Paravai Nangai Isuvaram, Paravaipuram/Panaiyavaram

Rajendra I, recognising his relationship with Anukkiyar Paravai Nangaiyar through his Thiruvarur Inscriptions, and the Thiruvarur Inscriptions of Rajadhiraja I, son of Rajendra I, endorsing the recognition and honour his Father bestowed upon Paravai, were discussed in the previous posts.

This post concentrates on the inscriptions in the Temple of Paravai Nangai Isuvaram, situated in the medieval city of Paravaipuram (presently known as Panaiyavaram), an affirmation of the glory of the Lady and certainly a culmination of the Eminence, Paravai Nangai commanded. The inscriptions recorded from the temple, reveal the distinguished stature of Paravai, beyond the reigns of Rajendra I and son Rajadhiraja I.

Paravai Nangai Isuvaram, Paravaipuram

There are 16 inscriptions documented from the Temple at Panaiyavaram – stone inscriptions numbered- 317-329 of 1917 (Annual Report on Epigraphy mentions as Netroddharakasvamin temple), and inscripitons numbered 752, 753 and 754 of 1903 (South Indian Inscriptions Volume 8, that mentions as Netroddharakesvara Temple).

Among the above mentioned inscriptions, those numbered 319, 320, 321 and 323 provide evidence of this Temple linked to Rajendra Chola I and Paravai Nangaiyar, and hence are reviewed here, in the context of the same.

Inscription 319 of 1917 (ARE)

Documented in the 6th regnal year of Rajendra II (1054-1063), second son of Rajendra I and younger brother of Rajadhiraja I, the inscription mentions the name of the Temple as ‘Paravai Isuvaramudaiya Mahadevar Koyil’. It further specifies, that the Koyil was situated in the nagaram/city of Paravaipuram.

Rajendra Cholavalanaattu Panaiyurnaattu Poraiyurnaattu nagaram paravaipurathu paravai isuvaramudaiya mahadevar koyilil

it says-

‘The temple of Paravai Isuvaram Udaiya Mahadevar, located in the city of Paravaipuram in Poraiyurnadu- a subdivision of Panaiyurnadu; Panaiyurnadu was a district in Rajendracholavalanadu.’

Nagaram, denotes a Merchant Settlement. Hence, the temple of Paravai Isuvaramudaiya Mahadevar, must have been built amidst a Residential Colony of Merchants, an area of economically strong citizens.

A person named, Unnatha Chola Pandiya, donated grains for the purpose of lighting lamps in the temple.

the inscription reads-

vembatrur udaiyaan mannadi koothanaana

unnatha chola pandiya peraiyan

‘Unnatha Chola Pandiya’, with the conferred title ‘Peraiyan’, belonged to the village of Vembatrur.

Inscription 320 of 1917 (ARE)

This belongs to the 8th regnal year of Rajendra II. The facts that the inscription provide, seem to be manifold.

A fragment of the inscription, mentions ‘Paravai Purathu Paravai Isuvaramudaiyar’, the name of the city and the Principal Deity of the temple.

The word ‘Thirumugam’ is mentioned. Thirumugam means a Government Order, mostly issued by the King.

The interesting government order, talks of provisions for the worship and lighting lamps, to the images of Rajendracholadeva and Paravai Nangaiyar.

282 goats were provided, for the purpose of lighting –

Nandha Vilakku – 3 in number; and Sandhi Vilakku – 1 in number .

It further clarifies-

a) 90 goats for lighting of 1 nandha vilakku – hence, 270 goats donated for 3 nandha vilakku.

b) 12 goats for lighting of 1 sandhi village

which sums upto a total of 282 goats.

Below are the impressive lines of the inscription, mentioning the King and his Beloved –

rajendrachola devarum paravai nangaiyarum

ezhundharuli nindru thiruvaaraadhanai kolvathaal

Certainly, a fascinating way to epitomize the Duo.

The name of the shepherd, who would maintain the goats, ‘Paravai Nangai Kon’, also deserves a mention.

There is another fragment of the same inscription, which reads –

‘Paravai Nangai vaitha saalai iranginamaiyaal…’

Saala/Salai, as found in Tamil inscriptions of the Chola Era, has several connotations. It could be a specific area for providing food – to thavasis, shiva yogis, brahmins, apoorvis/vedic brahmins and sometimes to students who learnt Sanskrit. It could also be an institution, equivalent to a college. Probably, that is why, some researchers classify ‘Salai’ – predominantly as a Vedic School alone.

Salai, could also be a Military School- as in ‘Kanthalur Salai’. Respected History Researchers like Pandarathar have identified Kanthalur Salai as a Naval Base. The word, ‘Salai’, as given here, might denote a place to provide food to the above, or an institution, probably donated or initiated by Paravai Nangai.

The complexity of ‘Salai’, as documented in Tamil Inscriptions, needs separate analysis.

The phrase ‘Paravai Nangai vaitha saalai iranginamaiyaal’, could mean a neglected Salai, initiated by Paravai Nangai, revived during the times of Rajendra II.

Inscription 321 of 1917 (ARE)

This fragment of the inscription, doesn’t possess any name, such as the King or the temple. On palaeographic grounds, it belongs to the Cholas. Yet, it gives details on the worship and offerings carried out, which seem to suggest an elaborate worship schedule, implemented in the temple.

Large area of land and huge amounts of grain provided to the Temple, translate to the wealth and the importance the shrine must have commanded.

Land and Grains were provided for –

Vazhipaadu, Padaiyal, Sivadharma padippu, Thiruppathiyam– Worship, Offerings of Food, Reading of Sivadharma, and Recitation of Thiruppathiyam hymns.

Panchakavyam – five sacred things – (milk, curd, clarified butter, cowdung and urine) from the cow, used for sacred bath of the deities

Thiruvizha – Festival

Parisattam – Clothes for the deities

Sandhi Vilakku – Lamps – 32 in number

Namanigai – Sacred bath

Aaraadhikkum Andhanan – Brahmin who performs rituals

Parisaragam – Assistant

Thirumanjanam Poorippaan – One who performs the sacred bath

Musical Instruments of the Tamils, documented in ancient Sangam and Post-Sangam Literature (300 BCE – 600 ACE) and the medieval Bhakti Literature, till the date of Chekkizhar’s Periya Puranam (600 ACE – 1200 ACE), and inscriptions, have been classified into four vast categories, in connection to the means of sound produced.

Narambu Karuvigal- Stringed Instruments

Thulai/Kaatru Karuvigal – Wind Instruments

Kanja Karuvigal – Percussion vessels

Thol Karuvigal – Skin-head Percussion Instruments

Something similar to Victor-Charles Mahillon’s far later version (19th century), adapted from the Indian system- chordophones(stringed instruments), membranophones (skin-head percussion instruments), aerophones (wind instruments), and autophones (non-skin percussion instruments.

This inscription provides information on all four classifications of instruments, played in the temple of Paravai Nangai Isuvaram.

  1. Veenai – String
  2. Kaalam – Wind
  3. Thaalam (kind of symbol), Kaimani (bell), Sekandai (Gongs) – Percussion vessels
  4. Padagam, Mathalam, Karadigai – Skin-head Percussion

In addition, there was also a Dance Master for the temple – the word ‘Nattavam’, authenticates this.

With the Information on different kinds of musical instruments and nattavam, one can imagine the delightful feast, the temple would have presented to the deities, devotees and music lovers alike.

Two kinds of Guards were employed-

  1. Ullaalai Thriuvaasal – Guard for the Sanctum Sanctorium
  2. Purambil Thiruvaasal – Exterior Guard outside the Sanctum

Nandavanakkudi is mentioned in the inscription. There had been a Garden in or around the temple premises, where people resided too.

  1. Pallithaamam Parippaan– one to pluck the flowers
  2. Pallithaamam Thoduppaan – one to string the flowers into a garland

– were also assigned for the Garden.

Person for Thirumezhukku – cleaning and maintenance, Kusavan – Potter and Kanakku – Accountant were also part of the Temple Personnel.

Such an extensive pattern of worship and documentation of the same, ascertains the importance of the temple, during its time.

Inscription 323 of 1917 (ARE)

The inscription gives details of ‘Salai’, which could probably be the Salai, set up by Paravai Nangai, as described in inscription 320 of 1917.

Padaiyal -Food offered

Vilakku -Lamps

Salai Adum Madaiyar – Exclusive Cook for the Salai

Salai Pani Pendugal – Women who worked for the Salai

Salai Vaasal Kaappaan – Guard

Salaikku Kottakari – unable to decipher

Kankaani Kanakku – Accounts Superviser

Naayagan – Supervisor

are all mentioned.

Salaiyur, mentioned in the inscription, might refer to the places that were allocated for running of the Salai, at Paravaipuram. Nayagan, might be the Supervisor, in charge of the maintenance of those places.

Probably, this Salai in Panaiyavaram, was one, equivalent to the School/Hostel/Feeding House as mentioned in Rajendra I’s Ennayiram or Uyyakondan Thirumalai Temple inscriptions, which elucidate the administrative pattern of such Institutions.

Since, the personnel who worked for the Salai are mentioned, this could also be considered as a document issued for maintenance of the institution. Whether Rajendra II, released an endowment, for further conservation or continuation of the esteemed institution, started by Paravai Nangai, his father’s beloved, should be left to Probability, with insuffiicient evidences.

There is also a phrase-

‘Paravai Yetridum Soru’ in the fragment. What it could suggest, seems hard to decipher.

Inscriptions 324, 325, 326, 327, 328 and 329 ( of 1917 ARE)

Inscription 324 and 325, belong to Maravarman Vikrama Pandya, (Pandyas of the Second Empire).

The temple is mentioned as – Puravar Panangattur and the Principal Deity is Kannamanda Nayanar.

Inscriptions 326, 327, 328 and 329 belong to the Vijayanagara and post Vijayanagara Era (13th century ACE to 17th century ACE).

326 belongs to Muthukrishnappa Nayakka. The temple is mentioned as `Vira Paravaipuram’

Inscription 327 belongs to the reign of Kampanna Udaiyar. One of the fragments mentions ‘Paravaipurathu Maduranthaka Isuvaramudaiyar’.

Inscription 328 belongs to the reign of Viruppanna Udaiyar, son of Ariyana Udaiyar (son of Harihara II). The year given is Saka Era 1312, hence 1390 ACE. it mentions Udaiyar Kannamanda Nayanar at Thiruppuravar Panangattur or Paravaipuram.

Inscription 329- Names of Venkatapatideva Maharaja and Muthukrishnappa Nayakka are found in the damaged inscription. The name of the city – Paravaipuram, is mentioned.

South Indian Inscription Volume 8

Three Inscriptions noted from Panaiyavaram in the year 1903, are documented in Volume 8 of South Indian Inscriptions.

  1. Inscription 752 of 1903 – was inscribed in the 48th regnal year of Kulottunga Chola I (1070-1122 ACE). The Principal deity is mentioned as –

Gangaikonda Cholavalanaattu Paravaipurathu Thirupanangaadudaiya Mahadevar

The inscription records the donation of one ‘Araiyan Ponnambala Koothan’. He had provided 12 kaasu for the purpose of lighting 2 numbers of Nanda Vilakku.

2. Inscription 753 of 1903 – belongs to Sundarapandian III (of the Second Pandya Empire). This is yet another interesting inscription. It is an Order of the King which instructs in detail- the special days, offerings, decorations, land, grains and other provisions such as – sugarcane, lilly, coconut, areca palm, jackfruit, banana, turmeric, ginger for the temple.

The Temple and the Deity are mentioned as –

Rajarajavalanaattu Panaiyurnaattu Poraiyurnaattu Thaniyoor Paravaipurathu Thiruppuravaar Panangaattudaiyar Kannamanda Nayanar

3. Inscription 754 of 1903 – belongs to the 3rd regnal year of Adhirajendran (1070).

The temple, as seen in the inscription belongs to-

Panaiyurnadu, a district of Rajendra CholaValanadu.

One of the several adorable features of any inscription is, its ability to talk to the reader, after countless number of years. Like this one-

………………………………………………………………narkaasu

narpathum innilathukku naangal irai irukkak kadavamaga konda

…………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………….vitru vilai

aavananj cheithukoduthom oorkizhaan rajarajan jeyangonda chozhanaana

senaapathigal irukkuvelaarkku Paravaipurathu Nagarathom

It talks of the details of land sold by Paravaipurathu Nagarathar for 40 kaasu. The amount 40 kaasu was handed over to Senapathigal Irukkuvelar. The purpose of the donation, was for offering food to Apurvis of a Sivadharma Matt in the place.

Another temple close by –

Moolai mangala veedhiyil RajendraChola Vinnagar Azhwar Koyil – named RajendraChola Vinnagar Azhwar Koyil, is also mentioned in the inscription.

Inscription 319 of 1917, ARE, which mentioned ‘nagaram paravaipurathu paravai isuvaramudaiya mahadevar koyil‘ – where the merchant settlement came into sight, can be recollected here.

Paravai Nangai Isuvaram – From Paravaipuram to Panaiyapuram

From the above available sources, one could comfortably conclude that Paravai Nangai Isuvaram and Paravaipuram – the temple and city, were named after Rajendra I’s Anukki Paravai, until further contrasting evidences emerge.

Paravai Nangai Isuvaram and Paravaipuram, the name of the Temple and the City respectively, as continued to be known from inscriptions from 11th century ACE until 17th century ACE – during the reigns of Chola, Pandya, Vijayanagar and Post Vijayanagar Empires -is compiled below-

Cholas – 11th century ACE to 13th century ACE

Rajendra II (1054-1063)- Paravai Isuvaram Udaiya Mahadevar Koyil , Paravai Purathu Paravai Isuvaramudaiyar

Kulothunga Chola I (1070-1122) – Gangaikonda Cholavalanaattu Paravaipurathu Thirupanangaadudaiya Mahadeva

Pandyas of the Second Empire- 12th century ACE to 15th century ACE

Vikrama Pandian – Puravar Panangattur – Principal Deity Kannamanda Nayanar

Sundara Pandian III – Paravaipurathu Thiruppuravaar Panangaattudaiyar Kannamanda Nayanar

Vijayanagara and post Vijayanagara Era 13th century ACE to 17th century ACE

Muthukrishnappa Nayakka – Vira Paravaipuram

Kampanna Udaiyar – Paravaipurathu Maduranthaka Isuvaramudaiyar

Viruppanna Udaiyar – Udaiyar Kannamanda Nayanar at Thiruppuravar Panangattur or Paravaipuram.

Venkatapatideva Maharaja and Muthukrishnappa Nayakka – Paravaipuram

Among the city, temple and the Principal Deity – Paravaipuram, Paravai Nangai Isuvaram and Paravai Nangai Isuvaramudaiya Mahadevar, the name of the city ‘PARAVAIPURAM’ has remained the same for several centuries.

This leads to an unambiguous fact – Today’s Panaiyavaram is the altered/distorted version of Paravaipuram.

Conclusion

Inscriptions 319 and 320 of 1917 (ARE) from Panaiyavaram, belong to Rajendra II, the second son of Rajendra I, who ruled the Chola Land after his elder brother Rajadhiraja I. After Rajendra I’s Thiruvarur inscription and Rajadhiraja I’s inscription from the same temple, substantiating the influence of Anukkiyar Paravai Nangaiyar, this is yet another evidence of the continued importance bestowed upon her, even after two rulers – Rajendra I and Rajadhiraja I.

Was the temple built by Rajendra I, whose heart fell for the Lady and her exceptional qualities; or one of his sons – seems unclear, from the available evidences. But, what is clearly evident, is the significance of Paravai Nangai, specially due to her contributions to Chola Temples.

I quote my verses from one of the previous posts –

The transition from a Danseuse to a Revered Donor, nothing lesser than a Royal Patron, makes Paravai an interesting part of Rajendra’s life. 

The respect, the Father gave to his Intimate Companion, being honoured by both the sons, makes the Lady certainly a unique personality during her times and beyond. The admiration and appreciation, the Persona of the Lady had commanded seems overwhelming.

Neither a Queen, nor a Royal Patron, the Danseuse and Soulmate of Rajendra I, had been given the honour of a City, Temple and Principal Deity named after her. She was a special Confidante of the King – Anukki. Additionally, the title prefixed to her name with Love – ‘Anukkiyar’ and the suffix to Anukki- ‘ar’ and Nangai -‘ar’ with immense respect, indicate her exceptional position.

Several striking features of ‘Paravai Nangai’ known from inscriptions in the Tamil Temples have been discussed in this and the previous series of posts. The most striking among them is the respect Rajendra I showered on Anukkiyar Paravai Nangaiyar, that has resonated for at least five centuries, the last inscriptions available so far with the name Paravaipuram, documented during the Vijayanagar Era.

Two Distinct Deeds of Rajendra I

The two distinct deeds of Rajendra Chola I, one of the world’s greatest Naval Champions, were discussed in the recent series of posts. The King’s affection and warmth towards his Step-Mother, Panchavanmadevi and admiration and fondness towards his Anukki – Paravai Nangai are certainly surprising elements. But, building a Temple in memory of Step-mother (Pallipadai Panchavanmadevi Isuvaram) and glorifying his relationship with his Lady Love – documenting it in his temple inscriptions are unheard of.

The exceptional quality of honoring his intimate relationships, those were exclusively close to his heart, makes the Valiant and Victorious Rajendra I, a Dignified Soul. Specially, when such intimate relationships could create intricate complications – a few domestic, and a few more Political.

Rajendra I, who made a mark in the Chola maritime warfare and trade links across the Bay of Bengal, had deified his step-mother Panchavanmadevi and immortalized his beloved friend Paravai Nangai. These distinguished deeds of the Emperor has revealed to the world, yet another illustrious quality of the Emperor – Respecting and Recognising Unconventional Relationships.

References

Web links-

pgs.28,29- Annual Report on Epigraphy -ARE – 1915-1920

pgs. 383, 384, 385 –South Indian Inscriptions Texts Volume 8

Dr. P. Rajaraman, Sri Netroddharakaswami Temple, Panaiyapuram, pdf.

Thagadur Nadu under Vijayanagar Rule, pdf.

Noboru Karashima, Nayaka Rule in the Tamil Country during the Vijayanagar Period

Five inscriptions copied from Uyyakondan Thiirumalai by Dr. M. Rajamanickkanar Centre for Historical Research. – article published in The Hindu.

Rajendra Chola I – Two Distinct Deeds of the World’s Greatest Naval Champion

Rajendra Chola I (regnal years 1012-1044), the son of Rajaraja Chola I,  is undoubtedly one of the greatest Emperors the Tamil Land, India or even the World has ever produced. His successful expeditions, in the neighbouring Kingdoms of yesteryear Thamizhagam, as far as the Ganges, surpassing the Kalingas and conquering the Palas, earned him the title – ‘Gangai Konda Chozhan’ – ‘The Chola who conquered the Ganges’.

He learnt political and economic warfare from his accomplished and triumphant Father-  Rajaraja I, the Great. Rajendra I proved that, none other than him could have taken the victorious Baton of the Cholas, not only to the neighbourhood, but to the several countries in South East Asia as well. His successful overseas expeditions documented in his inscriptions, prove his mettle as a Skillful Warrior, a Tactful Administrator, and the most striking feature of all, being a Maritime Champion – Political and Economic.

Tamil Kings and their zeal for constructing Temples is a well acknowledged fact. Temples of Tamilzhagam/Tamilagam are not only religious entities, but store houses of history. The passion with which the rulers – Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas or their Vassal Kings, have transformed Temples into Architectural wonders, can be felt in each and every Temple of South India. But, the credit of engineering the temples into Massive Monuments with Intricate Sculptural Marvels, unable to capture the total essence of the master piece, even in the best technologically advanced cameras of the present times, is only one of the several distinguished achievements of the Cholas.

That Temples received immense patronage from the Rulers, who showed keen interest in documenting history through inscriptions, is very well known . Temples, being store houses of historic treasures, also preserve several surprises and distinctive facts to be unearthed.  Two such instances associated with Rajendra I’s Temples, accentuates the distinct qualities of the Emperor.

Both instances involve two special women in the life of the accomplished son of Emperor Rajaraja I, the Great.

One, His Lady Love from Thiruvarur, Nangai Paravai. The respect and the special position that the King gave to His special friend and beloved; and her specific interest in Temples and Religious deeds would be discussed in this post, with the available inscriptional evidences.

Two, Rajendra I’s step mother Panchavan Madevi. It is normal for a King to build a Monument in memory of His Queen, or a Son for his Mother ; But building a Temple in long lasting memory of a Step-mother, is never heard of. Temples built in honour of the dead is called Pallippadai in Tamil. Son of Vanavan Madevi and Rajaraja I, Rajendra I, was much attached to his step-mother, Panchavanmadevi. Rajendra’s Pallippadai in memory of Panchavanmadevi would be discussed in another separate post.

A recent radio programme in All India Radio, Thiruchirappalli, anchored by Dr. R. Kalaikkovan, Founder, Dr. M. Rajamanikkanar Centre for Historical Research, Thiruchirapalli, gave a fine introduction to the special relationship between Rajendra Chola I and Paravai Nangai. Dr. Kalaikkovan, a veteran in History, Temple Inscriptions, Architecture and a connoisseur of Arts and Music, is also well known as a charming narrator of history, comprehensible to common man. The elegance with which, he explained the beautiful story of Paravai Nangai encouraged this write-up.

My respectful gratitude to Dr. R. Kalaikkovan, for mentoring and providing authentic evidences and patient explanations, on Rajendra I and Paravai Nangaiyar’s relationship.

Rajendra Chola I and Anukkiyar Paravai Nangaiyar

The temple of Thiruvarur holds a special place in the life of Rajendra Chola I. Two of the Inscriptions in the temple, talk of Paravai Nangai. The inscriptions do not mention her as Paravai Nangai, but with a special status – Anukkiyar Paravai Nangaiyar. Anukki, in tamil means female friend or confidante. As she commanded a much respectful position,  she is introduced as Anukkiyar – with the suffix ‘ar’ that stands for reverence.

First, the story of Paravai Nangai, adapted from the Radio Talk of Dr. Kalaikkovan. During the era of the medieval Cholas, there were several Residential Dance Schools, called Thalichery. Qualified dancers from Thalicherys were sent to perform at different Temples in the Chola Mandalam. The city of Thiruvarur was very much popular for its Thalichery. It was called ‘Thiruvarur Periya Thalicherry’.

During the reign of Rajaraja I, many distinguished dancers were selected from Thiruvarur to perform at the Thanjai Peruvudaiyar Koyil – Rajarajecharam Temple.

The Beloved Friend of Rajendra I, Paravai Nangai too, must have been a product of the Illustrious Thiruvarur Periya Thalichery. As per the interesting narration, after taking over from his Father, as the Emperor of the Cholas, Rajendra Chola I visited several places in Cholamandalam. According to an inscription, he visited Thiruvalanchuzhi, near present day Kumbakonam and had lunch in the Temple Gardens. The same way, on one of his visits to Thiruvarur, he must have met Paravai, the beautiful Dancer.  She must have performed in front of the Lord. Rajendra must have viewed her dance. One of the apt Titles that Rajendra I possessed was ‘Panditha Cholan’- one who is well versed in Arts and Literature.  A true Connoisseur of Arts, Rajendra must have developed a soft corner for Paravai and her Art of Dance.

There are two Inscriptions in the temple of Thiruvarur, that provide evidence of the significant influence of Paravai Nangaiyar.

  1. Thiruvarur Inscription of Rajendra I, provides ample information on the religious services offered by Anukkiyar to the temple of Thiruvarur
  2. Thiruvarur Inscription of Rajadhiraja I, son of Rajendra I, provides evidence of the influence of Paravaiyar. This inscription is of additional significance, as it talks of the respect of the Son towards the special friend of the Father.

Rajendra’s inscription is discussed in this post.

Thiruvarur Inscription of Rajendra I

The long inscription is dated 1032 ACE, the 20th regnal year of Rajendra Chola I. It starts with the phrase ‘Thirumanni Valara…’, the Meikeerthi of Rajendra I. It describes in detail, the enormous amount of jewellery, land and lamps donated by Anukkiyar Paravai Nangaiyar, the Lady Love of the Emperor, to the temple of Thiruvarur. The interest that Paravai Nangai took in reconstructing and beautifying the Temple and its premises is remarkable.

The weights in gold used to built the vimanam of the sanctum sanctorium, the weights in copper used to decorate the doors, the weights of the enormous kuthu vilakku (Lamp) donated and the number of precious stones and pearls offered to the temple by her, are provided in detail.

The significance of this inscription is multi dimensional. This can be ascertained by the contributions of Paravai Nangai to the temple of Thiruvaroor.

Paravai Nangai’s contributions to the temple of Thiruvarur

There were Anukkiyar – friends and close confidantes to Kings, from the times of Adita Chola, in the Chola dynasty. They were all known to the world by their endowments and charities to temples.

But, the difference in Paravai Nangai is in the status, she enjoyed. Her donations to the temple are incomparable, coming from an Anukki of the King.  The inscription also showers light on important mile stones of the Temple. The mile stones of being converted into stone structure and beautification with gold plating of the Vimanam, done by Paravai Nangai, make her name an inseparable part of the temple and its glory, till today.

 

Important segments of the inscription

In the 18th regnal year of the Emperor, The Temple with the principal deity Udaiyar Veedhi Vidangathevar of Thirvarur was converted into a stone structure, by Anukkiyar Paravai Nangaiyar.

 

Udaiyar Sri Rajendra Choladevarkku yaandu

irubadhavathu udaiyar Sri Rajendra Chola Devar Anukkiyar

Paravai Nangaiyar `kshatriya Sigamani Valanaattu

Tiruvarur Kootrathu Thiruvarur Udaiyar

Veedhi Vidangathevar Thirukkatrali eduppiththu

 

‘Thirukkatrali Eduppiththu’  signifies the conversion of the existing structure to stone.

 

In the 18th regnal year of Rajendra I, the work of gold plating and copper plating of the temple, started from the 38th day and was completed on the 199th day. The Vimanam, walls and the entrance of the temple’s Sanctum Sanctorium were plated with Gold; The doors and pillars of the Mañdapam were plated with Copper. The weight of Gold añd Copper used in the beautification process is quite overwhelming. That, Gold weighing 20643 kalanju and copper plates weighing 42000 palam were used is only a fraction of the various contributions of the Lady.

Anukkiyar Paravai Nangaiyar Yaandu

……………………………………………….

………………………………………………

……………………………………………..

meintha pon irupathinaayirathu arunootru

narpathu mukkazhanje ezhu manjaadiyum

……………………………………….

……………………………………………………ik

Koyil munbil mandapathu soozhntha

kodunkaiyilum sopana koodathilum

kathavilum meintha pon narpaththu

eerairaththu…………………..

 

She donated Chowries for the deity with Golden handles. Why I chose to cite this among the other donations is because, these verses are one among the few places, the name of Anukkiyar Paravai Nangaiyar is mentioned along with Rajendra I, in the inscription.

SriRajendra Choladevar Anuk

kayak Paravai Nangaiyar vaitha ponnin

kaichamarai ondru………………………….

 

The volume of the jewellery offered by Paravai to the temple is humongous. Below is a portion of the enormous amount of precious stones and pearls that were offered by Paravai. In one portion, the inscription talks of- 18 Rubies, 252 diamonds, 24 Rubies, 246 diamonds.

 

Among the several lamps that she donated, were two special and huge Pavai Vilakku- one named ‘Pachai Pavai Umai Nangai’ and the other named ‘Pavai Sariya Mulai Nangai’.

Pachai Pavai Umai Nangai

 

Pavai Sariya Mulai Nangai


 

The Exceptional Status of Paravai Nangai

Apart from the above long lists of Paravai Nangai’s contributions to the temple,  few select verses in the inscription, reveal to the world, the influence Paravai Nangai enjoyed and the special position accorded upon her by the Emperor.

Let’s imagine this situation. The King decides to visit the temple. It is normal for a King to witness huge fanfare and reverence from his subjects, on a temple visit, while his Chariot passes the streets. It would be an additional sight of delight for the subjects, to pay obeisance to the King, if he is with his Queen. Such occasions of Kings, Queens, Crown Princes, Princesses, Queen Mothers, Daughters in Law and many more from the Royal Clan, visiting Temples and their endowments have been recorded in Temple Inscriptions.

In the context of this post, the King, Rajendra I decided to visit the temple. He desired to visit with his Beloved, Anukkiyar Paravai Nangai. What makes the incident unique, is that, the King took Paravai Nangai along with him on his Chariot. This is one exclusive recognition that he bestowed upon her.

Apart from taking a tour, with Paravai to the Temple, Rajendra also placed on record in his temple inscription, that He and Paravai Nangai travelled on a Chariot to the Temple.

This specific segment of the inscription presents three facts-

1.Rajendra I and Paravai arrived at the Temple. One Vilakku/Lamp was placed at the entrance point, probably where the Chariot drove into the Temple premises.

………………….Sri Rajendra Chola

Devarum Anukkiyar Paravai Nangaiyarum

thermelezhundharuli puguthikki niluda

vaitha vilakkondrinaal

 

2. Two Kuthu Vilakkus/Standing Lamps were placed inside the Sanctum Sanctorium.

.………………………..Udaiyar SriMoolasthanamudaiyar

Koyilil Ullalai Kuthuvilakku irandum

 

3. One Kuthu Vilakku/Standing Lamp was placed, on the spot where Rajendra I and Anukkiyar Paravai Nangaiyar stood together and worshipped the Lord.

Udaiyar SriRajendra Choladevarum

Anukkiyar ParavaiNangai yaarum nirkumidanth

theriym Kuthuvilakku ondrum

 

The inscription

 

These facts documented by Rajendra I, is a significant proof of his special relationship with Paravai Nangai, which he doesn’t hesitate to permenantly document . The inscription seems to emphasise on the dignity,  he wished to confer upon her. Throwing light on certain defined moments, like placing lamps on the spot of worship, is yet another way to reiterate, the Stature the Lady enjoyed, in his heart and beyond.

Paravai Nangai, suggested to have hailed from one of the Premier Residential Dance Schools of Thiruvarur, known as Periya Thalichery, is acknowledged in the inscription as Anukkiyar Paravai Nangaiyar. The transition from a Danseuse to a Revered Donor, nothing lesser than a Royal Patron, makes Paravai an interesting part of Rajendra’s life. Her endowments to the temple, seem unparalleled in many ways.

The King provides the world, a glimpse of his Profound Affection with honesty. That Paravai Nangai was acknowledged for her Generosity and Charity, especially, with no personal or official holding in the Empire, should have been due to the array of good qualities that she possessed.

The most noteworthy segment of the relationship, lies in the inscription of Rajendra I’s son, Rajadhiraja’s Thiruvarur inscription, which would be discussed in the next post. The inscription reiterates the honour extended upon Paravai Nangai, as his father’s Special Companion or Anukki. The acceptance of Paravai Nangai by Rajadhiraja, is yet another recognition of the Lady’s noticeable reputation.

Note:

All images of inscriptions- Photo Courtesy:  Dr. Kalaikkovan, Founder, Dr. M. Rajamanikkanar Centre for Historical Research, Thiruchirapalli.