Monday, 13 August 2012

Kodandarmaswamy Koyil Vishnu temple Ariyalur Tamil Nadu

 Kodandaramaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple in the town of Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu, India. The presiding deity is Vishnu. Though the presiding deity in this temple is Srinivasaperumal it is popularly called as Kodandaramaswamy koyil because of the existence of a shrine in which Rama, Lakshmana and Sita are enshrined.The temple faces the east. The main shrine is dedicated to Srinivasa Perumal and His two consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi. It has a garbagruha (15 feet square) and ardhamandapa (17 feet long) and Mahamandapa.

The Kodandaramar shrine is a later addition which is built of chalk stone and attached with the ardhamandapa of the main temple by facing the south. Inside the shrine is installed the stone sculptures of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita on a Pitha and bronze images of them are also in the shrine. It is said that the idols were found from the Kollidam river bank near Vikramangalam and brought here by a Chief of Ariyalur who built a shrine and installed the deities in it. In front of the main temple is built a spacious mandapa called Dasavatara mandapa. Four rows of pillars (20 feet heigh) with 10 pillars in each row are set up in the mandapa. In these pillars the figures of the ten avatars of Vishnu are carved out. The figure is about 6.6 feet high. At the entrance of the row, the sculptures of a Chief and his Queen are also carved out. The whole complex is surrounded by a raised compund wall and a 6 storied Gopura (90 feet heigh) is built at the entrance. The basement of the Gopura is built of chalk stone and the upper stories are built of brick and mortar. A shrine for Garuda is built in front of the Gopura. A tank called Kodanda pushkarani is excavated in the southern side of the temple.

There are two inscriptions and one Copper plate in this temple. The earliest record is dated to A.D. 1635 and it is engraved in the south base of the main temple. It is damaged and refers to an order of Ariyalur Arasu nilaiyitta Oppila Malavarayar who agreed not to collect some taxes in anju parru nadu in Vitta parru. A Copper plate charter dated to A. D. 1729 and issued during the reign of Arasu nilaiyitta Rangappa Malavarayar refers to the decision reached by the shepherd community (called Ayppadi Gopala vamsattar) to contribute one panam per head and house of their community to this temple during the time of marriages in their families.

Lastly an inscription of A.D. 1742 of Vijaya Oppilada Malavarayar son of Rangappa Malavarayar and grandson of Vijaya Oppilliada Malavarayar mentions a brahmana Venkatapathi Ayyan. However the last two records now disappeared from this temple.

The above records show that this temple came into existence during the period of Arasu Nilaiyitta Oppilada Malavarayar. The portrait sculptures in the Dasavaratara mandapa may be that of this Chief and his Queen. The beautiful ornamental workmanship of the adhishtana, kumbapanchara in the sanctum, Dasavatara sculptures and the Gopura – all make this temple as a beautiful centre of the architectural achievements of the Ariyalur Chief.
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