Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam – Inscriptions

Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam – Inscriptions
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is a veritable treasure trove for epigraphists. Over 640 inscriptions have been copied and published from the temple. The Archaeological Survey of India has devoted an entire volume (XXIV) in its South Indian Inscriptions series to record the inscriptions copied from the temple. The Big Temple in Thanjavur is the only other temple in Tamil Nadu to have such an exclusive volume devoted to the inscriptions found in a particular temple.
The inscriptions throw up interesting and valuable light on the history, culture and economy during a period of over a thousand years. “The temple abounds in inscriptions dating between the early Chola and late Nayak periods. There is scope for a comprehensive study on the inscriptions found in the temple.
The most important feature of the temple with which this volume is concerned is its numerous inscriptions mostly engraved on its prakara walls, pillars and pilasters, some on copper-plates in the possession of the temple and yet some more on the temple jewels and utensils of gold.  They represent royal donors of almost all the dynasties of South India from early Cholas down to the Marathas of Tanjore and the Nayakas of Madurai,  and  later still, during the East India Company days, the prominent philanthropist Pachchaiyappa quin of the deity repaired in the year Saka 1735(A.D. 1813). 
The earliest of the lithic records takes us back, on grounds of their paleography, to the period of the early Chola Kings Rajakesarivarman (Aditya I) and Parakesarivarman (Parantaka I).  It is noteworthy that we do not find here any records of the powerful Pallavas who preceded them although some of them like Simhavishnu are said to have been devout worshippers of Vishnu, and Gunabhara, identified with Mahendravarman who has left to posterity in the rock-cut cave of the Rock Fort at Tiruchy the masterly panel of Vishnu depicted in the form of Ananthasayin. 
The records on a loose slab kept near the temple Museum, are engraved on the jambs of a well-dressed stone doorway of the temple granary (Kottaram or nel-kalanjiyam) in the fourth prakara of the temple.  Their position, so far removed from the present central shrine, seems to suggest that the original position of the central shrine must have been somewhere near them or that they were removed and inserted in their present position during subsequent alternations. Of the two records of Rajakesarivarman  (Aditya I), one (No.2) dated in the 26th year of his reign registers an endowment of some fold by puttadigal, son of Karanai Vilupperaraiyar Arivaladigal towards the feeding of four Brahmanas.  By their names the donor and his father appear to be of the Buddhist or Jain persuasion and it is noteworthy that they figure as donors in this temple. 
The inscriptions of Parakesarivarman (Parantaka I), although few, range from his 2nd to the 41st year of reign, his earliest date i.e. 2nd year of reign calls him by the application Parakesarivarman without the qualifying epithet Madirai-konda.  Another refers to the platform raised for the flag staff (thirukodi) by Narayanan alias Tennavan Brahmadhirajan, the Srikaryam of the temple.  It may be recalled that the Anbil plates of Sundara Chola Parantaka II, in giving an account of the king’s minister Aniruddha-Brahmadhirajan, mention the minister’s father as Narayana and his mother and grandfather Aniruddha as donors of lamps to the god of Srirangam.  It is not unlikely that this Tennavan Brahmadhirajan is identical with Narayanan, the father of Aniruddha Brahmadhirajan.  
The only inscription of Uttama-Chola on the pillar in the Chandana mandapa in the second prakara, and dated in the 15th year of his reign, records provision for burning a lamp with ghee and Bhimaseni-karpuram, a kind of camphor, by Sridhara Kumaran, a Malayalan of Iravimangalam.  The top of the pillar itself is scooped out and shaped into the form of a cup to hold the mixture of ghee camphor for the lamp.  This practice of burning lamps with ghee or oil mixed with camphor is still in vogue at Thiruvannamalai District. Even at Srirangam prior to the advent of electric lights all the lamps in the temple were said to be lit either with ghee or oil freely mixed with camphor ostensibly, it is said, to make the ghee or oil for feeding the lamps unfits for human consumption.   
The records of Rajaraja, and his son and successor Rajendra are few and fragmentary and almost all of them are confined to the tiers of the basement of what is now known as the Ottaikkal mandapam at the north-east corner of the Unjal mandapam.  Some of them have flaked off on account of the weathering of the stone and some are covered over by later constructions.  It mentions the king’s commander (Senapati) Kuravan who may be identical with the officer Senapati Kuravan Ulagalandan alias Rajaraja-Maharajan mentioned in the Tanjore inscription of the king and who probably derived his surname Ulagalandan on account of the important part he must have played in carrying out the revenue survey during the king’s reign which furnished the basis for the revenue policy for many years thereafter. 
A short but complete record of this king is furnished by an inscription on a detached pillar now lying in the courtyard in front of the ancient paddy storage rooms.  It is dated in his 32nd regnal year and mentions Sundara Chola alias Rajaraja IIan govelar as his subordinate, a circumstance that enables us to assign the record to Rajadhiraja (I) on eight pillars of the verandah at the entrance into the Chakkarathalvar shrine, we have the only inscription of Adhirajendra unfortunately too fragmentary, the stones containing portions of the record now built into the wall of the passage at the Nali kettanvasal revealing just some portions of his prasasti, commencing with Tingaler-malarndu etc.,   and with its date lost.   
To Kulottunga I, belongs the bulk of inscriptions and the majority of them are confirmed to the walls of the third prakara.  They range in date from the 10th to the 48th year of his reign.  An outstanding feature that most of these inscriptions reveal is the recourse taken to by intending donors reclaiming vast tracts of land which belonged to the temple and which had lain under sand for a long time on account of floods.  Some inscriptions specify this period as a hundred years.  The donors purchased plots of this land from the Temple authorized and in turn gave them away either tax-free or on the basis of deferred assessment over them for a specified period, stipulating periodic supplies of grain, flowers, etc., to the temple by the intending purchasers or donors. 
To mention only a few among such donors Kalingarayar alias Ponnambalakkuttar of Manaiyil may be identified with the famous general Naralokavira who held a large fief in Manaiyil and whose services in the southern campaigns of the king are sung not only in the Vikrama Solan-ula but also praised in a number of laudatory inscriptions from Chidambaram, Thiruvadi and other places, but who must be different from Kalingarayar alias Araiyan Garudavahanam who endowed some money to the temple for the recitation of Tettaruntiral, a set of hymns composed by Kulasekhara, or from Kalingarayar alias Kiliyur-Udaiyan Nadaripungalan who figures as donor of land; Senapatigal Taliyil Madurantakan alias Rajendrachola-Kidarattaraiyar and his wife Rajakesarivalli; and Senapatigal IIangovelar alias Sendamangalam-udaiyan Jayangondasolan, of whom the latter endowed for a garden to be named Kidarangondavilagam, the surname ‘Rajendrachola Kidarattaraiyar’ of the donor in the dormer and the name of the garden Kidarangondavilagam in the latter affording lithic proof of Kulottunga’s association with Kidaram or Kadaram; Vanadhiraja, the minister of Jayadhara i.e. Kulottunga, who seems to have raised a prakara wall to the temple and whose name Arulmoli Rajadhirajan occurs along with his dynastic title Vanadhiraja in another inscription recording his endowment for a flower  garden; Neriyan Muvendavelar alias Adittan Vedavana-mudaiyan Chola-Kerala-Nallurudaiyan; Rajendrachola Adiyaman alias Araiyan Sendan of Ponparri and Senapati Virarajendra Adigaiman,  among the Adigaiman chiefs of Kongu; Senapati Rajanarayana Munaiyadaraiyar alias Kotturudaiyan Araiyan Rajendracholan and Senapati Vira-Chola Munaiyadaraiyar alias Ayarkolundu Chakrapani of Kottur who endowed for the recitation of Tiruppalli eluchchi and Tiruvaymoli in the temple Cholasikhamani Muvendavelar, the Srikaryam of the temple Vira Vichachadira Muvendavelar, who also held the same office and his namesake who bore the alias name Siralan Tiruchchirrambalam udaiyan, and Bhuvaninarayana Muvendavelar of Nedunjeri, all of whom bore the distinctive surname Muvendavelar ; Kannagan Karumanikkan alias Valava Vichchadira Pallavararayan; Adittan Tiruvarangadevan alias Virudaraja bhayankara Vijayapalan; Pallikondan Kuttanar alias Vilinattaraiyar of Sirramur who may be distinguished from Uyyavandan alias Vilinattaraiyan of Villinam alias Rajendrasolappattinam occurring in an inscription of the 25th year of the king from Tirunelveli and who might have belonged to the Munrukai-mahasenai which boasts among its other achievements, to have destroyed Vilinjam on the sea, Nishadarajar who figures as the Srikaryam of the temple and whose identity with his namesake bearing the surname Tirukkoodungunramudaiyan Keralan in another record of the 25th year of the king’s reign from Sivapuri: is probable; and lastly Rajarajan Madurantakan alias Vatsarajan who endowed land for a matha named after him for feeding some Srivaishnavas at the instance of Nishadarajan. 
Notable among the ladies who figures as donors to the temple are Nambirattiyar Lokamahadeviyar who endowed lands for a flower garden who, may be identified as the queen of Rajamahendra is said to have provide a serpent couch set with precious stones to god Ranganatha, and who, according to the Koyilolugu, effected many structural alterations in the temple.  Though lithic references to the former are lacking, in inscription of the 25th regnal year of the king inscribed on the north wall of the third prakara specifically states that the record was ordered to be engraved on the wall of the Rajamahendran-triuchchurru, which to this day, retains the same name.  Inscriptions dated in the 15th regnal year of the king, introduces the donor Neriyan, Mahadevi who is described as a daughter of Pandiyanar, and another inscription dated in the same year mentions Tennavan Mahadevi (Pandya Princess) as a queen of Rajendaradeva (Kulottunga I).  If the two are identical, the epigraphs furnish us with a hitherto unknown fact that a Pandya figured among the queens of Kulottunga I.  Tennavan Mahadevi bears the alias Rajarajan Aru.  Moliyar in the Inscription, dated in the 25th regnal year of the king which records a further endowment of one veli of land adjacent to the plot already endowed by her a decade earlier. 
Another Chola queen, a Valavan Madevi whose identity is not otherwise indicated on account of the fragmentary nature of the record also figures as a donor of some land in the 29th year of Kulottunga’s reign.  Gunavalli alias Pendath Kadavurudaiyal obviously a lady of high rank and Siriyandal-sani, daughter of Atreyan Damodaran Narayanan and wife of Tayanambipiran figure as donors of land the former for a flower garden and the latter for the Srivaishnavas of the temple in the inscriptions respectively. 
Before passing on to the reign of Vikramachola, the next king represented by the inscriptions in the temple, a few details for outstanding interest in the records of Kulottunga I may be mentioned here.  We may note the role of the temple treasury as a bank for advancing funds, taking deterrent steps for collecting arrears from its constituents or even affecting their arrest for default or non-payment & also records the repayment with interest of a long-standing loan raised by the sabha of Chandralekhai-Chaturvedi-mangalam (the modern Sendalai from the treasury of god Ananthanarayana swami at Srirangam.  Though the details of the transaction are unfortunately lost due to the damaged state of the record, this much can be gathered that the loan was raised in the 10th regnal year of Madiraikonda Parakesarivarman i.e. Parantaka I (c. 917 A.D.) and discharged in the 10th year of the reign of Kuloththunga I (c. 1080 A.D.) an interval that stretched over a period of more than a century and a half. 
The succor extended by the temple treasury for rehabilitating a village that had suffered destruction in a conflict is recorded in an inscription which refers to a clash between the Right and Left hand classes in the 2nd year of the king’s reign resulting in the burning down of the village Rajamahendra-chaturvedimangalam, destruction of its sacred places and looting of its temple treasury and the images by robbers.  The treasury advanced funds to the Sabha which undertook the work of rehabilitating the village and renovating and re-consecrating its temple.  A marginal note engraved on the top left coroner of this record is considerable significance.  It states that this kalvettu (inscriptions) belonged to Rajamahendra-chaturvedimangalam which according to the main inscription, was situated in Nittavinodavalanadu.  This latter division comprised parts of the present Nannilam and Papanasam taluks of the Thanjavur district and as such the village under or fifty miles away from Srirangam. 
The reason for engraving this record so far away from Rajamahendra-chaturvedimangalam is inexplicable, particularly because it was done in the 11th year of the king’s reign when, unlike in the second year of his reign when the political had come to sway over the entire Chola territory and as such could have chosen a place nearer to the village for recording the transaction. The clash between the Right-hand and the Left-hand classes alluded to in the inscription was probably an off shoot of this feud.  An inscription of Adhirajendra at Chittamalli in the Mannargudi taluk which bears a date closely falling in the period of these clashes referred to in the Srirangam epigraph seems to confirm this surmise.   
Mention must be made here of a Kannada inscription which quotes the 29th regnal year of Kulottunga but begins with the typical Western Chalukya prasasti Samastabhubvanasraya.  Prithvi-Vallabha etc.,  and records certain endowments made by a group of Kons apparently headed by a person whose name is lost but who is mentioned as the Kannada sandhivigrahi and the Dandanayaka of king Tribhuvanamalla i.e. Vikramaditya (VI). The presence at Srirangam of Sandhivigrahi of the Chalukya king, whose rivalry with the Chola king is well known, is enigmatic.  It shows the tolerance of chola king allowing enemies in the capacity of a pilgrim that the Chalukya dignitary and his followers visited this holy place.   
The alliances that were effected by the Chola monarchs Rajendaradeva and his brother Virarajendra by giving their daughters in marriage to the Eastern Chalukya Rajendra II who subsequently ascended the Chola throne as Kulottunga-Chola I and the Western Chalukya Vikramaditya VI respectively apparently had the desired result of allaying at least for the time being, the enmity between the two rival houses.  For, it seems as though the visit of Vikramaditya’s Sandhivigrahi to Srirangam and the apparent deference he had shown to the ruling monarch of the reign i.e. Kulottunga, in quoting the latter’s regnal year rather than that of his own sovereign Vikramaditya shows the friendly relationship that prevailed between these two kings at the period.
Inscription dated in the 39th regnal year of the king which refers to the sale of some temple land to Ariyan Vasudeva Bhattan alias Rajaraja Brahmarayan of Anishtanam in Kasmiradesam seems to give a clue to the origin of the name Aryabhattal-vasal by which one of the main entrances into the temple is now known. Tradition ascribes this to certain Arya-Brahmana from the Gauda-desa in the north who came to Srirangam with treasure as offering to the god and that prior to its acceptance by the deity; it was left at the entrance and guarded by these Brahmanas in consequence of which it came to be known as the Aryabhattal-vasal.  The Koyilolugu, referring to this legend, dates it in Kali 360, an impossibly early period. The inscription under reference being the earliest to refer to the Arya-Brahmanas or Aryabhattal their connection with this temple may reasonably be dated from about this period, viz., 12th century A.D. This appears to have been the period when there was an influx of people from the remote north as pilgrims to important centers of worship in the South as may be gathered from some epigraphs of Lalgudi, Tiruvorriyur and Kalahasti which mention a resident of Kasmirapuram as a donor in these places.
Vikrama-Chola’s records, numbering fourteen altogether, range in date from the 3rd to the 16th year of his reign.  The majority of them are confined to the walls of the 3rd prakara which is popularly known as Vikrama-Cholan-tiruchchurru, even to this day.  The Koyilolugu ascribes the 5th prakara of the temple besides some other structures and a temple of Rama to this king.  This prakara no doubt forms the 5th counted from the outer-most of the seven prakarams of the temple but whether this was at all, a work attributable to Vikrama-Chola is not borne out by any Epigraphical  evidence barring the fact that almost all the records of the king are, as pointed above confirmed to the walls of this (3rd) prakara.  In an inscription on the inner wall, right of the Aryabhattalvasal, the Srivaishnavakkanmis of the temple together with the temple accountant made a gift of land for a flower garden to be named Avirodisilan.  Whether it was after an epithet of Vikrama-Chola himself that the garden was so named is however not known. 
Among the donors figuring in this period may be mentioned Udaiyan Velan Karunakaran alias Tondaimanar, the famous general of the king who is praised in the Vikramachola-ula as the conqueror of Kalingam and Puravangudaiyan Araiyan Adittadevan alias Enadi Araiyan of Puliyangudi who endowed land for a flower garden at the instance of Valavanarayana Muvendavelar, the Srikaryam of the temple.  The garden was to be named Nidiyabharanan-nanadavanam, probably after an epithet of the king.  An inscription which is dated in the 16th year, the very last of Vikrama-Chola and which is engraved on the north wall of the fourth prakara, records provision for the feeding of Apurvi-Srivaishnava Brahmanas on the festival days in the Panguni month, for which purpose Sirilangon-Tirunadudaiyan had endowed lands.  It is noteworthy that the inscription invokes the protection of the Abhimanabhushanar of the three mandals instead of the Srivaishnavas of the 18 vihayas generally quoted.  
Abhimanabhushana chaturvedimangalamas the name of a village and Abhimanabhushana-velan as the name of a residential quarter are mentioned in inscriptions of Rajaraja at Tanjore.
The only two records of Kulottunga II are dated in the 7th and 11th regnal years respectively of the king.  The earlier of them recording details of the leasing out of temple lands for rearing coconut and areca purports to be an order issued forth by the deity itself, ostensibly to bind the lessees from discharging their obligations to the temple regularly.  Similar instances of records in the form of memoranda issued in the name of the presiding deity of the place are often met with in this temple itself as also in others.
A record of Rajaraja II dated in the 11th year of his reign (A.D. 1156) registers a gift of a golden lamp stand set with a ruby and an endowment of money towards supply of camphor and oil for maintaining it by Kodai Ravivarman of Venadu in Malai-nadu.   
It is noteworthy that these records too like that of the western Chalukya Vikramaditya VI quotes the regnal year not of the donor but of the reigning king of the region viz., ‘Kulottunga II.  As in the other record cited, here too the gift was made to the deity by Kandan Iravi, ulliruppu officer of the Venadu king on behalf of his overlord. Instances of kings making endowments and grants to temples situated outside their own dominions through their officers or feudatories, or getting some religious rites performed in such places by proxies in tirthams or places of pilgrimage are not wanting.  An inscription of the Eastern Ganga king and another of his queen at Kanchi or Kanchipuram, one of the Gahadavala king at Suryanarkoyil, and several of the Hoysala, Vijayanagara, and many other rulers at Varanasi, recording grants made to the local deities or referring to the religious rites performed there by their proxies are instances to the point.   
An interesting detail that may be gathered in the record under review is that it specifies the rate of exchange between the achchu, the coinage of the Travancore territory and the kasu, the Chola coinage as 1:9. 
Among the five inscriptions of Rajadhiraja II, the first two are dated in the 9th regnal year of the king.  Of them, the former inscriptions states that a merchant of Kurattippattanam in Kaivara-nadu, a division of Poysla-nadu and who had presented a large fore-head jewel to the god.  The cash endowment of 70 kasu paid into temple treasury was invested at the rate of 1/16 kasu per kasu per month yielding an interest of 4-3/8 kasu every month and this amount was used to meet the cost of a daily supply of one ulakku of ghee for a lamp in the temple.  The yield on the endowment amount at the above rate works out to 75 per cent which by any standard is unusually high.   
An inscription mentions the chief Virrirundan Seman alias Tirukkuraivalartta Akalanka-Nadalvar of Tiruttavatturai as donor of a thousand kasu for some special festival in the temple.  A record of this same king from Tiruppachchur couples his 9th regnal year with Saka 1095 yielding A.D. 1163 as the initial year for his reign.  In some inscriptions of this king from Salem district, this same chief, Virrirundan Seman, figures as leading an expedition against Kollimalai, probably on behalf of his overlord.  Inscriptions belongs to this king, all engraved on the fourth prakara wall opposite the shrine of Udaiyavar, record oaths of fealty taken by certain men to serve upto death their master Virrirundan Seman as servants (velaikkaras).  The expedition of this chief and the oaths of fealty that bound his servants to him appear to be intimately connected with Rajadhiraja’s leading part in the succession dispute that broke out among the Pandya of whom one rival party sought the help of the Chola monarch while the other appealed to the Singhalese ruler Parakrama Bahu for help. 
There are nineteen inscriptions assignable to the reign of Kulottunga III records that the various works of construction including Magadesam alias Adaiyavalaindan-tirumaligai and the worship in the temple described as the tutelary property (kuladhanam) of the king were under the protection of Tayilum Nallan alias Kulottungasola-Vanakovaraiyar.  Though the deity of the temple is not referred to there is nothing to prevent us from identifying the temple with that of Ranganathaswamy temple.  On the basis of the negative evidences that both the king and the officer had a learning towards Saivism and that they are not known to have been such ardent Vaishnava devotees as to call the Srirangam temple as their kuladhanam it has been surmised that the slabs bearing this inscription probably belonged to some portion of the prakara wall of the neighboring Jambukesavara temple and that they were inscribed later their present position. Now that we know that the temple enjoyed the patronage of Chola Parantaka I who is stated to have gilded the vimana of the Ranganathaswamy temple as stated in his Velachery copper plate record, it is quite proper to state that both the Saivite Periyakovil at Chidambaram and the Vaishnavite Periyakovil at Srirangam were considered by the Cholas as a whole as their kuladhanam.  As for Adaiyavalaindan Tiirumaligai chutru, it is quite a well-known name of a prakara in the temple.
The inscriptions belonging to the period of Rajaraja Chola III and the Hoysala King Vira Ramanatha from the temple provide information on the formation of agarams (agraharams- Brahmin settlements) at Gunasila Mangalam, a village owned by the temple as tax free ‘thirunamathukkani.’ Inscriptions engraved in 28th and 31st regnal years of Rajaraja III mention that a couple of agarams were formed by horse merchants of the village Kulamukku in Kerala.
Though there are references to horse merchants in some of the inscriptions copied earlier from the temple, none of them indicate that they were involved in creating new agarams. While the earliest of the agarams belong to period of Pandya King Jatavarman Virapandya (AD 1307), as indicated by the inscriptions copied previously, the new inscriptions pushes back the date of formation of agarams in relation to the Srirangam temple by 63 years.
They also speak of the involvement of the horse merchants from Kulamukku of Kerala in creating agarams and construction of smaller shrines in and around the agarams. Interestingly, the newly formed Brahmin settlements were named after donors or their blood relations, a custom which was not followed during the later Pandya rule.
The inscriptions record appeals made by donors to the temple authorities – the Jeer, Sri Vaishnavas and Nambimars – seeking land for formation of new agarams for Bhattars, extension of existing agarams with other features such as gardens and to carry out services to the deities at the settlements.
The authorities had read out the appeals in front of the God to get His consent and then a sale document was written by the temple accountant to be given to the purchaser. Details of the same were inscribed in the temple.
The inscriptions record the appeals made by Navaya Manavalar and Kunchi Nambi Manavalar, horse merchants from Kulamukku, during the 31st regnal year of Rajaraja Chola III to provide land at Gunasila mangalam to form an agaram in the name of Navayan Govindan and also to construct Govinda Perumal Thirumurram in the settlement for the merit of their parents.
Vandanambi Chettiyar, another horse merchant from Kulamukku had made similar appeals during the 28th regnal year of Rajaraja III. Esibhattan, who formed an agaram along with a shrine for Lakshmi Narayana had asked for one veli of wetland and quarter veli of dry land to carry out the services and offerings to the God and also to form a temple garden during the 8th regnal year of Vira Ramanatha, the Hoysala King.
The appeals of Vanda Nambi and Eshibhattan were read out to the God when he was seated on the Vedaneri Kattinar Simhasana under the pearl canopy named after Thirumalai Thanthan in the Nalanthigal Narayanar Mandapam during the festivals conducted in the Tamil months of Avani and Purattasi.
All three applicants got lands at Gunasila mangalam which lay on the eastern side of Pachil Kuram a sub-division of Rajaraja Valanadu. Vanda Nambi had paid 10,000 kasu to purchase 5,000 kuzhi of dry land whereas Navaya Manavalar had purchased 3,400 kuzhi for 17,000 kasu. Though both the purchases were done during the reign of the same king, the difference in price appears huge and unexplainable. Eshibhattan had given 16,000 kasu to make his one veli of wetland tax free and also to get 400 kalam of paddy annually as gift.
The documents, while mentioning the boundaries of the lands, provide useful information on irrigation facilities, land measures, tax structure and the names provided for the lands in the particular village. Those who purchased the lands from the temple were permitted to reclaim fallow lands, cultivate whatever they want and entitled to the yield after paying the requisite taxes and due share to the temple.
The new settlements had shrines referred to as ‘Thirumurram’ in the inscriptions. The temple authorities had also laid down certain qualifications for the tenants occupying the new settlements.
The tenants should be Srivaishnavas, acquainted with Vedas, wear the sacred mark (thiru ilacchinai) and devote themselves to the sacred feet of Lord Vishnu.
The inscriptions also throw light on two festivals celebrated in the temple. They indicate that a festival celebrated in the month of Avani was conducted for several days. The third day of the event is referred as ‘thirukodi Thirunal’ and inscription eulogizes the importance of the temple flag. The day of lunar eclipse in the Tamil month of Purattasi was celebrated in a grand manner.
It shall also be pointed that the Srirangam temple was one among the handful of temples which have had an Arokyasala that had rendered medical service to the people. It can be gleaned from inscriptions at the temple that the Arokyasala was originally established in 1257 AD by a Hoysala general and it was demolished in the course of the Muslim invasion. It was later renovated in 1493 AD and the image of Dhanvanthari was also installed.
The inscriptions record appeals made by donors to the temple authorities – the Jeer, Sri Vaishnavas and Nambimars – seeking land for formation of new agarams for Bhattars, extension of existing agarams with other features such as gardens and to carry out services to the deities at the settlement.