Endowment and Donation for Lamps

There are more than 16 inscriptions recording the endowments or donations for lamps to be lit in front of Thiruppugalur Deva. The earliest inscription in Thiruppugalur temple registers a sale of land by the assembly to Gopan Sakuppu, a queen of Uttamachola for providing endowment for a lamp to the lord of Kailasam Udaiya Mahadevar at Tirupuramangalam. It is dated the 16th regnal year of Uttama Chola. The year is A.D. 985. The next epigraphic evidence is during the period of Rajaraja I in A.D. 992. It records a gift of money for three twilight lamps to be lit in front of the Thiruppugalur deity. The endowment was made by the head man of Thiruppugalur by the name Kadan Vaikunthan. The cash was to be deposited and only the interest to be utilized for maintaining the lamp. The inscription further records that the Sivabrahmins of the temple have agreed to the conditions of the gift.

In the 12th regnal year of the same king Rajaraja I corresponding to A.D. 997, a merchant of Amber by the name Sadaiyan Kuppai and his two sons purchased a piece of land from Balasiraian Krishnankumaran. The land was in the village of Eyinur, a Brahmadeya in Panaiyur nadu. The land was gifted to Thiruppugalur temple as endowment to light the lamp in the temple. In the 19th regnal year of the same king Rajaraja I corresponding to A.D. 1004, a vellala of Thiruppugalur made an endowment for lighting a lamp in the early morning hours and another in twilight. There is a mention of a Sivabrahmin by name Kasiaban who agreed to light the lamps as per the endowment. There is another incomplete inscription in the 20th regnal year of the same king corresponding to A.D.1005 mentioning an endowment of 25 kasus for lighting a twilight lamp in the temple of Konapperumal at Thirupuggalur. The weight of bronze lamp to be used for the purpose is mentioned as 911 palams and the oil to be used for the lamp every day is also specifically mentioned as ulakku. The names of temple servants called Sivabrahmins who have agreed to provide the lamp and light it daily are also mentioned.

As the inscriptions are incomplete, the full details about the endowment recorded on stone is dated 22nd regnal year of Rajaraja I corresponding to A.D. 1007. A vellala of Thiruppugalur made an endowment for twilight lamp by one Pendatti Uran Ponnambalam by paying a certain amount of money. The amount is not mentioned. The name of the person who agreed to light the lamp by receiving the amount was given as one seviduThese two epigraphic evidences are incomplete, though the purpose of the endowment is clear. There is also another inscription which is incomplete about the donation of money for lighting a lamp in front of the deity at Thiruppugalur by a lady. The Sivabrahmins of the temple are also mentioned but their names are not clear. There is also another inscription for similar purpose. But in this, the name of the donor is discernible. It is given by a Brahmin lady Ganapathi Ponnalvi alias Solai. The assent of Sivabrahmins of Thiruppugalur as to who is to light the lamp before the God Konnapperumal is also recorded.

In A.D. 1085 during the reign of Kulottunga I, there is an epigraph registering a gift of 96 sheep by a native of Sripuliyur for lighting a lamp in the Konnapperumal temple at Thiruppugalur. This shows that for some time sheep was also used as medium of barter in place of land or cash. During the 24th regnal year of Kulottungan I corresponding to A.D. 1094, Udhaya Divakaran Devan endowed 33 kasus for ten twilight lamps to be lit in fornt of Thiruppugalur Devar. The Sivabrahmins having received the amount agreed to light the lamp at the temple. Individual names of the Brahmins who have agreed are also given as Gangadhara Pattan, Bharathwaja Arur Uma Sahida Pattan, Kasiyaben Srikailayamudaiya Periyanambi Pattan, Patta Naana Danmasiva Acharya Pullali, Chandrasekhara Udaiyar, Aatharayan Nilivinar udaiyan and others. Perhaps the Sivabrahmins of the temple were free to enter into agreement with the devotees regarding certain donations for specific purposes. Again during the period of king Kulottunga I in his 25th regnal year corresponding to A.D. 1095, there is an epigraphic record about the endowment of land for lighting four lamps in front of the deity at Thiruppugalur. The endowment was made by one Kurukadikilan Tiruchitrambalamudaiyan Nambiyappi of Kurukadi in Thanjavur kurram of Pandi Kulasani Valanadu. This endowment was made along with the endowment for watermen to bring water from Cauvery for abhishekam in the temple.

The donation of the land of nearly 2 velis was made tax-free by paying 40 kasus to the assembly of Bhuloka Manikka Chaturvedi mangalam, a Brahmadeyam in Panayurnadu of Kulottunga Chola Valanadu. In the 30th regnal of Kullotunga I corresponding to A.D. 1100, there is an agreement between the Sivabrahmins of the temple at Thiruppugalur and a vellala name Iraiyur Udaiyar Araiyankudal Sivakalaiyan Arindavan Pallavan to light a lamp in Thiruppugalur temple. The amount received by sivabrahmins is 13 kasus. The name of Sivabrahmins who entered into the agreement are Sripugalur Devar Koil Kanivudaiya Sivabrahmin Baradvaji Narpathennayiram Pattan, Kasiyavan Aranga Vinnarumana pattan, Pullali Navalingesvara Mudaiyan, Sivabrahmana Devanan Nurrenma Pattan. Bharadwaiji Koothadi Tiruvaiyaru Devan, Bharadwaji, Koothadi Thirumukkoodan and many others. In the same regnal year of the same king Kulottunga I corresponding to A.D. 1100, there is yet another inscription regarding the endowment for a Nanda perpetual lamp by Vilupparaiyan of Mudikondacholan Thenkarainadu. The perpetual lamp is to be set on all the 360 days of the year and each day the measure of the oil is fixed as one ullakku to be measured by a measuring vessel called sina chinthamani. The amount of endowment is 20 kasus. Here, the assembly of Thiruppugalur after receiving the amount registers the deed according to which the assembly agrees to hand over every year in the month of Vaikasi the total quantity of oil measuring 90 nalis to the temple stores. (90 nalis are equal to 360 Ulakkus according to measures then in vogue).

In A.D 1101, that is during the 31st regnal year of Kulothunga I, the assembly of Thanadunga Chaturvedi mangalam, a Brahmadeva in Panaiyurnadu, a division of Kshatriyasiha Mani Valanadu have arranged for lighting two karpoora perpetual lamps in front of the Thiruppugalur temple deity out of land donated for the purpose. Further, the assembly received 30 kasus as tax remission free from the temple authorities. The boundaries of the land allotted for the purpose is given. In the 17 regnal year of Rajaraja II, corresponding to A.D. 1163, there is an epigraph that records about gift money of 10 kasus by a headman of Perignar, a village in Idainadu lighting a twilight lamp in the temple. The lamp is to be lit till arthayamum (night Puja). This endowment is by way of agreement between the donor and Sivabrahmin of the temple, some of the Sivabrahmins like Bharadwaja Tiruvaiyarudaiyan, Thirunaatapperumal Ekanayapattan, Vanavur Praun Sandeswara Pattan, Kasiyaban, Srikailasamudaiyan, Tirukameswara Mudaiyan and others have attested their signature to the deed.

to be continued…

Dr. Rukmani Vathanam
Lecturer, Selection Grade
Department of History, Meenakshi College for Women, Chennai.

Source: Journal of Indian History and Culture, March 2003

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