Tamil Nadu

1,000-year-old Chola monument remains obscure

Chandramouleeswarar Temple

Chandramouleeswarar Temple   | Photo Credit: C. VENKATACHALAPATHY

Memorial to Rajendra Chola I and his queen, located in a remote village of Tiruvannamalai district, draws few visitors

National Tourism Day is observed every year on January 25. This year, there has been no sign of any programmes being organised at the memorial of King Rajendra Chola I (CE 1014-1044), located at Brahmadesam village in Tiruvannamalai district.

A deserted site: The stone inscriptions at the Chandramouleeswarar Temple, inside the memorial for king Rajendra Chola-I at Brahmadesam village in Tiruvannamalai district, contain rich information about the emperor’s reign.

A deserted site: The stone inscriptions at the Chandramouleeswarar Temple, inside the memorial for king Rajendra Chola-I at Brahmadesam village in Tiruvannamalai district, contain rich information about the emperor’s reign.   | Photo Credit: C. VENKATACHALAPATHY

 

Brahmadesam is accessible from Vembakkam as well as Kancheepuram. A road from Ocheri on Chennai-Bengaluru National Highway leads to the monument. Chandramouleeswarar Temple inside the historic memorial for King Rajendra Chola I, which is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India, tells the story of the great Chola ruler. The stone inscriptions at the temple, with a Sivalinga and a diminishing oil lamp, are a rich source of information on the Chola king, who succeeded Rajaraja Chola I who built the Big Temple at Thanjavur.

Barring a few people rearing cattle, the monument does not attract any visitor. There is a lone security guard who lives in a nearby village. The monument has inscriptions that explain the reign of Chola kings and their followers, according to historians who lament lack of maintenance at the site.

According to epigraphs and records, Rajendra Chola I died at Brahmadesam and this information is recorded in an inscription by his son Rajadhiraja Chola I. The inscription states that Rajendra Chola's queen Viramadevi committed “sati” upon her husband’s death and her remains were interred in the same tomb as the king at Brahmadesam.

Viramadevi’s brother Madhuranthakan Parakesari Velan, who was the general of Rajendra Chola's army, built a watershed in memory of his sister.

“Such information can make the youth curious about knowing history and culture of our country,” said S. Balamurugan, secretary of Tiruvannamalai District Historical Research Centre.

He said there were several historic places in Tiruvannamalai district such as Mamandur and Koozhamandal on Kancheepuram-Perunagar-Vandavasi Road that needed to be developed as a tourists attraction.

Lack of awareness

Monthly heritage walks by students and cultural programmes at the sites with CSR funds could fetch revenue for Tourism Department.

Signboards indicating the location of these monuments should be put up on different roads leading to Brahmadesam or any other historic places of importance to draw visitors and spread the message of such historic importance places, Mr. Balamurugan suggested.

S. Paarivallal from from Ocheri said a handful of vehicles pass through his house to the Rajendra Chola’s memorial on weekends. As a result, real estate business has thrived in the area but there has been no improvement made to the memorial, he lamented.

There were a number of other people from Tiruvannamalai district who wanted the district administration to joint hands with Tourism Department to organise heritage tours to these historically important places.

They wanted children to be brought on educational tours, so that they could learn about valiant rulers.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 1:30:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/1000-year-old-chola-monument-remains-obscure/article30647112.ece

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