Kundavai Pirāttiyār - Prominent Role in Chola Architecture

Prominent Role in Chola Architecture

She is well known for her philanthropic activities and was one of the generous contributors of art and architecture. She regularly features in many of the important Chola inscriptions. She commissioned many temples and her contributions show that she was very secular:

..vessels and ornaments made of gold, silver and pearl and presented to the temples of Kundavai-Vinnagar-Alvar, Iravikulamanikka-Iswara and Kundavai Jinalaya, built by the princess Parantakan Kundavai Pirattiyar, daughter of Ponmaligaittunjinadevar.

Kundavai Jinnalaya

She built at least two Jain temples, one at Rajarajeswaram later known as Dadapuram and the other at Tirumalai. The former has disappeared into the sands of time while the latter still stands at the foot of the hill. Extensive renovations and repairs over time have masked the original architectural style of the temple. However the interior mandapa and the idol of Neminatha still bear the fine workmanship of Chola architecture.

Kundavai-Vinnagar-Alvar

This was one among the many temples built by princess Kundavai. One of the related inscriptions at the temple is as follows:

Records gift of sheep for lamps to the temple of Kundavai-Vinnagar-Alvar by princess Pirantakan-Kundavai-Pirattiyar. Also mentioned is the senapati, Mummudi-Chola Brahmamarayar who was in charge of the management of the temple

Deities set up by Kundavai

When Parantaka Chola II died after a distinguished reign, his queen Vanavan Mahadevi took her own life by the rite of sati. Kundavai, had such great regard and love for her parents that when Rajaraja Chola I built the Brihadeeswarar temple at Tanjore, she set up images of her parents and made ample endowments for worship. Some of the images or idols set up by princess Kundavai include:

  • Ponmaligai Tunjiya Devar also known as Sundara Chola
  • Vanavan Mahadevi (Tam-ammai)
  • Uma Parameswari, consort of Dakshina Meru Vitankar
  • Uma Parameswari, consort of Tanjai Vitankar

Sundara Chola Vinnagar – Hospital

She also built a free hospital after her father; Sundara Chola Vinnagar atula salai at Thanjavur and donated extensive lands for its maintenance.

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