Kamarasavalli Chaturvedimangalam of yore is located in the Udaiyarpalayam taluk of Trichi District on the northern bank of the Coleroon (Kollidom), 22.5 km from Kilappaluvur, a nodal point in Lalgudi-Tanjavur route. The temple of Karkotakesvaram is an important early temple of the Chola Kings, at least a century earlier than the magnum opus of the Chola Dynasty, the Brihadeeswara Temple at Tanjavur. The temple seems to have been in existence as a brick structure even in the days of Aditya I (871-907 A.D.), son of Vijayalaya, the founder of the Chola dynasty.
The presiding deity is known by different names in different periods. If he was called Tirunallur Mahadeva in the 10th century, later he came to be called Karkotakesvaram Udaiya Nayanar.
The temple faces east. The main temple has a tri-tala vimana with round sikhara. Its adhistana (basement) and garbha grha are of stone. The superstructure is of brick and mortar. The garbha griha is 4.9 M square in area.
The ardhamandapa projects 7.3 M forward. There is a later mukha mandapa as well. On the external walls of the garbha griha are panels of miniature sculptures (friezes) of fine workmanship. These include Ganapathy, Karthikeya, Rama and Mayaman (the decptive deer), Kaalari murti and Markandeya, musicians, couples etc.
There are sculptural representations of various deities in the deva koshtas (recessed enclosures) around the Srikovil. These include Ganapathy, Agasthya, Ardhanareeswara, Lingodbhavar, Kankalamurti, Bhikshatanar, Brahma, Durga etc.
There are sub-shrines for Ganapathy, Subrahmonia and Chandeswarar. There is an Amman Sannidhi in the forecourt which is a later addition during the Pandya hegemony in 14th century.
On the north-east corner adjoining the main mukhappu (facade) of the temple, there is a Koothambalam stage, beyond which there is a tunnel (which is closed now) interlinking the temple and the King's palace.
In all there are about 40 and odd inscriptions in this ancient temple, ranging over a span of 600 years from 10th to 15th century. The earliest refers to the Kodandarama Vaikkal, named after Aditya I (871-907 A.D.). We could gather from the inscriptions that the strength of the local assembly towards the close of the 10th century in the period of Raja Raja I was only 80 and out of 14 dignitaries in the court of the Chola monarch, two were from Kamarasavalli Chaturvedimangalam.
ARE 76 of 1914 in the 13th regnal year of Raja Raja I mentions a gift of 15 Kalanju of gold, the interest on which was to be given to those who recited the Talavakaara Sama Veda on the day of Ardra in Margali (December). Lithic inscriptions on the temple walls highlight the social and cultural life of the day. One inscription of Raja Raja's 15th regnal year mentions a gift of land for the offering of akkaara adalai on Margali Thiruvadirai. It is very interesting to note that akkaara adalai or akkaara adai was a popular nivedya in the souther peninsula from similar inscriptions of 10th century in the Sri Vallabha Temple, Thiruvalla (Kerala) and in the Abhiramesvara Temple, Tiruvamattur (near Villupuram) in South Arcot District.
Back to Kamarasavalli Picture Gallery
Last Revised (contents): 2 oct, 2004
Last Revised (design) : 2 oct 2004