Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi is of the view that there could be no better occasion to remember the King than the 1000th year of the Brihadeeswarar Temple

The State government is drawing up plans to celebrate in a grand manner the contribution of Chola King Raja Raja I to the renaissance of art and culture besides governance.

Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi is of the view that the celebration should not be delayed any more and there could be no better occasion to remember the King than the 1000th year of the Brihadeeswarar Temple.

The government wanted to organise the celebrations much earlier, but preparations for the World Classical Tamil Conference gave little room for any other elaborate event between January and June this year.

Using Raja Raja Chola as the theme, the Chief Minister wants to use the opportunity to inculcate in the younger generation the great achievements of Tamil leaders.

Though the celebration is still at a planning stage, indications are that the event will be held in Thanjvur and will have an elaborate paraphernalia of events that highlight the great works under the leadership of Raja Raja.

Of particular relevance will be the effort to place history in a context and make people realise the importance and the odds against which the great structures were built.

Noted archaeologist R. Nagasamy said “clarity of mind and drive for excellence in all the fields” were the hallmark of Raja Raja.

“He was a hero who applied his mind to every aspect of governance. He conducted land survey and introduced intelligent tax system and increased the area of cultivation, realising that it was vital to the State economy,” Dr Nagasamy, former director of Department of Archaeology said.

While Raja Raja Chola encouraged higher studies in every field by organising scholarly settlements in the form of Brahmin colonies, side by side he set up commercial establishments.

“He entrusted the administration in the hands of experienced persons and he had the highest judicial standards,” Dr Nagasamy said pointing out the Raja Raja also encouraged a vibrant rural democratic system by introducing election to the village administration.

Raja Raja also involved all the villages in the maintenance of royal temples and introduced an unsurpassed payment system.

Explaining why Chola bronzes are celebrated across the world, D. Srikanta Sthapathy, director Poompuhar, said they were proportionate and followed the traditional iconometry to perfection.

“For the Chola bronze the face is the prominent unit and all other parts of the body would derive from it. Even the size of the finger is decided based on the size of the face,” he said, adding that people across the world were visiting Swamimalai to see for themselves the making of bronzes.

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is likely to come out with a book, digitally documenting Chola paintings in the 7 panels inside the sanctum sanctorum of the big temple in Thanjavur.

P.S. Sriraman, an archaeologist with the ASI, said the murals were brilliant considering the fact that the possible use of true fresco technique provided the artists with very little time to execute and finish the murals.

The artists had to work in near dim conditions. They never had the distance to fall back to have a look at the figures to check the relative proportion.

“But when we analysed the paintings digitally and in the large format reproductions, the proportion of individual figures and ensemble of figures is near perfect,” he said.