TEMPLE ENDOWMENTS – AGNEESWARER TEMPLE AT THIRUPPUGALUR – PART IV

Endowment for Food-offering

During the reign of Rajaraja I and Kulothunga I, there are a large number of endowments for food offerings to God and feeding the devotees. The details are given below:

There is an endowment in A.D. 1006 during the period of Rajaraja Chola during his 21st regnal year about the gift of paddy and money by one Angikumara Kramavittan alias Porkoilchandesvarayogi of Kundur, a hamlet of Virasigamugacheri in Viranarayana Chaturvedimangalam for offering to the image of Tirunavukkaraiyar installed in the temple newly. The offerings are to be made during the midday and night services. In the next year, that is in A.D. 1007 during the reign of the same king Rajaraja I, a Vellalan Tirumuyavan endowed for a twilight lamp and food offerings during night puja at 10 p.m. called ardayamam. The measure of paddy donated for each puja is also mentioned. In A.D. 1090 during the 20th regnal year of Kulottunga I, the assembly of Danathunga Chaturvedimangalam of Panayur Nadu in Kulottunga Chola Valanadu made a tax free endowment to Ganapatheeswara Mudaiyar of Thiruppugalur for the purpose of providing required items for early morning puja (sirukalai sandhi). The extent of land endowed was on the southern side of Kulottunga Chola river and measured six ma kani araikani. The land was made tax-free by the assembly after receiving six kasus from the temple authorities. From the income derived from the land, rice, ghee, curd, vegetable, betel leaves and areca nuts are to be provided for morning puja. The measure of ghee rice and curd rice is specified. The number of betel leaves for the puja is given as four.

There is an inscription in the temple during the reign of Kulottuga I in A.D. 1105 for the celebration of Chittirai festival. The land was endowed in Kayattur village by one Rajendra Cholan, Ramambhaiyar, a handmaid of the queen Elulagamudaiyar. The endowment also covers the feeding of Sri Maheswaras attending the festival on the festival days in the month of Chittirai and Vaigasi. The place where they are to be fed is given as Nambi Murugan Thirumadam. The land was further made tax-free by paying four kasus to the village assembly of Mudikondachola Chaturvedi Mangalam. It is then signed by the village members like Sri Vasudeva Pattan.

There is another similar endowment in A.D. 1116 during the reign of the same king Kulottunga I. The endowment was made by Iraiyur Udaiyar, Araiyan Gangaikondan Chola Vichadira Pallavaraiyan. An agreement was also made between the donor and the officials of the temple of Pugalurdeva to provide offerings and conduct the festival on the day of amavasya by feeding the devotees. Paddy of specified quality was provided for the purpose. Gold weighing 20 kazhanjus with a fineness of 91/2 Madurantakan madai also provided for making ornaments to Pugalur Devar. The signatories accepted that the agreement should be engraved on stone and copper.

There is another endowment dated A.D. 1117 of Kulottunga I for providing food to devotees. The donors name in the inscription is given as Nakkan Sonnavararivan alias Sembian of Rajendracholanallur in Panaiyur nadu of Kulottunga Cholavanadu. The extent of land is given as 200 kuli but the inscription by its side was damaged. This land was also made tax-free (Iraiyili). The next endowment in the year A.D. 1119 during the reigning period of the same king Kulottunga I was to feed 12 Brahmins daily during the noon puja. The noon puja is mentioned as madyanasandhi. The place where the feeding is taking place is also mentioned as choultry (Salai) put up by the donor on the southern bank of Varagur Nambiarkulam (Tank) in the village. The donor was a noble named Araiyan Karuvunayakar alias Kalapplarajan of Nerkundram of Perur Nadu of Puliyur Kottam of Jayamkonda Chola Mandalam. By the side of the tank, a piece of land was also endowed for the above feeding; the land was sold to the temple tax-free by the assembly of Buvaloga Manicka Chaturvedi by receiving 90 kasus. There is another inscription in the temple which is incomplete. According to this epigraphic evidence, the Sivabrahmins of Thiruppugalur temple including Thillai Nayaka Pattan and Kasiyaban received 25 kasus from a donor by name Araiyan, Gangaikondan alias Chola Vichathirayan of Iraiyur of Arcot Kurram in Pandya Kulasani Valanadu of Chola mandalam and agreed to give sacred bath, provide daily food offering and conduct procession of the deity of Thiruppugalur devar during amavasiya day.

Endowment for conducting Festival and Procession

In A.D. 1001 during the 16th regnal year of Rajaraja I Nakkan Thillai Azhagiyar alias Sri Panjavan Mahadevi, queen of Rajadhiraja, gave a tax-free gift of land to Sri Pugalur temple for conducting festival on the occasion of the birth star of both the king and the queen, in sadayam. In continuation of the inscription, there is also another inscription engraved about the gift of ornaments to the temple. The birthday festival is to be conducted on the sadayam star of Chithirai month. Every month on the day of sadayam, there was a festival conducted in a smaller scale. The details of articles required for the festival and the quantity of each one was also mentioned. All these are to be purchased with the produce of the land donated. During the festival, the puja seemed to have been performed both in the early morning and night. A light was to be burnt throughout the day and night and the oil requirement of the lamp is also specified. The offerings for the puja to be purchased out of the endowment of land included rice, curd, milk, ghee, coconut, flowers for garlands, turmeric, betel leaves and nut, dhal, vegetables and sugar. Pots for kalasa puja and leaves were also purchased. Quantities of rice to be given to a Brahmin priest, potter and other temple servants are also mentioned.

There is another inscription A.D. 1045 corresponding to the 27th regnal year of the same king Rajaraja I, who endowed money for the festival on the day of the king’s birth star sadayam. Here the donor is a Brahmin lady by name Pichan Sirudaikazhal of Seziyanmangalam in Inganadu. The festival offerings are to be made to the image of the consort of God Navalingesvara in the temple at Thiruppugalur. Out of the gift, the temple authorities are to provide the services of eight men to perform Ashtamangalam puja. During the puja, the bathing ceremony of the idol is considered auspicious. So the following articles are mentioned as preliminary necessities for doing the puja. 1. mirror 2. water vessel 3, a flag 4. a fly whisk 5, an elephant goad, 6, a drum, 7, a lamp and 8, a pair of fishes.

The next endowment mentioned is an inscription dated 5th regnal year of Rajendra II corresponding to A.D. 1057 which deals with the flag hoisting ceremony. The name of the festival for which the flag is to be hoisted is not mentioned. So, the endowments are perhaps for the flag hoisting ceremony of festivals which require flag hoisting. The donor of cash endowed was one Parantaka Arumoli alias Akaranatni Pallavariyan of Velur in Puliyur Nadu, a division of Vijayendran Valanadu. The inscription is incomplete and so the amount endowed is not known. But, there is another important information available from the epigraphic record. An amount of 40 kasus out of the sum donated was lent to the assembly of Pugalur by the temple authorities at an interest of 10 kasus, the rate of interest being 25 percent. The next endowment is of special significance. An endowment of lands with fixed boundaries in many areas of Thiruppugalur was made to the temple by the assembly of Mudikonda Chola Chaturvedi Mangalam village for the spiritual merit of a village official. The name of the official was Nangudaiyan Muvayiravan Azhagiya Manavalan. He was a village official and died in harness. In order to perpetuate his memory and his spiritual emancipation, lands were donated to the deity of Thiruppugalur temple for conducting the fifth-day festival in the month of Chittirai. The land also was made tax-free by the assembly. This endowment deserves special mention because the assembly wished to commemorate a deceased official for the public service he had rendered.

An epigraphical record of this donation is made in an inscription dated 20th regnal year of Kulottunga I corresponding to A.D. 1105. During the Pandyan rule in A.D. 1258, a festival was introduced in the Agneeswarar temple in the name of King Vira Pandyan. An endowment of 10 velis of land between the rivers Arisilaar and Mudikondan for this festival was donated by one Samidevan for the celebration and offerings to be made during the commemoration festival called Virapandiyan sandhi. There was another similar service introduced by the Pandyan ruler Jatavarma Sundara Pandiyan I in the year A.D. 1265 to pray for the welfare of the king. The name of the service was Kodandaraman sandhi. Kothandaraman being one of the names of Jatavarman Sundarapandyan I. The endowment for meeting the expenses in connection with this service was tax-free land of 45 velis situated in Tottakudi alias Rajendra Chola Nallur on the southern bank of the river Mudikonda Chola Perur in the division of Eyinanur in the Kulottunga Chola Valanadu. The inscription just registers the royal order and there is no mention of the name of the donor. In the same year, there is another epigraphical note where the name of the Sivabrahmin authorized to perform this ‘Kothandaraman sandhi’ is given as Udaiyam of Thiruppugalur.

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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