Saturday, February 20, 2021

Ulagalantha Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram – History

Ulagalantha Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram – History

This temple is considered as one of the oldest temples in Kanchipuram. The temple is believed to have been built by Pallavas, with later contributions from Cholas and Sambuvarayar Kings. The temple was extensively developed by Rajendra Chola I (1012–1044 CE). The temple has 15 inscriptions from various dynasties like Pallavas, Cholas and Sambuvarayars.

The earliest inscription is from 846 CE during the reign of Nandivarman III (846 - 869 CE) of Pallava Dynasty. There is a Chola inscription dated 1110 CE during the reign of Kulothunga Chola I (1070 - 1120 CE) indicating his visit to the temple and his gift of land to the temple whose income was to be used for the maintenance of the temple. Another similar inscription indicates the donation of a village by the king on behest of his queen Kampamadeviyar.

There are inscriptions from later Chola kings like Rajathiraja Chola II (1166–78) and Rajaraja Chola III (1216-56) indicating various records of gifts to the temple. There are also inscriptions from minor chieftains like Vijaya Gandagopala indicating gifts to the temple. The inscriptions refer the main deity by various names like Thiru Uragathu Ninru-arulina Paramaswamin, Thiru Uragathazhwar and Tiru Uragathu Emberuman.

The Sambuvarayar rule of the 16th century records the gift of a pond and a grove in Sevvanmedu village. The temple still continues to possess this grove. The inscriptions in the temple also indicate increased trade and commerce during the Pallava period, with licenses provided to shops like oil, ghee, arecanut, vegetables, flowers, coconut, sugar, cloth and sandal.

The temple has not received a single donation from the ruling Vijayanagar Empire, though the nearby temples received generous donations, indicating that the temple had sources of income. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamilnadu.

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