Friday, September 29, 2023

Pushpavaneswarar Temple, Thirupuvanam – History

Pushpavaneswarar Temple, Thirupuvanam – History

This temple might have been in existence from 6th century CE. The current structure was built by the Chola king Aditya I (870 - 907 CE) and extensively renovated by the Sembian Madevi, wife of Gandaraditya Chola and mother of Uthama Chola. The structure of the Vishnu shrine is believed to have expanded during the reign of Chola Emperor Rajendra Chola I (1012-1044).

The temple received extensive patronage by the Cholas, Pandyas, Vijayanagara Kingdom and Nayak rulers. Inscriptions dating back to the reigns of Chola Kings Aditya Chola, Uthama Chola, Rajaraja Chola & Rajendra Chola and Pandya Kings Sadayan Maran, Rajasimha, Jatavarman Kulasekara Pandya, Parakrama Pandya I, Maravarman Sundara Pandya I, Maravarman Sundara Pandya II, Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I & Maravarman Kulasekara I can be seen in the temple premises.

The mukha mandapam of the temple might have been built by King Thirumalai Naicker. The pillars of the mukha mandapam has sculptures of King Thirumalai Naicker, his wife and his brother Muthyala Naicken. Inscriptions dating back to the reigns of Aditya Chola records the endowment of burning a perpetual lamp, conducting Theerthavari & thirumanjanam on auspicious days in Tamil month Purattasi (Sep-Oct) in the temple.

Inscription dating back to the reign of Uthama Chola records maintenance and worship of Pushpavaneswarar and Varadharaja Perumal temples afforded to four able men. This inscription can be seen in the second precinct. Inscription dating back to the reign of Chola Emperor Rajaraja Chola I records the gift of a village named Manali to thistemple. It also records that the temple was built by Chembiyan Maadevi.

The earliest inscription found at the temple belongs to the early Pandya King Sadayan Maran. The inscription records a gift of 75 sheep donated to the temple for maintaining perpetual lamps. The inscription has a reference to the donor Kunava Ayyan Manavaatti Udaiyan and another name Komana Sami, wife of one Veerapandya Veenai Marayan alias Aliyan Veera Narayanan.

It also refers to a temple named Sri Koil and consecration of a deity. The gift was entrusted with Vettikudi Poovanar Arayan. Vettikudi refers to a group of people who are unpaid temple workers. The temple has two Vattezhuthu inscriptions of Pandyan King Rajasimha. One of the inscriptions records the visit of Chera King Ko Kothai Varman visit and his donations to the temple.

Inscriptions dating back to Pandya Kings records the endowments made to this temple for maintenance of the temple, conducting festivals, learning Vedas & feeding of brahmins, order of the king to revenue collectors to give certain amount of gold to this temple, land donations and land donation made of Madapuram Shaiva mutt. The temple also has copper plate inscriptions belonging to Sadyavarman Kulasekara Pandya and Maravarman Sundara Pandya I.

These plates records the formation of Rajagambira Chathurvedhimangalam and its subsequent donation to 1200 Brahmins. Thirupuvanam village was under the geographical division named Rajasinghakulakeezh. Chinnamanur copper plate, an important document on early Pandya kingdom, refers to the village tank as Rajasinghakulam. Nattukottai Chettiyar community renovated this temple in the last century.