A Vijayanagar Bronze from Padi

Department of Archaeology
Government of Tamilnadu.

Padi, a small village situated in the Saidapet taluk of Chenglepet District is about 13 km North West of Chennai. The epigraphs of this place refer to this village as Tiruvalithayam in, Ambatturnadu, which was a sub-division of  Jayangonda Chola Valanadu in Puliyurkkottam.

An ancient Siva temple is located in the heart of this village. The presiding deity of this temple is called as Tiruvalithaya Nayanar. It appears that this name has been corrupted in to Tiruvalliswarar in modern times. This temple was praised by saint Tirugnanasambandar in seventh century A.D. and later by Arunagirinathar and Ramalinga Swamikal.

Fourteen inscriptions have been copied from this temple. The inscriptions refer to the presiding deity as Tiruvalithaya nayanar and its consort as Tiruvithi Nachiyar. During the Chola period, this place had attained an exalted status.

A bronze image of a seated Kali probably assignable to 14th century A.D. was noticed by the present author in the Pidari Ponni Amman temple, Padi, recently. This temple is located about 50 yards north-east of the above mentioned Siva temple.

The image of Kali is the utsvamurthi of this temple. It is seated on a padma pita with the left leg placed on the asana pedestal and the right leg is hanging down among the four hands, and rear upper right hand bears the trisula (trident) and the left one holds the pasa (noose). The lower right hand exhibits the abhaya mudra and the left one holds the kapala (skull).

The flaming jwala makuta adorns the head. A skull is also seen prominently on the head. A pair of entwined serpents upon the skull is an added attraction. On the right side is shown a dancing serpent and on the left is the crescent moon. The right ear is beautified by the preta kundala and the left by the patra kundala. The sacred thread on the chest, a pearl necklace on the neck and the twin serpents encompassing the breasts are the other ornamentations that adorn the image.

The pronounced eye brows, enlarged eyes, well chiselled nose, the protruding teeth at the mouth and the other graceful anatomical features are well carved by the sculptor.

The total height of this bronze is 48.5 cm and width is 12 cm. The stylistic presentation of the idol clearly represents the artistic tradition of the 14th century A.D. The idol is presently preserved in the Tiruvalliswarar temple, Padi.

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