An inscription of Aditya Chola I (871-907 AD) has been found in a dilapidated temple about a kilometre from Pattisvaram near Kumbakonam by research scholars of Dr. M. Rajamanikkanar Centre for Historical Research, Tiruchi.
The inscription engraved in the 17th reignal year of the King Aditya Chola I was discovered by Bala. Padmanaban and K. Ramachandran of the centre during an explorative study under the guidance of M. Nalini, Associate Professor in History, Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College, Tiruchi.
The inscription in Tamil, running for about 30 lines, is a significant find, said R. Kalaikkovan, Director, Dr. M. Rajamanikkanar Centre for Historical Research.
The inscription throws light on one of the queens of the Aditya Chola I. The King, who expanded the Chola Empire in the North and West of Tamil Nadu, is glorified in the inscription as ‘Chola peruman adikal.' More than eight inscriptions of the King copied from various parts of Tamil Nadu refer to him by this epithet, Dr. Kalaikkovan said.
Though Parantaka I, son of Aditya, was also known by the same name in a few inscriptions, it is not difficult to differentiate them from one another as Aditya is referred to as Rajakesari and Parantaka as Parakesari in their inscriptions, he added.
The inscription talks about the endowment made by Azhisi Kattadigal, queen of Aditya Chola I, in memory of her deceased mother at Thirusomiswaram Temple, situated in Kumbakonam of Pambar Nadu on the northern bank of river Cauvery. She had gifted 20 ‘kalanju' of gold towards lighting a perpetual lamp in front of the presiding deity of Thirusomiswaram. The gift was accepted by Athreyan Saatham Paandan, who agreed to light the lamp daily with one ‘uzhakku' of ghee every day from the accruing interest.
While Ilango Pichchi and Vayiri Akkan are the only two queens usually mentioned by scholars of Chola history as the wives of Aditya Chola I, inscriptions reveal several other queens of the King such as Thennavan Mahadevi, Thirunarana Mahadevi, Chembiyan Deviyar alias Kulamanikka Nampirattiyar and Azhisi Kattadigal.
Azhisi Kattadigal, daughter of Ammakkanar of Kudirai Cheri in Kancheepuram appears in this inscription. Another inscription (engraved in the 19th reignal year of Aditya Chola I) found in the Panchanathiswara Temple at Thiruvaiyaru also records a gift of 30 ‘kalanju' of gold made by Azhisi Kattadigal to light a perpetual lamp.
The newly found inscription throws light on the demise of her mother and her philanthropic acts to temples in Chola mandalam though she hailed from the Thondaimandalam, Dr. Kalaikkovan said. The dilapidated temple has many other Chola sculptures scattered around and unprotected, he said and appealed to the HR& CE Department to take steps to protect and preserve the temple and inscriptions there.