History & Culture

Queen's temple in shadow of fame

While the Chola king Rajaraja I and the Brihadisvara temple he built at Thanjavur receive the entire spotlight in the millennium celebrations, another temple located 15 km away and built at the same time by his principal queen Lokamahadevi stands in the shadow of fame.

Within the compound of Panchanadeeswarar temple at Thiruvaiyaru is Vadakailasam (north kailasam) or Lokamahadevisvaram, as it is known in the inscriptions. Completed in 1006 C.E, four years before the Brihadisvara temple was finished, this modest temple built by Lokamahadevi is no comparison to that of the temple at Thanjavur in size, but it is known for giving women an equal and respectable role in temple administration.

The Lokamahadevisavram, though small in size, was well endowed. One of the inscriptions in this temple draws out a long and impressive list of jewels donated to the deities by Lokamahadevi. Unlike the Brihadisvara temple that was managed by Rajajara's powerful male officials, Lokamahadevisavarm, under the orders of the queen, was administered by an adhikarachi, a woman officer by name Eruthan Kuncharamalli.

While there was a male officer, the queen made it clear that Kuncharamalli would equally share the responsibilities with him.

Tucked inside the compound of the Panchanadisvara temple, Lokamahadevisvaram does not attract many visitors. At present, it is under restoration, and there is not even a visitor-friendly information board to highlight its importance and recognise the Chola queen's contribution.

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Printable version | Jul 18, 2021 11:31:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/Queens-temple-in-shadow-of-fame/article12060906.ece

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