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Issue No. 5

இதழ் 5
[ டிஸம்பர் 15, 2005- ஜனவரி 14, 2005 ]

இந்த இதழில்..
In this Issue..

தவறுகளைத் தவிர்ப்போம்
மத்தவிலாசப் பிரகசனம் - 3
இராஜராஜீஸ்வரம் சிறப்பிதழ் - ஒரு அறிவிப்பு
கல்வெட்டாய்வு - 4
கட்டடக்கலை ஆய்வு - 5
வைஷ்ணவ மாகேசுவரம்
இராஜசிம்மன் இரதம்
Political history of Thirutthavatthurai and it"s neighbourhood
எம்.எஸ் - ஒரு வரலாற்றுப் பதிவு
சங்கச்சாரல் - 5
கோச்செங்கணான் யார் - 3
Issue No. 5 > English Section
Political history of Thirutthavatthurai and it"s neighbourhood
Dr.R.Kalaikkovan and Dr.M.Nalini

Eighty three inscriptions are copied from various parts of the temple complex of Saptarishisvara at Thiruthavathurai (Lalgudi, Trichy Dt) on various occasions. Among them, the earliest four belong to the Pallavas and the contemporary Pandyas. Fifty one belong to the Cholas and five inscriptions were engraved during the reign of the pandyas of the Second Empire. Five inscriptions belong to the period of Vijayanagar rulers. The remaining inscriptions are dated on palaeographical grounds.

A study of these inscriptions has helped to understand the political, social, economical and cultural history of Thiruthavathurai and its neighbourhood. The political history alone is dealt with in detail, in this article.

Village - Thiruthavathurai

Thiruthavathurai was a vellan vagai village throughout and was included under Idaiyaru nadu that lay on the northern bank of Kaveri. When Chola mandalam was divided into several larger revenue units named as valanadus, Idaiyarru nadu came under Pandikulasani valanadu. The name of the valanadu suffered a change during the reign of Kulothunga I and was called as Dinachinthamani valanadu, named after his queen. During the reign of Rajaraja II the old name was restored.

When the Pandyas of Second Empire captured the Chola mandalam, Pandikulasani valanadu was renamed as Pandikulapathi valanadu. An inscription of Virupaksha engraved in 1497 A.D mentions the valanadu as Pandikulasani again and introduces Chennai kurram as a new revenue division under which Thiruthavathurai was included. Idaiyarru nadu is mentioned as a second major division in this inscription next to valanadu and Chennai kurram is mentioned as a separate unit included under Idaiyarru nadu. Such differences and variations are noted sporadically in the inscriptions of the later period.

Mandalam and valanadu

As Chola mandalam, Thondai mandalam and Malai nadu are also mentioned in the inscriptions of the other valanadus mentioned in the inscriptions of Saptarishisvarar temple include, Rajasraya valanadu, Kshatriyasigamani valanadu, Jayasingakulakala valanadu and Tiyagavalli valanadu. Konadu and Mazhanadu are other major units.


Several nadu divisions are mentioned in the inscriptions. Among these, Panaiyur nadu and Marugal nadu were under Kshatriyasigamani valanadu. Chiruvayil nadu was included under Jayasingakulakala valanadu. Poygai nadu is mentioned as one of the major nadu divisions that came under Tyagavalli valanadu.

Kalar kurram included several villages such as Manarka, Thuvedimangalam, Kattur alias Chembian Kattur, Vadavur, Nagar Vazhkkai, Nagar Thirumazhavanur, Thirunachchiyur, Konraikudi and Virapandiya chaturvedi mangalam.

Twelve villages were included under Idaiyarru nadu. Iruttikkural, Periyakannanur, Thurai, Nazhalur, Punthurai and Churottai alias Kobavanallur were under Valluvappadi nadu, which was also on the northern bank of Kaveri.

Brahmapurinallur kandam included two villages, Thenkankudi and Ovaichcheri. Attuppalli Niyamam and Ayirathali were under Eyilnadu. Nerkuppai and Kurugadi were included under Thanjavur kurram. Kunrakkurram, Pachil kurram and Purakkiliyur nadu are the other nadu divisions mentioned in the inscriptions of Saptharishisvarar temple.

Other villages

Names of one hundred and four villages are available in the inscriptions. Catagorisation of these names according to their suffix elements helps to understand the pattern of settlements that had occurred around Thiruthavathurai as well as on the northern bank of Kaveri through the ages. Nearly fifty names of the villages end with the suffix elements ur and kudi suggesting the antiquity of this area. When compared with the Brahmin settlements that end usually with the suffixes mangalam and chaturvedimangalam, the vellam vagai settlements are three times more.

Village names with the suffix nallur are six in number. Villages that have names end with the suffix puram are considered as mercantile settlements. Parantakapuram and Uyyakonda cholapuram existed as mercantile settlements during the Chola period. Rayapuram was probably the corrupt form of Araiyarpuram. Certain names such as Muthaiyil, Thular, Thondakai, Iruttikural, Puvalsayanganam and Ilamperungai Irukkai appear as unusual names and deserver special mention. 'Nagar vaazhkkai', a name of the village found in the inscription, reminds 'Panaiyur Vazhkkai' a village mentioned in the inscription of Chandrasekara temple at Thiruchendurai.

Attuppalli probably meand present Thirukkattuppalli. This is surmised by the mentioning of two neighbouring villages namely Niyamam and Ayirathali along with Attuppalli in an inscription. Ayirathali, mentioned in a few inscriptions of Sundaresvara temple at Chendalai and Siva temple at Niyamam is not traceable.

Among the one hundred and four villages, nearly seventy percent of them still have the same name and are identified through an interview with the temple workers. Fifteen percent of the villages exist with corrupt names. The remaining fifteen percent of the villages are not traceable.

Formation of New Villages

Formation of new villages was a regular feature in those days. Several new villages were formed by either separating or clubbing certain amount of lands from the already existing villages. This was carried out by royal orders issued on recommendations by higher officials.

During the reign of Rajaraja II, four such new villages were formed by the king on the recommendation of a certain Chendirayar. 16 veli, 8 ma and 3 1/2 kani of land from Chembian Madevi nallur, a hamlet of Gandaradhitha chaturvedimangalam was separated to form Rajarajan kurrur. 46 1/2 veli and 2 1/2 ma of land was separated from Karkudi karikudicheri which was included under Irulnikkik konda chaturvedimangalam to from Rajagambiran kurrur.

Valakkuttur was formed by separating 8 1/4 veli of land from Korramangalam, 54 1/2 veli and 3 1/2 ma of land from Pathipathamangalam alias Pagaiaruthu konda cholanallur and 1 1/2 veli land from Alaivay which got separated from Sathamangalam were annexed to from Kulothungacholan kurrur. All these four new villages were formed at the request of Kurrur Udaiyan Terripperiyan alias Edirili Chola Muvendavelan and were made tax free by the king.

Administrative units and Officials


All the Brahmin settlements were administrated by the sabha. Though there quite a number of inscriptions available as documents made by the sabhas of various Brahmin settlements, only a few provide the list of the names of the members. Tax exemption was granted by the sabha of Manarkal during the thirty first regnal year of Rajadhiraja I towards a gift of land made to the temple to support a sala to provide food for the Sivayogis. This document was signed by the members of the sabha.

The activities of the sabha are registered in many of their documents. They had accepted endowments made by the individuals towards the temple activities and carried out the stipulated services. In certain cases they had sold land units in their villages to individuals of different places ascertaining the purpose of purchase and accepted endowments on behalf of them.

The gifts made by the members of the royal family towards temple services were also accepted by the sabhas and the agreements were carried out with due care. Nandhivarma III, Varaguna maharaja and the uterine sister of Adhithya chola entrusted their gifts with the sabhas on Nallimangalam, Ilamperunkai and Manarkal respectively. In certain cases, the sabha had agreed to measure the stipulated amount of paddy or ghee which had accrued as interest of the principal accepted by them from the donors at the temple itself.

When the members of the sabha of Muthaiyil had accepted a gift of 10 1/2 kalanju of gold from a donor, they had agreed to measure a stipulated amount of paddy as interest towards the Chithirai festival at the temple, seven days in advance. Sabha of Nallimangalam, when accepted the gift of Nandhivarma III, had agreed to measure of nazhi measure of ghee daily at the temple to light a perpetual lamp. Almost all the agreements entrusted the power with the Mahesvaras to punish the defaulters.

Names of the madhyasthas of several are mentioned in some of the inscriptions. Munnurruvar functioned as the madhyasthar of Manarkal sabha, where as Munnurruvan Nanurruvan alias Uttamapiriyan functioned as the madhyasthan of Idaiyaarrumangalam sabha. Alangarapiriyan alias Uran was the madhyasthan of Bhavadattamangalam and Kuncharamallan chenthan was the madhyasthan of Kavithikudi assembly.


The vellan vagai villages were administred by Urar. As the members of the sabha, urar also accepted the gifts made by people towards temple services and obliged the agreements. Lands were sold and made tax free whenever demands were made. Unlike in the case of sabha, names of the members of the ur assembly are available in only one inscription.


Apart from the madhyasthas who had written the documents, accountants were also engaged by the administrative units to maintain the income and expenditure records and to take care of the collections and dues of revenue income. Valithunai Perumal of Cheynallur and Mahadevan Piriyan of Cholamadevi appear as ur accountants in one inscription. Among them, Mahadevapiriyan is mentioned as the accountant of Idaiyarrumangalam.


Nattar formed another important administrative body whose modus operandi is not very clear. But they had the power to sell and purchase lands and make them tax free as and when requests were made. A seventeenth regnal year inscription of Jatavarman Sundarapandiya records that nattar of Pandikulasani valanadu and Vadakarai Rajaraja valanadu exempted taxes on certain lands which were given to the temple for lamps, offerings and festivals. Another inscription presents the name of a nattar accountant as Muththaiyil Udaiyan.


Royal orders issued by the kings provide the names of various higher officials who held important positions in the government. Two orders issued by Rajaraja II were written by Neriyudai Chola Muvendavelan who functioned as thirumanthira olai at the palace. Another order issued by a Chola king whose name is not given in the inscription was written by Cholendrasinga Muvendavelan, one of the tirumanthira olais.

Chedirayan, Amarakon, Chedikularayan, Kangeyarayan, Pritvigangaraiyan, Chimapeyartharaiyan, Thondaian Kadavarayan, Iladatharaiyan, Singalarayan, Villavarayan, Chittarayan, Madavarayan, Nulambarayan and Nandhirayan appear as signatories of the royal orders issued by the Chola kings. Aaykolundu Arikandan alias Rajaraja Muththaraiyar of Kottur is mentioned as an adhikari in an inscription.

Araiyan Suryan alias Rajendracholan of Uravur and Araiyan Adavallan alias Rajadhiththa Vilipperaiyan of Marudur appear as chiruthana perunthanam officials. Two chola inscriptions provide the names of a few officials of revenue department which was called as puravu vari thinaikkalam in those days. Three levels of official designations in the revenue sector is noted in the inscriptions. They are puravu vari srikaranam, puravu vari srikarana nayagam and puravu vari srikarana mugavetti.

An inscription throws light on certain officials who probably worked in the finance department. They were in the designations of variyilar and varikuru ceyvar. They name of the office suggests that they were involved in the taxation aspect of finance department.

Royal orders

Four royal orders mentioned as thirumugam are recorded in the inscriptions. Two of them were issued by Rajaraja II and one by Sundara pandya. The other one was issued by a Chola king whose identity was not possible due to lack of internal evidences. All these royal orders were issued orally by the kings on recommendations made by higher officials of the government. Oral orders were reordered on palm leaves by the officials named as thirumanthira olai.

Officials who were in the designations to check the recorded orders for their correctness and clarity signed and counter signed. Then the orders were sent to the respective agencies or individuals for execution. Among the four royal orders recorded at this temple, one was issued to the sthanathar of the temple asking them to register a stipulated portion of land as 'kani' to a certain Vithivitanga bhattan, The order exempted all the taxes that were due from the land.

One of the two orders of Rajaraja II was issued in favour of an individual, Periyan alias Edirili Chola Muvendavelan of Kurrur. This recognized the formation of four new villages and exempted them from all taxes and advised the revenue authorities to make nore of the changes effected.

Anoher order which lacks the name of the king was issued to the temple authorities informing them about the remission of taxes on certain lands of Mummudichola mangalam alias Chembian Nerkuppai and Chembian Kattur granted to the temple for offering and worships. The second part of the inscription confirms the execution of the order by the tax authorities.

An order of Rajendra II issued during the fifteenth regnal year registers that certain lands situated in Thuvedimangalam, had been exempted from payment of taxes and assigned to the temple at Thiruthavathurai under the name of Rajarajanallur from the fifteenth year of Rajarajadeva.


The fourth regnal year inscription of a certain Parakesarivarman registers a sale deed of a portion of land sold by the sabha members of Thenkankudi to Kumaranthaikari Adhithan of Parantakapuram for twenty kalanju of gold. The same individual had paid thirteen kalanju of gold to the sabha as a wholesome amount towards tax exemption. The wholesome amount that was accepted towards the tax exemption is termed as 'irai kaval' in the inscription. Another inscription terms this favour as 'irai izhthal' and records thirty two kalanju of gold as the wholesome amount accepted by the sabha to sanction the remission of taxes.

In some cases the king himself made the lands tax free for the benefit of the temple or individuals. On such occasions no amount was paid towards this favour either by the donor or by the temple or by the local bodies.

A fre of the Chola inscriptions, an inscription of Virapandya and an inscription of Virupaksha throw light on various tax terms. Irai, echchoru, chennir vetti, vetti vethinai, vetti muttaiyal, kurrarici and echchoru kurrunel are some of the important taxes collected during the Chola rule. Echchoru, kurrarici and echchoru kurrunel which were popular during the early chola times, refer to the obligation of providing food to publid servants who visited the villages on official business.

Vetti and Muttaiyal were collected from the land owners to carry out public works and to pay the labourers who performed them. Arrukkulai was collected to form and strengthem the bunds of the rivers. Uridu varippadu was probably a common tax paid by the villages. It was collected as ur viniyogam during the Pandya period. Makkalam and kadamai were two different taxes levied on land owners.

Nelkadamai, kasu kadamai, makkadamai, punchey kadamai, vetti kadu, vakkarai, karthigai pachchai, koorilakkai, kadai kuttu ilakkai, chanduvikragaperu, kirruvair, thiruvasal viniyogam, nam vittu thevai, chirai achchu, thari irai, chekkirai, thattoli, thattarpattam, nattu viniyogam, alvari, er vari, vachal vantha vachal panam, olukku nir pattam, pasipattam, nal eruthu, nal pasu and erunthu parimaruvar ayam were some of the taxes collected during the reign of Virapandya.

Chulavari iraiyili rekaiyaga pathinthu varukira rekai, rayavarthanai kuthirai kanikkai, kozhuthu kanikkai, karpura kanikkai, nadu thalaiyarikkam, arasu peru, olaivarthanai, parradai thatayam, chekkayam, kirigai ayam, kallayam, tharuvippanam, kulavardai, nerkattayam, vazhichari, aru vettu, kula vettu, chamuthira vettu, vamanai nilaiyal, thennalai uzhiyam, kallanai kadu vettu, alamanji uzhiyam, eduththalavu, viruthuppadi, kol uzhiyam, idaithurai, kusavar uzhiyam, jathivari, thundavari, chamayappadai, idangai valangai vari, ila vellalar vari, kanakkar kanikkai, kottu mania vari, pattukku irandu kanikkai, dinasari kanikkai, nimandakar uzhiyam and vachalil kanum pasha vari were collected at the end of the fifteenth century A.D.


1. SII Vols 4, 12, 13, 14 & 19.
2. ARE : 1892, 1928-29, 1931 & 1962.
3. Varalaru vols 4 & 12-13 (for the texts of the fourteen new inscriptions discovered during field study)
4. The Hindu, 23-2-2004, 27-3-2004.
5. Dinamani, 24-2-2004, 24-3-2004.
6. Dr.M.Nalini and Dr.R.Kalaikkovan, Inscriptions of Saptharishisvarar Temple at Thiruthavathurai - A critical study.

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