Kilappaluvur - Thiru Alandurai Mahadevar Temple


Kilappaluvur is in Trichi-Ariyalur route leading to the ancient Chola capital of Gangaikondacholapuram, at a distance of 5 km from Ariyalur and 53 km from Trichi. The place is part of the ancient settlement of Perumpaluvur ruled over by Paluvettaraiyar chieftains who had connections with the Cera clan. The Saivaite saint Thirujnana Sambandhar of 9th century in his pathikam on Plauvur describes the vast settlement of Brahmins from Cera country in this place and the sthalapurana echoes about priests from west coast.

"Anthanarkalana Malayalavar Ettum
Bandham Malikinra Pazhuvoor Aran"

The settlement at Perum Paluvur consists of two units; Kilappaluvur and Melappaluvur, the former with 2 Siva temples and the latter with one temple of Siva, the Avani Kandarpa Iswara Grham. According to local inscriptions, Kilappaluvur was known as the brahmedaya of Sirupaluvur as distinct from Mannu-perum-paluvur or Melappaluvur which then comprised of both the modern villages of Kilaiyur and Melappaluvur. Kilappaluvur is 5 km east of Kilaiyur and the two Siva temples are the Pasupathisvaram or Maaravanisvaram (only four walls of the Sri Kovil exist) and the famous Tiruvalandurai-nallur-udaiyar temple which is partly in ruins. Palu, Vata and Aal all means the banyan tree and the place would have once been a forest of banyan trees. Hence it came to be known as Paluvur or Alandurai and the God is also known as Vatamulesvarar in inscriptions.

The temple had its existence in the 9th century, vouched by the Pathikam of Sambhandar. The most glorious period of the temple were from the period of Parantaka I (907-953 A.D.) through 10th and 11th centuries. There are about 27 inscriptions spread over the above period. An inscription of historical significance is the one in Parantaka's 12th regnal year (919 A.D.) which relates to a gift of 90 sheep for a lamp in the temple of Thiru-Alandurai-Mahadeva at Sirupaluvur in celebration of the great Chola victory at the battle of Velur over the combined forces of the Pandyas and Ceylonese. This led to the expansion of the Chola Kingdom.

The Temple

The temple which is located south of the Trichi-Ariyalur road, faces east. A temple tank exists in the front side. The temple is an eka-tala vimana with a spherical sikhara. The garbha griha is 14 ft square with an ardhamandapa projecting 6 ft from east to west. Further up there is a mukha mandapa extending a further 30 ft.

The devakoshtas have Dakshinamurti in the south, Lingodbhavar in the west and Brahma in the north. Of these, Lingodbhavar presents a magnificent panel of 3 figures. Brahama on the north side is slightly damaged. The pranala and the well on the north side also make interesting study.

Images of Ganesa and Durga on Mahishi adorn the niches in the ardhamandapa. Among the sculptures in the mukhamandapa, Ardhanarisvara is in a striking pose with the attendant bull. In the roofed verandah surrounding the temple there are stone images of Durga, Chandesvara, Sambandhar, Appar etc. and the Saptamatrukkal - Kaumari, Mahesvari, Brahmi, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani and Chamunda to the accompaniment of Virabhadrar and Ganapthi at the two ends.

The bronze figures of this temple also deserve mention. That of Rishabha Vahana devar is one of the earliest and grandest metal images of the Chola period. Another bronze of Tripurantaka from the same temple is also worth mention among early Chola bronzes.

Cultural and Architectural landmarks as revealed by inscriptions

An inscription of 913 A.D. in the reign of Parantaka I mentions 1.5 kalanju gold and three kalam of paddy as korru to Alayure Cakkaai for enacting three scenes of the Sakkai Kuthu (Chakyar Kuthu) on the Asvati day of the festival in Arpasi in the temple of Tiru Alandurai Nallur. (ARE 250 of 1926). Parantaka I had married a princess from Cera family at Kodungallur and Ala is a place in Kodungallur. This is a clear indication of social and cultural integration which was prevalent in southern India in the 10th century.

Another inscription of 984 A.D. in the 15th regnal year of Uttama Chola mentions that the local chieftain Paluvettariyar Maravan Kandan as having built (probably rebuilt) the temple of Vatamulesvara. (ARE 245/1926). Today what remains of the temple may be those of this reconstruction and are well over 1020 years old as on today. The present name of God here is Vatamulanathar and his consort is known as Arunthavanayaki Amman.

Parasurama is also associated with this temple. Tradition speaks of his penance here to the concealed Siva Linga under the banyan tree for the atonement of his sin of killing his mother at the behest of his father.

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Last Revised (contents): 3 october, 2004
Last Revised (design) : 3
october 2004

Last Revised
3 October 2004



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