Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Penneswaramadam Temple Inscription: How the Vira Ramanatha, Hoysala Ruler kept corruption at bay?


Sri Vedanayagi sameda Penneswara Nayanar temple
  • பென்னேஸ்வர மடம் கோயிலில் உள்ள கல்வெட்டை காட்டுகிறார் வரலாற்று ஆய்வாளர் சுகவன முருகன்.
    Sugavana Murugan, Freelance Archaeologist shows the Hoysala King Vira Ramanatha's inscription in Penneswaramadam Temple, Krishnagiri District, Tamil Nadu.
  • தலை துண்டிக்கப்பட்டவரின் உருவம் கொண்ட கல்வெட்டு.
    நவகண்டம் கல்வெட்டு.
The temples, during 13th century Hoysala rule, were degraded themselves to grossly corrupt practices. Vira Ramanatha (1253 to 1295 A.D.), the tenth Hoysala ruler showed  zero tolerance towards corruption. The Tamil Grantha inscription inscribed by the king in Penneswara Nayanar, Penneswaramadam clearly indicate how intolerant against corrupt practices and the violators of ethical framework. The Hoysala king has adopted anti-corruption measures in favor of his people.

Shri. Sugavana Murugan (pudhuezuthu), the scholar,  a government school teacher and also a freelance archaeologist, District Archaeology Centre of Kaveripattinam, Krishnagiri district has informed about the recording of the Tamil Grantha inscription by Shri. Su. Rajagopal and Shri. Su. Krishnamoorthy of the State Department of Archaeology.

The translation of the inscription in the Tamil Grantha script has been recorded by Su. Rajagopal and Su. Krishnamoorthy of the State Department of Archaeology, says Sugavana Murugan of the District Archaeology Centre. 
Penneswaramadam,  a panchayat village located on the bank of the South Pennar River  in Krishnagiri taluk Krishnagiri district PIN 635112. The village is approximately 100 kilometres  from Bangalore and.5 km from Kaveripattinam and 34 km from Dharmapuri. Penneswaramadam is geographically located at latitude 12 ° 23′0'' and longitude 12 ° 23′0''. Near by railway Stations are Bangarapet.

The 12th century Chola temple dedicated to Penneswara Nayanar (Lord Shiva) and his consort Sri Vedanayagi Amman.   The Penneswara Nayanar Shrine consists of a vimana, ardhamandapa and mukhamandapa. The vimana is a single tier structure with an adhishthana, pada, prastara, shikara, griva and stupi. The roofs of ardhamandapa and mukha mandapa are supported by vratta sthambas. The sanctum of the prime deity is facing east. The seven tier rajagopuram faces the south.

The vimana is surrounded by the cloister mandapa (thiruchurru malikai) with a row of pillars in the periphery. Subsidiary shrines for Vinayaka, Saptamatrikas, Surya and Chandra. The sanctum at the north-west corner of the temple houses the goddess Sri.Vedanayaki Amman. To the west there is a shrine for Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Hanuman.

The Penneswara Nayanar temple also owns Navagandam panels. The specialty of the temple is that there is a practice of navagandam. Navagandam is the practice of individuals slicing their neck with a sword to the goddess. The supreme sacrifice often committed Kottravai, the war deity, involves in chopping off nine parts of one’s own body progressively. The individual offers his life for the welfare of the ruler and success in battles he leads.

Krishnagiri Region 

The present Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri district was known as 'Adhiayaman Nadu'. It was ruled by  Pallavas, Gangas, Nulambas, Cholas, Hoysalas, Vijaya Nagar Emperors, Bijapur Sultans, Wudayars of Mysore and Nayaks of Madurai. The regions including  'Krishnagiri', 'Hosur' and 'Uthangarai' were forming part of 'Eyil Nadu', 'Murasu Nadu' and 'Kowoor Nadu' respectively. Under Chola rule, Krishnagiri region was known as 'Nigarili Chola Mandlam' and 'Vidhugadhazhagi Nallur'. During 'Nulamba' rule it was called as 'Nulambadi.'  The 'Bara Mahal' Forts and the Krishnagiri region served as the west gateway of Tamil Nadu and defended the invasions. The Hoysala king Vira Ramanatha made "Kundani" a place in Krishnagiri District as his Head Quarters in 13th Century A.D. 

Inscriptions     

Over forty inscriptions have been discovered from this temple complex. They belonged to the reign of Hoysala, Chola and Vijayanagara kings. They have gifted gold, tax free land and other gifts to Penneswara Nayanar of Penneswaram. The inscription of Vira Narasimha, the Hoysala King records the land donation to the Pannai Nayanar by one Madurantaka Viranulamban Vairavan Vimalan. The land records also mention about lands located in Peruman Koyil Kollai, Thattankuttai, Mahadevan Kollai, Sirukkan Kollai, Puliyamadai etc.

An inscription of Vira Ramanatha Devarisa found in Tamil Grantha script - Tamil language on the wall of the Penneswara Nayanar temple in , Penneswaramadam is of great significance. It records the royal order issued by the Hoysala ruler Vira Ramanatha, dated regnal year 46.

"ஸ்ரீ வீரராமந்நாத தேவரீஸர்க்கு யாண்டு நாற்பத்தொன்றாவது உடையார் பெண்ணையாண்டார் மடத்தி லும் பெண்ணை நாயனார் தேவதானமான ஊர்களிலும் ஒரு அதிகாரியாதல் கணக்கர் காரியஞ் செய்வார்களாதல் கூசராதல் ஆரேனுமொருவர் வந்து விட்டது விடாமல் சோறு வேண்டுதல் மற்றேதேனும் நலிவுகள் செய்குதல் செய்தாருண்டாகில் தாங்களே அவர்களைத் தலையைஅறுத்துவிடவும் அப்படி செய்திலர் களாதல் தங்கள் தலைகளோடே போமென்னும்படிறெயப்புத்த பண்ணி இதுவே சாதனமாகக் கொண்டு ஆங்கு வந்து நலிந்தவர் களைத் தாங்களே ஆஞ்ஞை பண்ணிக் கொள்ளவும் சீ காரியமாகத்தாங்க . . . த. . . போதும் போன அமுதுபடிக் குடலாக ஸர்வ மானிய மாகக் குடுத்தோம். அனைத் தாயமு விட்டுக்கு . . .கூசர் உள்ளிட்டார் பையூரிலே இருக்கவும் சொன்னோம். இப்படியாதே இதுக்கு விலங்கனம் பன்னினவன் கெங்கைக் கரையில் குராற் பசுவைக் கொன்றான் பாவத்தைக் கொள்வான்" 

Meaning: "The record is dated in the 49th year of king Sri Viraramanatha Devarisar. Anybody seeking cooked food or indulging in other corrupt practices in Pennaiyaandaar madam (பெண்ணையாண்டார் மடம்) and its endowed land (Pennai Nayanar devadanamana oorgalilum - பெண்ணை நாயனார் தேவதானமான ஊர்களிலும்) shall be beheaded, and any official like Kannakkar, Adhigaarigal (அதிகாரியாதல் கணக்கர் காரியஞ் செய்வார்களாதல்) refusing to act on this order will face a similar fate.”   Registers an endowment of  land (ஸர்வ மானிய மாகக் குடுத்தோம்) for feeding the poor mendicants (நலிந்தவர்கள்). The order was strictly enforced. Whenever one violates the natural moral order established by the king, one sins and incur the sin of killing cow (குராற் பசு) on the bank of river Ganges.

Savulur Panchayat Union Middle School students have discovered a pre-historic site near Penneswara Nayanar  temple during April 2015. They have also collected artefacts dating back to 2000 years from the site near the temple.

In the Vijayanagar period, Madras Port became a well known port. This is evident from a Vijayanagar inscription found in Penneswaramadam, on the banks of the Pennar, to the South of Kaveripattinam. The inscription is dated July 21, 1367. It is about the digging of a canal in the time of Kampanna II. “This king’s conquests and victories in Tamil territory are also recorded in this inscription, and the names of ports, forts and villages on the East Coast, which he captured from Tondaiman, give us clues about Maadarasanpattanam,” says Rajavelu.

History of Hoysalas
  • Place        Karnataka
  • Period        10th to 14th Century
  • Language    Kannada
  • Religion    Hindu
  • Hoysala Kings: 1. Nripa Kama II (1000 to 1045 A.D.), 2. Hoysala Vinayaditya (1045 to 1098 A.D.), 3. Ereyanga (1098 to 1100 A.D.), 4. Veera Ballala I (1100 to 1108 A.D.), 5. Vishnuvardhana (1108 to 1142), 6. Narasimha I (1142 to 1173 A.D.), 7. Veera Ballala II (1173 to 1220 A.D.), 8. Vira Narasimha II (1220 to 1235 A.D.), 9. Vira Someshwara (1235 to 1253 A.D.),  10. Narasimha III and Vira Ramanatha (1253 to 1295) and 11.Veera Ballala III (1295 to 1342. A.D.).
The 346 year rule of the  Hoysala dynasty (1000 A.D. to 1346 A.D.) is looked at as the second most flourishing and mighty period in the Karnataka history next to the powerful Vijayanagara Empire. This South Indian Kannadiga empire ruled most of modern day state of Karnataka and Belur was their capital during initial 150 years and later moved to Halebid due to hostility and repeated invasions. Taking advantage of the warfare between the then Western Chalukyas and Kalachuri kingdoms, they also conquered the present day Karnataka and the fertile areas north of the Kaveri River delta of the present day Tamil Nadu. By 13th century, they governed most part of the of the present-day Karnataka, minor parts of Tamil Nadu and parts of western Andhra Pradesh in Deccan India. Narasimha II, the seventh Hoysala ruler conquered Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Naduto make it his winter capital. 
 
Vira Somesvara (1235 to 1253 A.D.), before his death bifurcated his kingdom between his two sons, Veera Narasimha and Vira Ramanatha. His sons, however, later fought a civil war. Vira Ramanatha confederated himself with Rajendra Chola Deva III. Both were later to be overpowered by Maravarman Kulasekara Pandiya, who impounded their territorial dominion. Vira Narasimha's successor was Ballala III aka Veera Vallalan, Emperor of the South (1291 - 1342 AD). Although still hostile, Ballala's succession was not disputed by Vira Ramanatha, thus Ballala was able to rule over a united Hoysala Kingdom until approximately by  1300 A.D.
Vira Ramanatha's accession to the Tamil districts took place about 1255 A.D. and his inscriptions of the 12th, 15th and in the 17th years, which correspond to 1267, 1270 and 1271 A.D. are found at Srirangam and Kannanur. The king attended to the checking of the revenue accounts in the 4th year of his reign; the communal repairs made to the Vanigan's well now known as Nalummulaikkeni at Tiruvellarai, whose walls it is stated, had sunk in on the four sides probably on account of heavy rains in the 8th year of the king, and exempted the tax on salt dealers at Tirumalavadi. He made to the temple of Sri Ranganatha at Srirangam, a gift of a gold crown set with jewels, two fly whisks with the handle of gold and a kalanji (betel pot). He was succeeded by his son Vira Viswanatha in 1293 - 94 A.D; after which the kingdom merged into then rising power of Vijayanagara Empire.  

These rulers were initially inspired by Jainism but from the Vishnuvardhana’s period onwards they were all Vaishnava Hindus and were great patrons of the temple architecture of Belur, Halebid and Somanathpura. The Hoysala dynasty is well remembered for the the hallmark of their temple architecture as well as for the exquisite workmanship on a massive scale in Belur, Halebid, Somanathapur, Arasikere and Amritapura in the Karnataka State and Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu.

Reference:

  1. History of Krishnagiri District  http://www.krishnagiri.tn.nic.in/history.htm
  2. Hoyala Dynasty. Indian Mirror.com  http://www.indianmirror.com/dynasty/hoysaladynasty.html
  3. Madras is not alien by Suganthy Krishnamachary. The Hindu August 21, 2014
  4. Perils of corruption: a note from Hoysala ruler by PV Srividya. The Hindu  October 11, 2014
  5. லஞ்சம் வாங்கினாலும், கொடுத்தாலும் மரண தண்டனை விதித்த மன்னன்: 700 ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முந்தைய கல்வெட்டில் தகவல். எஸ்.கே.ரமேஷ். தி இந்து அக்டோபர்  10, 2014
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