Friday, November 10, 2017

Panangaateeswarar Temple, Panaiyapuram – Inscriptions

Panangaateeswarar Temple, Panaiyapuram – Inscriptions
The temple has a number of inscriptions belonging to Rajendra Chola I (regnal years 1012 CE to 1043 CE), his son, Rajendra Chola II, Adhi Rajendra, Kulottunga I, Jatavaraman Sundara Pandya I and Vikrama Pandya among others. Rajendra Chola's inscription called the deity Nethrodharaka Swami (meaning, the main deity will cure eye ailments). The inscription recorded the gift of land and money for worship and making offerings in the temple. It spoke about Rajendra Chola's conquest of Kadaram. (The present-day Kedah in Malaysia was called Kadaram and it belonged to Sri Vijaya kingdom). It revealed that the Chola emperor rebuilt the main temple between 1025 CE and 1040 CE.
Another important aspect of the village is that it is also named Paravaipuram. Paravai was the consort of Tamil Saivite saint Sundarar, who lived in the eighth century CE. Paravai belonged to a family of dancing girls and she is worshipped even today, along with Sundarar, in Siva temples. Rajendra Chola I also had a personal assistant called Paravai, who was an ‘anukki.' This Paravai was named after Sundarar's consort. (Female personal assistants, who were trusted by the kings, were called anukki and anukkan were their male counterparts). Paravai built the Thyagaraja temple at Tiruvarur in Tamil Nadu and covered the vimana with gold.
To honour her, Rajendra Chola I made her sit next to him in his royal chariot and drove her in a procession on the four main streets around the Thyagaraja temple. The Chola emperor made two bronze images resembling her and placed them before the deity in the Tiruvarur temple's sanctum and worshipped them. This is recorded in a long inscription in the Tiruvarur temple. Rajendra Chola I re-built the Panaiyapuram temple in Paravai's honour, when she was alive and the town around the temple was named after her.
The temple has two inscriptions of Rajendra Chola II (regnal years 1052 to 1064 CE), both datable to 1058 CE. One of the inscriptions mentions his gift of paddy to “Paravai Easwara Udaiyar Mahadeva in the town of Paravaipuram in Panaiyur Nadu”, falling under the larger division called “Rajendra Chola Valanadu.” The temple has an inscription of Adhi Rajendra, who ruled from 1068 to 1071 CE. This inscription, dated 1070 CE, records the gift of tax-free land to the temple by a merchants' guild of Paravaipuram to feed the pilgrims.
There is a record of Kulottunga Chola I (regnal years 1070-1122 CE) on the gift of gold coins by a chieftain named Ponnambala Kizhan of Arumbakkam, near present-day Chennai, for lighting a perpetual lamp. In the inscriptions, available at this temple is noted as Tiruppuravaar Panangaatutaiyaar Temple and the Lord’s name is inscribed as Tiruppanangaatutaiya Mahadevar.