Monday, October 24, 2011

Kanchipuram Pallavan Legacy

If one is inquisitive and on a rediscovery trail on India, one is bound to ponder over the legacy of  various kingdoms of the past.  Where did the Pallavan kings live, how did they manage to build huge monuments, what was the motivation to undertake massive architectural excellence, why did they engage in constant warfare among the Gangas and Chalukyas.

During my trip i asked my guide from TTDC Ramesh can you just explain my queries on the above elaborated subject matter.  He was just taken back initially and managed to put the onus on research by ASI and department of tourism in TN.  Probably if a systematic research is undertaken one might find the ruined or destroyed palace of the kings and maybe a hidden chamber of wealth which was amassed by the Pallavan kings.

Kolar gold fields were probably first discovered during the Harappan and Mohejadaro period with Golden objects tracing back to gold impurity levels of 11% silver concentration which is present in Kolar Gold fields only.  Guptas ( 320 - 550 AD ) discovered the Golden reserves and consolidated their claim by deploying the Ganga dynasty rulers as their feudatory Konganivarman Madhava ( 350-370 AD)  and claimed royalty in the form of gold.  Samudragupta ( 335-375 AD) had first issued series of gold coins depicting various facets of  his lifetime, Ashwamedha yagna, Lyrist, Hunter, Warrior, Royalty and Chess player. Durvinita ( 529 - 579 ) became a powerful ruler of  Ganga based at Talakkad, Avani served as a strategic base which was close to Kanchipuram the Pallavan capital.  Durvinita forged  alliance with the Chalukyas by marrying his daughter to Chalukyan emperors son Vijayaditya. Pallavas constantly waged war because of the huge gold mine at Kolar with Gangas and Chalukyas and ultimately managed to defeat Pulakesin II in 642 AD and occupied Badami too for almost 13 years.  Now the source of  wealth of  Pallavas is identified, now let us check out the famous edifices in Kanchipuram :

Ekambareswar Temple :   This temple has been built under different kingdoms starting with Pallavas, Cholas and finally with Vijaynagar emperor Krishnadevaraya building the massive entrance gopuram ( tower ) which raises to a height of 57 meters.  This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort Parvathi.  The shivlinga is made out of sand and shaped almost like a triangular pyramid unlike the circular Shivlingam.  The initial temple construction can be credited to Parameswarvarman ( 672 - 700 AD ) as a mark of  his association with monument building.  The temple complex is spread over 23 acres currently with three distinct complexes and a tank complex.  There is a small courtyard with a 3000 year old mango tree wherein devotees circulating pray for their wishes to come true.  One also ties knot of the ribbon with priest prompting to seek the divine blessing.   My wife liberally donated Rs 100 to the priest who was extremely pleased to pray for our welfare.

On a packaged trip the guide literally prods us to return to the bus as early as possible.  Maybe next time it would be wise for us to make an unguided tour of this huge premises.  There is a small temple just opposite this huge complex which is impressive but it is attached to some other mutt. It has obviously been resurrected with the original stones.  The main temple has been painted indiscriminately, and too much of  religious commercial activity in the temple premises robs the visitors of its glory, wherever we find Pooja being performed in ancient  temple looses its charm according to me.  The entire complex is divided among priests as if it is their legacy.  We may come across property dispute among caretaker priests,  I am afraid, in future if such practise are allowed to continue..  I hope the state govt and ASI is alert to such danger.


DS said...

Beautiful... The third pic is amazing with all those pillars creating a great effect!!

arunthetraveller said...

Excellent write up and nice pics... Its really amazing to see the work done on rocks by the earlier dynasties.. Really a treasure to cherish..

Tanmay said...

Nice to read the historical analysis. What I find interesting in history is that it's like a jigsaw puzzle! That's what drives archeologists, I think.

Couldn't agree more on what you said about excessive religious and commercial activities in many of our ancient treasures.

Team G Square said...

Nice to know about Pallavas .

magiceye said...

very interesting

Ranting Indian said...

Awesome pics and rightly said. The religious commercial activity indeed robs the charm of the temple.

Farila said...

I feel so proud of our culture and heritage ...
Very beautiful pictures to go with the blog

Sujatha Sathya said...

so much info in the post. lovely pics too

sriramnivas said...

Temples are symbols of heritage and blogging about temples is indeed a great thing.....Long live divinity


Maun Vision said...

Excellent depiction. Pictorials too just amazing. The samudragupta details are too good.

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Cheers Priya

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