Behind China’s Hindu temples, a forgotten history

 In and around Quanzhou, a bustling industrial city, there are shrines that historians believe may have been part of a network of more than a dozen Hindu temples and shrines

For the residents of Chedian, a few thousand-year-old village of muddy by-lanes and old stone courtyard houses, she is just another form of Guanyin, the female Bodhisattva who is venerated in many parts of China.


A panel of inscriptions of the God Narasimha adorns the entrance to the main shrine of the temple, believed to have been installed by Tamil traders who lived in Quanzhou in the 13th century. Photo: Ananth KrishnanA panel of inscriptions of the God Narasimha adorns the entrance to the main shrine of the temple, believed to have been installed by Tamil traders who lived in Quanzhou in the 13th century. Photo: Ananth Krishnan

Li San Long, a resident of Chedian village, offers prayers at the village shrine, which houses a deity that is believed to be one of the goddesses that the Tamilcommunity in Quanzhou worshipped in the 13th century. (Right) A stone elephant inscription on display at the Quanzhou Maritime Museum. Photo: Ananth Krishnan

Li San Long, a resident of Chedian village, offers prayers at the village shrine, which houses a deity that is believed to be one of the goddesses that the Tamil community in Quanzhou worshipped in the 13th century. (Right) A stone elephant inscription on display at the Quanzhou Maritime Museum. Photo: Ananth Krishnan


But the goddess that the residents of this village pray to every morning, as they light incense sticks and chant prayers, is quite unlike any deity one might find elsewhere in China. Sitting cross-legged, the four-armed goddess smiles benignly, flanked by two attendants, with an apparently vanquished demon lying at her feet.

Local scholars are still unsure about her identity, but what they do know is that this shrine’s unique roots lie not in China, but in far away south India. The deity, they say, was either brought to Quanzhou — a thriving port city that was at the centre of the region’s maritime commerce a few centuries ago — by Tamil traders who worked here some 800 years ago, or perhaps more likely, crafted by local sculptors at their behest.

“This is possibly the only temple in China where we are still praying to a Hindu God,” says Li San Long, a Chedian resident, with a smile.

“Even though most of the villagers still think she is Guanyin!” Mr. Li said the village temple collapsed some 500 years ago, but villagers dug through the rubble, saved the deity and rebuilt the temple, believing that the goddess brought them good fortune — a belief that some, at least, still adhere to.

The Chedian shrine is just one of what historians believe may have been a network of more than a dozen Hindu temples or shrines, including two grand big temples, built in Quanzhou and surrounding villages by a community of Tamil traders who lived here during the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1279-1368) dynasties.

At the time, this port city was among the busiest in the world and was a thriving centre of regional maritime commerce.

The history of Quanzhou’s temples and Tamil links was largely forgotten until the 1930s, when dozens of stones showing perfectly rendered images of the god Narasimha — the man-lion avatar of Vishnu — were unearthed by a Quanzhou archaeologist called Wu Wenliang. Elephant statues and images narrating mythological stories related to Vishnu and Shiva were also found, bearing a style and pattern that was almost identical to what was evident in the temples of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh from a similar period.

Wu’s discoveries received little attention at the time as his country was slowly emerging from the turmoil of the Japanese occupation, the Second World War and the civil war. It took more than a decade after the Communists came to power in 1949 for the stones and statues to even be placed in a museum, known today as the Quanzhou Maritime Museum.

“It is difficult to say how many temples there were, and how many were destroyed or fell to ruin,” the museum’s vice curator Wang Liming told The Hindu. “But we have found them spread across so many different sites that we are very possibly talking about many temples that were built across Quanzhou.”

Today, most of the sculptures and statues are on display in the museum, which also showcases a map that leaves little doubt about the remarkable spread of the discoveries. The sites stretch across more than a dozen locations located all over the city and in the surrounding county. The most recent discoveries were made in the 1980s, and it is possible, says Ms. Wang, that there are old sites yet to be discovered.

The Maritime Museum has now opened a special exhibit showcasing Quanzhou’s south Indian links. Ms. Wang says there is a renewed interest — and financial backing — from the local government to do more to showcase what she describes as the city’s “1000-year-old history with south India,” which has been largely forgotten, not only in China but also in India.

“There is still a lot we don’t know about this period,” she says, “so if we can get any help from Indian scholars, we would really welcome it as this is something we need to study together. Most of the stones come from the 13th century Yuan Dynasty, which developed close trade links with the kingdoms of southern India. We believe that the designs were brought by the traders, but the work was probably done by Chinese workers.”

Ms. Wang says the earliest record of an Indian residing in Quanzhou dates back to the 6th century. An inscription found on the Yanfu temple from the Song Dynasty describes how the monk Gunaratna, known in China as Liang Putong, translated sutras from Sanskrit. Trade particularly flourished in the 13th century Yuan Dynasty. In 1271, a visiting Italian merchant recorded that the Indian traders “were recognised easily.”

“These rich Indian men and women mainly live on vegetables, milk and rice,” he wrote, unlike the Chinese “who eat meat and fish.” The most striking legacy of this period of history is still on public display in a hidden corner of the 7th century Kaiyuan Buddhist Temple, which is today Quanzhou’s biggest temple and is located in the centre of the old town. A popular attraction for Chinese Buddhists, the temple receives a few thousand visitors every day. In a corner behind the temple, there are at least half a dozen pillars displaying an extraordinary variety of inscriptions from Hindu mythology. A panel of inscriptions depicting the god Narasimha also adorns the steps leading up to the main shrine, which houses a Buddha statue. Huang Yishan, a temple caretaker whose family has, for generations, owned the land on which the temple was built, says the inscriptions are perhaps the most unique part of the temple, although he laments that most of his compatriots are unaware of this chapter of history. On a recent afternoon, as a stream of visitors walked up the steps to offer incense sticks as they prayed to Buddha, none spared a glance at the panel of inscriptions. Other indicators from Quanzhou’s rich but forgotten past lie scattered through what is now a modern and bustling industrial city, albeit a town that today lies in the shadow of the provincial capital Xiamen and the more prosperous port city of Guangzhou to the far south.

A few kilometres from the Kaiyuan temple stands a striking several metre-high Shiva lingam in the centre of the popular Bamboo Stone Park. To the city’s residents, however, the lingam is merely known as a rather unusually shaped “bamboo stone,” another symbol of history that still stays hidden in plain sight.

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சீனா நாட்டுச் சிவன் ஆலயத்தில் தமிழில் கல்வெட்டு

சீனா நாட்டுச் சிவன் ஆலயத்தில் தமிழில் கல்வெட்டு
சீனாவில் எழுப்பப்பட்ட சிவன் கோயில் சீன சக்கரவர்தியான குப்லாய்கானின் ஆணையின் கீழ் கட்டப்பட்டது என்பதைக் குறிக்கும் கல்வெட்டு உள்ளது. இக்கல்வெட்டின் கடைசி வரிகள் சீன எழுத்தில் பொறிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன.

சீன நாட்டில் காண்டன் எனும் நகருக்கு 500 கல் வடக்கே உள்ள சூவன்சௌ என்னும் துறைமுக நகர் உள்ளது. பண்டைய காலத்திலும் இது சிறந்த துறைமுகமாக விளங்கிற்று. அந்தக் கால
த்தில் தமிழ் வணிகர்கள் இந்நகருக்கு அடிக்கடி வந்து சென்றுள்ளனர்.

தமிழ்நாட்டிலிருந்து புறப்படும் வணிகக் கப்பல்கள் தாய்லாந்து சென்று அதன் மேற்குக் கரையோரமாக உள்ள சில துறைமுகங்களிலும் தங்கிப் பிறகு வியத்து நாம் சென்று அங்கிருந்து சீனநாட்டை அடைந்துள்ளனர்.

தமிழ் நாட்டிலிருந்து நேரடியாகச் சீனாவிற்குக் கடல் வழியாகச் செல்லவேண்டுமானால் வங்காள விரிகுடாவைக் கடந்து உள்ள மாலக்கா வழியாகத் தென்சீனக் கடலை அடையலாம். மலேசியத் தீபகற்பத்தைச் சுற்றி இவர்கள் செல்லவேண்டியிருக்கும். ஆனால் இந்தவழி சுற்றுவழியாகும். ஆயிரம் கல்களுக்கு அதிகமாகப் பயணத்தொலைவு நீளும். மேலும் பயணநேரத்திலும் பல மாதம் கூடிவிடும்.

சீனாவில் தமிழர்கள் காண்டன் நகரில் மட்டுமன்று. வேறு சில இடங்களிலும் வணிகக் குடியேற்றங்களை அமைத்திருந்தனர். பிற்காலச் சோழர் காலத்தில், புகழ்பெற்ற வணிகக் குழாமான திசை ஆயிரத்து ஐந்நூற்றுவர் எனும் குழுவினர் சீனநாட்டின் பல்வேறு பகுதியிலும் வணிகம் செய்துள்ளனர் என்பதற்குப் பல ஆதாரங்கள் கிடைத்துள்ளன.

(குப்லாய் கான்)

சூவன்லிசௌ துறைமுக நகரில் சிவாலயம் ஒன்று உள்ளது. இந்த ஆலயத்தில் நிறுவப் பெற்றுள்ள சில விக்கிரகம் குப்லாய்கான என்னும் புகழ்ப் பெற்ற சீனச் சக்கரவர்த்தியின் ஆணையால் அமைக்கப் பட்டதாகும். இவருக்குச் சேகாசைகான் என்ற பெயரும் உண்டு. இவரின் உடல் நலத்திற்காக இந்த ஆலயம் எழுப்பப்பட்டது.
இந்தக் கோயில் திருக்கதாலீசுவரம் என வழங்கப்பட்டது. இந்த ஆலயத்தில் உள்ள சிவன் திருக்கதாலீசுவரன் உதயநாயனார் என அழைக்கப்பட்டார். சீனச் சக்கரவர்த்தியின் இந்த ஆணையை நிறைவேற்றியவரின் பெயர் தவச்சக்கரவர்த்திகள் சம்பந்தப் பெருமாள் என்பதாகும்.

சக யுகம் சித்திராபவுர்ணமி அன்று இந்த ஆலயம் நிறுவப்பட்டது. கி.பி 1260ம் ஆண்டு குப்லாய்கான் முடிசூடினான். இவன் உலகையே நடுங்க வைத்த மங்கோலியச் சக்கரவர்த்தியான செங்கிசுகானின் பேரனாவான. மங்கோலியச் சக்கரவர்த்திகள் ஆளுகையில் சீனாவும் இருந்தது.

இவன்தான் பெய்சிங் நகரைக்கட்டி அதைத் தனது பேரரசின் தலைநகராக்கினான். அவருடைய பேரரசு விரிந்து பரந்திருந்தது. வலிமை வாய்ந்த சக்கரவர்த்தியாக அவன் திகழ்ந்தான் புகழ்பெற்ற யுவான் அரசமரபை இவனே தொடங்கியவனாவான். தமிழ்நாட்டில் பிற்காலப் பாண்டியப் பேரரசு அரசோச்சிய காலத்தில் இவன் சீனப்பேரரசின் சக்கரவர்த்தியாகத் திகழ்ந்தான். பாண்டிய அரச குலமும் குப்லாய்கானும் மிகுந்த நட்புறவுடன் திகழ்ந்தனர். அப்போதிருந்த பாண்டிய மன்னன் குலசேகர பாண்டியன் ஆவான். இருநாடுகளுக்கிடையேயும் தூதர்கள் பரிமாற்றம் செய்துகொள்ளப்பட்டது.

சீனாவில் எழுப்பப்பட்ட இந்த சிவன் கோயில் சீன சக்கரவர்தியான குப்லாய்கானின் ஆணையின் கீழ் கட்டப்பட்டது என்பதைக் குறிக்கும் கல்வெட்டு இக்கோவிலில் உள்ளது. இக்கல்வெட்டின் கடைசி வரிகள் சீன எழுத்தில் பொறிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன. இக்கோவிலில் சோழர்காலச் சிற்பங்கள் அமைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன. தமிழ்நாட்டுக்கு வெளியே கண்டுபிடிக்கப்பட்ட மிக அபூர்வமான தமிழ்க்கல்வெட்டு இதுவாகும்.


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11000Years Old Man Made Structure Found in Indian Sea

By Graham Hancock

Kumari Kandam

11000Years Old U-Shaped Structure,Poompuhar

The place is called Poompuhar. It lies on southeast India’s Coromandel coast facing the Bay of Bengal between modern Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. Its immediate offshore area has been the subject of marine archaeological investigations by India’s National Institute of Oceanography since the 1980’s — and numerous non-controversial finds of man-made structures dated between the third century AD and the third century BC have been made in the “inter-tidal zone” close to shore at depths down to 6 feet (approximately 2 metres).

These finds of structures in shallow water (some so shallow that they are exposed at low tide) have been quite widely written-up in the archaeological literature. But for some reason other discoveries that the NIO has made in deeper water off Poompuhar have attracted no attention at all. Most notably these other discoveries include a second completely separate group of structures fully three miles from the Poompuhar shore in water that is more than 70 feet (23 metres) deep. The lack of interest is surprising because to anyone with even minimal knowledge of post-glacial sea-level rise their depth of submergence is – or should be – highly anomalous. Indeed according to Glenn Milne’s sea-level data the land on which these structures were built last stood above water at the end of the Ice Age more than 11,000 years ago.

Is it a coincidence that there are ancient Tamil flood myths that speak of a great kingdom that once existed in this area called Kumari Kandam that was swallowed up by the sea? Amazingly the myths put a date of 11,600 years ago on these events — the same timeframe given by Plato for the end of Atlantis in another ocean.

Like the cities in the Gulf of Cambay the underwater structures three miles offshore of Poompuhar were first identified by an instrument called sidescan sonar that profiles the seabed. One structure in particular was singled out for investigation and was explored by divers from India’s National Institute of Oceanography in 1991 and 1993. Although they were not at that time aware of the implications of its depth of submergence — i.e. that it is at least 11,500 years old — the 1991 study confirms that it is man-made and describes it as:

a horse-shoe-shaped object, its height being one to two metres. A few stone blocks were found in the one-metre wide arm. The distance between the two arms in 20 metres. Whether the object is a shrine or some other man-made structure now at 23 metres [70 feet] depth remains to be examined in the next field season.

The 1993 study refines the measurements:

The structure of U-shape was located at a water depth of 23 metres which is about 5 kilometres off shore. The total peripheral length of the object is 85 metres while the distance between the two arms is 13 metres and the maximum height is 2 metres Divers observed growth of thick marine organism on the structure, but in some sections a few courses of masonry were noted

The Lost Continent
Kumari Kandam(குமரிக்கண்டம்)

To Read More Click Kumari Kandam

After 1993, no further marine archaeology was conducted along the Poompuhar coast until 2001 when I arranged with the NIO to dive on the U-shaped structure with funding from Channel 4 television in Britain and the Learning Channel in the US. Exclusive footage of the structure was filmed and is shown in episode 2 of the Underworld television series. Chapter 14 of the book is a report of our dives at Poompuhar, and what we found there.

Dr A.S. Gaur of the NIO told me on camera that it would have required “a very great technology” to build the U-shaped structure — one far beyond the abilities of known cultures in India 11,500 years ago. For Dr Gaur this is a reason to doubt the accuracy of the sea-level-data which suggests that the structure was submerged so long ago. However the NIO have not yet been successful in recovering any datable materials or artefacts that could tell us its age more directly (for example by C-14 or TL tests).

My own expedition to Poompuhar with the NIO in 2001 was limited to diving on the U-shaped structure and one neighbouring structure. But what’s really exciting is that more than 20 other large structures are known to be located in the same area down to depths of more than 100 feet. These have so far been identified only by sidescan sonar and never yet explored by divers. I’ve organised an expedition jointly with India’s National Institute of Oceanography and John Blashford-Snell’s Scientific Exploration Society in Britain to map and investigate these other structures in March/April 2002.

The Cambay and Poompuhar discoveries are both reported in depth for the first time in Underworld and set into the proper context of the flood myths and inundation history of the broader regions to which they belong.

If they are what they seem to be — a caution I must repeat since so little research has actually been done by anyone — then they signal an exciting new era in Indian archaeology in which the investigation of submerged ruins will play an increasingly important role. How do the Poompuhar finds compare with those in Cambay? Are they both parts of the same lost civilisation? Or do they perhaps represent two separate Ice Age cultures, one based in the north and the other in the south of the subcontinent?

Further exploration, involving divers, sonar scans and the recovery and analysis of artefacts will provide the answers.

And for reasons that I explain in Underworld, I think India’s most ancient scriptures, the Vedas, also have a lot to tell us. There are tremendously good reasons to disbelieve the scholarly consensus (certainly the consensus amongst Western scholars) that the Vedas were composed as late as 1500 B.C. Parts of them probably do date from then; but some of the hymns could be much older than that — carried down by oral traditions from much earlier times. I think it all goes back to the Ice Age.




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“பழந்தமிழரின் கடல் மேலாண்மை” ஒரு ஆராய்ச்சிக் கட்டுரை!

சமீபத்தில் நான் தெரிந்து கொண்ட தமிழர்களின் அறியப்படாத வரலாற்று ஆய்வை உங்களுடன் பகிர்கிறேன். 16.11.2011 அன்று வெளியான “டைம்ஸ் ஆப் இந்தியா” நாளிதளில் வந்த ஒரு செய்தியும் அதை தொடர்ந்து நான் கலந்துகொண்ட “பழந்தமிழரின் கடல் மேலாண்மை” என்னும் கருத்தாய்வு கூட்டத்திலும் நான் தெரிந்து கொண்ட விஷயங்களையே நான் பகிர்கிறேன்.

தமிழர்களின் கடல் மேலாண்மை பற்றி ‘கடல் புறா’ போன்ற வரலாற்று நாவல்கள் மூலம் அரசல் புரசல்களாக நம்மில் பலரும் அறிந்திருப்போம்.

’கலிங்கா பாலு’ என்னும் கடல்சார் ஆராய்ச்சியாளரின் கடல் ஆமைகள் பற்றிய ஆய்வில் தமிழர்கள் பற்றிய பல அறிய உண்மைகள் வெளிச்சத்துக்கு வந்துள்ளன.

அவருடைய ஆய்வறிக்கை “தமிழர் வரலாற்று ஆய்வு நடுவம்” நடத்திய “பழந்தமிழரின் கடல் மேலாண்மை” கருத்தாய்வு கூட்டத்தில் விளக்கப் பட்டது. அந்த ஆய்வறிக்கையின் சாராம்சம் பின்வருமாறு-

கடல் வாழ் உயிரனமான ஆமைகள் கூட்டம் கூட்டமாக முட்டையிட்டு குஞ்சு பொரிப்பதற்காக வருடா வருடம் பல்லாயிரம் மையில்கள் கடந்து தமிழகம் மற்றும் ஒடிசா மாநில கடற்கரைகளில் தஞ்சம் புகுவது பலர் அறிந்த விஷயம். இந்த ஆமைகள் பற்றிய ஆய்வில் ஒரு சுவாரஸ்யமான விஷயம் தெரிய வந்திருக்கிறது. சராசரியாக ஒரு கடல் ஆமையால் ஒரு நாளைக்கு 85கி.மி தூரமே நீந்தி கடக்க முடியும் ஆனால் இவ்வாமைகள் கடந்து வந்ததோ பல்லாயிரம் மையில்கள்! அதுவும் குறுகிய காலத்தில்!! எவ்வாறு என்று சில புதிய தொழில் நுட்பங்களின்(RFID-செயர்கைக்கோள் சாதனம்)RFIDஉதவியுடன் ஆராய்ந்த போது ஆமைகள் Ocean currents எனப்படும் கடலில் பாயும் நீரோட்டங்களின் உதவியுடன் பல்லாயிரம் கிலோ மீட்டர் நீந்தாமல் மிதந்து கொண்டு பயணிக்கும் விஷயம் தெரிய வந்திருக்கிறது. இப்படி பயணம் செய்யும் ஆமைகளை செயர்கைகோளின் மூலம் பின்தொடர்ந்த போது மியான்மர்(பர்மா), மலேசியா, இந்தோனேசியா, ஆஸ்திரேலியா, பசிபிக் தீவுகள், ரஷ்யா, மெக்சிகோ, ஐஸ்லேண்ட், ஆப்ரிக்கா என பல உலக நாடுகளின் கடற்கரைகளுக்கு ஆராய்ச்சியாளர்களை இட்டு சென்றுள்ளன. அப்படி அவை கடந்த கடற்கரைகளை ஆராய்ந்த கலிங்க பாலுவிற்கு ஒரு இன்ப அதிர்ச்சி காத்திருந்த்து. ஆமைகள் தொட்டுச் சென்ற பல கடற்கரைகளில் துறைமுகங்களும் அவற்றில் 53 இடங்களின் பெயர்களும், அதன் மக்களும், பண்பாடும், மொழியும் ஏதாவது ஒரு வகையில் தமிழின் தாக்கத்தோடு இருந்திருக்கிறது. அந்த கடற்கரைகளில் உள்ள ஊர்கள் சிலவற்றின் பெயர்கள் உங்கள் பார்வைக்கு:

ஊர் பெயர்களும் அந்த நாடுகளும்:


சபா சந்தகன் – மலேசியா

கூழன், சோழவன், ஊரு, வான்கரை, ஓட்டன்கரை, குமரா- ஆஸ்திரேலியா

கடாலன் – ஸ்பெயின்

நான்மாடல், குமரி,- பசிபிக் கடல்

சோழா, தமிழி பாஸ் –மெக்சிகோ

திங் வெளிர்- ஐஸ்லாந்து


இப்படி அந்த ஆமைகள் சென்ற கடற்கரை நகரங்களின் பெயர்களும் ஒரு சில பகுதிகளில் வசிக்கும் பழங்குடியினத்தினரின் மொழி, பண்பாடு ஆகியன தமிழோடு தொடர்புள்ளதாக இன்றளவும் இருக்கின்றன.

இன்னொரு சுவாரஸ்யிமான விஷயம். ‘சர்க்கரை வள்ளிக்கிழங்கு’(sweet potato) என்பது தமிழ் நாட்டில் விளையும் கிழங்கு வகை. நம் மீனவர்கள் கடலோடும்போது பல நாள் பசி தாங்க இவற்றையே உணவாக கொள்ளும் வழக்கம் இன்றளவும் உள்ளது. இதே வழக்கத்தை தமிழுடன் தொடர்புடையதாக கருதப்படும் பல பழங்குடியின மக்கள் பின்பற்றுகின்றனர். இதில் கவனிக்க வேண்டிய விஷயம் மியானமர், இந்தோனேசியா, ஆஸ்திரேலியாவின் சில பகுதி என பல இடங்களில் நம் சர்க்கரை வள்ளிக்கிழங்கின் பெயர் ‘குமரா’!!

பிசிபிக் கடல் பகுதியில் உள்ள தீவில் வாழும் ஒரு குறிப்பிட்ட இனமக்கள் உபயோகப்படுத்தும் படகின் பெயர் ‘திரி மரம்’. அதில் உள்ள நடு பாகத்தின் பெயர் ‘அம்மா’ வலது பாகம் ‘அக்கா’ இடது பாகம் ‘வக்கா’. அடி பாகம் ‘கீழ்’.

Tamil bell Found in New Zealand

Tamil bell Found in New Zealand

நியுசிலாந்து பகுதியில் 1836ஆம் வருடம் ஒரு பழங்குடியினர் குடியிருப்பில் தமிழ் எழுத்துக்கள் பொறிக்கப்பட்ட இரும்பாலான மணி கண்டெடுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. இது பற்றிய தகவல் விக்கிபிடியாவில் உள்ளது. அதை படிக்க சொடுக்கவும்.

இப்படி தமிழுடன் தொடர்புடைய பல விஷயங்களை விஷயங்களை மேலும் பல வருடங்கள் ஆராய்ந்த கலிங்க பாலு அவர்களின் ஆராய்ச்சி முடிவில் பழந்தமிழர்கள் தம்முடைய கடல் பயணங்களுக்கும் படையெடுப்புகளுக்கும் ஆமைகளை வழிகாட்டிகளாக (Navigators) பயன்படுத்தி பல்லாயிரம் மைல்கள் கடந்து பல நாடுகளில் கோளோச்சிருப்பது ஆதாரப் பூரவமாக நிரூபனமாகியிருக்கிறது.

இது பற்றி அவர் பல ஆதாரங்களை முன் வைத்திருக்கிறார். அடுத்த மாதம் இது பற்றிய புத்தகம் அவர் வெளியிட இருப்பதால் நான் பல விஷயங்களை இங்கே பகிர இயலாது.

கலிங்க பாலு அவர்கள் எந்த ஒரு அரசு உதவியுமில்லாமல் இத்தனை ஆண்டுகள் இந்த ஆராய்ச்சிகளை மேற்கொண்டு வந்துள்ளார். இப்போது தான் ஒரு நிறுவனம் நிறுவி அவருடைய ஆராய்ச்சியை தொடர்ந்து வருகிறார். இது பற்றிய ஆர்வமுள்ளவர்கள் அவருக்கு உதவலாம். அவருடைய இமெயில் முகவரி –

நான் கலந்துகொண்ட அந்நிகழ்ச்சியில் என்னை வருத்தப் பட வைத்த விஷயம், அரங்கம் நிறைய தமிழ் ஆர்வலர்கள் குழுமியிருந்தனர். ஆனால் பெரும்பாலும் நரைமுடிகளையே காண முடிந்த்து. மொத்தமே 10 இளைஞர்களே என் கண்ணில் பட்டனர். அதிலும் மூவர் ஒலி ஒளி அமைப்பாளர்கள்.

நண்பர்களே நான் அந்நிகழ்ச்சி முடிந்ததும் அதன் ஒருங்கினைப்பாளர்களிடமும் கலிங்க பாலுவிடமும் தனிப்பட்ட முறையில் உரையாடிய போது Facebookகில் நம் சங்கத்தை பற்றியும் நம்முடைய தமிழார்வத்தை பற்றியும் விளக்கி நம்மால் முடிந்த உதவிகளை அவர்களுக்கு செய்வதாக சொன்னேன். அதற்கு அவர்கள் சந்தோஷப் பட்டு ஒரே ஒரு உதவி மட்டுமே கேட்டனர். இளைஞர்களிடம் அதுவும் குறிப்பாக தமிழில் பேசுவதையே இழுக்காக கருதும் இளைஞர்களிடம் இந்த தகவல்களை கொண்டு செல்ல உதவ வேண்டும் என்றார்கள்.

நம்மால் முடிந்தவரை இந்த தகவலை பகிர்ந்து நம்முடைய வரலாற்றை பலருக்கு கொண்டு செல்லுவோம்.



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Bodhidharma (Founder of Zen Buddhism and Shaolin Kung Fu)

Bodhi Dharma(போதிதர்மன்) also known, Da Mo, Bodhitara, P’u-t’i Ta-mo, Ta-mo, Bodai Daruma, and Daruma was born in Kanchi in the Southern Indian kingdom (today’s Tamil Nadu State ) of Pallava around year 440. Bodhi Dharma was the youngest of three brothers in the royal family of the southern Indian kingdom of Pallava king Sugandan. His father, the king Sugandan, also known as Simhavarman was a devoted Buddhist and managed state affairs according to the Buddha’s teachings. At birth Bodhi Dharma was born with a breathing disorder. He was adopted and trained at birth in breathing exercises and combat, namely in the arts of Dravidian warfare arts of Southern India and self-defense techniques such Kuttu Varisai and Pidi Varesai (Punches Series- hand to hand combat with animal styles and locking techniques Similar to Kung Fu and Karate), Malyutham (grappling), Varma Kalai (Secret or Vital Art, Pressure point attacks, In healing and Self-defense similar to Tai Chi or Dim Mak), Silambam (staff fighting), Eretthai or Saydekuche (double stick fighting), Madhu or Madi (deer horn weapon fighting), Surul Pattai or Surul wall (steel blade whip), Val Vitchi (single sword), and Eretthai Val (double short sword) fighting. Bodhidarma also studied Dhyana Buddhism and became the 28th patriarch of that religion.

Bodhidharma's statue near Shaolin Temple

Brief Story:

Shaolin monks and disciples follow a unique practice among Buddhists in that they greet each other using only their right hand. This greeting is a tradition which dates back to Bodhidharma and his disciple, Hui Ke.

In 495 AD, the Indian monk Ba Tuo, or Buddhabhadra, came to China teaching a form of Buddhism known as Xiao Sheng Buddhism. He was given land at the foot of Shaoshi mountain by Emperor Shao Wen and founded the Shaolin Temple on this land.

Shaolin Temple, China

Around the time that Ba Tuo was founding the Shaolin Temple there was an Indian prince named Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma was very intelligent and was the favorite son of the king of India. Bodhidharma had two older brothers who feared that their father, the king, would pass them over and bequeath the kingship to Bodhidharma. In their jealousy, the two older brothers often disparaged Bodhidharma while talking with their father, hoping to turn him against their younger brother. The older brothers also attempted to assassinate Bodhidharma but Bodhidharma had very good karma and so the attempts were not successful. Despite being the favorite son of the king, Bodhidharma realized that he was not interested in a life of politics. He chose instead to study with the famous Buddhist master Prajnatara and become a Buddhist monk.

Bodhidharma trained with his master for many years. One day he asked his master, “Master, when you pass away, where should I go? What should I do?” His master replied that he should go to Zhen Dan, which was the name for China at that time. Years later, Bodhidharma’s master passed away and Bodhidharma prepared to leave for China.

During the many years that Bodhidharma had studied as a monk, one of his older brothers had become king of India and that older brother’s son had become king after him. The king of India was very fond of his uncle and wanted to make amends for the actions which Bodhidharma’s older brothers had taken against him. He asked Bodhidharma to stay near the capital, where he could protect and care for him, but Bodhidharma knew that he must go to China as his master had said.

Seeing that Bodhidharma would not remain, the king of India ordered that carrier pigeons be sent to China with messages asking the people of China to take care of Bodhidharma. These messages made Bodhidharma famous among many Chinese who wondered what was so special about this particular Buddhist monk that the king of India would make such a request.

According to Southeast Asian folklore, Bodhidharma travelled from south India by sea to Sumatra, Indonesia for the purpose of spreading the Mahayana doctrine. From Palembang, he went north into what are now Malaysia and Thailand. He travelled the region transmitting his knowledge of Buddhism and martial arts before eventually entering China through Vietnam. Malay legend holds that Bodhidharma introduced preset forms to silat.

In 527 AD, 32 years after Ba Tuo’s founding of the Shaolin temple, Bodhidharma crossed through Guangdong province into China. In China, he was known as Da Mo. Bodhidharma arrived in China practicing Da Sheng (Mahayana) Buddhism. When Bodhidharma arrived, he was greeted by a large crowd of people who had heard of the famous Buddhist master and wished to hear him speak. Rather than speak, Bodhidharma sat down and began meditating. He meditated for many hours. Upon completing his meditation, Bodhidharma rose and walked away, saying nothing.

His actions had a profound effect upon his audience. Some people laughed, some cried, some were angry and some nodded their heads in understanding. Regardless of the emotion, everyone in the crowd had a reaction.

This incident made Bodhidharma even more famous, so famous that Emperor Wu heard of him. Emperor Wu, who ruled over the southern kingdom of China, invited Bodhidharma to come to his palace. When Bodhidharma arrived, Emperor Wu talked with Bodhidharma about Buddhism. The emperor had erected many statues and temples devoted to Buddhism. He had given much wealth to Buddhist temples. In talking of his accomplishments, Emperor Wu asked Bodhidharma if his actions were good. Bodhidharma replied that they were not. This response surprised Emperor Wu, but they continued talking and eventually Emperor Wu asked Bodhidharma if there was Buddha in this world. Bodhidharma replied that there was not.

Bodhidharma’s replies were a reflection of Emperor Wu. By asking if his actions were good, Emperor Wu was searching for compliments and affirmation from Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma denied that Emperor Wu’s actions were good because it is the duty of the emperor to care for his people. Rather than seeking compliments, Emperor Wu should have been content to help his people through Buddha. Similarly, if one asks if there is Buddha in the world, then one has already answered the question: Buddha is a matter of faith, you either believe in your heart or you do not. In questioning the existence of Buddha, Emperor Wu had demonstrated a lack of faith.

Bodhidharma’s answers enraged Emperor Wu and he ordered Bodhidharma to leave his palace and never return. Bodhidharma simply smiled, turned and left.

Bodhidharma continued his journey, heading north, when he reached the city of Nanjing. In the city of Nanjing, there was a famous place called the Flower Rain Pavillion where many people gathered to speak and relax. There was a large crowd of people gathered in the Flower Rain Pavillion around a Buddhist monk, who was lecturing. This Buddhist monk was named Shen Guang.

Shen Guang had at one time been a famous general. He had killed many people in battle but one day realized that the people he had been killing had family and friends and that one day someone might come and kill him. This changed him and he decided to train as a Buddhist monk. Eventually, Shen Guang became a great speaker on Buddhism. As Bodhidharma neared the crowd, he listened to Shen Guang’s speech. Sometimes Shen Guang would speak and Bodhidharma would nod his head, as if in agreement. Sometimes Shen Guang would speak and Bodhidharma would shake his head, as if in disagreement. As this continued, Shen Guang became very angry at the strange foreign monk who dared to disagree with him in front of this crowd. In anger, Shen Guang took the Buddhist beads from around his neck and flicked them at Bodhidharma. The beads struck Bodhidharma in his face, knocking out two of his front teeth. Bodhidharma immediately began bleeding. Shen Guang expected a confrontation; instead, Bodhidharma smiled, turned and walked away.

This reaction astounded Shen Guang, who began following after Bodhidharma.

Bodhidharma continued north until he reached the Yangzi river. Seated by the river there was an old woman with a large bundle of reeds next to her. Bodhidharma walked up to the old woman and asked her if he might have a reed. She replied that he might. Bodhidharma took a single reed, placed it upon the surface of the Yangzi river and stepped onto the reed. He was carried across the Yangzi river by the force of his chi. Seeing this, Shen Guang ran up to where the old woman sat and grabbed a handful of reeds without asking. He threw the reeds onto the Yangzi river and stepped onto them. The reeds sank beneath him and Shen Guang began drowning. The old woman saw his plight and took pity on Shen Guang, pulling him from the river. As Shen Guang lay on the ground coughing up river water, the old woman admonished him. She said that by not asking for her reeds before taking them, he had shown her disrespect and that by disrespecting her, Shen Guang had disrespected himself. The old woman also told Shen Guang that he had been searching for a master and that Bodhidharma, the man he was following, was that master. As she said this, the reeds which had sunk beneath Shen Guang rose again to the surface of the river and Shen Guang found himself on the reeds being carried across the Yangzi river. He reached the other side and continued following after Bodhidharma.

There are many people who believe that the old woman by the river was a Boddhisatva who was helping Shen Guang to end the cycle of his samsara.

Way To Cave

At this point, Bodhidharma was nearing the location of the Shaolin Temple. The Shaolin monks had heard of his approach and were gathered to meet him. When Bodhidharma arrived, the Shaolin monks greeted him and invited him to come stay at the temple. Bodhidharma did not reply but he went to a cave on a mountain behind the Shaolin Temple, sat down, and began meditating. In front of the Shaolin Temple, there are five mountains: Bell Mountain, Drum Mountain, Sword Mountain, Stamp Mountain and Flag Mountain. These mountains are named after the objects which their shape resembles. Behind the Shaolin Temple there are five “Breast Mountains” which are shaped like breasts. The cave in which Bodhidharma chose to meditate was on one of the Breast Mountains.

Way To Cave

Bodhidharma sat facing a wall in the cave and meditated for nine years. During these nine years, Shen Guang stayed outside Bodhidharma’s cave and acted as a bodyguard for Bodhidharma, ensuring that no harm came to Bodhidharma. Periodically Shen Guang would ask Bodhidharma to teach him, but Bodhidharma never responded to Shen Guang’s requests. During these nine years the Shaolin monks would also periodically invite Bodhidharma to come down to the Temple, where he would be much more comfortable, but Bodhidharma never responded. After some time, Bodhidharma’s concentration became so intense that his image was engraved into the stone of the wall before him.

Bodhidharma 9yr Meditation Cave

Towards the end of the nine years, the Shaolin monks decided that they must do something more for Bodhidharma and so they made a special room for him. They called this room the Bodhidharma Ting. When this room was completed at the end of the nine years, the Shaolin monks invited Bodhidharma to come stay in the room. Bodhidharma did not respond but he stood up, walked down to the room, sat down, and immediately began meditating. Shen Guang followed Bodhidharma to the Shaolin temple and stood guard outside Bodhidharma’s room. Bodhidharma meditated in his room for another four years. Shen Guang would occasionally ask Bodhidharma to teach him, but Bodhidharma never responded.

At the end of the four-year period Shen Guang had been following Bodhidharma for thirteen years, but Bodhidharma had never said anything to Shen Guang. It was winter when the four-year period was ending and Shen Guang was standing in the snow outside the window to Bodhidharma’s room. He was cold and became very angry. He picked up a large block of snow and ice and hurled it into Bodhidharma’s room. The snow and ice made a loud noise as it broke inside Bodhidharma’s room. This noise awoke Bodhidharma from his meditation and he looked at Shen Guang. In anger and frustration Shen Guang demanded to know when Bodhidharma would teach him.

Bodhidharma responded that he would teach Shen Guang when red snow fell from the sky.
Hearing this, something inside Shen Guang’s heart changed and he took the sword he carried from his belt and cut off his left arm. He held the severed arm above his head and whirled it around. The blood from the arm froze in the cold air and fell like red snow. Seeing this, Bodhidharma agreed to teach Shen Guang.

Bodhidharma took a monk’s spade and went with Shen Guang to the Drum Mountain in front of Shaolin Temple. The Drum Mountain is so called because it is very flat on top. Bodhidharma’s unspoken message to Shen Guang was that Shen Guang should flatten his heart, just like the surface of the Drum Mountain. On this Drum Mountain Bodhidharma dug a well. The water of this well was bitter. Bodhidharma then left Shen Guang on the Drum Mountain. For an entire year, Shen Guang used the bitter water of the well to take care of all of his needs. He used it to cook, to clean, to bathe, to do everything. At the end of the first year, Shen Guang went down to Bodhidharma and again asked Bodhidharma to teach him. Bodhidharma returned with Shen Guang to the Drum Mountain and dug a second well. The water of this well was spicy. For an entire year, Shen Guang used the spicy water for all of his needs. At the end of the second year, Shen Guang went back down to Bodhidharma and asked again to be taught. Bodhidharma dug a third well on the Drum Mountain. The water of this third well was sour. For the third year, Shen Guang used the sour water for all of his needs. At the end of the third year, Shen Guang returned to Bodhidharma and agains asked to be taught. Bodhidharma returned to the Drum Mountain and dug a fourth and final well. The water of this well was sweet. At this point, Shen Guang realized that the four wells represented his life. Like the wells, his life would sometimes be bitter, sometimes sour, sometimes spicy and sometimes sweet. Each of these phases in his life was equally beautiful and necessary, just as each of the four seasons of the year is beautiful and necessary in its own way. Without really saying many words to Shen Guang, Bodhidharma had taught Shen Guang the most important of lessons in a mind-to-mind, heart-to-heart fashion. This mind-to- mind, heart-to-heart communication is called “action language” and is the foundation of the Chan Buddhism which Bodhidharma began at the Shaolin Temple.

After his realization, Shen Guang was given the name Hui Ke and he became abbot of the Shaolin temple after Bodhidharma.

To pay respect for the sacrifice which Hui Ke made, disciples and monks of the Shaolin Temple greet each other using only their right hand.

Legend of Bodhidharma

“According to the Jingde of the Lamp, after Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk from South India, left the court of the Liang emperor Wu in 527, he eventually found himself at the Shaolin Monastery, where he “faced a wall for nine years, not speaking for the entire time”.”

According to the Yì Jīn Jīng,

“after Bodhidharma faced the wall for nine years at Shaolin temple and made a hole with his stare, he left behind an iron chest. When the monks opened this chest they found two books: the “Marrow Cleansing Classic,” and the “Muscle Tendon Change Classic”, or “Yi Jin Jing” within. The first book was taken by Bodhidharma’s disciple Huike, and disappeared; as for the second, the monks selfishly coveted it, practicing the skills therein, falling into heterodox ways, and losing the correct purpose of cultivating the Real. The Shaolin monks have made some fame for themselves through their fighting skill; this is all due to their possession of this manuscript.”

Influence outside China

Some lineages of Karate have oral traditions that claim Shaolin origins. Martial arts traditions in Japan and Korea, and Southeast Asia cite Chinese influence as transmitted by Buddhist monks.

Recent developments in the 20th century such as Shorinji Kempo practised in Japan’s Sohonzan Shorinji still maintains close ties with China’s Song Shan Shaolin Temple due to historic links. Japanese Shorinji Kempo Group financial contributions to the maintenance of the historic edifice of the Song Shan Shaolin Temple in 2003 received China’s recognition.

After death

Three years after Bodhidharma’s death, Ambassador Song Yun of northern Wei is said to have seen him walking while holding a shoe at the Pamir Heights. Song Yun asked Bodhidharma where he was going, to which Bodhidharma replied “I am going home”. When asked why he was holding his shoe, Bodhidharma answered “You will know when you reach Shaolin monastery. Don’t mention that you saw me or you will meet with disaster”. After arriving at the palace, Song Yun told the emperor that he met Bodhidharma on the way. The emperor said Bodhidharma was already dead and buried, and had Song Yun arrested for lying. At the Shaolin Temple, the monks informed them that Bodhidharma was dead and had been buried in a hill behind the temple. The grave was exhumed and was found to contain a single shoe. The monks then said “Master has gone back home” and prostrated three times.

For nine years he had remained and nobody knew him;
Carrying a shoe in hand he went home quietly, without ceremony

South Indian Martial Art Pic

Varma KalaiVarma Kalai



 Related Source:
Related Chines Movi(Total 11 Parts): Bodhidharma – The Master of Zen


Filed under Tami Country

Rajendra Chola The Great(முதலாம் இராசேந்திர சோழன்)

 First Overseas Empire Of India

Rajendra CholaChola territories during Rajendra Chola I, c. 1030

Rajendra Chola I was the son of Rajaraja Chola I and was one of the greatest rulers of Tamil Chola dynasty of India. He succeeded his father in 1014CE as the Chola emperor. During his reign, he extended the influences of the already vast Chola empire up to the banks of the river Ganges in the north and across the ocean. Rajendra’s territories extended coastal Burma, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Maldives, conquered the kings of Srivijaya (Sumatra, Java and Malay Peninsula in South East Asia) and Pegu islands with his fleet of ships. He defeated Mahipala, the Pala king of Bengal and Bihar, and to commemorate his victory he built a new capital called Gangaikonda Cholapuram.

The Cholas became one of the most powerful dynasties in Asia during his regin. The Tamil Chola armies exacted tribute from Thailand and the Khmer kingdom of Cambodia. Like the predecessors of the Cholas, the Pallavas and the contemporaneous Pandiyans, the Cholas too under Raja Raja I the father of Rajendra and then Rajendra Chola I too undertook several expeditions to occupy territories outside Indian shores. Of these kings, it was Rajendra who made extensive overseas conquests of territories like the Andamans, Lakshadweepa, wide areas Indo China (Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia and Modern Vietnam) and indeed, Burma. In fact, Rajendra Chola I was the first Indian king to take his armies overseas and make conquests of these territories, even though there is epigraphical evidence of Pallava presence in these very areas, but it is not known that Burma and Indo-China were subordinate to them, as they were under Rajendra and his successors up to Kulothunga I. But these were benevolent conquests, as they seem to have been during the times of the Pallavas, with there being wide cultural inter-

He also built a temple for Siva at Gangaikonda Cholapuram, similar in design to the Tanjore Brihadisvara temple built by Rajaraja Chola. He assumed titles Parakesari and Yuddhamalla.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Rajaraja Chola I had made the crown prince Rajendra Co Regent in 1012CE.Both Son and Father reigned as equals during the final few years of Rajaraja’s life. Rajendra was at the forefront of some of Rajaraja’s campaigns such as those against Vengi and Kalinga towards the end of his reign.  Rajendra chohal is also famous for making rock cut raths.

Rajendra formally ascended the Chola throne in 1014 CE, two years after his installation as the Co Regent. Early in his reign in 1018 CE he installed his eldest son Rajadhiraja Chola I as yuvaraja (Co-regent). Rajadhiraja continued to rule alongside his father for the next 26 years. The son ruled in full regal status as the father. This practice was probably adapted initially to obviate disputed succession.

Military conquests: Early campaigns

Rajendra’s inscriptions include the many campaigns he carried on behalf of Rajaraja from c. 1002 CE These include the conquest of the Rashtrakuta country and region around the current northwestern Karnataka state, Southern Maharashtra up to Kolhapur and Pandharpur. Rajendra also led campaigns against the Western Chalukya Satyasraya and his successor Jayasimha-II by crossing the river Tungabhadra, carried the war into the heart of the Chalukya country and attacked their capital. He overran large parts of the Chalukyan territory including Yedatore(a large part of the Raichur district between the Krishna and the Tungabhadra), Banavasi in the north-west of Mysore, before taking a tour of the capital Mannaikadakkam (Manyakheta). Both the kings were forced to flee from their capital into the western ghats with the Chola emperor erecting a Siva temple at Bhatkal after completing his victory and levying tribute on the vanquished Chalukya kings. He also conquered Kollipakkai, modern day Kulpak located to the north of Hyderabad in present day Andhra Pradesh. Here is an excerpt of his inscription(original in Tamil) from Kolar, Karnataka:

In the 8th year of the reign of Kopparakesarivanmar sri Rajendra Sola Deva, who,-
while the goddess of Fortune, having become constant, increased, and while the goddess of the great Earth, the goddess of Victory in battle and the matchless goddess of Fame, having become his great queens, rejoiced-that in his extended lifetime, conquered with his great war-like army Idaiturai-nadu, Vanavasi shut in by a fence of continuous forests; Kollipakkai, whose walls were surrounded by sulli trees; Mannaikkadakkam whose fortification was unapproachable;..

Invasion Of Sri Lanka

To complete the task began by his father, (for many reasons Raja Raja Chola I was able to conquer only half of the Sri Lanka in his time) of conquering the island of Srilanka, Rajendra invaded the island in 1018 CE As a result of the campaign, Rajendra claimed to have captured the regal jewels of the Pandya kings, which Parantaka I tried in vain to capture. Rajendra also captured the crown of the Sinhala king, his Queen and daughter. This was because they were a part of the sinhalese government. The Sinhala king Mahinda V was taken prisoner and transported to the Chola country” The same way son of pandu(arjuna) brought drupada.”. He was held prisoner for over twelve years and died in captivity. However, Mahavamsa records indicates that Chola invasion and conquest of Lanka as a carnage wrought by the pillaging Chola army in the Sinhala country. The Sinhala hero Vijayabahu the Great who vanquished Cholas from Sri Lanka made every possible effort to restore what Cholas destroyed. Chola inscriptions speak about the fight between the Cholas and the Sinhalas mainly due to the fact that the traders from Tamil country had been looted, imprisoned and killed for years together, in return for which the Cholas sent their army to invade, occupy and control the island of Sri Lanka. An excerpt of his inscription from Kolar, Karnataka:

In the 8th year of the reign of Kopparakesarivanmar sri Rajendra Sola Deva, who-..conquered with his great war-like army Idaiturai-nadu, Vanavasi..etc.-
..the crown of the king of Ilam(Ceylon), and the more beautiful crown of his queen; the beautiful crown and the necklace of Indra, which the king of the south (the Pandya) had previously surrendered to the kings of Ilam; the whole of Iramandalam surrounded by the clear sea;..

Mahinda’s son Kassapa became the centre of Sihalese resistance against the Tamil Power. The war between the Cholas and the Sinhalese raged. The Cholas prevailed over the Sinhalas and re-established their control which lasted till the time of Kulothunga Chola III.

Remains of a number of Hindu temples damaged by the Sinhalas after the end of Tamil occupation in Sri Lanka have been discovered around the Polonnaruwa area attesting to the presence of the Tamil army.

In 1041 CE Rajendra had to lead another expedition into Sri Lanka to quell the continuing attacks against the Chola army by Vikramabahu. Vikramabahu died soon after and anarchy reigned outside the Chola territories. An assortment of adventurers including Sinhalese, dispossessed Pandya princes and even a certain Jagaitpala from distance Kanauj asserted authority over portions of the island. Chola army fought and defeated them all. Thus, Rajendra Chola was able to fulfill his father’s dream to bring the whole Sri Lanka under Chola territory.

Pandyas and Cheras

In 1018, Rajendra made a triumphal march at the head of his army through the Pandya and Cheras (Kerala) countries.Rajendra’s Tiruvalangadu grants claim that he …’took possession of the bright spotless pearls, seeds of the fame of the Pandya kings’ and that ‘…the fearless Madurantaka (Rajendra) crossed the mountains and in a fierce battle brought ruin upon the Chera kings. It is doubtful whether Rajendra added any additional territory to his empire through these campaigns as these have already been conquered by Rajaraja very early in his reign.

Rajendra appointed one of his sons as viceroy with the title Jadavarman Sundara Chola-Pandya with Madurai as the headquarters of the Viceroyalty.

Chalukyas Wars

C. 1021 Rajendra had to turn his attention towards the Western Chalukyas. In 1015 Jayasimha II became the Western Chalukya king. Soon after his ascension, he tried to recover the losses suffered by his predecessor Satyasraya in the hands of the Cholas, who has fled his capital, unable to withstand the Chola onslaught, but had been graciously restored to the throne by Raja Raja I and became a tribute paying subordinate. Initially Jayasimha II was successful as Rajendra was busy with his campaigns against the Pandyas and in Sri Lanka.

Jayasimha also decided to involve himself in the affairs of the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi. After the demise of the Vengi king Vimaladitya, Jayasimha threw his support behind Vijayaditya VII against the claims of Rajaraja Narendra, another of Vimaladitya’s sons by the Chola princess Kundavai. Rajendra naturally had his affinity towards Rajaraja, his nephew (for Kundavai was Rajendra’s sister). A civil war ensued between Vijayaditya and Rajaraja. However with the help of Rejendra, Rajraja Narendra was soon able to defeat the forces of Vijayaditya.

Rajendra followed the same tactic adopted by his illustrious father of sending two armies, one to Vengi and the other to the Chalukyan capital itself. Rajendra’s forces met Jayasimha in the western front and defeated him in the battle of Maski. Rajendra’s forces also crossed swords with the Chalukyas at Kollippakkai near Mannaikadakkam (Manyakheta), the capital of Jayasimha-II. Many of Jayasimha-II’s generals, called Mahasamantas and Dandanayakas paid with their lives for the intransigence of their inept king, as described in the Tiruvalangadu plates of Rajendra I. Rajendra routed Jayasimha thoroughly with the result the Chalukya king ran away from his capital and was forced to flee and rule from Etagiri.Rajendra Chola I describes his victory over Jayasimha as under: “the seven and a half lakshas of Iratta-padi, (which was) strong by nature, (through the conquest of which) immeasurable fame arose, (and which he took from) Jayasimha, who, out of fear (and) full of vengeance, turned his back at Muyangi and hid himself”. This war is extensively described in the inscriptions of Rajendra Chola I at the Raja Rajesvara Temple, Thanjavur.

Rajaraja Narendra had his long delayed coronation in Vengi after the return of the triumphant expedition to the Ganges in 1022 CE and Rajendra gave his daughter Ammanga in marriage to Rajaraja.

In 1031 CE, the Western Chalukyas invaded Vengi and drove Rajaraja Narendra into exile and installed Vijayaditya as the Vengi king. Rajaraja once again sought Chola help in regaining his throne. Rajendra Chola deputed his able son Rajadhiraja I as head of the Chola army which invaded the Vengi and in a bloody battle near Kalidandi, pushed back Vijayaditya and his Western Chalukya ally. Rajaraja Narendra regained his throne in 1035 CE

Due to his consistent and complete vanquishing of the Chalukyas under Satyashraya and Jayasimha-II along with their feudatories, the Kadambas, Hoysalas, Banas, Vaidumbas and the Gangas etc. and the establishment of control over Kannada country, Rajendra I had famous titles like Mudikonda Chozhan (crown prince), ‘Jayasimha Saraban’ (the vanquisher of Jayasimha), Mannaikonda Sozhan (the King who took possession of Mannai(kadakkam) i.e. Chalukyan capital of Manyakheta – called Mannaikadakkam in Chola annals), Irattapadikonda Sozhan (the king who conquered Irattapadi or the land of the Rashtrakutas (later usurped by the Chalukyas), Nirupathivaagaran (the king who subdued Hoysala Nrupathunga and his successors).

A few years before his death, the aging Rajendra Chola also again invaded the Chalukyan capital of Manyakheta due to Chalukya Jayasimha-II and his successor Somesvara I’s interference in the Chola territories of Nulambavadi and Gangavadi in Kannada country when they attacked a Chola post and tried to forcibly collect revenues from farmers. A Chola outpost was attacked leading to a resounding reply by the Chola forces first under Rajendra I, following which the command was taken by his able son and co-regent Rajadhiraja Chola (called Vijayarajendra in Tamil inscriptions about this episode). Rajadhiraja promptly attacked Chalukyan positions in Kogali and Kadambalige, after which he invaded the Chalukyan capital of Manyakheta itself, disposing and probably fatally wounding Jayasimha-II and dispossessing him of his queen, and either decapitating or killing several Chalukyan Dandanayakas and Mahasamantas near modern Chitradurga. This was the first full-fledged war between the Cholas and Chalukyas in which Rajadhiraja Chola took the command of the Chola army in which he shone and proved his capabilities to his eager father As a gift to his father, Rajadhiraja or Vijayarajendra brought two Dwarapalakas from Chalukya country which were initially placed at the big temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram, of which one is still standing at the Sarabeshwarar temple in Tirubhuvanam, which was built by a later Chola king Kulothunga III. The other Dwarapalaka is in the museum of the Big Temple in Tanjore. The above episode in detail has been mentioned in the inscriptions of Rajendra Chola I and his son Rajadhiraja at the Big Temple, Thanjavur.

This subjugation of the Chalukyas would intensify conflict between both empires with the Chalukyas to suffer more defeats at the hands of the successors of Rajendra I in the coming years. The victories in war with the Chalukyas would enable to Cholas to gain much riches, gold, jewellery, cavalry items like horses, elephants and armaments in addition to vast sums of cash which were ceded by the Chalukya kings as tribute to the Chola emperors, who graciously restored them their empires and re-integrated them with their wives, children etc.

Despite founding the new Chola capital of Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Rajendra I was unfailing in according respect to his predecessor’s achievements, especially those of his illustrious father Raja Raja I by placing inscriptions of his achievements only at the Big Temple in Thanjavur and not at Gangaikonda Cholapuram. This practice was kept up by the succeeding Chola kings, with all of them getting coronated at Gangaikonda Cholapuram and the neighbouring ceremonial site of Mudigonda Sozhapuram or Ayirattali but placing inscriptions only at the Big Temple in Thanjavur.

For his conquest of territories in the Ganges-Hooghly belt on the North and Eastern part of India as well as his victories over the adversaries in Indo-China (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia), Rajendra Chola I earned the famous title of Poorvadesamum, Gangaiyum Kadaramum Konda Ayyan.

Expedition to the Ganges

With both the Western and Eastern Chalukya fronts subdued, Rajendra’s armies undertook an extraordinary expedition. C. 1019 CE Rajendra’s forces continued to march through Kalinga to the river Ganges. The Emperor himself advanced up to the river Godavari to protect the rear of the expeditionary force. The Chola army eventually reach the Pala kingdom of Bengal where they met Mahipala and defeated him.

According to the Tiruvalangadu Plates, the campaign lasted less than two years in which many kingdoms of the north felt the might of the Chola army. The inscriptions further claim that Rajendra defeated ‘…the armies of Ranasura and entered the land of Dharmapala and subdued him and thereby he reached the Ganges and caused the water river to be brought by the conquered kings’ back to the Chola country. The new conquests opened up new roots for the Cholas to head for distant lands like Burma by land (through what are now modern Orissa, West Bengal, Assam and Bangladesh). Many inscriptions of chola do refer to the chola control over provinces of north like mathura(vadamadurai), kanyakubja(kannaikucchi or kannauj) and sindhu(sind). This is possible because of chola domination of both the seas on east and west.

It is true that Rajendra’s army defeated the kings of Sakkarakottam and Dhandabhukti and Mahipala. These territories were initially added to the kingdom, while later they had the status of tribute paying subordinates and trade partners with the Chola Kingdom, an arrangement that lasted till the times of Kulothunga-III and to a limited extent, of Raja Raja-III too. It was undoubtedly an exhibition of the power and might of the Chola empire to the northern kingdoms. But the benevolent leadership of the Cholas treated them in a benevolent manner and did not permanently annexe them to the Chola dominions, while at the same time acting firmly to nip in the bud any ill-treatment of people from Tamil country.

Overseas Conquests

Between the 11th and the 14th year of Rajendra’s reign c. 1025, the Chola Navy crossed the ocean and attacked the Srivijaya kingdom of Sangrama Vijayatungavarman. Kadaram, the capital of the powerful maritime kingdom, was sacked and the king taken captive. Along with Kadaram, Pannai in present day Sumatra and Malaiyur in the Malayan peninsula were attacked. Kedah (now in modern Malaysia) too was occupied.

In the 22nd year of the reign of Kopparakesarivanmar sri Rajendra Sola Deva, who,-..conquered with his great war-like army Idaiturai-nadu, Vanavasi..etc.-
and who-having sent many ships in the midst of the billowing sea and having [captured] Sangirama-vijaiyattungopanma, the king of Kidaram, along with his elephants..,took [the large heap of treasures that he had rightfully amassed], the Vichchadira-ttorana at the war-gate of the enemy’s extensive city, the wicket door set with jewels of great splendour, and the door set with large jewels;the extensive sri-Vijaiyam; Pannai watered by the river; the ancient Malaiyur, whose fortress was on a high hill; Māyirudingam, the moat around which was the deep sea; Ilangāsōbam, of undaunted heroic deeds; Māppappālam, having abundant waters as it guard; Mēvilambangam, which had fine fortifications as its defence; Valaippandūru, situated in the midst of green jungles; Talaittakolam, praised by great men versed in the sciences; Madamalingam, of steady heroic deeds; Nilamuri-desam, whose fierce strength was increased by enmity; Mānakkavāram having gardens, in which the flowers were full of honey; and Kidaram, of fierce strength, guarded by men who wore ankle-rings;..

Sangarama Vijayatungavarman was the son of Mara Vijayatungavarman of the Sailendra dynasty. Srivijaya kingdom was located near Palembang in Sumatra. There are no records to explain the nature of and the reason for this naval expedition. The Sailendra dynasty had been in good relations with the Chola Empire during the period of Rajaraja Chola I. Rajaraja encouraged Mara Vijayatungavarman to build the Chudamani Vihara at Nagapattinam. Rajendra confirmed this grant in the Anaimangalam grants showing that the relationship with Srivijaya was still continued be friendly. The exact cause of the quarrel that caused the naval war between Cholas and Srivijaya remains unknown.

The Cholas had an active trade relationship with the eastern island. Moreover the Srivijaya kingdom and the South Indian empires were the intermediaries in the trade between China and the countries of the Western world. Both the Srivijaya and Cholas had active dialog with the Chinese and sent diplomatic missions to China.

the battle between Beemasenan's Chola naval infantry and the defenders of Kedah fort.The battle between Beemasenan’s Chola naval infantry and the defenders of Kedah fort of Song Dynasty.

The Chinese records of the Song Dynasty show that first mission to China from Chu-lien (Chola) reached that country in 1015 CE and the king of their country was Lo-ts’a-lo-ts’a (Rajaraja). Another embassy from Shi-lo-cha Yin-to-loChu-lo (Sri Raja Indra Chola) reached China in 1033 CE and a third in 1077 CE during Kulothunga Chola I. The commercial intercourse between Cholas and the Chinese were continuous and extensive.

One reason could be a trade dispute stemming from some attempts by Srivijaya to throw some obstacle between the flourishing trade between China and the Cholas. Whatever the actual cause of this expedition, it is difficult to believe that, even if we take all the achievements narrated in Rajendra’s inscriptions are accepted as literally true, the campaign led to any permanent territories rather than a vague acceptance of the Chola suzerainty by Srivijaya. Sangaram Vijayatungavarman was restored to the throne at his agreement to pay periodic tribute to Rajendra.

Tanjavur inscriptions also state that the king of Kambhoja (Kampuchea) requesting Rajendra’s help in defeating enemies of his Angkor kingdom.

Closing Years

Rajendra’s long reign saw almost continuous campaigns and conflicts trying to hold his huge empire together. Rajendra’s sons carried out most of the campaigns during the late period of his reign. The emperor refrained from taking the field personally allowing his sons to win glory and distinction.

Rebellions in the Pandya and Kerala countries called for severe action and Rajadhiraja Chola I suppressed them. He also undertook a campaign in Sri Lanka to quell a rebellion instigated by Kassapa.

Rajendra’s legacy

The closing years of Rajendra forms the most splendid period of Cholas.The extent of the empire was the widest and the military and naval prestige was at its highest. The emperor was ably assisted by his sons and other members of his family. The Chola imperialism was a benevolent one attested by the presence of the traditional rulers in the Pandya and Kerala countries and the act of reinstating the Srivijaya king after his defeat.

SriKalahasti Temple

Sri Kalahasti temple, which is the only shrine for the God of Wind in India. Constructed in the 12th century by Rajendra Chola, Vayu is incarnated as Lord Shiva and worshipped as Kalahasteeswara.


“”The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises “”

Leo.F. Buscaglia

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Filed under Tami Country

The Lost temple of INDIA : Mysteries of Asia(Video)

The Mysteries of Asia three-part video series was originally produced for the Learning Channel. During this segment, historians and others examine temples built in India more than 1,000 years ago. They remain quite intriguing, though today’s tourists rarely visit them. Records reveal that trained elephants had to drag millions of stone blocks to help erect these structures. The program notes that due to the temples’ size, the U.S. Senate, Versailles, the Houses of Parliament, and St. Paul’s Basilica in Rome could all fit within a single one of them. Michael Bell narrates as footage and animated maps are used to help viewers learn more about what these ancient structures look like and why they were built. Asia is a continent steeped in ancient cultures, religions, and buildings. In this intriguing program, we are transported to this exotic land and examine the mysteries behind some of the most fascinating structures found there. Southern India has the largest temple complexes ever built. In “Lost Temples of India”, we examine these 1,000-year-old temples adorned with intricate and beautiful sculptures. We learn how the kings used large herds of trained elephants to drag the millions of stone blocks into place and how these temples are virtually unknown and unvisited by Western tourists. Truth or fiction, the stories of Mysteries of Asia will amaze and delight.

The Lost temple of INDIA – part 1/6

The Lost temple of INDIA – part 2/6

The Lost temple of INDIA – part 3/6

The Lost temple of INDIA – part 4/6

The Lost temple of INDIA – part 5/6

The Lost temple of INDIA – part 6/6

The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises

Leo.F. Buscaglia

Please Hit Share Button Below


Filed under Tami Country, Temple