Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kattu Mannar Koil Inscriptions

13th Century inscription records that the product of the growing lands between Kollidam and Vellaru be assigned for repairs to the temple

Kattu Mannar Koil is home to inscriptions that provide insights into its history dating back in time to different periods and rulers.

The earliest inscription dates back to Chozha King Parantaka I who renovated the temple with brick construction. It was also Parantaka I who built the Veera Narayana Lake (now Veeranam) in the 10th Century AD.  Following him, during the time of Kulotunga I, the temple witnessed another renovation with the Granite structure replacing the previous brick construction in line with the materials used during that period.

Name of the Place
Inscriptions also reveal different names for this place as referred by different rulers in different periods of time. In the 12th Century AD, this place was referred to as Veeranarayanapuram and the tank as Veeranarayana Eri. During the Chozha period, this place was referred to as Veera Narayana Vinnagaram,   Krishna Deva Raya referred to the Lord as Azhagiya Mannanar, while during the times of Sundara Pandyan, the name was simply ‘Mannanar’. In other periods of time, this place has also been referred to as Veera Narayana Chaturveda Mangalam and Thuvarapathi Mannan Thiru Koil.

Inscription Insights
The Inscriptions at Kattu Mannar Koil also provide insights into the festivals organised during that period as well the jewels adorned by the Lord as well as allocation of land to meet the expenses for repairs to the temple

A 13th century AD inscription refers to an order to sell certain lands to the temple and the purchase by the temple from this cash of ornaments for the Lord.  During the rule of Jatavarma Sundara Pandya I, a festival was organised every month on Moolam with tax free gifts of cultivable land for providing offerings and conducting this festival. Also, during his rule, there is a record of a similar gift of tax free land for providing offerings and worship to the God.

Repairs to the temple
Interesting, there were provisions made to take care of any repairs to Kattu Mannar Koil temple. A 13th Century inscription records that the product of the growing lands between Kollidam and Vellaru be assigned for repairs to the temple.

As per the inscriptions, the moolavar deity that one sees today dates back to the 13th Century AD to the period of Sadayavarma Sundarapandyan, who ruled between 1250 and 1274. He undertook extensive renovation of the Kattu Mannar Koil giving the temple a lot of what we see today.

Inscriptions in Tamil also indicate significant contributions made by Chozhas, Rayas and Nayak Kings.

Kattu Mannar Koil is 25kms South West of Chidambaram and a similar distance East of Sri Mushnam. The temple is located 8kms East of Meensuruti off the Chennai-Kumbakonam Highway.

Buses every half hour between Chidambaram and Kattu Mannar Koil. One can also reach Kattu Mannar Koil from Vriddachalam, Srimushnum and Jayakondam.

By road from Chennai, one can reach Kattu Mannar Koil by taking the Vikravandi- Panruti-Sethiya Thope route (about 235kms)

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