Showing posts with label Fort. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fort. Show all posts

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Padavedu - Land of Thousand Temples: History of Sambuvaraya and Their Capital

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Vijayanagar style Venugopala and Rukmani statues amidst fields PC The Hindu
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Renugambal Temple PC Flickr Raju
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Entry to Padavedu from Santhavasal PC Flickr Raju
Padavedu (படவேடு) (Padaiveedu (படைவீடு) = Garrison), is a pastoral village located in Polur taluk, Tiruvannamalai district, Tamil Nadu, India Pin Code 632315. The place wherein Renugambal temple located is known as 'A.K.Padavedu' (Amman Koil Padavedu). Padavedu village is 2 km away from A.K. Padavedu and forming part of Padavedu village Panchayat. The nondescript village, surrounded by mist-soaked Javadu hills, sugarcane fields, banana plantations, brick kilns and paddy fields, is 137.3 km away from Chennai, 112 km from Pondicherry and 170.6 km from Bangalore and it is situated in a strategic point among Vellore (30.9 km), Thiruvannamalai (56.7 km) and Arani (20.5 km) in the Vellore – Polur (Thiruvannamalai) route. You will find a junction called Santhavasal (சாந்தவாசல்) at the 32nd km while proceeding from Vellore town. From Santhavasal the village is just 6 km away. Alternate route from Chennai is Arcot - Arani - Santhavasal through the bumpy road. The geographical coordinates of Padavedu are  12° 38' 54.5672" latitude and 79° 7' 58.2449" longitude and the elevation / altitude is 172 m from sea-level.

Sambuvaraya dynasty, who ruled in the 12th and 13th Centuries, had Munnur (முன்னூர்), Virinjipuram (விரிஞ்சிபுரம்) and Kanchipuram (காஞ்சிபுரம்) as their capitals. After becoming independent from Pandyas, Sambuvaraya chose Padaiveedu as their capital for its strategic defensive location i.e., the land bastioned by tall hills and dense forests. The formation of Malayalam forests (மலையாளக்காடு), Shenbaga grove (செண்பகத்தோப்பு) and Athtimalai (அத்திமலை)  on the north-west, Kalimathu hillock (களிமத்துக் குன்று) on the south-west and Santhavasal reserve forests (சாந்தவாசல் காப்புக்காடு) on the south provided adequate defensive measures. Santhavasal was the entry point to the capital. 

The scenic Javadu hill is surrounded by seventeen villages and lush green paddy fields and coconut groves. It is believed that the region was known as the 'land of thousand temples' since it was the home to 1008 Shiva temples and 108 Vishnu temples. Now it is reduced to ten ancient (12th century) temples excluding the most popular Renugambal temple (ரேணுகாம்பாள் கோவில்).

Renugambal Temple (Renuka Paramesvari Temple (ரேணுகா பரமேஸ்வரி கோவில்) also known as Yellamma Temple (எல்லம்மா கோவில்), Padavedu was built by Sambuvaraya. It is one of the most important ‘Sakthi Sthalas’ in Thondainadu. Goddess Renugambal is self-manifested here and a Banalingam is present. Adi Sankarar has consecrated the Nanakarshna Chakra   This south facing ancient temple exists even today. Three inscriptions have been copied from this temple.

Also there is a newly constructed temple. The outer walls of the granite structured vimana is decorated with bas relief images depicting puranic scenes. The goddess resides in the east facing sanctum. There are ardhamandapam, mahamandapam and there are shrines minor deities.

The Sri Venugopalaswami Kainkaryam Trust,(வேணுகோபாலஸ்வாமி கைங்கர்யம் டிரஸ்ட்), a part of TVS group, takes over the village about 20 years back and maintains the age old temples flawlessly. Number of temples were identified, unearthed and renovated by the trust during 1990s. Very few of these temples retain their original facade and the temples include:

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PC Tamilnadu Tourism
  1. Lord Venugopala Swamy temple (வேணுகோலஸ்வாமி கோவில்) is located on the top of Rajagambhiramalai (hill top) popularly known as Kottaimalai (Athimalai). The temple opens only on Saturdays from 9 am  to 4 pm. A ghat road runs through the dense forest and leads to the hill top. People used to travel by using the off-road wheeled tractor from the foothill to the hill top over this bumpy route.
  2. Yoga Ramachandraswamy Temple (யோக இராமச்சந்திரஸ்வாமி கோவில்), Padavedu, constructed before 12th Century AD, is located 1 km west of Renugambal Temple. Lord Rama is uncommonly seated in Artha Padmasana posture showing “Chin Mudra” and his hand is not holding his bow (Kothandam). He is accompanied by his consort Seetha and brother Lakshmana by his side. Hanuman appears seated before Rama and engaged in reading Palm leaf manuscripts. Lord Rama is also appear seated and showing 'Chin Mudra' at Nedungunam and Ragunatha Samudram temples, both are located in Tiruvannamalai dist..
  3. Lakshmi Narasimhar Temple (லட்சுமி நரசிம்மர் கோவில்), Ramanathapuram, Padavedu located on a hill top. Kamandala river (கமண்டல நதி) flows by the side of this temple. It was built by Mankonda Sambuvarayar (மண்கொண்ட சம்புவராயர்).  Temple ruined due to natural disaster and now renovated by TVS Group trust. The bridge, built at a later date by the trust, connects the temple and the village. Also there is a cement path leading to the hill top. Goddess Lakshmi is seated on the right side of Narasimhar. 
  4. Velmurugan temple (வேல்முருகன் கோவில்) is located on top of Natchathra Kundru (நட்சத்திரக் குன்று) (Star Hill). A Vel (வேல்) (lance of Lord Muruga) is consecrated by the Bhogar (போகர் சித்தர்), one of the 18  Siddhars and Poojas are performed daily.
  5. Chinna Kottai Varadhar Temple, Padavedu is located 2 km north west of Renugambal temple.
  6. Kailasa Vinayagar Temple (கைலாச விநாயகர் கோவில்), Padavedu is located on the northern side of Renugambal temple with a distance of 2 km. The prime deity Lord Vinayagar is huge and has a height of five and a half feet and looks very majestic. The ancient temple built hundreds of years back was fully destroyed.  The renovation work of this temple was carried out by TVS trust.
  7. Rishi Temple (ரிஷி கோவில்) or (Lord Budha Temple) is located near Renugambal Temple. Rishi idol was retrieved at this spot and consecrated in the newly built temple.
  8. Ammayappa Esvarar Temple, Padavedu, a 12th century temple, is considered as the most ancient temple and located one km west of Renugambal temple. It is the family deity of Sambuvarayas. The prime deity is Ammayappa Esvarar (Lord Shiva) and his consort is five feet tall goddess Aparnambigai. The temple totally buried due to sand storms and excavated. The procession deities hidden underground were also discovered and installed in Utsava Mandapam.
  9. Periya Kottai Varadhar Temple, Padavedu is located 2 km north west of Renugambal temple.
  10. Sadasivan Temple (சதாசிவன் கோவில்) is devoted to Lord Shiva and his consort and located in Vettagiripalayam, Padavedu. 
Also there are few temples built and maintained by the trust:
  1. Kailasanathar Temple (கைலாசநாதர் கோவில்), Kailasaparai (கைலாசப் பாறை), Padavedu is totally in ruin and is located towards north on top of Kailasaparai hillock. There is no provision for flight of steps to climb. The prime deity is Lord Kailasanathar (Lord Shiva) who appears with his consort Parvathi in a ruined sanctum (no ceiling). The four hands of the Lords are lost. Also a Shivalingam is found. Vimanam is in Gajaprishta style. No pooja rituals are performed. 
  2. Subramanya Swamy Temple is located on a hill top, on the southern side of Arulmigu Renugambal Temple. The flight of three hundred well laid stone steps leads to this hill temple.
  3. The village once had eight Anjaneya statues placed in eight cardinal directions to guard the place. Now only five of them remain. Installation of guardian deities is characteristic of the Vijayanagar empire. Veera Anjaneyar Temple  is located on the way leading to Ramar temple from Renugambal temple and also located close to the Draupadhi Mandapam. Eight feet tall sthanaka Veera Anjaneyar appeared majestically in open air. Only 3 years back the Lord was consecrated to the present shrine. 
The visitors can find several statues in the field. The statue of Hanuman is found under the banyan tree. The statues of Sri Venugopala with flute and his consort Rukmani are found, along with a heap of crumbled rocks, from ruined temple, in a lush green banana grove. The whole village is kept under the control of Department of Archeology and the people are not allowed to dig out any land except for cultivation. In spite of its illustrious history of Sambuvaraya and their Rajagambhiram fort, the village  still remain as the less traveled destination.

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Yoga Ramachandraswamy Temple, Padavedu PC Tamilnadu Tourism
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Venugopala Swamy temple, Rajagambhiramalai (Kottaimalai) PC Tamilnadu Tourism
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Kailasanathar Temple, Kailasaparai, Padavedu. PC Tamilnadu Tourism
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Kailasa Vinayagar Temple, Padavedu PC Tamilnadu Tourism
Sambuvaraya Dynasty

Sambuvaraya kings (சம்புவராய மன்னர்கள்) hailed from Velir clans (வேளிர் குலம்). The Velirs were minor feudatory chieftains in the ancient Tamilakam. They were vassals as well as rivals of Chola, Chera and Pandyas and maintained marital relationships with them and enjoyed coronation rights. During 12th and 13th Centuries, the Sambuvarayar chieftains ruled Tondaimandalam region. Ethirili Chola Sambuvaraya (எதிரிலி சோழ சம்புவராயர்) , who ruled the northern part of Tondaimandalam, was.a vassal under Rajadhiraja Chola II (இரண்டாம் இராஜதிராஜ சோழர்) and Kulotunga Chola III (மூன்றாம் குலோத்துங்க சோழன்) and this chieftain hailed from the family of Sengeni. Omaindha Munnutruvan Palliyana Karanamanikyam (செங்கேணி ஓமைந்த முந்நூற்றுவன் பள்ளியன் கரணமாணிக்யம்) was his ancestor. His father was Sengeni Ammaiyappan Kannudaiya Peruman Vikrama Chola Sambuvarayar (செங்கேணி அம்மையப்ப கண்ணுடைய பெருமான் விக்கிரம சோழ சம்புவராயர்). He was decorated with the titles such as Virasani (விராசனி), Viruchola (வீறுசோழ) and Pallavandan (பல்லவந்தன்).

Sambuvarayas stationed their troops to maintain and guard at Padavedu fort and hence the name 'Padaiveedu' (garrison or fortified military post) and inscriptions mention this as Marudaraisan Padaiveedu (மருதரைசன் படைவீடு) (Cantonment of the king Madurai). At the time Sambuvarayas were under the patronage of Pandyas. During the reign of Jatavarma Sundara Pandya I ((Tamil: முதலாம் சடையவர்மன் சுந்தரபாண்டியன்) (1250 - 1268 A.D). Sundara Pandya Sambuvaraya was ruling the land as a feudatory from Kanchipuram (ref. inscription at Kalavai S.I.I. vol XII no. 446). 

Vira Pandya Sambuvaraya, the son of  Sundara Pandya Sambuvaraya was also a loyal feudatory of Pandya. Sambuvaraya became independent after the Delhi Sultans uprooted Pandyas. They made Padaiveedu as their capital and ruled till the rise of Vijayanagar kingdom in Karnataka.

Inscription A.R.E 18 of 1889 mention this region as the 'Rajagambhira Rajyam' (இராஜகம்பீர இராஜ்யம்) named after Rajagambhira Sambuvraya (இராஜகம்பீர சம்புவராயர்) (1236 - 1268 A.D.) as well as 'Padavittu Rajyam' (படைவீட்டு இராஜ்யம்). The bordering hillock around the Padaiveedu is mentioned in an inscription no. A.R.E no. 220 of 1919 as 'Rajagambhiran Malai' (இராஜகம்பீரன் மலை) which also named after Rajagambhira Sambuvrayar. The capital of this illustrious kingdom was mentioned as 'Marudaraisan Padaiveedu,' in inscription S.I.I vol. 1, no. 81 Sambuvaraya rulers built their palace structures and protected them with 'Rajagambhiram Fort' and a wide moat. 

Ekambaranatha Sambuvaraya (ஏகாம்பரநாத சம்புவராயர்), a Sambuvaraya feudatory under Maravarman Kulasekara Pandya (மாறவர்மன் குலசேகர பாண்டியன்),  ruled parts of Tondaimandalam independently from 1306 AD. An inscription from Tiruvannamalai district speaks about this subject. Ekambaranatha Sambuvaraya witnessed the invasion of Malik Kafur (மாலிக் காபூர்) in 1311 A.D and Kushru khan (குஸ்ரு கான்) in 1319 A.D. In 1322 Ekambaranatha Venru Mankonda Sambuvaraya (ஏகாம்பரநாத வென்று மண்கொண்ட சம்புவராயர்) (1322 - 1337 A.D.), the son and successor of Ekambaranatha Sambuvaraya became the ruler of a major portion of Tondaimandalam. The village donated to great vedic scholars by this Sambuvaraya king after he won in the war, hence the village is called Mankonda Kolathur (now termed as Mandakolathur) and the king was known in the name of Vendru Mankonda Sambuvaraya. Also during his reign in 1324 A.D. Mohamed Bin Tugklaq's army invaded the land and destroyed many Hindu shrines. Tiruvamathore (திருவாமத்தூர்) (Villupuram District) inscription informs about the renovation of the destroyed temples by the Sambuvarayar king. 

Venru Mankonda Sambuvarayar was succeeded by Rajanarayana Sambuvaraya I (முதலாம் இராஜநாராயண சம்புவராயர்) (1337 - 1373 A.D.). In the year 1363 Vira-Kampana-Udaiyar (வீர கம்பண உடையார்), also known as Kumara Kampanna II (இரண்டாம் குமார கம்பண்ணா) , second son of Bukka Raya I (முதலாம் புக்க இராயர்) and the prince of Vijayanagar who ruled from Kanchipuram, attacked Rajanarayana Sambuvarayar I and captured him as the prisoner.

Rajagambhiram fort

During 11th regnal year (1247 A.D.) Rajagambhira Sambuvarayar (1236 - 1268 A.D.) built Rajagambhiram fort on top of the hill, 'Rajagambhiran Malai.' An inscription on top of the hill informs about this. The fort straddled the entire hill. They have used granite boulders and 10 inches by 7 inches bricks, sand and lime mortar to construct the fort wall. The perimeter of the fort extends up to two kilometers. In fact this fort was hard to conquer for it can be accessed only through four gates and cannot be accessed easily through other means. It was constructed for surveillance and control the movements Delhi Sultanates and Vijayanagar rulers. The fort had provision for shelters for soldiers posted on surveillance duties. The rock surface do show pits for erecting poles for tents and they could have erected nine tents on top of the hill. They have also made provision for storing water in tanks as well as in natural ponds. They have also made one foot diameter by one foot deep pits for provision and use of mortar weapon.  The fort also exhibits evidences for the existence of temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vinayaga.

The northern gate is presently called as Santhavasal (Santha gate). A hero stone is discovered near Santhavasal. The eastern gate is in ruined state and the western gate, named after Puvandai alias Cholakon, one of the Mudalis in the military service of Ethirili Chola Sambhuvaraya, is fully destroyed. There was a moat encircling the fort.

Madura Vijaya ('The Conquest of Madurai')

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Ganga Devi, the chief queen of Vira Kampana-Udaiyar and a leaned poetess, elaborately detailed the unapproachable nature of the Rajagambhiram fort in 'Madura Vijaya' (மதுரா விஜயம்) ('The Conquest of Madurai'), also named as 'Vira Kamparaya Charitha', a Sanskrit historical poem composed by Ganga Devi.  The poetic work was brought to public by G.Harihara Sastri and V Srinivasa Sastri of Trivandrum in 1916. Shri. S Thiruvankatachary translated the poetical work into English and Annamalai University published it in 1957. The poetical work includes nine chapters and the early chapters are devoted to the historical background of Vijayanagar empire i.e., rule of Bukka Raya I and the childhood and early life of Vira Kampana (Kumara Kampana). The chapters in the middle deal with the heroism of Vira Kampana and his invasion towards the south and the conquest of Kanchipuram. Bukka Raya I directed his prince to invade Tamil land. Vira Kampana marched towards Tamil land along with his three generals i.e., Gopana, Saluva Mangu and Muddappa.  Ganga Devi accompanied her husband in his southern expedition.The first encounter was at the Rajagambhira Rajyam (Padaiveedu Rajyam). The poetic description is as follows:

“King Kampana, then converted the Tamil king’s town into an encampment for his own force, and from there began to lay siege to the hill fortress named Rajagambhira (Rajagambhiramalai) in which the enemy had sought asylum.

The sound of his war drums raised echoes from every cave of the hill and it looked as if the hill itself had begun to yell out in freight.

With the flags flying in the direction of high winds, the hill (fort) gave the impression that it was greeting king (Kampana) and welcome him with its arms (the flags) to come up to its top.

Again, fierce fighting commenced between the two sides, and the weapons falling down and shooting up, lit up both earth and sky by their resplendence.

Heads severed by arrows resembled palmyra fruits as they fell down from the ramparts and caused an illusion that the balls belong to the deity of war (for playing (with).

Like messengers (tax-collectors) sent by the strong hold themselves claiming the tolls for the entry (of the Karnataka troops) the stones let down from the catapults fell just in front of the king.

The hill, with the houses lit up by fire from the missiles of bow-men looked like holding the lamp in readiness harati for the happy ceremony to mark the auspicious victory of the king.

With all means (and chances of escape) coming completely blocked, the strong hold was subjected to such great distress that embryos of women, big with children slipped out at the very sight of the fierce jumping in, and people immersed in the river of blood of the slain prayed for their life.

Sambuvaraya, the monarch withdrawn sword, came out of his palace in great anger, even as a snake with its lolling tongue might come out of a mole-hill.

Though many a soldier of valour eagerly came forward to fight saying “let me do it,” King Kampana preferred to face the Sambuvaraya himself.

With forepart of their body bent and eyes fixed, the two kings sword in hand, stood still for a moment like a picture on a piece of painting.

The gods were thankful for the total absence of winking their eyes, as they looking on with fixed gaze, the flight (of the two horses) their bodies divided at the waist.

Kampana’s sword, reflecting as it the image of the Sambuvaraya monarch, looked like a pregnant daughter about to give birth to a husband for the celestial nymphs.

Then escaping deftly a sword thrust, King Kampana despatched the Sambuvaraya (monarch) as a guest to Indra’s city.

Having thus reduced (killed) Sambuvaraya in the field of battle, King Kampana received the decree of his father that he should rule (the territory he conquered).”

From the above poem it is presumed that there was a palace and  huge fort wall, both of which were guarded by large number of soldiers, wielded by bow and arrows and lances. The citadel located in the Rajagambhiram hill was sieged and the ruler was stabbed to death by Vira Kampana in 1361 A.D. After this Vira Kampana marched to Kanchipuram and conquered.

In 1311 A.D. Malik Kafur attacked Madurai and plundered all temples.  Ghiyasuddin Tughlak made second invasion to Madurai and established Madurai Sultanate. Madurai suffered a lot during 1335 - 1371 A.D. The temple remain closed for nearly 40 years. Madura Vijaya details the sufferings of Hindus in the hands of Madurai Sultans. Hoysala ruler Veera Vallala encountered with Sultan and was killed in the battle. The huge army of Vira Kampana stormed Madurai Sultanate and Vira Kampana killed  the Madurai Sultan Qurbat Hasan Kangu in the battle. Later the entire Madurai country and Chola country were included with Vijayanagar kingdom. Two divisions namely Rajagambhira Rajyam and Tiruvathigai Rajyam were formed.

Padavedu Excavations

The Tamil Nadu State Department of Archeology conducted excavations in Padavedu in the year 1992-93 at two sites namely Vetagiripalayam (வேட்டைகிரிபாளையம்) and Kottaikaraimedu (கோட்டைக்கரைமேடு). The existence of the palace and the fort wall was ascertained  by the Department of Archeology during excavations. A mound, just on the west of Padavedu village, was popularly known as 'Kottaimedu' (கோட்டைமேடு). Kottaimedu is located one km away from Yoga Ramachandraswamy temple. Presently the Kottaimedu lands have been converted into cultivable patta land and paddy, sugarcane and plantain crops are cultivated. Two Vishnu idols namely Chinna Kottai Varadar (சின்னக்கோட்டை வரதர்) (Varadar of Small Fort) and Periya Kottai Varadar (பெரியகோட்டை வரதர்) (Varadar of big fort) were found near the Kottaimedu mound. Sculptures of Kottai Talayari (கோட்டைத் தலையாரி), Viraanjaneya (வீரஞ்சநேயர்), Mahaganapathy (மகாகணபதி) and two Tirthankaras (தீர்த்தங்கரர்கள்) were discovered in 'Kottaimedu' itself. The sculptures found in these locations clearly lead the archaeologists to conclude  that there was a fort at the site. Further to this, occurrence of bricks in huge quantities as well as sizable number of ring wells also suggest the presence of fort at the site. The traces of fort gates on the Kottaimalai (Athimalai) (அத்திமலை) or Rajagambhiram hill and the existence of Venugopala temple and brick graneries assignable to Nayak period suggest the scholars to conclude about the fort.

The team laid 14 trenches. At Vetagiripalayam two trenches were laid to fully expose the age old brick structure appeared out due to rain. At the first trench they discovered  terracotta tube with a tiny hole (bellows tube) (துருத்திக் குழாய்). It could have been the mechanical device, made in clay, used as blow pipe for glass making. The glass slag piece retrieved from this trench supports this view. The second trench dug to the west of the first trench exposed the relics of the brick wall fully.

At Kottaikaraimedu twelve trenches were laid. This site is marked with the occurrence of brick structure, with the channels used for bringing drinking water and draining out sewage water and ring wells. They have used granite boulders to construct both the sides of the wall and filled the middle portion with the mixture of clay and crushed brick stones and they could ascertain the width as 1 m 15 cm and the height of the brick wall structure could not be ascertained. The site is marked by the presence of smoking pipes, Sultan coins and a number of decorated red ware shreds and bangle pieces were collected from this site.

On the basis of cultural sequences of these sites, the archaeologists have classified as period one and period two. The date assignable to period one could be between 13th and 14th Century A.D.  The date assignable to period two could be between 14th and 16th century A.D.

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Structural Remains and Flooring PC Dept. of Archeology

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Closed Channel PC Dept. of Archeology

S.I.I Vol. V, No.78. on the east and north bases of the Ammaiappa esvara Temple, Padavedu

Inscription S.I.I. vol V, no. 78 dated - on the nakshatra Revati and Monday, the seventh lunar day of the former half of the month of Karkataka, in the year, which was current after the expiration of the Saka year 1180 (1258 A.D.), and records a grant, which Rajagambhira-Sambuvarayan made to the temple of Ammaiappa esvara.  The name of the object of the grant must be contained in the final portion of the first line, which is buried underground.  The donor is evidently identical with that Rajagambhira-Sambuvarayan, who is mentioned in a Tirumalai inscription (No.74), which seems to be dated in Saka 1157-58.  It may be further conjectured, that the Ammaiappesvara Temple at Padavedu had received its name from Ammaiappan or Ammaiyappan, one of the birudas of another Sambuvarayan, who was a contemporary and probably a relation of Rajagambhira-Sambuvarayan.

S.I.I Vol. V, No.79. on the south-east of the Ammaiappa esvara Temple, Padavedu

This inscription is dated during the reign of Vira-Devaraya-maharayar (of Vijayanagara) and On the tenth day of the month of Masi of the Pramadicha (i.e., Saka 1356) (1434 A.D.). It records a grant to the lord Ammaiappa-nayanar of the Ammaiappa eswara Temple.  The name of the donor is obliterated (Madhayavanar?). This meritorious gift shall last as long as the moon and the sun.  He who shall injure this meritorious gift, [shall incur the sin of one has killed] a black cow on the bank of the Ganga.

S.I.I Vol. V, No.80. on the south wall of the Ammaiappa esvara Temple, Padavedu

This inscription is dated during the reign of Vira-Devaraya-maharayar (of  Vijayanagara) and on the 2nd day of the month of Adi on the Ananda year,.  (i.e.,Saka 1357).  It records the gift of a village to the lord Ammaiappa-nayanar of the Ammaiappa esvara Temple.  The middle portion is defaced by three cracks. The donor is Ulagalantha Suryadeva of Kalavai.

S.I.I Vol. V, No.81. on the east wall of the Somanatha eswara Temple, Padavedu

This inscription is dated on the day of (the nakshatra) Uttiradam, which corresponds to the Yoga Ayushmat and to Saturday, the thirteenth lunar day of the former half of the month of Simha of the Sukla year, which was current after the Saka year 1371 (had passed) (1449 A.D.), and during the reign of Virapratapa Praudha-Immadi-Devaraya-maharayar.  This is the latest hitherto-known date of Devaraja II.  In the preserved portion, mention is made of the kingdom of Padaividu (Padaivitttu rajyam),which belonged to Tondai-mandalam, of the right and left had castes and of the Somanatha esvara Temple at Padaividu.

How to Get There?

Nearest Bus stand: Padavedu is located around 30.9 km away from Vellore and around 56.7 kilometer away from its district head quarter Tiruvannamalai. Santhavasal (Padavedu) is well connected with major nearby towns like Arani, Arcot, Vellore and Thiruvannamalai and Polur. Frequent buses ply to Santhavasal from Kancheepuram, Vellore, Polur, Arcot and Arani.

Nearest Railway station: The nearest railway station to Padavedu is Aliyabad which is located in and around 11.5 km distance. Both Arni Road railway station and Vellore Cantt. railway station are 28.8 km away from Padavedu..

Nearest Airport: Chennai airport is the nearest airport located at a distance of 139.7 km. Bengaluru airport is also a nearer airport located at a distance of 211.8 km. 

  1. Discussion why pandyas lost to kafur. in Ponniyin Selvan Varalaatru Peravai (
  2. Land of a thousand temples. Anusha Parthasarathy. The Hindu June 27, 2013
  3. Maduravijayam. Gangadevi. Tr. by Tiruvenkatachari. Canto IV, Slokas 64 - 83.
  4. Madura Vijayam Wikipedia
  5. Padavedu Excavation. Natana Kasinathan. Asst. by Abdulmajeed, Sampath KS, Selvaraj S, and Kalaivanan M, State Department of Archaeology, Chennai. 1993 ( and (
  6. Padavedu, Thiruvannamalai. Tamilnadu Tourism. March 24, 2016. (
  7. Sambuvaraya Wikipedia
  8. Sambuvarayar period stone inscription found The Hindu. April 07, 2002
  9. Visit to Padavedu Kottaimalai Sri Venugopala Swamy Temple. Raju's Temple Visits. June 13, 2008 (
  10. Visit to Padavedu Temples. Raju's Temple Visits. May 26, 2008. (
  11. What is India. South Indian Inscriptions. Part B: Tamil and Grantha Inscriptions. V Inscriptions at Padavedu (
Mann Pesum Sarithiram epi 290

Kottaimalai Trip

Vel Temple at Padavedu

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Gatti Mudali Dynasty of Salem Region Part 2: Attur Fort

Attur Fort Long View Wikipedia
A Sone Wall of Fort of Attur. Wikipedia
A Construction of Fort of Attur: Wikipedia
A View of the Backside of the Fort Wikipedia

Attur Fort: Various Buildings
The two part series brings out the history of Gatti Mudali dynasty, who ruled parts of Salem, Karur and Erode districts in the 17th century as chieftains underneath the Madurai Nayak dynasty. They held two important strategic forts to guard against invasion from Mysore kingdom: one at Omalur (near Salem) and the other at Attur (near Salem). The part one of the two part series details the history of Gatti Mudalis. This post forms the part two which features of Attur Fort held by Gatti Mudalis.

Attur Fort lies on the banks of River Vasishta (வாசிஷ்டா நதி). Located at Attur (ஆத்தூர்) 32 miles east of Salem, it was built by a local Palayakarar, C.Lakshmana Nayakan (17th Century) and later held by Gatti Mudali, the local Chieftain of this region. Gatti Mudalis strengthened fort with the treasure discovered by him in a bush, while he was hunting.  The iron pot in which the treasure was found still preserved.  The river divides this town into two halves and the land in the south-eastern of the river is known as Pudupet and the north-western part addressed as Attur. During 16th-17th centuries this town was addressed as 'Anantagiri' and till 18th century.  

In 1699 Anantagiri was occupied by  Chikka Deva Raya of Mysore (1673 - 1704 A.D.) as per the treaty concluded by "Lingurajayah with Aurachee". Afterwards Hyder Ali (1721 - 1782 A.D.) the sultan and de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore  seized this fort and held it till 1768 and lost it when Colonel Wood attacked the fort with his British troops. Eventually in the same year Hyder Ali took back the control of the fort after the encounter with colonel Wood. In 1792 there was restoration of peace and Anantagiri served as the garrison for 23rd Madras Battalion with Captain Campbell as the commander. Since Madras Battalion moved to Sankagiri fort, the fort continued to be employed as ordnance depot from 1799 as per the scheme implemented by Lord Robert Clive. The British detachment was housed till 1824 and afterwards the fort ceased to be British armed forces station. Later ASI, Chennai Circle took charge of the fort and maintain it till now. The fort is surrounded by  slums and the people misuse it.

Fort Architecture

The town houses the impressive square shaped fort, built on the north-western side of the river.  The fort occupied about 62 acres. Known as Anantagiri Fort aka Attur Anantagiri Fort, the fortification includes 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide sloped rampart or embankment built with well fitted cut stone with mortar and with glacis or artificial slope to protect the rampart, angled bastions (angular structure with two faces and two flanks projecting outward from the rampart) specifically designed to cover each other from fire protection  and gun batteries. The glacis to the east is overgrown by trees. The south side of the fort is guarded by the river and the other sides are protected by a ditch. The fort gate is in the center of the eastern face. Some of the fort’s important landmarks include a Vishnu temple (appears to be the later construction), a Shiva temple and a shrine of Muniyappan, the guardian of the fort; three fairly large and one modestly small bomb proof chambers in the middle of the fort. It is learned that Gatti Mudalis have used one of the chambers with hemispherical vault or dome as their Kacheri (administrative block). Some other large chamber with the provision of inner court seems to be the harem or residential domain of Gatti Mudalis. The pleasure manor of Gatti Mudali decorated with pillared roof with obtuse pointed arches is located on the south face of the rampart. Adjacent to this there is a concealed water gate leading to the river and this structure is comfortably hidden and  well defended. Similar water gate provision was also made on the northern part of the fort and leads to the ditch. Some of the parts of the fort are in dilapidated condition.  The ditch and ramparts are undergoing more and more damages. Two years back an amount of Rs.7 lakhs were allocated for the renovation of Kachery and the other hall. However the fencing work for the fort is completed in total. 

John Murray's Tomb
There are few Tamil, Grantha, Sanskrit and Telugu inscriptions found in damaged state in this fort. An inscription by Anne Murray wife of John Murray, Commander of the first batalion of the East India Company informs   about the death of John Murray in May 6, 1799.

long felt demand of residents of Attur, historians and scholars is to state government for announcing this monument as tourist place.  
  1. Attur Fort
  2. Attur Fort - A Well Preserved 300 years old Fort  Salem Tourism Blog
  3. Google Plus. Aragalur Pon.Venkatesan
  4. Historic Fort. The Hindu 
  5. ஆத்தூர் கோட்டை

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Gatti Mudali Dynasty of Salem Region Part I: History

Attur Fort held by Gatti Mudalis
Taramangalam Temple near Salem (Facade)
Taramangalam Temple Insignia Gatti Mudali
Taramangalam Thousand Pillared Hall - Pillar seen before temple. The Hindu
The Gatti (Getty) Mudali aka Katti (Ketti) Mudali dynasty ruled parts of Salem, Karur and Erode districts in the 17th century as chieftains underneath the Madurai Nayak dynasty. The word 'gatti (katti)' or 'getti (ketti)'   meant firm determination or resolution or solidness or unshakeable and the other word 'Mudali' meant 'primary.'    Edgar Thurstan construes the origin of the word 'Mudaliars' from the root word 'muthal' in a literal sense 'the first', the first in Society. The term may also denote money invested or working capital in business. Mudali appears to be the title. The Gatti rulers were known for their univocal statement, reliability and resoluteness.

The Nayak kingdom of Madurai (1530 A.D to 1736 A.D.) was divided into 72 palayams during the reign of Viswanatha Nayak by his minister Dalavoy Ariyanatha Mudaliar. The Palayakars were allowed to collect land tax and pay a portion of it as tribute. They were assigned to train the army and to offer military support to Madurai Nayak ruler to counter enemies. The domination of Gatti Mudali rulers extended as far as Thalaivasal (Salem district) to the east, Dharapuram (Erode district) to the west and Karur district to the south. Gatti Mudali reigned land was considered as the most dangerously exposed region of the Madurai Nayak kingdom. They held two important strategic forts to guard against invasion from Mysore kingdom: one at Omalur (near Salem) and the other at Attur (near Salem). The Gatti Mudali chieftains coined the unique insignia by combining the green mat, garland of flowers and tiger and this representation finds a definite place in all the temples originally built, extended and renovated by them.

Akananuru (அகநானுறு), a classical Tamil poetic work and the seventh book in the secular anthology of Sangam literature (600 BCE - 300 CE), namely Ettuthokai (eight anthologies) lists these people as one of the chieftains i.e,  Konganar, Kalingar, Karunadar, Gangar and Gatti.

அகநானுறு: 44. முல்லை
Akananuru 44, Kudavoyil Keerathanar, Mullai Thinai - What the hero told his charioteer (வினை முற்றி மீளும் தலைமகன் தேர்ப்பாகற்குச் சொல்லியது.- குடவாயிற் கீரத்தனார்)

... ... ... ... ஒரு வினை, கழிய
நன்னன், ஏற்றை, நறும் பூண் அத்தி,
துன் அருங் கடுந் திறற் கங்கன், கட்டி,
பொன் அணி வல்வில் புன்றுறை, என்று ஆங்கு
அன்று அவர் குழீஇய அளப்பு அருங் கட்டூர்,
பருந்து படப் பண்ணி, பழையன் பட்டென,
கண்டது நோனானாகித் திண் தேர்க்
கணையன் அகப்படக் கழுமலம் தந்த
பிணையல் அம் கண்ணிப் பெரும் பூண் சென்னி
அழும்பில் அன்ன அறாஅ யாணர்
பழம் பல் நெல்லின் பல் குடிப் பரவை
பொங்கடி படி கயம் மண்டிய பசு மிளை
தண் குட வாயில் அன்னோள்
பண்புடை ஆகத்து இன் துயில் பெறவே.
Meaning: Ride your chariot faster to get ahead of other chariots, my charioteer! Let me receive sweet sleep on the chest of the one with character, who is like Alumpil town with abundant prosperity, many lands with paddy fields, ponds where elephants bathe, surrounded by protective forests, belonging to Perumpootchenni wearing a victory garland, who attacked his enemies and won a battle in Kalumalam where Chōla commander Palaiyan died, and as kites soared above the battlefield, he defeated the Chēra supporters, Nannan, Ētrai, Athi wearing fine jewels, able and fierce Kankan who enemies fear, Katti, and Pundrurai wearing gold jewels, who had great talents and bowmanship. (Source: Learn Sangam Tamil)
Akananuru 226, Paranar, Marutham Thinai – What the heroine’s friend said to the unfaithful hero
தொடி அணி முன்கை நீ வெய்யோளொடு
முன் நாள் ஆடிய கவ்வை, இந் நாள்,
வலி மிகும் முன்பின் பாணனொடு, மலி தார்த்
தித்தன் வெளியன் உறந்தை நாள் அவைப்
பாடு இன் தெண் கிணைப் பாடு கேட்டு அஞ்சி,
போர் அடு தானைக் கட்டி
பொராஅது ஓடிய ஆர்ப்பினும் பெரிதே.
தலைமகற்குத் தோழி வாயில் மறுத்தது. - பரணர்

Meaning: The gossip risen is larger than the uproar in the day assembly of Thithan Veliyan wearing large garlands, in Uraiyur, when Katti with a large army came to fight along with the brave and strong Pānan, and on hearing the sweet roars of the panai drums, ran away. (Source: Learn Sangam Tamil)

The 7th century A.D. hero stone (நடுகல்) evidence speaks about 'Kunra Gatti (குன்ற கட்டி).'  

The Ilameekaramutaiya Nayanar temple inscription of Viraramanathan inscribed in the year 1274 A.D. observes about the Devadanam made to Ilameekaramutaiya Nayanar (temple) by six Mudalis of Taramangalam including 'Niruni Periya Ilaman'. Another inscription at the same temple by Sadaiyavarman Sundara Pandyan II inscribed in the year 1281 A.D. reports about 'Niruni Ilaiyan Nalla Udaiyappan', one of the Mudalis of Taramangalam, whose ancestors developed Latchumana Saturvedimangalam after winning the battle. Yet another inscription at the same temple by Sadaiyavarman Sundara Pandyan II mentions about Niruni Ilaiyan Nalla Udaiyappan, one of the eight Mudalis of Taramangalam, who made gift of tax free land (karaikalam) to priests of Latchumana Saturvedimangalam. One more inscription at the same temple points out about the same chieftain, one of the nine Mudalis of Taramangalam, who made gift of tax free villages from Amarakunthi to Vellaraipalli bound by and irrigated through Perumal Lake to priests of Latchumana Saturvedimangalam. The inscription retrieved from Taramangalam mentions about the 'Niruniar' clan of Kongu Vellala Goundar: 'Mudalikalil Niruni Periya Ilaman'; 'Mudalikalil suvatan seyyan kunra kamundan'; Mudalikalil sakatan Ilaman Perumal kamundan'.  One more inscription from the Taramangalam records that during the reign of Sadasiva (1542-1552 A.D) a village was given as a gift to the temple of 'Ramakudal' by one of the Mudalis of the same place. 'From this time onwards the names of these Mudaliars occur every frequently in inscriptions records of Amarakundi, Sankaridurg. Triuchengodu, Mecheri, Idangasalai and Pallampatti places in and around the Taramangalam region.'

Mackenzie collection of manuscripts refer about 13 Gatti Mudalis and provides the list comprising six in the order of succession: 1. Siyazhi Gatti; 2. Ragunatha Gatti; 3. Immudi Gatti; 4. Punkkan Gatti;  5. Vangamudi Gatti and 6. Kumara Gatti. Few scholars viewed the descendants of Gatti Mudali are the Kongu Vellala clan of Athiyan, Kanavalar, Marhavar, Narmudiyar, Vadakaraiyar.

Mackenzie manuscript also records the service rendered by the founder of Gatti Mudali dynasty as personal attendant to Tirumalai Nayak, the most notable of the thirteen Madurai Nayak rulers in the 17th century. Due to some petty misdeed, he left the Imperial service and settled in a village called Amarakunthi and learned indigenous medicine (as barber) and attended the ailment of Kunni Vettuvan, the local Vettuvan chieftain and also cured it. For this act of medical attendance, the Ketti Mudali was honored as chieftain. In the initial stages this region was under Vijayanagar empire. Later in 1623 this region became one of the Palayams (Madurai Nayak's Palayam divisions). Taramangalam, the temple town near Salem became the capital of the Palayam of Gatti Mudali and Amarakundhi (Omalur Taluk, Salem district, Tamil Nadu) also served as the alternate capital. Kaveripuram (Kolathur Taluk, Salem District, Tamil Nadu State) became another strategic centre at the border of Mysore.

  • Mummudi Gatti Mudali: Taramangalam Kailasanathar temple,  the most beautiful of its kind in Salem District, features exquisite stone carvings. During 13th Century reconstruction and elaboration of this temple commenced by Mummudi Gatti Mudali.
  • Siyazhi Gatti: Reconstruction and elaboration of Taramangalam Kailasanathar temple was continued during Siyazhi Gatti's reign.
  • Immudi Gatti: He ruled over parts of Erode and Namakkal. He made an endowment in 1564 A.D for the upkeep of the temples of Kailasanathar and Hamisvaram Udaiya Nayanar in Taramangalam. At Bhavani Sangameswarar Temple, one of his inscriptions was retrieved and placed along the wall of the temple. It speaks about his wife's contribution to the temple.
  • Vangamudi Gatti: Vanangamudi Gatti completed the reconstruction and elaboration of Taramangalam Kailasanathar temple in the 17th century. He also had plan to construct a Thousand Pillared Hall and for this purposes his sculptors chiseled several gigantic monolithic pillars of pink granite carved, polished, and ready for erection. Since he was killed in a war in Omalur in 1667 A.D., this hall could not be completed. About 20 pillars lie around the temple and some more are believed to have got buried. However in 1975, the Salem district collector initiated a project to retrieve the pillars and complete the Pillared hall with the available pillars and this project discontinued due to declaration of emergency. Vanagamudi Gatti  also built a Pillaiyar temple and a matam in Chidambaram. He has granted the village of Ilavampatti to the Kailasanathar temple in Taramangalam.

  1. Attur Fort in Aragalur blog
  2. Call to restore 374-year-old exquisitely carved pillars SP.Saravanan. The Hindu. July 01, 2014
  3. Gatti Mudali
  4. Gatti Mudhali Dynasty
  5. Historic inscription lies uncared for at temple.  Karthik Madhavan. The Hindu. January 28, 2007
  6. Mackenzie manuscripts; summaries of the historical manuscripts in the Mackenzie collection, Volume 1,Colin Mackenzie,University of Madras, 1972
  7. Talk: Gatti Mudalis
  8. Taramangalam Growth.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Krisnhnagiri Fort and Baramahal: 'The Gateway of Tamilnadu'

Krishnagiri, 'the Gateway of Tamil Nadu,' is the small town in western part of Tamil Nadu. It is located 90 km from Bangalore and 45 km from Hosur. This region was ruled by occupied by Kongu and Chera rulers. Later the region came under Cholas, Pallavas, Gangas, Nulambas, Hoysalas and Vijayanagar. Krishnagiri region served as the protective barrier for Thamilkam. Krishnangiri mountain aka Syed Basha Hill located to the North of Tiruvannamalai road in Krishnagiri. Krihnagiri fort, a small but strong fort built on top of the hill by the Vijayanagar emperor  Krishnadevaraya. Therefore the town and the fort are named after Krishnadevaraya. The fortress served as the most important defensive point and the majestic fort stands as testimony till now. A mint was instituted here in 1794 A.D. to mint gold, silver and copper coins. There is a flight steps leading from the foothills to the top of the mountain. There is also a dargah on top of hills and cave. The fort is visible from the highways and one has to walk through narrow lanes and slums to reach the entrance to the hills. It will be a great experience to glance the aerial view of this ancient place. The hill slope with rocky formations as well as with shrubs and hedges was a treat to the eyes. The strong breeze will be soothing the mind and body. There is a small museum inside the fort.

Krishnagiri fort has some interesting to tell. As told earlier the fort was built by emperor Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagar Empire. The name 'Baramahal' was given to the fort and its surrounding areas. King Krishnadevaraya left this fort under the custody of Jagadevarayan in an appreciation of his valor in the wars and this chieftain named the place as Jagadevi.

This fort and Baramahal was seized by Bijapur Sultan in the 17th century. Later this fort came under Shahaji (F/o Chatrapathi Shivaji) as jagir. After the demise of Shahaji, his son Vyankoji aka. Ekoji (B/o Chatrapathi Shivaji) became the jagidar. Finally in 1670 Chatrapathi Shivaji occupied the fort after conquering Vyankoji.

Hyder Ali, the warrior of Mysore serving under Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar, the king of Mysore, brought the fort under his control during 18th century. After the Mysore war the fort went to the control of the British Indian government in 1768. When Tipu Sultan (S/o Hyder Ali) occupied this fort. Though Lt.Col. Maxwell, the commander of the British troops attacked the fort in November 1791, it remained with Tipu Sultan till the Treaty of Srirangapatna was made in 1792. Finally the fort came under the British. At present this strong fort is maintained by ASI. The fort with its picturesque sight, its long history will definitely attract the passing tourists and visitors and make them to feel as a must visit monument when in this town.

Youtube Video: Structure in Tipu Sultan's at Krishnagiri by mrdave991. 

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