Kancheepuram: Stone inscriptions dating back to the 10th and 11th century AD found recently in a nearby village have thrown light on the way records of properties were maintained during the Chola times. The stones were found last week during digging at the Sirukarumbur hamlet, tucked away from the main road 25 km from here.
Sirukarumbur seems to have been a bustling and active land of cultivation, then named Rajarajaseri, as many stone inscriptions were discovered scattered around the mound behind twin temples of the village, an archaeology expert said.
The stones disclosed the many agreements reached between different groups of people for endowments and upkeep of the temple. The inscriptions also revealed that there were chola bronze images, consecrated and worshipped in that temple.
The inscriptions were the way the people of Chola times maintained their solid land and property records, Dr R Nagaswami, well-known archaeologist and former director of state Archaeology department, told a news agency.
One of the stone documents recorded that a bronze idol of Umaparameswari, consort of Lord Nataraja, was installed and worshipped by the villagers in the year 1013 AD, the 28th year of the reign of Rajaraja Chola-I, in the temple.
The stone records also brought to light the agreements reached by a group of people in the village to endow paddy for the upkeep and maintenance of the temple. Names of the people of the community like Arunan, Ezhilan Pondhai, Mani Nagan, and village posts like “Gramavitthan”, mentioned in the stones, revealed that the temple had been a common holding of the community, Nagaswami said.
The stones were spotted by the present junior Kanchi Sankaracharya Sankara Vijayendra Saraswathi when he visited the place with Nagaswami on May 11.
The twin temples, whose history is not known much, have the deities of Sundarakamakshi and Thripurandeswarar (Shiva). They are laid on with stones, which are surmised to have been of different ages, and very richly ornamented with elegant designs, Nagaswami said.
The temples are remarkable for their simple elegance and for the green stone masonry. An old ruin of a temple lies at the back of these temples.
Sirukarumbur first came into prominence because of the interest late Mahaswami of Kanchi Mutt Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi evinced in the twin temples. He would walk 20 Kms from Kancheepuram to visit these temples and camp there. The temples were renovated during his lifetime in 1991 by his then junior Jayendra Saraswathi.
They inspected the many stones bearing inscriptions, recording many details of the 10th century times. They further explored with the active assistance of the villagers, the ruins of the old temple at the back of these twin temples.
Nagaswami said Sirukarumbur village was part of the larger village of Kaveripakkam which was originally named Kavidhi Pakkam. Kavidhi meant a commander and Kavidhipakkam was a bustling army encampment.
Because of its strategic position commanding the North and West of the Chola and Pallava regimes, it was also much embattled, the two dynasties winning it back and forth. The Rashtrakootas (AD 949) from the Western India also won and held it for a while.
The occupancy of each of the dynasties is marked by the several architectural variations and finesses among the temples in these areas, now gone obscure and unknown, its very name and history forgotten, buried but now unearthed.