisha mardhini, Vaishnavi, Jyeshta, Sapth Matrikas, etc., were popular. Ritualistic self-sacrifice, slitting of own throat, etc., were rather in vogue. If you are interested in knowing more about this practice, please visit the following URL:

Many royal and feudatory dynasties had such deities as their kula devathas. The Vaaraahi must have been important to the Post-Sanggam Age Cholza or the Mutharaiyars, or even the Post-Sanggam Pandiyas who held the territory for sometime. She must have been worshipped by them. So the origin of the shrine of Thanjai Vaaraahi is shrouded in mystery.

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It was an important locality in the middle ages. The Uthama Nathaswami temple here has a Mutharaya edifice (bulding / structure). The temple has epigraphs of the Cholas and Vijayanagar.

Keeranur is a panchayat town in Dindigul district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Keeranur is a place which is about 30 km from Pudukottai on the way to Thiruchirapalli. Keeranur 15 kms from trichy. Keeranur is located in between Dharapuram and Palani.

It is already seen that Muthurayars, Cholas and Vijayanagar kings are either related or belong to the same royal blood & race

Legend has it that Keechaka (of Mahabharata) ruled here and worshipped the Lord. Thus the place came to be called Keechaganur. Evidence for this lies three feet beneath the ground, says Sivachariar, adding, "Arunagirinathar has sung about Keeranur in his famed Thiruppugazh." Dr. B. S. Baliga's `Madras District Gazetteers — Coimbatore' also mentions "Kiranur (sic) is believed to have been the place where Keechaka was killed by Bhima."

According to S. R. Krishnaswamy, a chronicler, central to the place is the Vageeswara (Siva) temple, at least 800 to 1,000 years old. Half a kilometre east is the Kandiamman temple, dating back to about 800 years, and to the west, past the canal, is an idol of Durga, Kandiamman's elder sister.

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Muthirayar palayam is a well developed village in Pondicherry. Muthirapalayam (Pondy-9)is one of ten most progressive places in Pondicherry. It has got neatly layed streets good greenary, abundant water and well connected by road .The way this place is expanding, soon it will be the largest populated villege in entire pondicherry.

Governemnt Schools and equal number of private schools improved the literacy rate significantly over the years. rapid industrialisation though destroyed the agrageriation activities, it enabled alternative employment to thousands of youth. Infusion of foreign money (specifically from France) is reflected in the luxury of few of the modern buildings on this once dusty villege. There are more than 20 streets in this villege. Two water ponds and a Majaor pumping station is also located. The governemnt run Libraray was a gifted one to people. Besides a reading place it used to be a knowledge sharing place too in early 80's. There also exisits a Co-operative bank run by the locals. Temple festival lasts for 2 weeks in a grant manner during the month of August. Bearing a handful of houses, no huts could be seen here.

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This village was known after the king Mutharasan who governed this land and sourounding lands in early centuries. So this village is called as Mutharasanallur.

Mutthurasanallur is a small and green remote village in Tiruchirapalli in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is located approximately 7 km to the west of Trichy City on the road to the town of Karur. It is located in Trichy - Karur Main Road in the Rightside Riverbank of Cauvery River.This route is well served by a number of bus lines.

Mutharasanallur is a main agricultural village of with enough Water source from the River Cauvery. The main business of the people here is Agriculture. This village is a Village Panchayat under Andanallur Union. And this village is belongs to Srirangam Taluk of Tiruchirapalli district.

This village is a Village Panchayat under Andanallur Union. And this village is belongs to Srirangam Taluk of Tiruchirapalli district. And the below areas are under Mutharasanallur Panchayat administration. kavalkara street : graharam, Vellalar Street, Devanga Nagar, Mandapa Thoppu, Cauvery Nagar, Anna Nagar, Muthamizhl Puram, Kamaraja Puram, Kaikudi, Murungapet, Gudalur.

The peope here are religious. After doing their job in Agriculture, they are spending their time in local celebrations for their traditional God. This village has very old temples with steles which dipicts the history of the old kings. And this temples are protected by the Indian Archaeological Departments.

Cauvery River flows through Mutharasanallur. Diamond Park, an amusement park, is the main attraction here .The Diamond park is on the south bank of River cavery. There is a swimming pool available.

Tiruchirapalli Airport is the nearest airport. Mutharasanallur Railway Station is on the Kulittalai-Tiruchirapalli rail route. Buses ply frequently from Tiruchirapalli Central Bus Station to Mutharasanallur.

Tiruchirapalli-Karur Passenger runs between Tiruchirapalli Junction Railway Station and Karur Junction Railway Station. Both stations are located in Tamil Nadu. Main stations on the way are Virarakkiyam, Mayan, Sithalavai, Mahadanapuram, Lalapet, Timmachipuram, Kulittalai, Marudur, Pettaivayatalai, Perugamani, Elamanur, Jiyapuram, Mekkudi, Muttarasanallur, Tiruchirapalli Fort and Tiruchirapalli Palakkarai. The train operates daily and covers a distance of 76 km. Second class seating coaches are available.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Date =05/08/2007

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There is the famous temple of Ranganatha atop Biligiri Rangana Betta hill. A copper plate record dated 1667 and belonging to Mudduraju, son of Trimalarajanayaka of Hadinadu sheds light on the history of the temple.

Mudduraju = Mudduraja = Mudiraja = Muthuraja

Biligiri Rangana Betta (literally meaning - Ranganatha's Whiterock Hill in Kannada) is a lofty hillock situated at a distance of 28 km from Yelandur and 90 km from Mysore. The forest around is named Biligiri Rangaswamy Wildlife Sanctuary after this place. One can have a breath taking view of the forest around from the platform behind the temple atop the hill.

Here these hills are mentioned as that of Thiru Venkatanatha of Bilikal (White Rock). In Sanskrit, this hill was called Shwetadri meaning white hill. This is because the hill's weathered granite cliff face appear white in colour. The Venkatanatha temple became known as Ranganatha temple after Tipu Sultan visited this temple while on a hunting expedition and described it as a temple of Lord Ranganatha. Hence, the name Biligiri Rangana Betta.

The highest point of the hill is 5091 feet above sea level. At the foot of the hill on Chamarajanagar road, there is a brindavana (small lake) known as Kanakadasa's cave. It is believed that the celebrated spiritual guru Haridasa Kanaka lived here singing praises of the lord for some time.

There is a mysterious tradition and legend about this temple. Anyone visiting the temple can see a huge pair of sandals. Legend has it that these sandals are used by the presiding deity Lord Ranganatha to roam around these forests. Mysteriously, these sandals wear out and are replaced regularly with new ones by the villagers.

The original inhabitants of these forest areas are a tribal community called Soligas (bamboo people). Even now, these people live in settlements around these forests.

The Hill is covered with thick forest and it is at a height of 5091 feet above sea level and it has width of 16Kms at the base to the south. There is a temple for Billigiri Rangaswamy at the top of the hill and that's why it is known as name BR Hills. The Temple is of Dravidian style. Eventhough the deity is that of Lord Venkatesha it is popularly known by the name Ranganatha Swamy. The Idols of Ramanuja and Alva has been placed in this temple. Kankadasa Guha, Brindavan and other temples on the hills are of religious importance. The remains of a fort (kanchina kote) said to be built in 15-16th Century by the Shivasamudra Gangaraja can be found here. A small rivulet flowing at the foot of the hills is called Bargava Thoray. The hills are inhabitated by the Soliga Tribal people and this forest has rich flora and fauna.

The Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple wildlife sanctuary (BRT) is spread over an area of 540 Located at the eastern most edge of the Western Ghats, it is an important link between the Western and Eastern Ghats. The hills are in the Yelandur taluk of Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka.The hills are contiguous with the Satyamangalam range southwards, in the Erode district of Tamil Nadu. The sanctuary derives its name "Biligiri" either from the white rock face that constitutes the major hill crowned with the temple of Lord Rangaswamy, or from the white mist and the silver clouds that cover the hills for a greater part of the year.

The hills are in the Yelandur taluk of Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka. The hills are contiguous with the Satyamangalam range southwards, in the Erode district of Tamil Nadu. The area is 90 km from Mysore and 180 km from Bangalore. It is connected by road, one from Yelandur and the other via Chamarajanagar. The hills are located at the easternmost edge of the Western Ghats and support diverse flora and fauna in view of the various habitat types supported. A wildlife sanctuary of 322.4 km² was created around the temple on 27 June 1974, and enlarged to 539.52 km² on 14 January 1987. BRT has an amazing diversity of vegetation types such as scrub, dry and moist deciduous, evergreen, sholas and high-altitude grasslands.

It is connected by road, one from Yelandur and the other via Chamarajanagar. Bangalore is about 200 km away, Mysore, 85 km away and Ooty, 225 km away. There are buses to BRT from Mysore.

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The statue of Gomateswara is regarded as one of the largest monolithic statues in the world. It was fashioned during the prosperous reign of Rachamalla Saytavakay in 983 A.D. It was the Ganga King Rachamalla who commissioned the sculptor Arstameni in 981 A.D. to create this mammoth statue.

Rajamalla belonged to the line of Sripurusha of Western Ganga Dynasty who assumed the title of Muttharasa. So Rachamalla was one the well known Mutharaya kings of Ganga dynasty of Talakad (in present day Karnataka, India). Though territorially a small kingdom, the Western Ganga contribution to polity, culture and literature of the modern south Karnataka region is considered important. The Western Ganga kings showed benevolent tolerance to all faiths but are most famous for their patronage towards Jainism resulting in the construction of monuments in places such as Shravanabelagola and Kambadahalli.

The people having surname Rachamalla can now be seen among Kapu and Telaga communities. A branch or variant of Mudiraj people are known as Tenugu in Telangana Region and they are also known as Telaga in other parts of Andhra and South India. They fall under Kapu and Balija community who are very closely related to Mudiraj and often known as a rivals in warrior profession.

It is very interesting to note that the Gangas played an important role by patronising Jainism. Shravanabelagola drew the attention of Ganga dynasty from 4th century to 13th century. Its glorious past called as Gangavadi-96000 (Ganganadu) encompassed the frontiers of the kingdom with the religious compassion of Jainism. The famous rulers such as Shivmara I, Shivmara II (A.D. 788-812), Amoghavarsha, Marasimha II, Rachamalla IV (A.D. 964-999) and the minister Chavundaraya stood as the golden link between Jainism and Shravanabelagola.

. Simhanandi, the Jain muni was the great inspirant for the foundation of Ganga dynasty as revealed by an inscription in Shravanabelagola dated 1179 A.D.. Another inscription of the place (A.D. 1129) has mentioned emphasising the fact that Simhanandi blessed his disciple Konganiverma with the sword incarnated with the name of Arahantha to revolt against the gamut of sins. An inscription of 1400 A.D. also mentions the name of Simhanandi Acharya. The inscription found in other parts of Ganga domain also mention the importance of Shravanabelagola. According to these Madhava, also called Konganivrma was the founder of Ganga kingdom. He is described as a great warrior and was blessed by Arhatbhattakha. Simhanandi also showered his blessings on him to combat his enemies and attain supremacy. An inscription of A.D. 810 mentions that Amogavarsha the first Ganga king associated with Shravanabelagola built Chandraprabha Basadi. An inscription found in Kyathanahalli in Srirangapattana taluk has mentioned about the liberal donation by Rachamalla II (A.D. 870-919) and Yerayappaarasu (A.D. 886-913) to Shravanabelagola. Gangas also patronised mural art (paintings) as found in Jain mutt of Shravanabelagola and Jain temples of Gubbi and Nittur.

From all the available and reliable evidences of a historical nature it is quite clear that the colossal image of Bahubali or Gommata ( lord Gomateshwara) we caused to be erected around 983 AD by Chamunda-Raya a minister of the Ganga King, Rajamalla. The image was carved out a great rock which stood on the top of the Vindhyagiri hillat Sravana-Belagola. It is nude and stands erect facing the north.

Chamunda-Raya was a great warrior, military commander, Jain, poet, Scholar and devotee, served as the prime minister and commander-in-chief under the three famous kings of the Ganga dynasty of Talakad, Viz., i) Marasimha II(961-974 A.D.), ii) Rajamalla IV ( 974-984 A.D.), and iii) Rachamalla V( Rakkasa-Ganga). It was during this period of service that Chmunda-Raya installed the gigantic colossus of Bahubali or Gommata at Sravana-Belagola and it was in recogonition of that unmatched and unmatchable pious act of his that the king conferred upon him the title of "Raya", which means a king or prince.

When the entire work of installation of the image was completed the 'Pratishtapana Mohostsava', i.e., the Consecration Ceremony, according to strict religious rites, was performed on an suspicious day by Chamunda-Raya on a very large scale and in a manner feftting his extremely high political statues and the extra ordinary size and special location of the image at a renowned sacred place of great antiquity and historical significance.

Gomateshwara is a monolithic statue standing at 60 feet above a hill in a place called Shravanabelagola in the Hassan district of Karnataka state, India. The statue was built by the Ganga minister and commander Chamundaraya in the honour of Lord Bahubali. It was built in the 10th century AD and is the size Jains believe humans used to be. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, devotees and tourists from all over the world flock to the statue once in 12 years for an event known as Mahamastakabhisheka.

The statue is remarkable both for its size and the artistic control exercised by the sculptor. The great image of Gommatesvara is the most remarkable and one of the largest freestanding images in the world. The intensity of Gomatesvara's meditation is portrayed by the serenity on his face; the creepers that have begun to climb, undisturbed, up his legs and the snakes lying at his feet. The saint is represented in the immovable serrenity of one practicing the 'kayotsarga' austerity, undisturbed by the serpents about his feet, the anthills rising to his things, or the growing creeper that has already reached his shoulders.

According to Jain tradition Gomateshwara is not a mere monolithic image. He is regarded as Jain saint and in fact is the symbolical expression of Bahubali, in fact the image is of Bahubali Swamy, there is a story as to how image was got carved. Purudeva was the first Thirthankara. He had two sons by name Bharatha and Bahubali. Once they quarreled amongst themselves for the sake of kingdom. In that fight Bahubali succeeded. But he was overcome by grief and shame of seeing his defeated brother. His mind was transformed. He renounced the Kingdom in favour of his brother and retired to penance and attained Kevalagnana and Bharatha got his image erected in Paudanapura. After several years ant hills and serpents covered the hill. He came to be recognized as Kukkuteshwara. Only the pious could see the image. In course of time Chavundaraya who had heard of the story resolved to have an image of the same description installed on the hill at Shravanabelagola. He accordingly discharged an arrow to the top of Indragiri and the figure of Gomateshwara flashed. The image was got carved under the supervision of a sage by name Arishtanemi.

It is also said that Mauryans were a branch of kolis of North India and gangas too belong to the same koli block of fishermen of North India. It might be one of the reasons why Gangas were attracted to Jainism adapted by Mauryas. Kalabhras who invaded South India might not be different from these Jain warrior race of people.

Its antiquity dates back to 3rd century B. C. when the great Mauryan Emperor Chandragupta Maurya handed over his empire to his son Bimbisara and sought the serenity of Sravanabelagola. His only companion was his Jain Guru Bbhagavan Bhadarabahu Swami. Chandragupta became a Jain ascetic and is supposed to have ended his days by ritual starvation. His Guru stayed on in Sravanabelagola and won a small band of devotees who spread his teachings all over the region. Soon Jainism gained a large following and received a great boost by attracting royal believers like the Gangas. The other attractions in the little township of Sravanabelagola are the Jain BASTIS [temples] and MATHS [monasteries]. One among them is the Chandragupta basti built by Emperor Asoka, the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya. It has eight splendid carved idols studded with semi-precious stones.

The seeds of Jainism in Karnataka were sown in the 3rd century B.C., when Emperor Chandragupta Maurya renounced his kingdom and came to hill at Sravanabelagola, accompanied by his guru Bhadrabahu. The hill acquired the name of Chandragiri on account of association with Chandragupta Maurya. The oldest temple on the hill is called Chandragupta basti. here is a cave in which there are foot-prints carved out and is known as Bhadrabahu cave. There are thirty-one inscriptions on this hill which refer to Bhadrabahu and Chandragupta.

The colossal monolithic statue of Gomateswara is situated at Sravanbelgola, 158 km away from Bangalore. This gigantic statue of lord Gomateswara, the Jain saint, is carved out of a single block of granite and stands majestically on top of a hill. For centuries, Sravanabelagola has remained a great Jain center and thousands of pilgrims flock to see the magnificent, gigantic statue of the Jain saint, Lord Gomateswara. The statue of Gomateswara shows the recluse completely nude, in the Jain custom. This statue of lord Gomateswara is 17m. (55 ft) high and is visible from a distance of 30km.

The neighboring areas have Jaina bastis and several images of the Jaina Thirthankaras. One can have a beautiful view of the surrounding areas from the top of the hill. At Sravanbelgola the Mahamastakabhishekam festival is held once in 12 years, when the image of Gomateswara is bathed in milk, curds, ghee, saffron and gold coins.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

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The history of Madikeri is related to the history of Kodagu. Mudduraja was one of the famous kings of Kodagu region who founded the Madikeri Town and ruled his kingdom from Madikeri as his capital city. Mercara, or Madikeri as is commonly known by the local populace is the headquarters of Coorg (Kodagu) district. It was founded by a prince - Mudduraja of Haleri dynasty in 1681 AD. It owes its name to him as Muddurajanakeri which became Muddurakayray which in time became Madikeri for the locals whilst the British called this province as Mercara. Muddurajakeri which means Mudduraja's town, was named after the prominent Haleri king, Mudduraja who ruled Kodagu from 1633-1687.

The prominent rulers were Mudduraja (1633-87), Lingaraja (1775-80) and Virarajendra Wodeyar (1789-1809). Dodda Vira Raja (also called Siribai Dodda Vira Raja) ruled from 1687 – 1736. Dodda Vira Rajendra (1780 – 1809) and Linga Raja II (1811 – 1820) also had significant impact on the history of the region. Dodda Vira Raja improved transportation by building bridges across ancient trenches. He also streamlined the administration of the region into villages, districts and appointed district headmen.

Mudduraja built a mud fort and a palace inside the fort in the last quarter of the 17th century. The fort was eventually rebuilt in granite by Tippu Sultan who named the site as Jaffarabad. In 1790, Doddaveer Rajendra took control of the fort which changed hands to the British who added to the fort in 1834.

There are 6 circular bastions at the angles and the entrance on the east is very intricate and circuitous. You will find 2 life size masonry elephants in the north east corner at the entrance. At the southeast corner is a church built in 1855 which houses an archeological museum. The palace was renovated by Lingarajendra Woddeyar II in 1812-1814 which houses some government offices now.

The palegar chieftains were defeated by the Haleri kings who ruled Kodagu from 1600-1834 A.D. Haleri kings made the place Haleri, near Madikeri as their capital. Mudduraja, the third king among the Haleri kings started leveling the land around Madikeri and built a fort in the year 1681. This place was named as Muddurajakeri which later became Madikeri. Kodagu became the part of British India after 1834 A.D.

Muddu Raja removed the capital to Madikeri or Mercara, where he built the fort and palace in 1681. Of his three sons, Dodda Virappa, the eldest, succeeded him at Mercara, while Appaji Raja and Nanda Raja the second and third, settled at Haleri and Horamale.

Madikeri lies in the Western Ghats and is a popular hill station. It lies at an altitude of 1,170 meters above sea level. The nearest cities are Mangalore to the west, and Mysore to the east. Mercara is about 120 km from Mysore.

Madikeri is the land of the Kodavas. The names of Kodava / kodagu people are characteristic and include a clan name. The clan is central to Kodava culture and families trace their lineage through clans. They have distinctive dresses, the men wearing wraparound robes called the Kupya (now only seen at ceremonial occasions), and the women with a distinctive style of wearing the sari. The Kodava woman wears a sari with the pleats at the back. They have many distinctive practices such as carrying ceremonial knives, and martial war dances. The culture also includes communal gatherings where drink, dance and special meat dishes seasoned with Garcinia are central attractions.

The main local language of Madikeri is Kodava Takk though most of the people here are bilingual in Kannada. Madikeri is the land of the Kodavas. The names of Kodava people are characteristic and include a clan name. The clan is central to Kodava culture and families trace their lineage through clans. They have distinctive dresses, the men wearing wraparound robes called the Kupya (now only seen at ceremonial occasions), and the women with a distinctive style of wearing the sari. The Kodava woman wears a sari with the pleats at the back. They have many distinctive practices such as carrying ceremonial knives, and martial war dances. The culture also includes communal gatherings where drink, dance and special meat dishes seasoned with Garcinia are central attractions.

Kodavas follow Hinduism but are more liberal and independent than any other Hindu in performing marriage, divorce, remarriage, festivals, worship, ceremonies, dialect and dress. They worship Karana (ancestors) as family deity, Kaveri as Godmother and Iggutappa as presiding deity. Most of the temples in villages have their origin from Kerala and routine maintenance is by Brahmins from Uttara/Dakshina Kannada districts.

The Haleri dynasty of Lingayats by tradition belonged to the priestly class. They rarely needed Brahmins to conduct poojas and other rituals. Because of this, the few Brahmins who lived in Kodagu did not have much importance in the court of the Haleri Kings. Dowry system is unknown here and marriage ceremony with traditional dress and without a Brahmin or puja or mangalasutra, but with non-vegetarian dishes and liquor are unique of Kodava community.

It appears that the surnames of some Mudiraj people such as "Kodemala" and "Kodimela" are closely related to "Kodamale Nadu" or "Kodimale Nadu" which stands for Coorg or Kodagu region ruled by Mudduraja. The people of Mudiraj community in Karnataka are known as Mudduraja.

Kodimalenadu => Kodimale => Kodimela
Kodamalenadu => Kodamale = Kodemala

Historical inscriptions show that Kodagu was included in the Kingdom of Gangas in the 9th and 10th centuries and Cholas in the 11th century.

Coorg was known as Matsyadesa :
The Puranas refer to this land as Krodadesa or the land (desa) of the people blest by mother Goddess, River Cauvery (kod, meaning bless, and avva for mother Cauvery). The Puranic name for Coorg was also Matsyadesa (matsya, meaning fish) as is recorded in the Kaveri Purana. Down the ages, it came to be known as Kodagu and the people, Kodavas. This has further changed to Coorg. According to some sources, the word Kodagu is derived from the word "Kudu", which means "Hilly place".

According to purana Chandravarma the youngest son of King Siddhartha of Matsya country came on pilgrimage to Brahmagiri the origin of river Kaveri. He settled down with eleven sons married and each having more than hundred sons. The eldest son Devakanta was crowned who with all the members presented before Goddess Kaveri flowing down at Balamuri (Balumberi) in the early hours of Tulasankranthi, the time of sun's entering the sigh of Libra. During the flow the sari knot of Kaveri got turned backwards at Balamuri while she blessed the members present. All of them (Kodavas) took the first bath in the river here.

There is some thing significant for the people of Mudiraj, when Kodagu or Coorg was referred as Matsyadesa (Country of fishermen). A large section of Mudiraj people are descendants of ganga kings who ruled Kodagu region and also were the fishermen warriors who migrated from the banks of river ganga in North India. The Western Ganga Dynasty king Sripurisha Muttarasa who ruled this part of Karnataka assumed the title MUTTARASA. His son Shivamara-II was also known as Muttarasa by many historians.

As per Chola Mutharayar research center, Tanjore, the Cholas and Mutharayars were one and the same people and could possiblly belonged to two different rival branches. They were closely related through matrimonial relations inspite of tussel between them for political power and supemacy to rule South India.

Coorg, Kudagu or Kodagu as this region is called nestles in the western Ghats of south west Karnataka. It is about 1000 meters above the sea level and the verdant plantations and gently sloping grassy plains have earned it the sobriquet - the Scotland of the East.

Kodagu (Coorg) is the smallest district in Karnataka with wonderful and lovely natural sceneries. It is the birthplace of river Cauvery. Even though Kodagu (Coorg) is the smallest district it has it's own virtues. It is surrounded by Kerala State in the west and south, to the north by South Canara district and Hassan district and in the east by Mysore district.

It is from the word "Kudu" (which means "Hilly place") the word Kodagu has come. But according to some other people it has come from the word "Kodamalenadu", which means "Steepy hills and thick forests".

Kodagu in Kannada and Coorg in English are derived from the local version Kodavu and the people Kodava. The name Kodavu is supposed to have been derived from Kodimalenad meaning higher forest land. Puranic version says, that the land of initial settlement was called Krodadesa which later became Kodavu. The word Kodava means the people blessed by Godmother Kaveri ('Kod' means give, bless and 'avva' means mother Kaveri) is supported by the puranic version.

Raja's Seat : At the Western End of Madikeri, Raja's Seat is a small pavilion with a garden surrounding it; offering a view of the green valley below. From a promontory overlooking the valleys of the western ghats, the Kings of this region looked into the distant lands - Mysore and beyond when they needed some quiet moments. The seat was set in a lush garden with flowers of all hue. The roses must have been one of the favorite flowers of the Royalty as can be seen from the multitude of them here and elsewhere.

Madikeri Fort : This fort was first built by Mudduraja in the last quarter of the 17th century. He also built a palace inside the fort. It was eventually rebuilt in granite by Tipu Sultan who named the site as Jaffarabad. In 1790, Doddavira Rajendra took control of the fort. The British who added to the fort in 1834. The palace was renovated by Lingarajendra Wodeyar II in 1812-1814. In the north-east corner at the entrance are two life size masonry elephants and a church is present in the south-east corner.

Sri Omkareshwara Temple:This Shiva temple was constructed in 1820 by Vira Raja, the king, who took features of Gothic architecture and traditional Islamic dome in the construction of this temple. It has vast cavernous storage area below the temple which probably also contained an underground passage to his palace.

Gandhi Mantap : A mantap over the sacred asti of Mahatma Gandhi buitl in 1956 on the road leading to Raja's Seat. One can get a panoramic view of Bhramagiri range from here.

Gadhige: Situated in the northen part of the town, are the four tombs of Kings Veeraraja and Lingaraja along with Biddanda Bopu- the Warrier and his son Biddanda Somaiah.

Bhagamandala : Bhagamandala about 35 km from Madikeri has temples near the confluence of river Kaveri with Kannike. Pilgrims perform rituals during Tulasankranthi (October). This is the center for bee-keeping.

Tala Kaveri : This is the origin of river Kaveri on the eastern slopes of Brahmagiri peak at 1350 metres altitude, about 8 km by road from Bhagamandala. An enclosure around the spring called Gundige is connected to a small pond beside. The water from the pond goes underground and comes out after about one kilometer down the hill. There are three shrines above the spring and birds eye view of west-coast from the hill range. On a predetermined date and time of Tulasankranthi every year the spring from Gundige overflows called Thirthodbhava. This holy water is carried home by all pilgrims when they go back after paying the last rites/rituals to their parent or spouse departed during the preceding year. New couples will also have a dip in the pond together.

Padi Iggutappa Temple : This is the most important temple of Kodagu and the presiding deity for Puthari festival. It is about 2 km by road from Kakkabe. Nalnad Aramane (Palace) built in 1791 is about 5 km from Kakkabe. Hiking to the highest peak Tadiandamol is through Nalnad Aramane. Largest producer of honey in South East Asia is about 4 km from Kakkabe.

Nalknad Aramane : Built by Doddaveeraraja in 1792, Situated close to Tadiandamol, the highest peak of Kodagu (5724ft). It is beautiful two story building, with beautiful wooden carvings. At present it is a bee keeping center.

Irpu falls : Irpu falls 60 meters of Lakshmanthirtha river is about 45 km from Virajpet. There is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva by Sri Rama himself on the right bank of Lakshmanthirtha river. There is a big congregation on Mahashivaratri day.

Nagarhole : The Nagarhole Game Sanctuary extending over 284 sq. km affords an excitable sight with wild animals like bison. tiger, panther, elephant their natural habitat. There is a guest house and a restaurant. There is an elephant training camp near Titimati.

Abbey Falls : Located 10 kms from Madikeri, Abbey Falls is a breathtaking waterfall where the Kaveri river cascades down a rockface. A hanging bridge has now been built across the gorge here offering a good view of the falls. The falls can be reached by a narrow road from Madikeri. Cars can reach the entrance of these falls from where a downhill walk of 500 metres (on slightly paved steps) takes one to the waterfalls.

Others : ther tourist spots near Kushalnagar are:- Kudige with agricultural and dairy farm, 6 km; Ramaswami Kanive with aqueducts across river Kaveri 9 km; Harangi Dam; 10 km, and Nisargadhama a tourist resort on river Kaveri, 3 km. Honnammana Kere is a lake about 10 km from Somvarpet.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

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Kalyandurg are the two important forts which were ruled by Boya / Bedar / Valmiki Palegars. The name Kalyandurg came from Boya Kalyanappa, who was a Polygar in the 16th Century.

While the polegars were mostly of non-cultivating hunting communities such as boya and patra, the practice of establishing dominance and exercising power through the force of armed gangs became a characteristic feature of powerful landed communities, generically described as kapu (husbandsman) but mainly of the reddy caste in recent decades.

The Descendents of these poligars Esapathi, Rayadurg palegar, Butna, Kondaraju families still live in fort area. This place is also famous for diamond kimberlites.This place is also famous for diamond kimberlites. Kalayndurg is surrounded by mountains around it which makes this place cool when compared to other places in the district.

In 1786 Harapanahalli a town in Bellary District was in possession of a powerful Poligar of the Boya caste. One of the descendants married a daughter of Poligar of chitradurga. The Poligars at different times paid tribute to the Nizam, to Morari Rao of Gooty and to the Peshwa. The fort is deserted and now in ruins.

Boyas are Valmikis / Bedars / Vedars / Vetars / Ventans. They are descendants of Muttani Raja ( Muttaraja) of Srikalahasti. While Ventans a subcaste of Tamil Muthuraja, the valmikis are a subcaste of Telugu Mudiraj.

Kalyandurg fort, Akkamma Konda and Kothi Konda are some of the famous tourist destinations. Ankamma is the Goddess of Cholas, Mudiraj, Boyas and Eruklas (Kaikadis) and whose origins are embedded in Dravidian bhils of North India.

For more details about Bedar Nayakas, Valmikis, Kodavas, readers may please refer to web pages “KINGDOMS” and “ RA-TRIBES” in this website.

RAYADURG WAS a principality during the Vijayanagar Empire days. After the collapse of that empire, Rayadurg and surrounding areas were ruled by Nayak rulers and attained prominence as a centre of political and cultural activities. In 1800 A.D., the East India Company government converted it into a taluk in Bellary district.

Rayadurg was only 32 miles from Bellary and developed close cultural ties with that city. In 1953 however while recommending reorganisation of states on a linguistic basis, the Fazl Ali Commission suggested that while Bellary be a part of Karnataka, it suggested that the Rayadurg taluk be retained in Andhra Pradesh as a part of the Anantapur district. That is how it became a part of Andhra Pradesh though both Kannada and Telugu had equal prominence in the area.

With the available material it is established that it was once a prominent Jain centre and then a Buddhist one but these were only minor ones because the centre continued to be a prominent Vaishnavite-Saivite place.

The Descendents of these poligars Esapathi, Rayadurg palegar, Butna, Kondaraju families still live in fort area. Some of the Esapathi families have changed their surnames from Esapathi to Rayadurg Palegar (R.P.).

'Raidurga' literally means "King's Hill Fortress". The Raidurga Fort played a very significant role in the history of the Vijayanagar Empire. The fort has many inner forts and is inaccessible for enemies to attack. It is built at a height of 2727 ft. from sea level. This Fort was built by Venkatapparayudu, a palegar of the Vijayanagara period.

Rayadurg was originally a stronghold of Bedar / TBoyar palegar who were very turbulent during the Vijayanagar rule. Kalyandurg was under the rule of Sri Krishnadevaraya and was a part of Vijayanagara Empire.

The emperor deputed an officer to drive them out and ruled the place himself and the hill was thus called "Bhupatirayakonda". After the battle of 'Rakshasa Tangadi', the Bedars regained the place, but were again driven out after some time by 'Koneti Nayak'. His son 'Venkatapathi Nayak' who had differences with the 'Palegar' of Chittaldurg greatly strengthened the fortifications. Tipu captured the fort and made it a part of his Gooty province.

The story of the unfortunate end of Bharamappa Nayaka's son, Hire Madakeri Nayaka, illustrates the temper of this era. He succeeded to the Chitradurga throne in 1721 and the kingdom enjoyed considerable military and economic successes during his reign. It ended, however, when a coalition of armies of the principal poligars whose territories bordered that of Chitradurga drew him into a decisive battle at Mayaconda around 1747.

A kafiyat or town history, which was recorded at Mayaconda in 1801, describes how Hire Madakeri Nayaka advanced to receive the attack of his enemies with 20,000 Chitradurga soldiers and 5,000 soldiers of his Maratha allies. When the armies met, however, the Marathas refused to fight, having reputedly been bribed by the poligar coalition to stay out of the battle. Rather than retreat, Hire Madakeri Nayaka advanced to meet the enemy on his war elephant and engaged Konati Nayak, the Rayadurga poligar (other sources say it was Somashekhara Nayaka of Harapanahalli) in personal combat, chaining their elephants' legs to hold them steady. Wounded by Konati Nayak's arrows, Hire Madakeri Nayaka fell from his elephant and was beheaded by soldiers of the Savanur poligar. Defeated, the Chitradurga troops retreated and the poligar coalition army laid siege to Mayakonda fort for several months. The siege was eventually lifted by Hire Madakeri Nayaka's son, Kasturi Rangappa Nayaka II.

Chikkanna of Chitradurga formed marriage alliances with the Rayadurga and Basavapattana chiefs. It is said that the Chitradurga family changed its religious faith twice during the reign of this Nayaka. First, the entire family embraced Veerashaivism and the Nayaka even caused a Matha to be built in the fort and a Virakta Jangama named Ugrachannaviradeva to be appointed to act as a guru to them. But later, all are said to have returned to their original faith, except one lady named Hatti Mallavva Nagati, who continued to wear the linga on her person and live separately from the rest of the family. Chikkanna Nayaka died in 1686.

The ruins of the fort can still be seen on the hill at the foot of which the Raidurga town is built. The hill fort is said to have been built by one 'Junga Nayak'. A portion of the fort wall has crumbled. Down below the slope of the hill are four caves with small stone doors with carvings of 'Siddhas'.

Later in 17th century Boyars distinguished themselves as smiths, sculptors, nobles, leaders, priests, landlords, temple sculptors, arm traders, and seafarers.

Located at a distance of 130 kms. from Ananthapur, Rayadurg is well-connected by road and rail. Located within the fort is the Rassasiddula temple. Carved out of a single stone, the temple is embellished with fine sculptures depicting Jain gurus and their disciples. In the proximity are other sites like Rama Temple, Narasimha Swamy Temple Neelakanteshwara Swamy Temple and Jambukeshwara Temple

Kokolu Ankarao
Date : 10/08/2008
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

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During the decline of Vijayanagar empire in the 14th century, the administration of Kasaragod area was vested with the Ikkery Naikans. They continued to be the rulers till the fall of the Vijayanagar empire in 16th century. Then Vengappa Naik declared independence to Ikkery. In 1645 Sivappa Naik took the reigns and transferred the capital to Bednoor. Thus they came to be known as Bednoor Naik. Chandragiri and Bekal forts are considered to be parts of a chain of Forts constructed by Sivappa Naik. KOTTAPPURAM Mud fort build by the Nileshwar Rajas and later annexed by Bednore Nayaks in the 18th century.

Bednur seems to derive its name from Bedan ( bedar) Nayaka rulers who built it and made it as the capital city of Bednur Nayaka kingdom. While bedans or bedars are a subcate of Tamil Muthurajas, the same people who are known as valmikis in parts of Karnataka and Andra are a subcaste of Telugu Mudiraj. Vetan means huntiung and Vetar meand a hunter.

Veta = Hunting
Vetar = Hunter
Bednur = Village of hunters community
Vetar => Vetan => Vedan => Bedan => Bedar

Bedan = Hunter
Uru = Village or Town or City
Bedan Uru => Bedanuru => Bednuru => Bednur => Bednoor => Bednore

Mudiraj = Muthuraja = Mudduraj
Telugu Mudirajas, Tamil Muthurajas, Kodagu Muddurajas and Keladi & Chitradurg valmiki Nayas are all one and the same warrior people who ruled the entire South India.

Telugu Mudiraj = Tamil Muthuraj = Kodagu Mudduraj = Keladi Valmiki Nayaks

Bednoor, the capital, is rendered famous by the defeat and death of the unfortunate General Matthews in 1783. Bednur, or Nagar, was initially an insignificant village, which came to prominence, about the year AD 1640. "It was originally a small village," says Mr. Rice. The territory of Bednore includes the summit of that part of the range of western hills, which, at a height of from four to five thousand feet above the level of the sea, and for nine months of the year involved in rain and moisture, which clothe them with the most enormous trees, and the most profuse vegetation, overlook the provinces of Canara and Malabar. The capital and fort of Bednore situated in a basin surrounded by hills, extended its sway over the maritime region of Canara, and on the eastern side of the mountains, as far as Santa Bednore and Hoolalkera, within twenty miles of Chittledroog. This country had suffered little from the calamities of recent war, and the riches of the capital, which was eight miles in circumference, are represented as having been immense. Hyder made the conquest with great ease, and confessed that the treasure which he acquired in Bednore was the grand instrument of his future greatness.

Hyder devoted his mind with great intensity to the establishment of a vigorous and efficient administration in this country; which opened to him a new scene of conquest. He took possession of Soonda, a district on the northern frontier of Bednore: He reduced to submission and dependance the Nabob of Savanoor, a territory which formed a deep indentation between his recent acquisitions of Sera and Soonda: And he rapidly extended his northern frontier across the rivers Werda, Malpurba, and Gutpurba, almost to the banks of the Kistna.

According to south Canara Manual and other literary works, the Kelady Nayakas (c.1500 -1763), who had their capitals variously at Keladi, Ikkeri and Bednore in Kamataka, were responsible for the construction of a few forts in Hosdurg –Kasargod area. The Bekal fort was considered to be built by Sivappa Nayaka. The other version is that the fort was in existence during the Kolathiri Rajas and after the decline of Kolathiri and Vijayanagara Empire, this area came under the control of Ikkeri, Nayakas, who rebuilt the fort and enjoyed the area. Sivappa Naik of the Ikkeri dynasty is said to have built the Bekal fort between 1645-16660. But some other historians are of the opinion that the fort was built by the then north Kerala rulers, the Kolathiri Rajas. Sivappa Naik of Bednore captured the fort when the Kolathiri Raja stopped paying tributes to him. Later, the fort fell into the hands of Hyder Ali and later into his son, Tipu Sultan.

Kanara was under the rule of the Keladi or Ikkeri Nayakas, who ruled first from Keladi, then Ikkeri and finally Bednur. Now Bednur is known as ( Hyder ) Nagar. The first ruler of Bednur was appointed by the State of Vijanayagar in 1560. Virbhadra moved his capital to Bednur. Shivappa Nayaka greatly enlarged Bednur. assisting merchants and artisans from all parts to settle there.

Ullal Town was the Capital of the Tulu Kingdom Ullal and was ruled by Rani Abbakka Devi in the middle of the 15th Century. A Jain Princess of 16th century, she came to the throne on the death of her sister. She was married to the Bangar King of Mangalore, but the marriage was not a success. Relations between the Royal couple steadily worsened and finally ended with divorce, with the queen returning all the jewels to her ex-husband. War was declared and the queen was captured while on a sailing expedition on the Nethravathi.

For this she sought the help of the powerful Raja of Bednore. The Bangar Raja had meanwhile enlisted the help of the Portuguese to subjugate his wife. The Raja of Bednore being an opportunist was only too ready to enter the fray. The Bangar-Portuguese alliance was defeated with the Bangar Fort raised to the ground. The queen had to part with the fertile tract of land at Berdatte to the Bednore King for his support.

The ancestors of many Mangalore Christians are Goans who were welcomed by the Hindu rulers of Bednore for their skill in agriculture. Others came to Mangalore to escape the trials of inquisition and also to avoid the constant raids of the Marata rulers. The appointment of the Vicar Apostolic of Mangalore was felt needed. Shivappa Naik, the king of Bednore, pressurized that a native priest be chosen as the Vicar Apostolic. So, Fr. Andrew Gomez was appointed as the Vicar Apostolic but before the nomination papers could reach Mangalore, Fr.Gomez died. In the eighteenth century when Bednore rulers became weak, Hyder Ali captured Bednore and then the factory of the Portuguese at Mangalore and renamed it as Couriel (fort of the king). Hyder Ali had respect for the Christians and Fr. Joakim Manuel Miranda was a friend of Hyder. However, Christians in general hated him for they had to pay heavy tax for king's treasury. In the eighteenth century when Bednore rulers became weak, Hyder Ali captured Bednore and then the factory of the Portuguese at Mangalore and renamed it as Couriel (fort of the king). Hyder Ali had respect for the Christians and Fr. Joakim Manuel Miranda was a friend of Hyder. However, Christians in general hated him for they had to pay heavy tax for king's treasury.

During the early 15th century, the Portuguese were not successful in establishig their presence in Mangalore due to the resistance from the Vijayanagara ruler Krishnadevraya and the Bednore Queen of Mangalore Abbakka Rani of Ullal. Later the Christians who left Goa for Mangalore were skilled cultivators who had reluctantly abandoned their well tilled and irrigated fields in Goa for the sake of their freedom. At the time of their immigration, Mangalore was ruled by Shivappa Naik (1540-60), the greatest of the rulers of the Bednore Dynasty. He evinced great interest in the development of agriculture in his domains and warmly welcomed these hard-working, skilled farmers and made them holders of his fertile lands. This fact was confirmed by Dr. Francis Buchanan when he visited Canara in 1801. Buchanan stated that "80,000 Christians came and settled in Canara at the invitation of the King of Bednore." Later, this was identified probably as a misprint and should have read 8,000. Rev. Thomas de Castro in the year 1680 on the Inam land gifted by Queen Chennama and the Bednore King at the site of the present cemetery.

Bekal was ruled by Bednore Naicks. The Sun setting at Bekal recall the days of Ikkeri Rajas the powerful rulers of Bednore kingdom in Shimoga, Karnataka. They had come at the beginning of 17th century spurred by their commercial and political rivalry with the Kolatheri Rajas. Bekal witnessed many a pitched battle. The fort they built is found to be in good condition and is the best preserved and possibly the biggest surviving fort of Kerala.

Chandragiri lies three kms. south of Kasaragod town. It has a large square situated high above the Chandragiri river on its southern bank. The fort it said to have been built in the 17th century by Sivappa Nayak of Bednore, who established his authority over the area and built a chain of forts. The Chandragiri river, on the bank of which it rises, marked the traditional boundary between Kerala and the Tuluva Kingdom.

Nileswaram, which is the abbreviated form of Nilakanta Iswar, was formerly the seat of the Nileswaram Rajas who belonged to the family of Kolathiris. It was annexed by Somasekhara Nayaka of Bednore in 1737 after a struggle of twelve years in which the French and the English took part. When the Bednore Nayaka invaded the territory, the Nileswar Raja obtained the aid of the English who had their factory at Thalassery. In 1737, a treaty was signed by which the Bednorians agreed not to advance south of the Valapattanam river and the English obtained commercial concessions including the monopoly of pepper and cardamom in those portions of the Kolathiri dominion, which were occupied by the Bednore people.

The Virasaiva Nayaka rulers of Ikkeri / Bednur were patrons of the Sringeri matha. Interestingly, these Nayakas were also the sole supporters of the last few "emperors" of Vijayanagara, at a time when the Mysore Wodeyars and the Telugu Nayakas in Madurai and Tanjavur were all breaking away.

The Kollur Mookambika temple has been patronized by ancient Hindu Kings and several parts in it are still believed to contain valuable treasure. This was the state temple for the Nagara or Bednore Rajas and many of the jewels now adorning the idol are said to have been presented by them and by their overlords of Vijayanagara.

In the first invasion (1637 CE) the ghazis of Randulla Khan stormed into Dharwar and Lakshmeshvar destroying and plundering the cities. They then attacked Ikkeri and besieged it. Virabhadra Nayaka exhausted his supplies in the Ikkeri fort in 2 months and was forced to surrender. He ran for life and hid in Bednur, while the Moslems devasted the city. It is claimed that they collected a staggering wealth of 1.8 million gold pieces from the plunder of Ikkeri. The houses of all Hindus were demolished and the males killed and women taken by the Moslems.

While, Shriranga started organizing a major counter-attack on the Moslems at Vellore and Shivappa Nayaka organizing a force in Bednur seized back Ikkeri from the Moslems.

In November 1751, under the treaty of Bednur's ( Keladi ) chief, the English were allowed to build a factory on the site of the old factory. The English representative, Stracey, presented himself before Hyder Ali in Bednur and was allowed to continue the trade. The factory procured every year about 210 tons of pepper. Hyder Ali , in 1763, made up his mind to make Bednur his head-quarter and prepared dockyards and naval arsenals at Honavar and Mangalore. In the year 1769 the English sent a squadron of ships with 400 Europeans and a large body of Sepoys to attack Hyder's sea-ports.

In 1763, Hyder Ali captured the fortified town of Bednur, one of the ancient capitals of the kingdom, and in its treasury he is said to have secured the immense sum of twelve crores, or over twelve millions sterling. At Bednur he established an arsenal with French artificers,in his own name. and a mint issuing coins.

In 1763 Hyder Ali of Mysore conquered Bednoor and had kept most of his wealth in the town of Bednore. His intention was to capture entire Kerala. But when his attempt to conquer Thalassery fort was foiled , Hyder Ali returned to Mysore and died there in 1782.His son, Tippu Sulthan, continued the attack and conquered Malabar. As per the Sreerangapattanam Treaty of 1792, Tippu surrendered Malabar except Thulunadu (Canara) to the British. The British got it, only after the death of Tippu Sulthan in 1799.

After death of Hyderali in the course of the Second Mysore War, Hyder's son Tipu Sultan is enthroned as ruler of Mysore in a simple ceremony at Bednur on May 4, 1783. Bednur was renamed as Hydernagar during his reign and remained as the mint of that time. It is now known as just Nagar. In around 1640, the seat of government of the rajas of Keladi was transferred from Keladi to Bednur. When taken by Hyder Ali in 1763, it is said to have yielded a plunder of twelve millions. In 1783 it was surrendered to a British detachment under General Matthews.

Hyder Ali's son Tipu was jealous of Ayaz Khan from the very beginning because his father Hyder Ali considered Ayaz Khan more intelligent and smart than Tipu. When Ayaz Khan learnt that Tipu was scheming to kill him secretly, he escaped to Bombay with plenty of gold. Tipu then went to Bednur and under the threat of sword, forcibly converted its entire Hindu population to Islam. After Tipu captured Mangalore, thousands of Christians were forcibly sent to Sreerangapatanam where all of them were circumcised and converted to Islam.

On the 23rd General Matthews moved forward to attack Bednoor, from which the Sultan drew most of his supplies for his army. The British army took possession of Bednoor the following day, but this triumph was of short duration, as the enemy (Hyder) soon recaptured the place, and took General Matthews and the greater part of his army prisoners.

Tipu, who succeeded Hyder, was opposed by the Marathas, the Nizam and the British. In the course of the campaigns of the Third Mysore War (1790 - 1792), Parasuram Bhau marched on Bednur. His hosts commanded by a Patwardan foolishly plundered Sringeri.

Anjediva, as Portuguese territory, was used by the Christians and Hindus of the mainland as a refuge during the invasion of the coastal kingdoms of Bednore and Soonda by Tipu Sultan, who had created the new state of Khodadad after usurping the throne from the Maharaja Wodeyars of Mysore.

The Ikkeri Arasu dynasty extended into Kodagu region :
Kodagu, however, was not absorbed into Mysore, which was hard pressed by other enemies, and a prince of the Ikkri or Bednur family (perhaps related to the Changalvas) succeeded in bringing the whole country under his sway, his descendants continuing to be Rajas of Kodagu till 1834. The capital was removed in 1681 by Muddu Raja to Madikeri (Mercara). In 1770 a disputed succession led to the intervention of Hyder Ali of Mysore in favor of Linga Raja, who had fled to him for help, and whom he placed on the throne on his consenting to cede certain territories and to pay tribute. On Linga Rajas death in 1780 Hyder Ali interned his sons, who were minors, in a fort in Mysore, and, under pretence of acting as their guardian, installed a governor at Mercara with a Muslim garrison.

In 1782, however, the Kodavas rose in rebellion and drove out the Mysore troops. Two years later Tipu Sultan reduced the country; but the Kodavas having again rebelled in 1785, he vowed their destruction. Having secured some 10,000 of them, he drove them to Seringapatam, where he had them circumcised by force. Kodagu was partitioned among Muslim proprietors, and held down by garrisons in four forts. In 1788, however, Vira Raja (or Vira Rajendra Wodeyar), with his wife and his brothers Linga Raja and Appaji, succeeded in escaping from his captivity, at Periapatam and, placing himself at the head of a Kodava rebellion, succeeded in driving the forces of Tipu out of the country. The British, who were about to enter on the struggle with Tipu, now made a treaty with Vira Raja; and during the war that followed the Kodavas proved invaluable allies. By the treaty of peace Kodagu, though not adjacent to the British East India Company\'s territories, was included in the cessions forced upon Tipu. On the spot where he had first met the British commander, General Abercromby, the raja founded the city of Virarajendrapet (this is now usually called Virajpet).

The descendants of Ikkeri or Keladi or Bednur Nayaka kings who later ruled Kodagu came to be known as Muddurajas and they are the same as Telugu Mudirajas and Tamil Muthurajas. For more datails, please see for (i) Haleri Dynasty, (ii) Keladi Nayaka Dynasty, and (iii) Chtradurga Nayaka Dynasty in the web page on "Kingdoms" in this Mudiraja website.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Date : 15 / 08 / 2008
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

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Ikkeri is situated situated 76 Kms to the noth of Shimoga in Karnataka state at about 3 km to the south of Sagar. The word Ikkeri in Kannada means "Two Streets". At the beginning of 16th century the house of Keladi Nayakas ( also called Ikkeri or Bidnur Nayakas) established themselves in this area.There was also a small principality of Basavapatna in the east of the Shimoga district. This place was the capital of Keladi Nayakas for some years. Kanara was under the rule of the Keladi or Ikkeri Nayakas, who ruled first from Keladi, then Ikkeri and finally Bednur (modern day Nagar). In January 1763 Hyder captured power from the Ikkeri Rani Virammaji and Kanara came under his control.

It was a prince from a place known as Ikkeri who founded the Haleri ( Kodagu ) dynasty. The Ikkeri prince managed in course of time to eliminate many local Nayakas ( chieftains ). He became ' Vira Raja', the first ruler of Haleri dynasty. The descendants of this king are known as Muddirajas who are synonimous to Telugu Mudirajas and Tamil Muthurajas.While Valmikis are a subsect of Mudirajas, the Bedars are known as a subsect of Muthurajas.

Kodagu Muddurajas = Keladi Valmiki Bedar Nayakas
Muthurajas = Mudirajas = Muddurajas = Valmikis = Bedars

The Ikkeri Kings rule started during the 16th Century, when King Sadashiva Nayaka of the Ikkeri family, who rose in the service of Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagar, obtained the grant of the Government of Barkur in 1560 as an underlord. Nominally mere vassals of Vijayanagara, the rulers of Ikkeri eventually controlled the whole of the modern North and South Kanara Districts. Barkur was under Keladi Kings / Ikkeri Nayaks.1560- Vijaya Nagara King Sadashiva Raya handovers both Mangaluru and Barakuru Rajya to Ikkeri ruler – Sadashiva Nayaka.

Remarkable fanams with the name Siva-Parvathi were originally minted by Sadasiva Nayaka of Ikkeri. Tuluva dynasty ruler Vira Sadasiva Raya (1543 - 1570) of the Vijayanagara kingdom came out with the new styled "Vishnu sitting on pita with his right leg footed on the ground, and on the left lap seated Laksmi stretching left leg down, Both in sitting pose" on his coin obverse. When Ikkeri Nayakas were granted the governorship (Nayaka patta as called in Kannada), they depicted the similar style of obverse device but swapped with Siva and Parvathi (Nayakas were Saivites??), and the reverse also showed Sri Sadasiva instead of "Sri Sadashiva Rayaru".

Sadashiva Nayaka (1530 - 1566) moved the capital to Ikkeri some 20 km. from Keladi. Sri Ranga Raya – 1575 – 1586, He anoints Ikkeri King Sankanna Nayaka as the ruler of Tulu Nadu and Acchhappa Odeya at Barakuru. In 1608, Ikkeri King Venkatappa Nayaka visits Barkur and records say he ordered to construct forts at Barkur, Kallianpaur safeguard the natives from constant Portuguese attacks. Tolhars of Suralu, Jain royal family, near Barkur were very close to Ikkeri Kings.

Mangalore was ruled by Ikkeri Nayakas. Following the final subjugation of the valiant queen Abbaka Devi of Cwota dynasty in 1568, the Portuguese ruled Mangalore without opposition till 1640. In the 16th century, Mangalore received a huge influx of Goud Saraswat Brahmins and Catholics from Goa. In 1695, the town was burnt by the Arabs in retaliation for Portuguese restrictions on Arab trade. In the middle of the 17th century, Venkatappa Nayaka of the Ikkeri family stormed the Portuguese bastion and defeated them. Thereafter the Bangara chieftains continued as rulers with the Portuguese only allowed trade relations until their final expulsion by the Ikkeri kings on 27 May 1805.

The Ikkeri King's rule started during the 16th century, when King Sadashiva Nayaka of the Ikkeri family, who rose in the service of Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagar, obtained the grant of the Gornment of Barkur in 1560 as an underlord. When Raja Venkatappa Nayaka defeated the Portuguese in 1640, the Rajas of Ikkeri family were ruling Mangalore and this continued till 1762.

The Mysore kings entered the region in the 18th century with Nawab Hyder Ali Khan, who regarded Mangalore as of great importance as a naval station. In 1763, his troops took possession of the dominions of the Ikkeri rulers including Mangalore, which gave him a valuable tract of land containing a port of great commercial and strategic importance to Mysore.

Virabhadra Nayaka (1629 - 1645) faced many troubles from the start, including competition from rival chieftains for the throne of Ikkeri and invasion by the Sultanate armies of Bijapur. Ikkeri was plundered by the Bijapur army during his time.

Mustafa Khan invades Ikkeri : Shah Jahan called on Adil Shah and Qutb Shah to destroy the Hindus of the South and bring the whole of Hind under Islam. First, Mustafa Khan attacked the Vijayanagaran army lead by the Nayaka Shivappa who had liberated Ikkeri (1645). The Hindus fought with great fury and inflicted severe losses on the Moslems in the battle of Sagar. But Mustafa Khan who greatly hated the Hindus was strengthened by reserves and he fell back on Shivappa Nayaka and routed in the second battle of Ikkeri.

In the first invasion (1637 CE) the ghazis of Randulla Khan stormed into Dharwar and Lakshmeshvar destroying and plundering the cities. They then attacked Ikkeri and besieged it. Virabhadra Nayaka exhausted his supplies in the Ikkeri fort in 2 months and was forced to surrender. He ran for life and hid in Bednur, while the Moslems devasted the city. It is claimed that they collected a staggering wealth of 1.8 million gold pieces from the plunder of Ikkeri. The houses of all Hindus were demolished and the males killed and women taken by the Moslems.

Many Nawayath Muslims were appointed in the administrative positions by Keladis. The families of these nobles Nawayath still use their surnames as Ikkeri and are mainly settled in and around Bhatkal.

The history of Bekal Fort dates back to the 17th Century. It was said the Mahodayapuram Perumals ruled from Bekal fort till 12th century AD, followed by the Kolathunadu and Ikkeri Nayaks who fortified it in the mid 16th century. According to the South Kannada Manual, this fort was built by Shivappa Naik of the Ikkeri dynasty during the period 1645 to 1650 AD. But some scholars are of the opinion that the fort was the handiwork of the Kolathiris. However much before that during the Perumal Age, Bekal which is an adjacent town in the vicinity of this fort was a part of Mahodayapuram. Mahodayapuram was then ruled by Bhasakara Ravi II and he had complete control over his territory. Ikkeri Nayakas had not developed guns to defend themselves from the invaders approaching from the Arabean sea route.

Bekal is located on over 40 acres and is the biggest fort in Kerala .The fort was built more than 300 years ago by the Ikkeri Nayakas, who lost the fort to Hyder Ali. The fort came under the possession of Haider Ali, the illustrious ruler of Mysore in 1763. The fort played an important part in Hyder's son Tipu Sultan's Malabar campaign. After the final defeat of Tipu Sultan in 1799, the fort fell to the British. Finally it was the English East India Company who captured it in 1799.

Keladi served as the Nayaka capital for the empire for fourteen years, after which the capital was shifted to nearby Ikkeri. Today, with its 400-year-old houses, all with sloping tiled roofs and moss-covered compound walls, Keladi is a village that exudes the charm so typical of beautiful Malnad. Veerabhadra Nayaka (1629-1645) of the illustrious Keladi dynasty built the Bednur fort in 1640 after the fall of Ikkeri, the original capital of the dynasty at the hands of the Bijapur Sultan. The fort, which saw the growth of power of the Keladi dynasty, now stands as a monument to two-and-half centuries of its rule.

Kanhangad / Hosdurg Fort (half a kilometre south of Kanhangad) is renowned for its chain of forts built by Somashekara Nayak of Keladi Nayaka dynasty of Ikkeri and also for the Nithyanandashram, an internationally recognised spiritual centre.

The Hyder Ali Nagar people recognized Budibasappa Nayaka as the heir of the Ikkeri kings and sought the restoration of Ikkeri rule over Nagar.

The Keladi Nayakas built some fine temples in Ikkeri and Keladi using a combination of late Kadamba, Hoysala, Vijayanagar, and Dravida styles. The use of granite for their construction shows they simply followed the Vijayanagar model of architecture. The only vestige of the former greatness of ikkeri is the temple of Aghoreshvara, a large and well proportioned stone-building, constructed in a mixed style with a unique conception.

The Aghoreshwara temple at Ikkeri and the Rameshwara temple at Keladi are the best examples of the Nayakas' art. These are pillars with lions, either with their forepaws raised or simply in a sitting position, and pillars with a mythical horse-like animal with front legs raised, balancing on its rear legs, and with an armed rider on its back which are worth seeing at Ikkeri. A roof sculpture depicting a Gandaberunda, the mythical two-headed bird of Karnataka, is found in Keladi. Also, in the Rameshwara temple, a pillar sculpture shows Maratha Rajaram with Keladi Chennamma (history has it that Rajaram was protected by the queen when he was on the run from the Mugals).

Ikkeri is situated near Sagar. The 16th century Aghoreswara Temple is situated here and nearby there is temple dedicated to Goddess Parvathy. The presiding deity of the former temple is a variation of Lord Siva while that of the latter is His divine consort. Two more ancient temples known as the Rameswara and the Veerabadra Temples can be seen at Keladi. Keladi also has a museum. . There are about 4 temples in and around Ikkeri which also has a museum

The name Mangalore has originated from the Mangaladevi temple built in the memory of a famous princess of Kerala by the same name. the sculpture of Goddess Mangaladevi is perhaps the earliest of the Durga sculptures in the district. This temple was later rebuilt by one of the Ikkeri Nayakas (Bidanoor).

Kollur is located about 80kms from Udupi. The famous temple of goddess Mookambika is located here on top of Kodachadri hill, at the foot of the Western Ghats. Though the temple has a long history, the present building was erected in 1616 by Venkatappa, one of the Ikkeri Nayakas. The goddess takes the form of a 'Jyotirlinga' incorporating aspects of Shiva and Shakti. It is a famous pilgrimage centre attracting lot of devotees.

After the fall of the Vijayanara Empire, the Nayakas of Ikkeri continued to protect the interests of Sringeri. Venkatappa Nayaka rendered his services in helping the mutt to carry on its noble task of perpetuation of spiritual creed. Sringeri flourished as a principal center of education and as the propagator of Hindu religion and philosophy. The reign of Veerbhadra Nayak witnessed political tumult. The rulers of Ikkeri came in conflict with the rulers of Kalasa. The prince of Kalasa seized Sringeri. Sree Sachchidananda Bharathi, the then Jagadguru of the Peetha gave shelter to the people affected by the seize and protected the Mutt. The turmoil ended soon when the Ikkeri army rushed to Sringeri and fought a decisive battle and defeated Bhairava.

The ethos of Shimoga area has been shaped by the confluence of Jaina and Shaiva religious and philosophical traditions. The rulers of the Ikkeri ( Keladi ) Nayaka dynasty have placed this area firmly on the cultural map of Karnataka. Many great Veerashaiva saints, like, Akkamahadevi and Allamaprabhu and the great Advaita philosopher Shankaracharya, who established the Sringeri Mutt, have enriched the cultural traditions of this area.

After the fall of Vijayanagara Empire, during the rule of the Nayaks, in the 16th century, the Jains of Tulu nadu suffered a cultural recession. The glory of Jain period was abruptly curbed during the confusion of the take over of Tulu nadu by the Nayaks of Ikkeri. It is evidenced also by the lack of building great monuments and the bastis (like in Mudubidri). It is possible that during this period many of the Jains converted to Hinduism.

Keladi Chennamma spent most of her time in the service of others. She also went on a pilgrimage and visited the Aghoreshwara. Temple at Ikkeri, the Mookambike Temple at Kollur and the Sharadamba Temple at Shringeri. She gifted lands to the temples she visited to that worship could go on in these temples round the year.

Catholic Christians fled Goa and settled in Kanara, in the Bednore Kingdom of Ikkeri Nayaka dynasty, who welcomed them and allotted land for cultivation.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Date : 14 / 08 / 2008
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

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Kunnandar Kovil is a Kallar settlement in the former State of Pudukottai. The village was divided into two. The northern part belonged to Vedamalai Kallar and the Southern to the Tenmalai Kallar, during the 14th century.

Pudukottai in Tamilnadu has a good number of ancient cave temples which are in a good state of preservation. The cave temple Kunandar Kovil, which is situated about 16kms north-west of Pudukottai, has a fine Shiva shrine the origin of which goes back to the 18th century A.D. It is said that this temple was built by a Muttarayar Chief , who was probably a vassal of Nandivarman II Pallava Malla (710 – 775 A.D.).

The area round about Tanjavur was under the sway of a dynasty of chieftains known as the Muttaraiyuar whose inscriptions are found at Sendalai and Niyamam, and who seem to have ruled either independently or as vasslas of the Pallavas. One such chief was Kataka-Muttaraiyan mentioned in theVaikuntha-Perumal temple inscriptions at Kanchipuram as a Pallava subordinate in the reign of Nandivarman II. No. 18 of the "Pudukkottai Inscriptions" refers to a Muttaraiyar chief called Videlvidugu Muttaraiyan as a feudatory under Dantivarman.

Sripurusha was a Western Ganga Dynasty king. He assumed the title of Muttarasa and ruled from 726 - 788 C.E. The rule of Sripurusha seems to have been filled with conflicts with the Pallavas of Kanchi, Pandyas, later the Rashtrakutas. Sripurusha Muttarasa won the victory over the Pallava Nandivarman and assumed a title Permanadi.

The Muttaraiyar and Kodunabnalar chiefs of Kalabhra origin, according to one view, were feudatory to the Pallavas and the Pandyas respectively, and in the contest between two powers, they fought on opposite sides. The Muttaraiyar ruled over Tanjore and Pudukkotai as the feudatories of the Pallavas from the 8 A.D to 11 A.D. There is a reference to Perumbidugu - Muttaraiyan- II who attended the coronation of Nandivarman Pallavamlla. One of the titles of the Muttaraiyar was Lord of Tanjore. Vijayalaya Chola, who conquered Tanjore from a Muttaraiyan in the 9 A.D., was a Pallava feudatory.75 Pazhiyiliwas a Mutharayar ruled in 857 AD - found in Narthamalai region.

Located around 25 kms away from Pudukkottai, Kunnandar Koil houses a famous rock-cut temple located at the foot of a hill, which illuminates the archeological magnificence of the ancient Dravidian civilization which once dwelt here. Kunnandarkoil is an interesting monument for archaeological studies. The Kalyana Mandapam in the Vijayanagar style in the form of a chariot drawn by horses is an interesting piece of art. The cave houses some amazing portrait sculptures and are admirable. One of the two portrait sculptures is identified as the Muttarayar Chief, who built the temple. The other is probably that of this chief assistant.

The word 'Kunru – Andan – Koil', literally means the 'Temple of the Lord of the Hill'. The place has been mentioned in the inscriptions as 'Tirukkunrakkadi'. The earliest inscriptions belong to the period of Nandivarma Pallava Malla and his son Dantivarman, and record the elaborate feeding of learned people and scholars during the 'Tiruvatirai' festival. The other inscriptions are of the Cholas, Chalukyas, Pandyas and Vijayanagar rulers. Famous Sundara Varadaraja Perumal Temple, beautifully carved / sculpted built during Nandivarma Pallava Malla wonderful with Pallava stamp.

This temple which combines the features of the late Pallava and early Chola styles, has a beautiful 'Nritta mandapa' and a hundred pillared 'Mandapa', both being excellent specimens of Vijayanagar art. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva called popularly as Parvatagirishwara. There are a number of sculptures on the rock face to the south of the cave. The main idols are Valampuri Ganesha, Somaskanda and the two 'dwarapalas', which are of very good workmanship. One of the two portrait sculptures is identified as the Muttarayar Chief, who built the temple. The other is probably that of this chief assistant.

Kunnandar Kovil has some excellent bronze sculptures which are remarkable in their workmanship and design. Shiva seated with Parvati their young son Skanda (Somaskanda), Nataraja and Shivakami are exquisite examples of South Indian art and craft.

The village Kunnandar Kovil is connected by a good road with Tiruchirapalli and Pudukottai. State Road Transport buses and private vans operate in this route at frequent intervals. The nearest railway station is Kiranur on the Tiruchi – Pudukottai line.

Kokolu Ankarao
Date : 27th August 2008
Nagpur, Maharastra, India.

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Pazhiyileeswaram is a rock-cut cave temple with a Siva linga inside a small sanctum sanctorum with two beautiful dwarapalakas. The inscription at the base of the temple is an extremely interesting piece that belongs to the period of the Pallava king (Nirupatunga Varman 855-896 A.D).

Pazhiyili Iswaram rock-cut cave temple dedicated to Siva is opposite to the Vijayalaya Chozhisvaram temple, about 30 feet south of Samanar-kudagu. This Siva cave temple was excavated in the seventh year of the Pallava king Nripatunga Í) (862 AD.) by a Muttaraiyar chief, Sattan-pazhiyili, son of Videl-vidugu Kadupatti Muttaraiyan, whence the temple gets the name. An inscription on the basement, states that the temple was excavated by Pazhiyili . It also states that his son built the front mandapam and installed a nandi, while his daughter Pazhiyili Siriya-nangai made a gift of land to the temple.

The cave temples in front of vijayalaya choleeswaram were built by mutharayars and one of the cave temples was called Pazhiyili Iswaram. Ilango adhi araiyan inscriptions were found below dvarapalakas.

The inscription says that the cave temple was built by the Mutharaya king. Mutharayar and his son Sathan Phaziyili had built the Mukha Mandapam, Nandimandapam and Balipeetam at the temple. This inscription helps to read the lineage of the Mutharayar kings, who were the vassals of the Pallava kings.

It has a garbha-griham, measuring 8 feet x 7½ feet, and about 7 feet in height, cut out of the rock. There is a lingam inside with a cylindrical yoni-pitham. Two dvara-palaka-s, belonging to this temple, have been excavated from the site and now placed on the platform. In front of the garbha-griham is a moulded basement of a mandapam referred to in the foundation inscription. On the basement, above the kumudam, is a frieze of dancing bhutha-gana-s. There is a fine sculpture of Nandi placed on the basement.

In Nartamalai, we have an inscription dated in the reign of Nrpatunga, which refers to Videlvidugu Ilangovelan and his son Sattan Paliyili (who excavated the cave shrine to Siva). Northamalain inscriptions show that the bana king (Vidyadhara) in the North and the Muttaraiyan ( Sattam Paliyili ) in the South were the vassals of Nripatunga. Sattan Paliyili was the son of Videlvidugu Muththaraiyan, was a Muththaraiyar king even though the inscription has not specifically mentioned of same. This inscription was issued in the 7th year of he Pallava king Nirupathunga, that is in (862+7)A.D.869.

Videlvidugu Ilangovelan = Videlvidugu Muththaraiyan

According to Pallava inscriptions : The Mutaraiyans under Sattam-Paliyili, the Gangas under Prithivipati I and the Banas under Mahabali-Banavidyadhara acknowledged the overlordship of Nripatunga.

The roch-cut shrine was known as Paliyili Iswarem. The inscriptionreads as follows: "Hail prosperity! In the seventh year of Kovisaiya Nirupatonga Vikkiramar. Great temple which Sattan Paliyili son of Videlavidugu Muththaraiyan had excavated....I Paliyili Siriyanangai made this (gift).....on behalf of God Rudra of the Paliyili Iswarem...." Inscriptions in the Pudukkottai State by Srinivasan, Part I, No: 19. It states that Sattam Paliyili built the front mandapam and installed a nandi, while his daughter Pazhiyili Siriya-nangai made a gift of land to the temple.

The king Videlvidugu Kadupatti Muttarayar had a grand daughter by name Pazhiyili Siriya-nangai through his son Sattan pazhiyili. This grandaughter Paliyili Siriya-Nangai was married to one Minavan Tamiladiyaraiyan alias Pallan Anantan.

Vignapati = Videlvidugu Muttaraiyan = Kuvavan Sattan
Sattan-pazhiyili = Son of Videl-vidugu Muttaraiyan
Sattan pazhiyili = Sattam Paliyili
Pazhiyili Siriya-nangai = Daughter of pazhiyili & Grand daughter of Videlvidugu
Paliyili Siriya-Nangai = Wife of Minavan Tamiladiyaraiyan alias Pallan Anantan

"...An inscription under one of the Dvarapalaka-s says that Sattan Pudi, also called as Ilangodi Araiyar, originally built this temple and when the original temple was damaged by rain, Mallan Viduman (also called, Tennavan Tamiladi Araiyan) repaired it. He might have repaired it in the reign of Vijayalaya and since the temple is named Vijayalaya Cholisvaram. "

Pazhiyili does not figure in the inscriptions found near Thanjai; Pazhiyili figures in the inscriptions found near Pudukkottai - Narthamamai - in 857 AD .. after Vijayalaya's victory over Thanjai - but the year is denoted with reference to Pallava Nirupathnvrmn. Vijayalayan did not conquor Pazhiyili. But Pazhiyili was a Mutharayar ruled in 857 AD - found in Narthamalai region.

Sastry adds :"The colas : Vijayalaya and Aditya: Contermporaries of Vijayalaya : ... Vijayalaya's rule is some years earlier than Varaguna (II)'s accession, who sustained defeat in Sri Perumbuyam near Kumbakonam..The power of Pandyas was still quite considerable ...At this time, the enterprising chieftains known as Mutharayar were in possession of part of the fertile delta land in Tanjore Dt; their inscriptions from Sendalai(EI XIII - 134) clearly describe them as ruling Tanjore. Also, though they had their headquarters at Sendalai or Niyamam. Like Cholas, the Mutharayars found it impossible to set up an independent rule, and HAD TO SUPPORT THEMSELVES BY CLINGING TO THE PANDYAS or the PALLAVAS."

That there was one Pazhiyili .. who continued his Rule under Pallavas even in 857 A.D ..who practised Jainism - donated lands to Siva temple and named it as Pazhiyileeswaram - (may be converted his faith to Saivism!).This also shows that Vijayalaya did not rule this part of region. That settles Pazhiyili as the contemporary chieftan under Pallava rule in Kodumbalur region and deviating from his predecessors practised Saivism and made a rock cut temple..

Narthaamalai was under the, Mutharaiyars, before it was conquered by Vijayalaya Chola. During the 7th to 9th centuries Narttamalai was part of the Pallava Empire, but was directly administrated by Muttaraiyar-s. The cave temple known as Pazhiyili Isvaram appears to have been excavated during the time of the Pallava Nandi-varman III (about 826-849 AD) by a Muttaraiyar chief Sattan-pazhiyili , son of Videl-vidugu Muttaraiyan as stated in the inscription on this temple dated in the seventh year of the Pallava emperor Nripatunga Varman (about 849-875 AD). This region was apparently been disputed by the Pandya-s and the Chozha-s till about the middle of the 9th century when Vijayalaya Chozha incorporated it in the Chozha empire after defeating the Muttaraiyar.

Dr. KK Pillai - in his book THAMIZHAGA VARALARUM PANPADUM - based on his research of Dr.Rasamanickanar & Pandarathar - provides an exciting answer: In Page 152 he writes : " Mutharayars ruled from KODUMBALUR have accepted the Rule of Pandyas and followed Jainism...."

"Vijayalayan conquored Thanjai from the Mutharayars who ruled Thanjai"

Incidentally, this Book was prescribed for Madras Univiersity / B.Lit. This information makes the Narathamalai inscriptions more exciting : That there was one Pazhiyili .. who continued his Rule under Pallavas even in 857 ..who practised Jainism - donated lands to Siva temple and named it as Pazhiyileeswaram - (may be converted his faith to Saivism!).

This also shows that Vijayalaya did not rule this part of region; Sastry adds :"THE COLAS : VIJAYALAYA AND ADITYA I :: Contermporaries of Vijayalaya : ... Vijayalaya's rule is some years earlier than Varaguna (II)'s accession, who sustained defeat in Sri Perumbuyam near Kumbakonam..The power of Pandyas was still quite considerable ...At this time, the enterprising chieftains known as Mutharayar were in possession of part of the fertile delta land in Tanjore Dt; their inscriptions from Sendalai(EI XIII - 134) clearly describe them as ruling Tanjore ALSO, though they had their head- quarters at Sendalai or Niyamam. Like Cholas, the Mutharayars found it impossible to set up an independent rule, and HAD TO SUPPORT THEMSELVES BY CLINGING TO THE PANDYAS or the PALLAVAS."

That settles Pazhiyili as the contemporary chieftan under Pallava rule in Kodumbalur region and deviating from his predecessors practised Saivism and made a rock cut temple. But the inscriptions below the dwarapalakas of vijayalaya choleeswaram quote that the original temple was built by Elango adi araiyan - who, as per your quotes - seems to emerge from vallam. Why this guy Ilango came all the way to pudukkottai and built a temple here ? what was this guys' relationship to pazhiyili? The temple is further renovated by Mallan viduman - another chief of mutharaiyars. And again, why the temple came to be known after vijayalaya at a later date is another question.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Date : 28/08/2008
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

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The Vijayalaya Choleeswaram temple of Naarthamalai - supposedly belonging to the reign of Muttaraiyars who ruled Chola heartland before Cholas hosts excellent Griva Koshtas. The Vijayalaya Choleeswaram in Narthamalai, though so called under the name of the founder of the Chola dynasty of Thanjavur, is a fine example of Mutharayar style of construction and indeed a forerunner of the magnificent temple at Gangaikondacholapuram ( Gangai Konda Choleeswaram ) built by Rajendra Chola. Vijayalaya choleeswaram temple which is about a mile in naarthamalai from the existing mariamman temple is an example for temple architecture. Circular Sanctorum cells are also seen in few places.

The inscriptions below the dwarapalakas of vijayalaya choleeswaram quote that the original temple was built by Elango adi araiyan, a mutharayar chief. The temple is further renovated by Mallan viduman - another chief of mutharaiyars.

There is an inscription at the base of the dwarapalaka statue which clearly states that the original temple was built by Ilangovathi Mutharayar (alias) Chathambuthi which was damaged by rain and the same was rebuilt with granite stones by Mallan Vithuman Mutharaya king in 886 A.D. This is a clear evidence that the temple was in existence prior to Vijayalaya chola, though at present the temple is called Vijayalaya Choleeswaram.

Elango adi araiyan = Ilangovathi Mutharayar = Videlvidugu Mutharayar

In pudukkottai, there is a small hillock called naarthamalai in which two cave temples and one structural temple are seen. One of the cave temples (Phaziyileeswaram ) as well as the structural temple seems to have been built by sattan pazhiyili. The structural temple is called vijayalaya choleeswaram - based on a later record of pandiyan times but it was also constructed bt Mutharayars. .

According to historians, Vijayaalaya Chola waged war in the year A.D.852 with the Muttaraiyar king Sattan Paliyilli (A.D.826-852) in the neighbouring east, and captured his territory of Thanjaavur. Sastry, while describing Vijayalayan's conquor wrote that he conquored a Mutharayar in Thanjai - but the name of the Chieftan was not pronounced. Several Historians did not provide the information. Some historians are of the openion that VIJAYALAYAN did not conquor Pazhiyili. But Pazhiyiliwas a Mutharayar ruled in 857 AD - found in Narthamalai region. Sattan Phaziyili was son of Ilangovathi Mutharayar or Videlvidugu Muthurayar.

One of the earliest examples of saanthara vimana ( Saanthaara vimana and Circumbulatory Passage ) construction attempts that survives till date, can be found at Adhyantha kaama parameswara gruham - better known as the Dharmaraja ratha - of mahamallapuram. The famous example for such is the Vijayalaya Choleeswaram Temple at Naarthamalai, Tamilnadu.

Though such a garba griha construction never became a popular choice of ancient artisans, we do see some marked attempts in places like Kanchipuram (Kailaasanatha and Vaikuntha perumal temples), Thiruppattur (Kailaasanatha temple), Uttiramerur (Sundareswara Temple) and Naarthamalai (Vijayalaya choleeswaram). While the Kanchipuram and Thiruppattur temples were conceptions of Pallava artists, the Naarthamalai temple came out of Muttaraiyar Shilpis.

Narthamalai is a place of historical importance and the head-quarters of the Mutharaiya chieftains. The earliest structural stone temple, circular in shape, built by the Mutharaiyar and the Vijayalaya Choleeswaram cave temple in the name of Vijayala Chola, the first king of the later Cholas are located here.

Narthamalai came under the sway of the Mutharayars from 7th to 9th century who were the vassals of the Pallava kings of Kanchi and Pandya kings of Madurai and was later conquered by the Cholas of Thanjavur.

There are two cave temples facing east and a later structural temple complex, Vijayalaya Choleeswaram, facing the caves. The larger and earlier Jaina cave on the north side has been converted later as a Vaishnava shrine. In the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, one can see a brown Siva Lingam and in the Ardha Mandapam - in front of the sanctum sanctorum there are 12 brilliant rock-cut images of Lord Vishnu which are almost identical.

The two rock-cut temples atop Melamalai besides the Vijayaleeswara Choleeswaram temples tucked under idyllic settings are extremely informative and also a classic example of the fusion of different styles of temple architecture prevailing in different parts of the country. One cannot but marvel how in that distant past the Mutharayars, whose contribution to the temple architecture and local government were not given due recognition and importance, had become master builders.

The Mutharayars according to the available information had their headquarters at Nemam near Tirukattupalli and held their sway over Tiruchi, Thanjavur and Pudukottai regions until the emergence of the mighty Cholas of Thanjavur.

Narthamalai was originally named as Nagarathar Malai, known for a group of merchants who were engaged in this trade route between Tiruchi-Pudukottai, Madurai etc and played a key role in the maintenance of the temples, canals, irrigation tanks besides collection of taxes and other civic matters.

Nagarattar Malai => Narthamalai

After the fall of the Cholas of Thanjavur in the 14th century the area came under the rule of the Madurai kings, Pallavarayars and Thondaimans of Pudukottai according to J. Raja Mohammed, Curator of the Pudukottai Government Museum.

The Vijayalaya Choleeswaram in Narthamalai, though so called under the name of the founder of the Chola dynasty of Thanjavur, is a fine example of Mutharayar style of construction and indeed a forerunner of the magnificent temple at Gangaikondacholapuram built by Rajendra Chola. The first and second thala (base) of the temple vimanam is square in shape while the third is circular (vasara) and the griva and Sikhira also are circular.

This is the first time when Nagara and Vasara styles have been incorporated in the construction of the vimanam. The inner wall enclosing the sanctum sanctorum is circular (omkhara shape), leaving an intervening passage all around. The Adithala hara extended over the top of the mandapam shows a series of dance sculptures. The dwarapalakas at the entrance of the temple are beautifully decorated. The temple as well as the six shrines and one upto the foundation level around the temple are all built with granite stones. About 15 years ago, the Archaeological survey of India had restored and re-built the dilapidated parts of the temple complex in a brilliant manner keeping to the original style which exhibits the pioneering efforts of the Mutharayars.

There is an inscription at the base of the dwarapalaka statue which clearly states that the original temple was built by Ilangovathi Mutharayar (alias) Chathambuthi which was damaged by rain and the same was rebuilt with granite stones by Mallan Vithuman Mutharaya king in 886 A.D. This is a clear evidence that the temple was in existence prior to Vijayalaya chola, though at present the temple is called Vijayalaya Choleeswaram.

According to Dr. R. Kalaikovan, Director, Dr. Rajamanickanar centre for historical research, though the rock-cut temple houses the broken Siva Linga and Vaishnavite statues, it is surprising that the structure is termed as Samanar Kudagu, since so far there is no structural or epigraphical evidence of Jain rock-cut temples in this place. There might have been a Mukha Mandapam in front of the Ardha Mandapam, housing the Vishnu statues. Though there are no walls or roof, the base of the Ardha Mandapam is full of brilliant sculptures of Yalis, Elephants, a combination of elephant and makara etc. And interestingly there is an Egyptian Sphinx like statue which is an indication of the cultural heritage reflecting the high-level trade and commerce between Egyptian and Indian merchants.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Date : 29th August 2008
Nagpur, Maharastra, India.

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The 300-year-old Bale Mantap near the 15th Century Gowreeshwara Temple at Yelandur in Chamarajanagar district is in a dilapidated state. Unlike other temples and mantaps at Yelandur, the Bale Mantap (Mahadwara Mantap), facing the East, was built by the chieftain of Hadinadu, Mudduraja, in 1654 AD in the Hoysala style of architecture.

Hadinadu is Mysore : Historically known as 'Hadinadu,' in some 10th century archaeological records, the city was named 'Mysooru Nagara' in 1524 by Chamaraja Wodeyar.

Yelandur came into prominence under the Cholas. The Cholas were the emperors of the Tamil kingdom. The first known prince of the dynasty to have ruled this region is Singadepa or Devabhupala of Chola dynasty. He is said to have built the famous Gaurishwara temple of Yelandur at about 1550 A.D. This is a magnificient temple. This temple speaks volumes of the Cholas as great builders. It has a very beautiful main entrance. It went into a decreipt state but was later erected in 1654-55 by his great grandson Muddabhupa.

An inscription found in the temple premises states that the Gourishwara temple was built in 1550 AD by Singadepa, the first known prince of the Hadinadu. The mahadwara of the Gaurishwara temple in Yelandur is an architectural marvel, with its monolithic stone chains surrounding the shrine. Gaurishwara temple was built in 1550 A.D during the reign of Devabhupala (Singadepa) of the Chola dynasty. This temple was rebuilt in 1654 -1655 by Muddabhupa, grand son Devabhupala, as the old temple was highly dilapidated.

The temple has some unique features which makes it very distinctive. Though there is no towering entrance gopura (as is common in South Indian temples), it has a mahadwara or gate called "Bale Mantapa" (Bangle entrance) which has exquisitely stone carved themes, on the walls and pillars, depicting mythological stories of Andhakasura (slaying of demon Andhakasura0, Narasimha (Half Man – Half Lion God) in various manifestations of Dakshinamurthy and Sharaba, Bhirava, Kalingamardhana krishna, Vali and Sugriva. Monolithic stone chains (stone carved rings - 20 cm each) adorn the four corners and the door side of the entrance which gives the name of Bale (Bangle) Mantapa to the temple entrance.

Singadepa = Devabhupala

Tirumalarajayya = Trimalarajanayaka
Muddabhupa = Mudduraja
Singadepa => ??? => Tirumalarajayya => Muddabhupa

Muddhubhupa was a Mudiraju chieftain of Hadinadu and he is said to the great grandson of Singadepa Chola. Here, we get a clear proof that cholas and mudirajas were one and the same people.

Gaurishwara Temple is in Yelandur, 61 km from Mysore. Built in Vijayanagar style of architecture in 1550 by Singadepa, the first known prince of the Hadinadu Dynasty, it consists of a garbhagriha, an ardhamandapa and a large frontal mandapa. The garbhagriha and ardhamandapa are sanctified with the shivling, idols of Vishnu, Parvati, Mahishasuramardini, Bhairava, Durga, and Ganapati. The majestic mahadwara or gateway of 1654, the main attraction of the temple, is a rare specimen of the Hoysala style of architecture. This rectangular shaped gateway is popularly known as 'Balemantapa' as it resembles bangles. It has beautiful carvings on its walls illustrating the events from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Shaivapurana.

The Gaurishwara temple's attractive entrances have no gopura (towers built on the entrance arches). However, the entrances have artistically created fine sculpture embedded into the walls and on pillars. Stone carved themes like Andhakasuravadha (killing of the demon Andhakasura), Shoolabrahma, Bhikshatanamurthy, Bhairava, Kalingamardana, and Dakshinamurthy tell these mythological stories. Narasimha in various manifestations like Dakshinamurthy, Sharabha, Vali and Sugriva can also be observed on these walls and pillars. The four corners and the door side of the mantapa have monolithic stone chains formed by circular stone carved links - each 20 centimetres in diameter. This mahadwara (great door) is therefore locally called as bale (bangle) mantapa, as these links resemble bangles.

The Bale mantap is in a rectangular shape and has carvings on its walls. White and black stones used for the construction of the mantap add to the beauty of the carvings. The outer wall has magnificent sculptures depicting some instances in the Ramayana, the Mahabharatha, and the Shaivapurana. The carvings on the floor, and on the huge beams in front of the mahadwara are exquisite.

The engravings on four pillars depict the war between Vaali and Sugreeva. The image of Mudduraja has been carved on the outer wall. Inside the mantap, there is an image of Bhuvaneshwari sitting on a lotus. Some of the stone rings hanging from the ceiling of the mantap have been damaged.

There is a temple in front of the mantap with panchalingas inside the garbhagriha. It is alleged that the monument is in a dilapidated state because of the apathy by Archaeological Survey of India. Members of various local organisations say that work on widening the national highway that passes through Yelandur had its adverse impact on the mantap. The movement of heavy vehicles on the highway is affecting the mantap. They have appealed to Archaeological Survey of India to strengthen the mantap. They have also submitted memorandums to the Government to deviate the highway to protect the mantap.

This king Mudduraja seems to be the son of Trimalarajanayaka of Hadinadu. There also lies a copper plate at Biligiri Ranganna Temple Mysore on which the evidence dated is 1667. This copper plate belongs to Mudduraju, son of Trimalarajanayaka of Hadinadu and sheds light on the history of the Biligiri Ranganna Temple in Mysore in India.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Nagpur, Maharastra, India
Date : 29 / 11/ 2008

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This information is provided by Mr. Poovarasan from Malaysia and his contribution is gratefully acknowledged. His indentity can be seen from "Malaysia section" in the webpage "NRI MUDIRAJ" of this MUDIRAJA website

Poovarasan says that " When I was 16 years old, I had read an old history book (Malay Version) that stated, Selangor was called as Selangore. That means, few hundred years before, Raja Raja ( Rajendra ? ) Cholan discovered Malaiyur (Malaya and then Malaysia) and named the state as Solan/Cholan Oor and thus the state came to be called Selangor".

Ooru => Oor = Village / Town
Cholan Ooru => Solan Oor => Solanor => Selangor = Selangore

" Until now, there is a street called Jalan Raja Chulan in Kuala Lumpur. Most of all Tamil History distinguished by now-a-days Malay Rulers in Malaysia. There is no much evidence to prove this and I lost the History book that I ever read approximately aged 30 to 40 years back".

It is recorded in history that Rajendra Chola conquered a few fareast countries and controlled their administation from India.

Chola's Rule in Malaysia

Selangor is one of the 13 states of Malaysia. Malaysian Indians are a group of Malaysians largely descended from those who migrated from southern India during the British colonization of Malaya. Prior to British colonization, Tamils had been conspicuous in the archipelago much earlier, especially since the period of the powerful South India kingdom of the Cholas in the 11th century. By that time, Tamils were among the most important trading peoples of maritime Asia. Across Malaysia today there is a rolling back of the 2,000-year-old culture of the Malays, brought with the Chola and Srivijaya kings from India.

There is evidence of the existence of Indianized kingdoms such as Gangga Negara, Old Kedah, Srivijaya since approximately 1500 years ago. Early contact between the kingdoms of Tamilakkam and the Malay peninsula had been very close during the regimes of the Pallava Kings (from the 4th to the 9th Century C.E.) and Chola kings (from the 9th to the 13th Century C.E.). The trade relations the Tamil merchants had with the ports of Malaya led to the emergence of Indianized kingdoms like Kadaram (Old Kedah) and Langkasugam.

From the 7th to the 11th centuries, the Srivijaya empire in south-east Sumatra grew rich and powerful from this commerce. Referred to as San-fo-ts'i in Chinese writings, Sribuza by the Arabs and Sriwijaya by the Indians, the Srivijaya empire's very existence long remained virtually mythical due to lack of physical evidence. This mysterious empire was also known to have developed as a renowned centre of Buddhist learning and Tantric practices. I Ching, a Chinese monk of the late 7th century, recommended that his fellow monks spend time in Srivijaya in order to learn Sanskrit before journeying on to India.

Srivijaya's economical and political predominance attracted the jealousy of other kingdoms and the empire fell in 1025 to an attack by the Indian kingdom of Chola.

Furthermore, Chola king Rajendra Chola I sent an expedition to Kadaram (Sri Vijaya) during the 11th century conquering that country on behalf of one of its rulers who sought his protection and to have established him on the throne. The Cholas had a powerful merchant and naval fleet in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. Three kinds of craft are distinguished by the author of the Periplus – light coasting boats for local traffic, larger vessels of a more complicated structure and greater carrying capacity, and lastly the big ocean-going vessels that made the voyages to Malaya, Sumatra, and the Ganges.

In 1025, Rajendra Chola, the Chola king from Coromandel in South India, conquered Kedah from Srivijaya and occupied it for some time. The Cholas continued a series of raids and conquests throughout what is now Indonesia and Malaysia for the next 20 years. Although the Chola invasion was ultimately unsuccessful, it gravely weakened the Srivijayan hegemony and enabled the formation of regional kingdoms based, like Kediri, on intensive agriculture rather than coastal and long-distance trade.

For six hundred years or more Kedah became an important port of call for Chola-mandala (Coromandel). But in A.D. I0I7 Coromandel's famous ruler, Rajendra Chola I, made war on Sri Vijaya and, in 1025, overhwelmed it and her colonies in the Malay Peninsula. Sri Vijaya seems to have recovered from this setback, only to be attacked in 1068 by another Chola king, Vira Rajendra. Vira Rajendra conquered Kedah, apparently at the request of its ruler who wanted to win independence from Sri Vijaya.

Kedah was an important stop on a trade route, and was consequently conquered in 1025 by the Indian king Rajendra Chola. His successor, Vir Rajendra Chola, greatly reduced the influence of Srivijaya after he successfully put down a Kedah rebellion. Eventually, the Buddhist kingdom of Ligor gained control of Kedah and the Malay inhabitants adopted Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as the Sanskrit language. Aspects of Malaysian culture from this period are still evident today.

During the first millennium, most of the peninsula and islands were under the rule of Srivijaya kingdom, which was succeeded by several Malay kingdoms during the 2nd and 3rd centuries. There were numerous Malay kingdoms in the 2nd and 3rd century A.D., as many as 30 according to Chinese sources. Kedah – known as Kedaram or Kataha, in ancient Pallava or Sanskrit – was in the direct route of invasions of Indian traders and kings. Rajendra Chola, who is now thought to have laid Kota Gelanggi to waste, put Kedah to heel in 1025 but his successor, Vir Rajendra Chola, had to put down a Kedah rebellion to overthrow the invaders. The coming of the Chola reduced the majesty of Srivijaya which had exerted influence over Kedah and Pattani and even as far as Ligor.

There are reports of other areas older than Kedah – the ancient kingdom of Ganganegara, around Bruas in Perak, for instance – that pushes Malaysian history even further into antiquity. If that is not enough, a Tamil poem, Pattinapillai, of the second century A.D., describes goods from Kadaram heaped in the broad streets of the Chola capital; a seventh century Sanskrit drama, Kaumudhimahotsva, refers to Kedah as Kataha-nagari. The Agnipurana also mentions a territory known Anda-Kataha with one of its boundaries delineated by a peak, which scholars believe is Gunong Jerai. Stories from the Katasaritasagaram describe the life of elegance of life in Kataha.

Kedah, the west coast of Malaya, is known as Kadaram in Tamil. Kadaram-kandan, "conqueror of Kadaram" was one of the attributes given to Rajendra Cholan I of the Tamil Chola empire of the early 11th century A.D. There is also a place in the Madurai District in Tamil Nadu, of the Pandyan Empire, with the name Kadaram. History speaks that the South Indian Chola Dynasty settlers at Kuala Kedah (Gunung Jerai) referred Kedah as Kadaram and the people of Malaya then as Malai People (People of the mountenous country).

Mayirudinggam, Mappappalam, Mewilimbanggam, and Madamalingam are to be identified in the northern part of the Malay Peninsula. These are among the several states that were part of the Sri Vijaya empire but were overwhelmed by Rajendra Chola I in 1025 A.D. A Tanjore Inscription which commemorates this victory mentions the place names.

Cheras is a suburb located in both Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. Originally, Cheras is the name of a kingdom in ancient Tamilakkam. Outside of Malaysia on the central part of the island of Sumatra are a group of people called the Karo Bataks carrying Dravidian clan names such as Chera, Chola, Pandya, and Pallava.

The weakness of the Malay states in this period allowed other people to migrate into the Malay homelands. The most significant migrants being the Bugis, seafarers from eastern Indonesia, who regularly raided the Malay coasts. They seized control of Johore following the assassination of the last Sultan of the old Melaka royal line in 1699 and other Bugis took control of Selangor.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Date : 27/12/2008
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

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Mutharasa of Surya Vamsam performed penance at Nimishambal Temple. Definitely this Temple has great relevance to the Mutharayas !

Muktaraja, the Suryavamsha Mutharasa king, who performed penance
This is a place where a king by name Muktaraja belonging to "Suryavamsha" had performed his penance (tapas). This is considered as a holy place. The Raja and also Rishi Mukthaka could be the suryavamshi Mutharasa who performed the penance. Some more details are given below under heading "origins of temple".

Mutharasa kings ruled parts of Mysore Region Temple situated on the banks of the river Lokapavani (Cauvery) near Mysore. Over 400 years old. The Divine Mother (Goddess) is known to grant all your wishes instantly. Srirangapattanam and Nimishambal are great places for history, old architecture, river side, bird watching et all - again best during monsoons.

Dr. Nagaswamy, on his study of Muthurasas postulated that the king Vridharaja found at Mysore around 5th AD was Mutharasa from TN who paved way for this sect and probably this is time for evolution of Kannada language ! Dr. Nagaswamy, in his Mutharayar - defines them as Ganga Kings of Kongani belonging to Tamil Mudhu Velir kudi.

Vridha = Mudi = Old = Ancient = Great
Vridharaja = Mudiraja = Great king

Meaning of Nimishamba
Nimishambal temple is situated on the banks of one of the branches of Cauvery that encircles the Sri Rangapattanam island near Mysore. It is an old temple where Adi Shankara meditated and Ambal gave a darshan for him for one minute. About 3 kms from Srirangapattana there is a famous temple called Sri Nimishamba temple situated on the bank of river Cauvery. It is an ancient temple and the atmosphere here is quite mind relaxing. It is believed that the main deity Goddess Nimishamba had killed a demon every minute and it is also believed that she blesses her believers every minute. According to some, the goddess is beleived to kill a demon a minute and equally offers blessings and grants wishes of her devotees every minute. The deity is supposed to answer honest prayers within a minute. And therefore the name "Nimishamba". Nimisham - Minute, Amba - Goddess. Yet some believe that Muktaraja was blessed with the boon that Sri Nimishamba will come to his aid in his fight against the demons in a minute.

Nimisha = Minute = One Minute
Nimisha + Amba = Nimishamba
Nimishamba = Goddess who blessess a devotee every one minute.

Goddess Nimishambika is enshrined in an ancient Shiva temple (20 km from Mysore) on the banks of river Cauvery. The temple is dedicated to Lord Mouktikeshwara. Also enshrined in the temple is Lord Lakshminarasimha. The devout strongly believe that the Goddess helps them succeed in any step they take by invoking Her. Many devotees make a thanks-giving visit to this temple later.

Nimishamba is considered as the incarnation of Parvathi, the goddess wife of Lord Shiva. Nimisha means minute. Goddess parvati blesses her devotees every minute hence temple has the name nimishamba. On every full moon day , there are special poojas. opening timings : Everyday from 6:00 am (morning) – 8 or 8:30 pm (evening).

There is a temple fair on "Vasavamba Jayanthi", which is also known as "Nimishamba Jayanthi". There is a festival on "Nimishamba jayanthi" by Somavamsha Arya Kshtriyas, which is also celebrated as "Vasavamba jayanthi" by arya vysyas.

Nimishamba Temple area is a piligrim center
The temple of Nimishamba lies at a distance of two kilometres from Srirangapatna bus stand in the eastern direction beyond Tippu's summer palace on the road leading to Sangam.. The temple is at a higher elevation on the bank of the Cauvery, and faces east. The river flows by at a lower level, and steps have been neatly cut on stone slabs to reach it. It is a small shrine with a seven-tiered rajagopuram. Goddess Nimishamba's sannadhi is to the right as one enters the shrine. It is a fine piece of icon, and on the day of our visit, She was beautifully bedecked with jewellery and garlands of red roses. In front of the Goddess is placed the Sri Chakra to which puja is done with kumkum by the priest. The devotees were in rapt attention till deeparathanai was shown to the deity.

Adjoining the sannadhi of the Goddess is that of Siva, whose appellation is Aksheeswara. The icon is a small sized linga. The Nandi is proportionately small sized, and is diagonally facing Siva. Only after showing `deeparathanai' to Siva, it is shown to the Goddess. Adjoining this sannadhi is that of Lakshminarayana. All the three sannadhis are in a row. There are no suka nasi and Navaranga. There is only a muka mantapa.

There is a big brass bell hanging from the ceiling, which is rung by the priest himself after placing the `bali bhojanam' on the bali peetam for the crows to eat. Once the bell is rung, the crows come down to the bali peetam in an orderly way to partake it! It is indeed unique to this temple. There is a prakaram for circumambulation. The Nimishamba temple has shot to fame recently for its instant granting of boons to those who pray here.

It would be of interest to note that marriage proposals which have been dragging on for years, get clicked immediately after visiting this shrine. It is probable that the temple might have been built during the reign of Raja Wadiyar I (1610-38 A.D.) who ascended the Mysore throne at Srirangapatna. Regular puja has been done for the last 50 years. The temple falls under the HR&CE of Karnataka State.

History of Shri Shri Nimishamba temple at Ganjam
The temple of the Divine Mother Shri Shri Nimishamba Devi is located at Ganjam, a small village in the town of Srirangapatna near the palace city Mysore. The origin of this temple has a long and interesting history which dates back to 1548 A.D. The Divine Mother took the form of Shri Shri Nimishamba as an answer to the Rishi Mukthaka's prayers for protection against the two demons.

Origin of Nimishamba Temple
Around 1548 AD a Rishi (Sage) called Mukthaka was asked by King Sumanaska to perform a Yajna (A sacred fire ritual to eliminate negative forces and invite Divine Grace) for the prosperity of the Kingdom. Rishi Mukthaka selected a village called Ganjam on the banks of the River Kaveri for this holy purpose. This is at present in Srirangapatna near Mysore, Karnataka state. While he was immersed in Tapas (Austerities), he was constantly harassed by two demons (Asuras) named Jaanu and Sumandala. The Great Sage invoked Adishakthi (The primordial energy that created this Universe) by offering oblations through the sacred fire (Homa). Adishakthi, the Infinite Cosmic Energy, manifested in the form of the Divine Mother in all Her resplendent glory from the Sacrificial Fire and vanquished the demons in an instant.

How the Temple came into being
The Divine Mother instructed Rishi Mukthaka to build a temple for Her worship at that spot. She asked him to call her Shri Shri Nimishamba. Rishi Mukthaka reverentially built the temple and consecrated the image of Devi Nimishamba. He then continued meditating on her in a state of total Samadhi. Nimishamba Devi is the Absolver of all Karma and the Liberator of Souls. She creates, nourishes and maintains the Cosmos. All those who worship her will obtain Her All Encompassing Love and Divine Grace.

This Hindu holy spot was believed to have been established by a king called as Muktharaja who had inscribed the 'Shri Chakra' on a stone and then went into penance. This stone still exists and is is being kept in front of the deity. In fact Muktaraja had got carved "Shrichakra" on a stone and started performing poojas. It has been kept in front of Nimishamba deity inside the temple, which we can see even today. There is a belief that Parvathi is going to clear off all the problems and trouble of her devotees within a minute. That is why she is called as "Nimishamba". "Nimisha" means a minute. Muktaraja blessed with "moksha" by Lord Shiva that is why there is a deity by name Moukthikeshwara. This was installed at the time of Mummadi Krishnaraja Odeyar about 300-400 years back.

How to Reach Nimishambika Temple
Nimishamba temple is located at Srirangapatna near Mysore. This temple is 5 to 6 kms away from Sri Ranganathar temple. You can drive down from Bangalore and it takes approximately 2 hours to reach this temple. he main idol is goddess Nimishamba. You can also find Lord Anjaneya.

Nimishamba temple is about 125km from Bangalore. Auto rickshaws are available in front of the Srirangapatna bus stand. You can also reach Nimishamba temple from the Srirangapatna railway Station by auto. Srirangapatna is situated about 25km from Mysore. Frequent buses are there from the KSRTC bustand to reach Srirangapatna. The approximate time to reach this temple from Mysore would be around 20minutes.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Date : 06/01/2009
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

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This village comes under Srirangam Assembly Segment within the Tiruchirapally Parliamentary Con. This is a very nice place to live, to study , to business , and to farm work. It is dominated by Muthurajas in population.

Do you know how the name has came as kavalkarapalayam ?

Muthurajas ( Kallars & Marvars ) are known for security cover for the villages in olden days In tamil KAVAL mean security and so it is named as kavalkarapalayam.

Kaval = To Protect
Kavalkar = Protectors

Mutharayars form the majority community in the Tiruchirapalli district. There is one Kavalkara Street ,Tennur, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu India - 620 017 and also another Kavalkara street in Mancha Nallur-621005. There is also one Kavalakaran Street in Chennai.

The manual of the Tinnevely district, described the origins of the Maravar kavalkarars thus: "As feudal chiefs and heads of a numerous class of the population, and one whose characteristics were eminently adapted for the followers of a turbulent chieftain, bold active, enterprising, cunning and capricious, this class constituted themselves or were constituted by the peaceful cultivators, their protectors in times of bloodshed and rapine, when no central authority existed. Hence arose the system of desha and stalum kaval, or the guard of separate villages. The feudal chieftain (and his Kallar and Maravar) received a contribution from the area around his fort in consideration of protection afforded against armed invastion."

The Marvar subcaste that produced the greatest number of palayakarars and lesser chiefs called kavalakarars was the kontaiyankottai group. The Uttumalai kings were prominent members of this group. Kavalkarars were usually chiefs of collections of hamlets or villages who in exchange for protection received a specified share of village produce and certain other perquisites, including emblems and honours. Although there were kavalkarars throughout the Tamil countryside, the best known and the most prominent kavalkarars were those of Southern Tirunelveli region around Nankuneri where, interestingly there were no major palaikarars in the eighteenth century.

Kavalakarars are related to Gaikwads of Gujarat and Kaikadis of Maharastra and Kakatiyas of Telangana
These Muthuraja or Mudiraja people are related to North Indian Pardhis. The Pardhi Eruklas were once employed by Gujarat Royal courts to look after their cow (Gai) herds. There they came to be known as Gaikwads.

Gai = Cow
Kaval = Protect

Gai Kaval = Men who protect cows = Cow herds men.
GaiKaval => Gaikaval => Gaikwal = Gaikwad

Further, these are the same Gujarathi pardhis who became Marathi Kaikadis with modification of the name Gaikwadi title to Kaikadi. These Kaikadis who came to Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh came to be known as Kakatiyas and established Kakatiya Kingdom at Warangal. They became first Telugu rulers to bring vast areas of Telugu speaking lands under Kakatiya rule.

Gaikwad => Gaikwadi => Gaikadi => Kaikadi
Kaikadi => Kakadi => Kakati => Kakatiya

Kokolu Anka Rao
Date : 07 /01/ 2009

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Photograph of the tower in second prakara or enclosure of the Ghritapuresvaraswami Temple at Tillaisthanam, Thanjavur District, taken by Alexander Rea in around 1892. Tillaisthanam is located in the modern state of Tamil Nadu. The Ghritapuresvaraswami temple is two-storeyed and has a number of features typical of the Muttaraiyar period. This dynasty of rulers flourished just before the advent of the Cholas and built a number of temples in southern India. It has been suggested that the temple could date to the early years of the Chola period or to the Pandya occupation (A.D. 864-878). This is because the temple does not fit easily into a single architectural style, but incorporates features of many different styles. The temple faces east and enshrines a lingam. The tall pyramidal gopura consists of diminishing storeys and ends with a vaulted roof.

Thillaisthanam is a calm and lovely village,2 kms away from Thiruvaiyaru on Kumbakonam - Kalanai road.It is a historical place where Appar, Sundarer, Arunagiri Nnadhar has sung on Lord Siva and Murugan.Neiadiappar and Balambal resides in this village.Sabdasthanam is a famous festival celebrated in 7 villages around Thiruvaiyaru.

Thillaisthanam (Tillaistanam) is situated near Tiruvaiyaru in Thanjavur District. It is situated about 13 km from Thanjavur. This place is renowned for the Neyyadiappar Temple, one among the Saptastana Temples. It is believed that Goddess Saraswati, Nandhi Dhevar, Sambandhar, Appar, Pukazeendhi and Ottakkuththa have visited here. The late Thillaisthanam Rama Iyengar was a senior disciple of great Thyagaraja. Tiruchirapalli Airport and Thanjavur Junction Railway Station serves Tillaistanam.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Date : 14/ 01/ 2009, SANKRANTI
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

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Uraiyur was knwon by many names such as Uraiyur, Urantai, Koli, Kori or Koliyur, Urakapura etc. The Periplus of the Ist century A.D. refers too the place as "Argaru" and calls it the capital of an inland district, and also mentions it as a great centre of trade in fine contton stuffs.

Uraiyur which is now a suburb of Tiruchirappalli town of Tiruchi District was one of the famous cities of ancient Tamilnadu. Situated on the south bank of the Kaviri river, it was the capital of the early Cholas of the Sangam period.

Woaraiyur a part of today's trichy was the ancient chola capital. Perhaps its other name KOLI gave them their name. Atleast they called themselves Koli vendan.

This koli Vedan truly stands for Bhil tribal people of North Indian Dravidians. The bhils who became experts in fishing came to be known as kolis and the other section of bhils who became experts in hunting (Veta) came to be known as Vetar or Vetan. Other wise they are basically one and the same people. Bhakta kannappa belonged to this Vetar or Bedar community and now the people of Kannappakula are a subsect of Tamil Muthuraja ( Mudiraja ) community. Urayur could be one of the places where two different royal clans - mutharayars and cholas emerged from the same koli - vedans having relation to Bhil Valmiki. .

Veta => Vetar => Vetan => Vedan
Veta => Vetar => Betar => Bedar

This gives us a clue that Cholas and Mutharayars are having same common ancistery Bhils to which Saint Valmiky belonged. It is also seen that the Cholas claim Koli Mandhata as one of their lineage ancestors. Chola or Cola seems to be a gradual modification of Kola or Koli.

Kola => Koli = Choli
Kola => Cola => Chola = Choli

Muthurajas are heavily populated in and around of Uraiyur which was the Head quarter of Early Cholas. Muthurajas ruled cholamandalam for 300 years with the help of Pallavas.This also points to a fact that Mutharayars and Cholas are one and the same people using two different royal titles.

One interesting theory about the origin of name of the cholas is from the lowly hen. The uraiyur episode where a cockerel bars the entry of the chola king and he choses that as his capital is a legendary lore. The chola king was often called koli vendan. but there could certyaily be other factors for the name.

The cholas of uraiyur used to call themselves koli vendan. Its after a legend of a hen defending its territory and standing its ground before the royal elephant in uraiyur. It was then that the place uraiyur was chosen as a capital.( god knows what happened to the koli-( kuzhambaayirukkumo?) Since chola and koli are similar sounding words - a doubt. is the great chola race named after a lowly hen?

The legend writing Brahmins were always experts in either twisting the truth or erasing the truth or creating some thing new to fool the kings for selfish gains. I think these brahmin legend writers were not even aware that there of was a community by name Koli in North India. They misunderstood KOLI as KODI, which means cock and they created an absord legend to give totally a meaningless meaning to Koli as hen. Koli word certainly indicates that Cholas are related to Koli fishermen in the same way as Mutharayars. This once again proves that Chola amd Mutharaya were two different royal clans from the same bhil koli race.

The excavations were conducted by the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Madras from 1964-68. The excavations have yielded the occupational deposits and cultural materials belonging broadly to two periods Period-I (first four centuries A.D.) and period II (5th to 10th A.D) The occurence of a number of sherds with Brahmi inscriptions is an interesting feature; one of the long inscriptions mentions the place named Mulanpedu. But all inscriptions are short and fragmentary on palaeographical grounds, and other associated finds, like Rouletted ware, russet coated ware, finds etc. are datable to first three centuries A.D. An important structure discovered was a brick-built dyeing-vat found at the depth of 7' in URY-4. It consisted of one square and an other rectangular chamber laid diagonally opposite to each other. This structure has close similarity to the similar dyeing vat excavated at Arikkamadu. It is interesting to note that Uraiyur from ancient times to this day, has been a leading centre of handloom textile industry in South India.

Why Urayur is famous for handlooms ?. The primary reason lies in the fact that Koris are a section of Kolis who became experts in weaving initially fishermen nets and finally cloth for men women. The Tamil Muthaliyars and Telugu Padmasalis could be the descendants of this Kori weaving community of Kolis. Sant Kabir belonged to this Kori / Koli community.

Koli => Kori

The ancient Tamil Sangam works like the 'Aganaanooru', the 'Puranaanooru' works contain copious references to the city and its political, commercial and religious importance. After the decline of the Cholas, Uraiyur practically lost its political importance. Uraiyur later on merged with the bigger town of Tiruchirappalli.

Urayur (Currently in Tiruchirappalli) was the capital of the early Cholas from before the first century CE until the dynasty was revived by Vijayalaya Chola c. 850CE. Urayur was located near the city of Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu. The word Urayur in Tamil literally means "the residence". Urayur was an ancient Chola city with a fortress and city wall on the southern banks of river Kaveri. The Imperial Cholas of the 9th century CE and later made Tanjavur as their capital. Urayur slowly lost its place in the Chola administration.

This place is also known as Thirukkozhi / Nikalaapuri / Uranthai. The famous temples like Sri Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Temple(Naachiyaar Amman Temple), Panchaverneswara temple, Vekkaliamman temple are situated here.

Cholas seems to be either kolis or a variant of koli fishermen just like mutharayars. Trichy was built on old Uraiyur city. At least a part of it was uraiyur- koli. Possibly one of the reasons the cholas were called so. The cholas-especially kandaradithar in thiruvisapa calls himself koli-Vendan. Kolis are North Indian fishermen relating emperor Mandhata, Satyavati of Mahabharata.

Koli is another name for the city of Uraiyur, the capital of the Cholas. Interestingly, some light is shed on the Cholas of Uraiyur by the Western Gangas of Talaikkadu. The Ganga ruler Durvinita, who ruled in the later half of 6th cent a.d., had a Chola princess as his Chief Queen. She is called 'the daughter of the family of Karikala Chola, an exemplary Kshatriya, and ruler of Uraiyur'.

Sri Vikrama, the grandson of Ganga Durvinita and who ruled in the 7th cent a.d., also had a Chola Princess as his Queen who is called 'the daughter of the Chola family of Karikala, who raised embankments on either side of the river Kaveri'(2). These references do show that Karikala Chola's family, ruling from Uraiyur, was still recognisd as a dynasty powerful enough to be reckoned with.

'Uragapuradhipa Parama Kshatriya Chola Kula tilaka Sri dagdha Carana Santana'(1).

The Western Gangas were Muttarasas. Sripurusha and his son Shivamara assumed the title Muttarasa.

Uraiyur went under a rain of sand according to a legend. and the cholas had to shift capital.Uraiyur has very ancient temples. Panchavarneshwarar is the name of the shiva temple. Palaiyarai is in patteeswaram and its neighbourhoods.Tanjore was most possibly snatched from the mutharaiyars by the growing cholas.

Tanjore was abandoned as a capital soon after Raja Raja Chola's (RRC) demise and activity shifted to gangai konda chola puram. Some say rajendra even functioned from chidambaram during the time GKC was built.

Uraiyrur (Woraiyur) was the capital of the earliest known Colas referred to by the Sangam literature. Today it is an insignificant suburb of Thiruchirapalli and contains an important sub-shrine attached to the Srirangam temple, viz., that of Uraiyur Nacciyar, one of the two consorts of Alagiyamanavalan, the God at Srirangam, the other being Sriranga Nacciyar, whose shrine is contained within the main temple of Srirangam.

In Sanskrit Uraiyur has been known as Uragapura. The Gadval plates of the Early Calukya king, Vikramaditya I, dated 674 A.D. mention Uragapura, on the southern bank of the Kaveri, referring to Uraiyur. The Prapannamrtam adopts this terminology. In Vaishnava tradition Uraiyur is known as Nisulapuri, after Nisulai, the mother of Kamalavalli, a Cola princess, who became the consort of the God at Srirangam. Uraiyur itself means nothing more than a place of dwelling in Tamil.

Uragapura : The Gadval plates assertion that in c. 674 A.D. the Chalukya king Vikramaditya I first sacked Kancipuram and then continued southwards as far as Uragapura on the Kaveri. It seems perfectly reasonable, moreover to equate THAT Uragapura with the one Kalidas mentioned a couple centuries earlier, [ but as a city of Pandyas ].

The Nisulapurai Mahatmya gives the following account of Uraiyur and Uraiyur Nacciyar. The environs of the Thiruchirapalli rock, which were thick forests, were once the abode of the asura Kara. The sage Agastya made that region a fit habitat for the Risis by sending the asura to the north. Then the Cola king, Dharmavaram, left Kumbakonam and founded a city on the southern bank of the Kaveri and called it Nisulapuri after his wife Nisula. To these mortals was born Lakshmi because she repulsed the sage Bhrigu, who attempted an exclusive interview with Visnu and thus stood in the way of her dalliance with her lord. She was called Vasalaksmi and she loved and married God Ranganatha. The Divyasuricaritam gives the same episode of Uraiyurvalli, but the Koil-Olugu mentions her as the daughter of Nanda Cola, a descendant of Dharmavarma. The latter account further states that after the marriage of Kamalavalli with Alagiyamanavalan, the God at Srirangam, Nanda Cola constructed many mantapas, gopuras and walls in Srirangam, and built a temple in his own city of Uraiyur for his daughter and the 'Divine Bridegroom'. The love of the divine daughter of the Cola with the God culminating in marriage has been the favourite theme of some romantic pieces of Vaisnava literature, the chief of which of which is the Sanskrit work called the Lakshmi Kavya by Uttamanambi Tirumalacarya. The same theme is celebrated by the Panguni Uttiram festival, which forms an exciting item of the Adibrohmotsava in Srirangam. According to the Kavya Uraiyurvalli (Laksmi) was the daughter of Karikala Cola and she chose Ranganatha as her husband in a svyamvara, which was attended by the gods of both the Vaishnava and Saiva pantheon.

According to 'Chulavamsa', Buddhadatta and Budhaghosa are certainly represented as contamporaries. The formar belongs to Uragapura [Uraiyur] near modern Trichinopoly in South India. He himself speaks patriotically of the kingdom of Cola and associates his literary activity with the reign of Accutavikkanata or Accutavikkama of the Kalabbha or Kalamba [kadamba] dynasty. The vinaya - vinicchaya at its end describes that Buddhadatta of Uragapura wrote it. The Abhidhammavatara at its end also refers to it.

Buddhadatta Thera. He lived in Uragapura in South India and wrote his works in the monastery of Bhútamangalagáma in the Cola country, his patron being Accutavikkama. He studied, however, at the Mahávihára in Anurádhapura. Tradition says that he met Buddhaghosa. Accutavikkanta was a Kalabhra king and an ancestor of Mudirajas / Muthurajas.

Kokolu Anka Rao
13th March 2009
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

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