Inaugurates seminar held as part of Big Temple millennium celebration

Historians should highlight the role of the illustrious Chola emperor, Rajaraja I (985-1016 A.D.), in instilling the pride of Tamil language, Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said on Friday.

Inaugurating a seminar organised by the State government as part of the millennium celebration of the Big Temple, Mr. Stalin said it was the Chola emperor who ensured the recital of Thirumurai (compendium of hymns in praise of Lord Shiva) at the temple and patronised women dancers who performed in tune with the sacred work.

Explaining the greatness of the emperor, he said that under his rule not only Saivism and Vaishnavism but also other religions flourished. At the request of Vijayathunga Varman of the Vijaya kingdom, he allowed the construction of a Buddha Vihar in Nagapattinam. He had also donated a place called Anamangalam for the maintenance of the Vihar.

Describing the Big Temple as a masterpiece of Dravidian architecture, Mr. Stalin said work on the temple began in 1003 A.D. and was completed by 1010 AD. Rajaraja I saw to it that the temple emerged as an institution that nourished art, architecture and fine arts.

Referring to the debate on the construction of the temple, he said it was because of a lack of sense of belonging that baseless controversies were floated. As the oral tradition had not been followed in spreading knowledge about the temple, people at one point of time had forgotten that the temple represented them and that it was built by Rajaraja I. Mr. Stalin pointed out that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government had issued an order on the recital of Tamil verses for worship in temples.

The Deputy Chief Minister also released a publication, brought out by Tamil University, on Chola paintings in the Big Temple and handed over the first copy to R. Champakalakshmi, former professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy wanted researchers to focus on topics of relevance to society.

M. Rajendran, Tamil University Vice-Chancellor, was among those who addressed the seminar.

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