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தமிழ் வரலாறு Skip to content Home About Tamil units of measurement The Lost temple of INDIA Why is Emperor Raja Raja Cholan Standing outside Big Temple? ← Older posts Newer posts → October 7, 2011 · 4:43 PM The Lost temple of INDIA : Mysteries of Asia

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.

When people think of India, they think of the Taj Mahal, Shāh Jahān’s eternal memorial dedicated to his wife Mumtāz Mahal. But there is a more ancient and secret India hidden deep in its tropical jungles, with one of the greatest building efforts in the human [record]. History has produced thousands of strange and mysterious temples that are today lost and forgotten. This is India’s Deep South, a land of emerald green rice fields and immense palm forests, where every few miles temples soar toward the heavens in the countryside.

Here, over a thousand year ago, 985 AD to be exact, Rajaraja Cholan became King of the Chola Dynasty. His original name was Arunmozhivarman, and his title was Rajakesari Varman or Mummudi-Sola-Deva. He was the second son of the Parantaka Cholan II.

His capital was the city of Thanjavur. Thanjavur was the royal city of the Cholas, Nayaks, and the Mahrattas. Thanjavur derives its name from Tanjan-an asura (giant), who according to local legend devastated the neighbourhood and was killed by Sri Anandavalli Amman and the God Vishnu.

Rajaraja Cholan was one of the greatest kings of India, and in the south he embarked on one of the largest building plans in the history of mankind that still continues till this day. He and his successors moved more stone then the great pyramid of Giza.

The extent of the Temple Grounds is so large that over 200 Taj Mahal’s can fit into it.

You might ask why Rajaraja Cholan built all these temples. Well, it was the same motive that built Europe’s cathedrals and Egypt’s pyramids. He was moved by the power of faith. You have to understand one thing about India: this is a land with almost as many gods as people, and it believes all life to be sacred; even a humble ant has its place. Gods are worshiped differently here than in Europe. During festivals, for example, the gods are taken from their shrines and paraded around in the temple grounds, their costumes are changed at the end of the day, and they are put to bed for a few hours rest at night.

Generally, it’s believed that if these and other rituals are performed perfectly, then it’s going to be more beneficial for you, so that’s why rituals are taken very seriously and they are memorized rigorously by priests. These rituals hardly if ever change with the passage of time. For any religion, anywhere in the world, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and so on – to flourish it helps to have friends in high places, like kings or very wealthy benefactors. For Hinduism, with its vast temples and thousands of priests, friends in high places are absolutely essential. Rajaraja was one of the greatest patrons of arts and religion in India’s long history.

And this was his start, the great temple of Bragatheeswarar.

It’s one of the most amazing buildings in India. It’s 10 times taller than anything built before it , and not only is it huge, but it’s made of granite, one of the hardest stones in the world . The inner shrine under the large tower contains a large phallus-shaped stone, called a ‘Ling’, which represents the god Shiva, one of the most powerful and popular gods, and also one of the three gods of the Holy Trinity that began, runs, and ultimately ends this universe, only to start all over again. The phallus-shaped ‘Ling’ which is Shiva is 12 feet in height and 5 feet in diameter . Every day the priests dress Shiva, and wash him with milk. This has been going on since the creation of the temple and it still goes on today in an unbroken chain for the past thousand years.

To build temples like these required huge amounts of money, and the easiest way to get it was by attacking your weaker neighbors. Rajaraja began his career with the conquest of the Chera country. He defeated Chera King Bhaskara Ravivarman, whose fleet he destroyed in the port of Kandalur. He also seized Pandya Amara Bhujanga, and captured the port of Vilinam. By his campaign against the Singhalees, he annexed northern Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka), and built a number of stone temples in the Ceylonese capital Polonnaruva. Most of his triumphs were achieved by the fourteenth year of his reign (AD 998-999). Rajaraja assumed the title “Mummudi Cholan” and moved his capital from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruva. The Chola culture and Shiva religion permeated the whole of Ceylon.

Having thus realized his cherished military glories, in or about 1003 AD Rajarajan sheathed his sword and turned his thoughts toward a life of peace. It was about this time, that the Chidambaram temple authorities bestowed on him the title of “Sri Rajarajan”.

India is a huge country and it has a very diverse climate. Eastern India is a desert, while the western part receives the highest rainfall in the world. Central India is a huge plateau covering four modern states. Warfare in India was a very different affair in each climatic region, with one common element throughout: the war elephants.

In the jungles of South India, Rajaraja had an ample supply of elephants for his war effort. Now, wild elephants might seem the right candidates to become war elephants, but they are actually very docile, only attacking when provoked. Only the biggest, fiercest, and fittest tusked males could be used as war elephants. Ancient elephant trainers, or “mahouts” (still called by this name today), made a stockade and drove elephant herds into a funnel that led them inside. As recently as the 1960s, the same method was used to capture elephants as in Rajaraja’s day, except they were used then for labor instead of war. The ancient mahouts picked the strongest bulls among the herds to be trained for the battlefields. The rest became working elephants, used for heavy lifting and transporting heavy objects for construction projects. The mahouts controlled the war elephants by getting them drunk on fermented rice liquor, called “makar”, before every battle. The elephants could literally slice their way through a battlefield with razor-sharp blades attached to their trunks. From the top of the elephants, spear throwers, generals, or archers could rain down death on the people below. Despite these advantages, elephants are very hard to control. Instinctively, they don’t favor killing people en masse. Only the legendary skill of the mahouts could make them do so. It is interesting to note, just like the Roman legions we know, the names of over 70 regiments in the ancient Indian army that distinguished themselves in battle are known because the names are inscribed in the temples – like the Ilaiya-Rajaraja-terinda-Valangai-Velaikkarar, Parivarameykappargal (a regiment of Personal Bodyguards), Mummadi- Chola-terinda-Anaippagar (a regiment of the Elephant Corps). The surnames or titles of the king or of his son are usually prefixed before the regiment’s name, possibly as a sign of attachment after a regiment distinguished itself in a battle or other engagement. It would be considerably honorable and prestigious to be in the king’s own regiment.

After Rajaraja secured a good supply of money, he started construction on his Temple of Bragatheeswarar. The quarry that supplied the granite was over 50 miles away from the temple site. Most of the stones were moved with boats, but some much heavier stones, like the 81.3 -ton capstone at the summit of the tower, were moved with a combination of ramps and elephants. The remains of the original ramps still exist today after a thousand years, indicating a gentle 6-degree slope pointing toward the top of the temple. The ramp began 1 mile from the temple, and gradually intersected with the top of the tower 216 feet in the air. Stones were moved from the quarry to the ramp, and up the ramp, with elephants pulling the stones over wooden rollers, much the same as the way ancient Egyptians built the pyramids.

You’d think Rajaraja was crazy going to so much trouble to make just a temple, but let me explain. Rajaraja was a very religious man, and he was caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, his religion forbade him to kill, and on the other hand, to be a successful king he had to make war on his neighbors for his people’s sake – otherwise his kingdom would be weak and easily overrun. So he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his enemies. He firmly believed as do all Hindu’s today in rebirth and reincarnation, and that your actions in this life will determine your lot in the next one. Given the blood on Rajaraja’s hands, he might come back as a worm or something even worse. So he spent fabulous amounts of money on his temples. As one example, it’s written in an inscription that it took 4,000 cows, 7,000 goats, and 30 buffalos just to supply the butter required for the lamps that were lit in the temple and temple grounds. And this was just one temple. Rajaraja provided for hundreds of temples that he created just to insure that he kept his karma in good standing. By his generosity, he hoped the gods would overlook his transgressions and be persuaded to reincarnate him as something better than a worm.

Indian religion during Rajaraja’s time also spread across other lands. That’s why in the steaming jungles of Cambodia, the temples of Angkor Wat don’t depict Cambodian gods, but the gods of India. Not only did religion spread, but also art. When Europe was languishing in the Dark Ages, the artists in the Chola Empire were making bronze statues like the famous Nathraja shown below.

This is Shiva, who appears as Nathraja, the Lord of the Dance, simultaneously crushing the dwarf of ignorance under his foot, beating the drum of creation, unleashing the fires of destruction and finally raising one hand in assurance, telling us to fear not. Near Thanjavur, artists still create bronzes as they did in Rajaraja’s time, placing mud from the Kavari River on a hand carved wax statue to create a mold. After that, they pour molten bronze or gold into the mold and let it cool to take the shape of the statue.

Some Examples of Indian Art

When Rajaraja died in 1014, he left behind him a shining legacy that made him one of the greatest patrons of art and religion in India. The Chola Dynasty ended with King Rajendra Chola III, the last Chola king. The last recorded date of Rajendra III is 1279 AD. There is no evidence that Rajendra was followed immediately by another Chola prince. The Chola empire was completely overshadowed by the Pandyan empire, though many small chieftains continued to claim the title “Chola” well into 15th century.

This is a mural showing Rajaraja, drawn during his reign, showing him in red standing behind his guru. If you have seen a picture of the god Shiva, you might find similarities with the hair style of Rajaraja. It must be noted that some archeologists dispute whether this is actually Rajaraja or not.

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October 5, 2011 · 9:20 AM Serene messages in stone


The Hindu Silent sentries: Jain sculptures at Anaimalai Photo: K. Ganesan

Jainism had flourished around Madurai and this can still be seen in the caves and inscriptions that abound there.

Madurai is a city of confluence where different faiths flourished through the ages. One religion was Jainism. Evidence to its presence and reach are found in stone inscriptions and sculptures found on the hillocks around the city.

The history of Jainism can be traced to Bihar, where Mahavira established the religion during the sixth century BC. But the names of Jain monks and their principles find a mention even in the Rig Veda. These monks preached non-violence. According to tradition, during third century BC, Badrabahu, guru of Chandragupta Maurya, predicted a 12-year famine in Bihar. Following this, the King and Jain monks migrated to south India and settled down in Sharavanabelagola in Karnataka.

Later, during the third century BC, another group of Jain followers, under the leadership of Visakaacharya, travelled from Sharavanabelagola and found hillocks around Madurai suitable for their cloistered life. They settled down in about 14 centres around Madurai and enjoyed the patronage of the Pandya kings, nobles and traders.

In and around Madurai there are about 60 inscriptions attesting the presence of Jain monks between 300 BC and 300 AD. Most caves have bas-reliefs of Tirthankaras and the inscriptions that tell the tale of people of all walks of life from chieftains to the common man and how they patronised Jainism.

In some places, the inscriptions throw light on the Jain schools that existed during the period.

On the Elephant Hill

The first stop on a tour of Jain caves is Aanaimalai. This elephant-shaped hill, is located on the Tiruchi highway approximately eight km away on the north side of the city. The hillock has a cave with rock cut beds and Tamil Brahmi inscriptions dating back to first century AD. In the middle of the hill, there is a series of Jain sculptures on the rock boulder and sculptures of Mahavira, Parsvantha and Ambika Yakshi. These sculptures, belonging to ninth – 10th century AD, have inscriptions revealing names of the persons who had carved them. Next is Arittapatti village that lies 25 km away from the city. A natural cave there are two early Tamil Brahmi inscriptions engraved by Pandya chieftains dating back to third century BC. Besides, the cave also has a bas-relief structure of Mahavira made by a Jain saint Accanandi during ninth -10th century AD.

Though Alagarmalai is known as a Vaishnavite centre now, it served as an abode of Jain monks with the presence of a natural cave near Kidaripatti. On the face of the rock, there are 13 Tamil Brahmi inscriptions dating back to second century BC that have the details of the village name as “Mathirai.”

Ovamalai or Kazhugumalai at Meenakshipuram near Mangulam have five natural caverns with rock beds. Six Tamil Brahmi inscriptions dating to third century BC are found. The inscriptions have the name of Nedunchezhiyan, a Pandya king and his officials, who patronised these shelters. These records are considered as the earliest Tamil records found so far.

The western side of the Tirupparankundram hill, near Madurai, has more than 20 stone beds with three Tamil Brahmi inscriptions dating to first century BC. At the top and foot of the rock some Jain sculptures are carved belonging to ninth-10 century AD. On the southern side of the hill, the rock cut temple of the Jains was converted into a Siva temple during 13 century AD.

Samanamalai near Keezhakuyilkudi village has three monuments in the hillock. They are Peccipallam, where a galaxy of Jain sculptures is found and a dilapidated structural temple dedicated to Jainism. This temple is the remaining evidence of Madevi Perumpalli. On the other side of the hillock, a Jain cave named Settipodavu is found.

Muthupatti, more popularly known as Karadipatti alias Perumalmalai, has two bas-relief structures of Tirthankaras, a separate, beautiful but ruined Tirthankara sculpture, three Brahmi inscriptions (belonging to first century BC), Jain beds and two vattezhuthu inscriptions (belonging to 10th Century AD).

On the western end of Nagamalai range lies the Kongarpuliyankulam. A spacious natural cave is seen with more than 60 chiseled beds and three Tamil Brahmi inscriptions dating to second century BC. A bas-relief sculpture of Mahavira belonging to ninth-10th century AD is found.

Varichiyur lies 15 km away from Madurai on the Sivaganga road. The Udhayagiri hillock has a very spacious natural cave with three Tamil Brahmi inscriptions dating back to second century BC. There are many more like Poyyamalai at Kuppalanatham and Puthur malai.

Jain monks have left behind a rich legacy in the form of sculptures and inscriptions.

Jain jottings

The 14 Jain monuments are: Mangulam, Arittapatti, Aanaimalai, Keezhavazhu, Thiruvadavur, Varichiyur, Alagarmalai, Thiruparankundram, Muthupatti, Kongarpuliyankulam, Nadumudalaikulam, Vikkiramangalam, Mettupatti and Karungalakudi.

* During 470 AD, Jain monk Vajranandhi established a ‘Dramila Sangam’ (Dravida sangam) and spread the religion

* They preached non-violence, imparted education, provided medical help and established asylum for the poor and the needy

* In Perumalmalai, the inscription narrates the history of a residential school that functioned on the hillock during 9-10 century AD.

* Jainism met a setback and lost its royal patronage with the advent of Bakthi movement from Thiruganasambandar, the first among the Thevaram trio. *Koon Pandyan alias Nindra Seer Nedumaran (650-700 AD) was converted to Saivism by his wife Mangayarkarasi and minister Kulasirai.

* Revival of Jainism happened around 750 AD under the next Pandya ruler.

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/kids/article2508683.ece

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October 3, 2011 · 6:46 PM Constanzo Beschialso (Tamil: வீரமாமுனிவர்)

Constanzo Beschi , also known under his Tamil name of Vīramāmunivar (Tamil: வீரமாமுனிவர்) or Constantine Joseph Beschi (in English) (8 November 1680 – 4 February 1747) was an Italian Jesuit priest, Missionary in South India, and renowned poet in the Tamil language.

Early years and formation

Born in Castiglione delle Stiviere, Mantova, Italy, a place very close to the family castle of Aloysius Gonzaga, Beschi got his secondary education in the Jesuit High School of Mantova. After becoming a Jesuit in 1698 he was trained in Ravenna and Bologna from where he requested, and obtained, from Superior General Michelangelo Tamburini the permission to be sent to the Madurai mission in South India. Sailing from Lisbon he reached Goa in October 1710, from where he proceeded immediately to South India. He arrived in Madurai in May 1711.

In Tamil Nadu (Madurai Mission)

Beschi at Madurai Mission

During the first six years, he worked as missionary in Elakurichy (ஏலாக்குறிச்சி), a town near Tiruchirapalli. Then he served as parish priest in Kamanayakkanpatti one of the oldest mission centers in Tamil Nadu. Also he visited several important centers such as Tirunelveli, Ramanathaparam, Thanjavur and of course Madurai, in order to learn the Tamil language. He met with persecution in 1714-15, and escaped a death sentence thanks to the influence of a Hindu friend. The hostility of local kings prevented him from visiting Christian communities. This gave him more time to master the Tamil language in which he soon showed an astonishing proficiency. Thus he discovered that he would be a missionary of the pen .


Inspired by what was done in China Beschi adopted an Indian life style and introduced a touch of Hindu esthetics even in the Christian statuary. Similarly the churches he built (Poondi Matha Basilica at Poondi near Trichy, Periyanayagi maadha shrine at Konankuppam, and Adaikala maadha shrine at Elakurichi) in their architectonic lines, are inspired by Hindu temples. These churches are now Catholic pilgrim centers. There are two teak wooden cars built by him is still there in Kamanayakkanpatti which is another example for his Hindu inspiration. He made himself a sannyasi (Indian ascetic) and adopted their saffron coloured dress. His facility in making friendship, along with his cultural competence and obvious religious commitment gave him much influence which he used in order to protect Christians against exploitation and persecution. He is said to have baptized 12,000 people. He worked in the Thanjavur area till 1738 and settled in 1740 on the Coromandel coast where he remained till the end of his life. He died at Ambazhakad, Kerala, India.

Master of Tamil literature

Even though he was primarily a missionary, he is also known, in a broader circle, as one of the classical writers of Tamil literature. Besides composing a literary Tamil grammar, he also wrote a grammar for the common use of Tamil – the first to do so – which earned him the title of Father of Tamil prose . He compiled several Tamil dictionaries: including the Chaturakarati (சதுரகராதி), the quadruple lexicon containing words, synonyms, categories of words, and rhymes; a Tamil-Latin and Latin-Tamil-Portuguese dictionary.

His greatest poetical work is the Thembavani (தேம்பாவணி) (the Unfading Garland), an extraordinary epic poem – 3615 stanzas long – on Salvation history and the life of Saint Joseph. It is considered a classic of Tamil literature. He also wrote a prabandham (one of the minor literature) called Kavalur Kalambagam (காவலூர் கலம்பகம்), a grammatical treatise called Thonnool (தொன்னூல்), a guide book for catechists with the title Vedhiyar Ozukkam (வேதியர் ஒழுக்கம்), and Paramarthaguruvin kathai (பரமார்த்த குருவின் கதை), a satirical piece on a naive religious teacher and his equally obtuse disciples. In prose he left us polemical writings against the Lutheran missionaries and didactic religious books for the instruction of Catholics. He prepared a vademecum for newly arrived missionaries.

A man of dialogue

Local traditions abound of stories of Beschi challenging Hindu ascetics and winning debates over them. Yet his Thembavani meaning “ornament of poems as sweet as honey” is proof that he had a positive approach to Hinduism, as he often uses phrases, ideas and myths characteristic of Hinduism. The same spirit of dialogue and admiration for the Tamil culture led him to translate and explain in Latin the famous Thirukkural epic poem of Thiruvalluvar (1730). This Latin work was an eye opener for European intellectuals, discovering truth and beauty in a Tamil literature. They also found it to contain many thoughts similar to Christianity.


Beschi was no doubt one of the best known Jesuits of the 18th century in Tamil Nadu. In 1968 the State of Tamil Nadu erected a statue for Beschi on the Marina beach in the City of Madras (Chennai), as a recognition for his contribution to the Tamil language and literature.

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September 28, 2011 · 10:42 AM Kumari Kandam

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September 17, 2011 · 2:04 PM Brihadeeswarar Temple(world’s first complete granite temple)

The  Peruvudaiyar Koyil  or  Brihadeeswarar Temple  (Tamil: பெருவுடையார் கோயில்), also known as  Rajarajeswaram ,at Thanjavur in the Indianstate of Tamil Nadu, is the world’s first complete granite temple and a brilliant example of the ma pen-history-in-tamil-rid-0.html. pittsburgh penguins hockey radio onlinejor heights achieved by Cholas kingdom Vishwakarmas in dravidian temple  architecture . It is a tribute and a reflection of the power of its patron RajaRaja Chola I. It remains as one of the greatest glories of Indian architecture. The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Great Living Chola Temples”.

This temple is one of India’s most prized architectural sites. The temple stands amidst fortified walls that were probably added in the 16th century. The ‘Vimana’ – or the temple tower – is 216 ft (66 m) high  and is among the tallest of its kind in the world. The Kalash  or ‘Chikharam’ (apex or the bulbous structure on the top) of the temple is not carved out of a single stone as widely believed. There is a big statue of Nandi (sacred bull), carved out of a single rock, at the entrance measuring about 16 feet long and 13 feet high. The entire temple structure is made out of hard granite stones, a material sparsely available currently in Thanjavur area where the temple is located. Built in 1010 AD by Raja Raja Chola in Thanjavur, Brihadishwara Temple also popularly known as the ‘Big Temple’ has turned 1000 years in 2010

Temple gateway

Temple complex The temple complex sits on the banks of a river that was channeled to make a moat around the complex’s outer walls, the walls being built like a fortress. The complex is made up of many structures that are aligned axially. The complex can be entered either on one axis through a five-story gopuram or with a second access directly to the huge main quadrangle through a smaller free-standing gopuram. The massive size of the main sikhara (although it is hollow on the inside and not meant to be occupied), is 63 meters in height, with 16 severely articulated stories, and dominates the main quadrangle. Pilaster, piers, and attached columns are placed rhythmically covering every surface of the shikhara.   Main temple The main temple is in the center of the spacious quadrangle composed of a sanctuary, a Nandi, a pillared hall and an assembly hall (mandapas), and many sub-shrines.
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Your Ad Here Your Ad Here List of Sri Lankan Tamil films The Sri Lankan Tamil cinema history started from December 29, 1951 todate completed fifty nine years [ 1 ] . The filmography of the cinema as follows. Contents [ hide ] 1 Early films 1960s 2 Films released in 1970s 3 Films released in 1980s 4 Latest films 5 Films yet to be release 6 See also 7 References 8 External links // [ edit ] Early films 1960s No Film title Meaning of title Film Director Date released 1 Samuthayam Society Henry Chandrawansa 1962 2 Thottakkari A lady from Plantation Krishnakumar March 28, 1962 3 Kadamayin Ellai Limits of Duty M.Vedanayagam 1966 4 Pasa Nila Beloved Moon Joe Dev Anand 1966 5 Taxi Driver Taxi Driver NA 1966 6 Nirmala Nirmala Sillaikur Selvarajan 1968 [ edit ] Films released in 1970s No Film title Meaning of title Film Director Date released 7 Manjal Kungumam Turmeric and Kumkum NA 1970 8 Vensangu White conch Tampoes 1970 9 Kuththu vilakku Sacred Lamp W.S.Mahendran 1972 10 Meenava Penn Fisherfolk Lady NA 1973 11 Pudhiya Kattru A New waves V.P. Ganeshan 1975 12 Komaligal The Clowns V.P. Ganeshan 1976 13 Ponmani Ponmani Dharmasena Batthiraja 1977 14 Kaathirupaen Unakaaha I will wait for you S.V.Chandran 1977 15 Naan Ungal Thozhan I'm Your friend V.P. Ganeshan 1978 [ 2 ] 16 Vadakkattru Cool Breeze S.V.Chandran 1977 17 Kaathirupaen Unakaaha I will wait for you Premnath Moraes 1978 18 Thendralum Puyalum Wind and Typhoon M.A.Kapoor 1978 19 Theivam Thantha Veedu God gave this House NA 1978 20 Aemalikal Fools S.Ramanathan 1978 21 Anuragam Anuragam Yasapalitha Nanayakkara 1978 22 Engalil Oruvan A Man among us NA 1979 23 Maamiyar Veedu Mother-in-law's House K.Krishnamurthy 1979 [ edit ] Films released in 1980s No Film title Meaning of title Film Director Date released 24 Rathathin Rathamae Beloved blood relatives NA 1980 25 Aval Oru Jeevanathi She is a living river J.B.Robert, Joe Michael 1980 26 Nadu Potra Vaalka Live a great life so that the country will celebrate you Yasapalitha Nanayakkara 1979 27 Pathai Maariya Paruvangal Ages when paths changed NA 1982 [ edit ] Latest films No Film title Meaning of title Film Director Date released 28 Sharmilavin Ithaya Ragam Sharmila’s Melody of the Heart Peradeniya Junaideen,Sunil Sopma Peiris 1993 29 Aanivaer Tap Root John Mahendran 2006 27 Mann(film) Earth Pudhiyavan 2006 [ edit ] Films yet to be release No Film title Meaning of title Film Director Date released 28 Kaadhal Kaditham Love Letter Mukesh Yet to be release 29 Orae Naalil In a single day Yusuf Rahim Yet to be release 30 Sooriya Sooriya Dr.Niranjan

The most important part of the temple is the inner mandapa which is surrounded by massive walls that are divided into different levels by sharply cut sculptures and pilasters providing deep bays and recesses. Each side of the sanctuary has a bay emphasizing the principle cult icons. Thekaruvarai, a Tamil word meaning the interior of thesanctum sanctorum, is the inner most sanctum and focus of the temple where an image of the primarydeity, Shiva, resides. Inside is a huge stone linga Literally the word Karuvarai means “womb chamber” from Tamil wordKaru for foetus. Only priests are allowed to enter this inner most chamber. In the Dravida style, the Karuvarai takes the form of a miniature vimana with other features exclusive to southern Indian temple architecture such as the inner wall together with the outer wall creating a pradakshina around the garbhagriha for circumambulation (pradakshina). The entrance is highly decorated. The inside chamber housing the image of the god is the sanctum sanctorum, the garbhagriha. The garbhagriha is square and sits on a plinth, its location calculated to be a point of total equilibrium and harmony as it is representative of a microcosm of the universe. In the center is placed the image of the deity. The royal bathing-hall where Rajaraja the great gave gifts is located to the east of the hall of Irumudi-Soran. The circumambulation winds around the massive lingam in the garbhagriha and is repeated in an upper story, presenting the idea that Chola Empire freely offered access to the gods. The inner mandapa leads out to a rectangular mandapa and then to a twenty-columned porch with three staircases leading down. Sharing the same stone plinth is a small openmandapa dedicated to Nandi, Shiva’s sacred bull mount.

The full view of the temple   Features The temple is made up of  130,000 tons of granite . The 60-metre tall vimana is the tallest in South India. A European-like figure which is carved on the vimana is believed to be an ancient warning of the arrival of the British. Later investigations by archaeologists proposed that this carving may be a hoax. It is widely believed that the shadow of the gopuram never falls on the ground. However, some scholars have dismissed this as a myth. The shikhara of the temple is made from a single 80-tonne piece of granite . This magnificent temple was built in just five years, (between 1004 AD and 1009 AD) during the reign of Rajaraja Chola.

To Know More about Brihadeeswarar Temple

http://rsubbu-thoughts.blogspot.com/2011/05/tanjore-big-temple-part-i.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brihadeeswarar_Temple 360° View :  http://www.view360.in/virtualtour/thanjavur/ Rate this: Share this: Facebook Twitter Google Print Pinterest Email Tumblr LinkedIn Reddit Pocket Like this: Like Loading... 7 Comments

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September 10, 2011 · 8:51 AM Kumari Kandam- The Lost Continent(குமரிக்கண்டம்)

“Lemuria” in Tamil nationalist mysticist literature, connecting Madagascar, South India and Australia (covering most of the Indian Ocean). Mount Meru stretches southwards from Sri Lanka. The distance from Madagascar to Australia is about 4,200 miles

Kumari Kandam or Lemuria  (Tamil:குமரிக்கண்டம்) is the name of a supposed sunken landmass referred to in existing ancient Tamil literature. It is said to have been located in the Indian Ocean, to the south of present-day Kanyakumari district at the southern tip of India.

References in Tamil literature

There are scattered references in Sangam literature, such as Kalittokai 104, to how the sea took the land of the Pandiyan kings, upon which they conquered new lands to replace those they had lost. There are also references to the rivers Pahruli and Kumari, that are said to have flowed in a now-submerged land. The Silappadhikaram, a 5th century epic, states that the “cruel sea” took the Pandiyan land that lay between the rivers Pahruli and the mountainous banks of the Kumari, to replace which the Pandiyan king conquered lands belonging to the Chola and Chera kings (Maturaikkandam, verses 17-22). Adiyarkkunallar, a 12th century commentator on the epic, explains this reference by saying that there was once a land to the south of the present-day Kanyakumari, which stretched for 700  kavatam  from the Pahruli river in the north to the Kumari river in the south. As the modern equivalent of a kavatam is unknown, estimates of the size of the lost land vary from 1,400 miles (2,300 km) to 7,000 miles (11,000 km) in length, to others suggesting a total  area  of 6-7,000 square miles, or smaller still an area of just a few villages.

This land was divided into 49 nadu, or territories, which he names as seven coconut territories ( elutenga natu ), seven Madurai territories ( elumaturai natu ), seven old sandy territories ( elumunpalai natu ), seven new sandy territories ( elupinpalai natu ), seven mountain territories ( elukunra natu ), seven eastern coastal territories ( elukunakarai natu ) and seven dwarf-palm territories ( elukurumpanai natu ). All these lands, he says, together with the many-mountained land that began with KumariKollam, with forests and habitations, were submerged by the sea.Two of these Nadus or territories were supposedly parts of present-day Kollam and Kanyakumari districts.

None of these texts name the land “Kumari Kandam” or “Kumarinadu”, as is common today. The only similar pre-modern reference is to a “Kumari Kandam” (written குமரிகண்டம், rather than குமரிக்கண்டம் as the land is called in modern Tamil), which is named in the medieval Tamil text  Kantapuranam  either as being one of the nine continents, or one of the nine divisions of India and the only region not to be inhabited by barbarians. 19th and 20th Tamil revivalist movements, however, came to apply the name to the territories described in Adiyarkkunallar’s commentary to the Silappadhikaram. They also associated this territory with the references in the Tamil Sangams, and said that the fabled cities of southern Madurai and Kapatapuram where the first two Sangams were said to be held were located on Kumari Kandam.

In Tamil national mysticism

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Tamil nationalists came to identify Kumari Kandam with Lemuria, a hypothetical “lost continent” posited in the 19th century to account for discontinuities in biogeography. In these accounts, Kumari Kandam became the “cradle of civilization”, the origin of human languages in general and the Tamil language in particular. These ideas gained notability in Tamil academic literature over the first decades of the 20th century, and were popularized by the Tanittamil Iyakkam, notably by self-taught DravidologistDevaneya Pavanar, who held that all languages on earth were merely corrupted Tamil dialects.

R. Mathivanan, then Chief Editor of the Tamil Etymological Dictionary Project of the Government of Tamil Nadu, in 1991 claimed to have deciphered the still undeciphered Indus script as Tamil, following the methodology recommended by his teacher Devaneya Pavanar, presenting the following timeline (cited after Mahadevan 2002):

ca. 200,000 to 50,000 BC: evolution of “the Tamilian or  Homo Dravida “, ca. 200,000 to 100,000 BC: beginnings of the Tamil language 50,000 BC:  Kumari Kandam civilisation 20,000 BC: A lost Tamil culture of the Easter Island which had an advanced civilisation 16,000 BC: Lemuria submerged 6087 BC: Second Tamil Sangam established by a Pandya king 3031 BC: A Chera prince in his wanderings in the Solomon Island saw wild sugarcane and started cultivation in Kumari Kandam. 1780 BC: The Third Tamil Sangam established by a Pandya king 7th century BC: Tolkappiyam (the earliest known extant Tamil grammar)

Mathivanan uses “Aryan Invasion” rhetoric to account for the fall of this civilization:

“After imbibing the mania of the Aryan culture of destroying the enemy and their habitats, the Dravidians developed a new avenging and destructive war approach. This induced them to ruin the forts and cities of their own brethren out of enmity”.

Mathivanan claims his interpretation of history is validated by the discovery of the “Jaffna seal”, a seal bearing a Tamil-Brahmi inscription assigned by its excavators to the 3rd century BC (but claimed by Mathivanan to date to 1600 BC).

Mathivanan’s theories are not considered mainstream by the contemporary university academy internationally.

Popular culture Kumari Kandam appeared in the  The Secret Saturdays  episodes “The King of Kumari Kandam” and “The Atlas Pin.” This version is a city on the back of a giant sea serpent with its inhabitants all fish people. Loss and imagination

Sumathi Ramaswamy’s book,  The Lost Land of Lemuria: Fabulous Geographies, Catastrophic Histories  (2004) is a theoretically sophisticated [ citation needed ]  study of the Lemuria legends that widens the discussion beyond previous treatments [ citation needed ] , looking at Lemuria narratives from nineteenth-century Victorian-era science to Euro-American occultism, colonial, and post colonial India. Ramaswamy discusses particularly how cultures process the experience of loss.

Professor Karsten M. Storetvedt, the chair in geomagnetism at the University of Bergen, Norway, and an author of the Global Wrench Theory (GWT), says that the equator regions have always been most prone to natural catastrophes like earthquakes and volcano eruptions. A part of explanation is that planet rotation and especially the difference in rotation speed between poles and equator force earth mantel to strain and to break more easily where the strain is strongest, that is at the equator regions. These tectonic processes played important role in the disappearance of the ancient continent known as Lemuria to western scholars. Sri Lanka together with India, Indonesia and Malaysia were a part of this continent. Many islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans are remnants of this continent that in ancient time covered the whole area of today’s ocean. Storetvedt, who seems to reject the theory of continental drift and plate tectonics, says that descriptions of cataclysms in early literature when land suddenly went underwater are logical. But they should be proven to be scientific facts. This can be done with the help of sea-floor analysis that is possible to carry out. Modern theories find supportive evidences both in ancient literature and language history. For More Information, Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumari_Kandam http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/tamil-nadu/article482101.ece http://lemuria-kumarinadu.blogspot.com/ Rate this: Share this: Facebook Twitter Google Print Pinterest Email Tumblr LinkedIn Reddit Pocket Like this: Like Loading... 58 Comments

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August 27, 2011 · 5:44 PM திராவிடக் கட்டிடக்கலை(Dravidian architecture)

A typical Dravidian gate pyramid called Gopuram-Thiruvannamalai temple-Tamil Nadu

Dravidian architecture  was a style of architecture that emerged thousands of years ago in the Indian subcontinent. They consist primarily of pyramid shaped temples called Koils which are dependent on intricate carved stone in order to create a step design consisting of many statues of deities, warriors, kings, and dancers. The majority of the existing buildings are located in theSouthern Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh,Kerala, and Karnataka. Various kingdoms and empires such as the Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyan, Chera,Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagara Empire amongst the many others have made a substantial contribution to the evolution of Dravidian architecture through the ages. Dravidian styled architecture can also be found in parts of NortheasternSri Lanka, Maldives, and various parts of Southeast Asia.

Composition and structure

The Annamalaiyar Temple in Thiruvannaamalai, India

Dravidian style temples consist almost invariably of the four following parts, arranged in various manners, as afterwards to be explained, but differing in themselves only according to the age in which they were executed:

1. The principal part, the actual temple itself, is called the  Vimanam . It is always square in plan, and surmounted by a pyramidal roof of one or more stories; and it contains the cell in which the image of the god or his emblem is placed.

2. The porches or  Mantapams , which always cover and precede the door leading to the cell.

3. Gate-pyramids,  Gopurams , which are the principal features in the quadrangular enclosures that surround the more notable temples.

4. Pillard halls or  Chaultris—properly  Chawadis  — used for various purposes, and which are the invariable accompaniments of these temples.

Besides these, a temple always contains tanks or wells for water—to be used either for sacred purposes or the convenience of the priests—dwellings for all the various grades of the priest-hood are attached to it, and numerous other buildings for state or convenience.

Influence from different periods

In Southern India seven kingdoms and empires stamped their influence on architecture during different times.:

Sangam period

The Subrahmanya Murugan temple of Saluvankuppam, in Saluvankuppam nearMahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. The brick shrine dates to the Sangam period and is one of the oldest Hindu temples to be unearthed

From 1000BCE-300CE, the greatest accomplishments of the kingdoms of the early Chola, Chera and the Pandyan kingdomsincluded brick shrines to deities Murugan, Shiva, Amman andThirumal (Vishnu) of the Tamil pantheon. Some were built Several of these have been unearthed near Adichanallur,Kaveripoompuharpattinam and Mahabalipuram, and the construction plans of these sites of worship were shared to some detail in various poems of Sangam literature. One such temple, the Saluvannkuppan Murukan temple, unearthed in 2005, consists of three layers. The lowest layer, consisting of a brick shrine, is one of the oldest of its kind in South India, and is the oldest shrine found dedicated to Murukan. It is one of only two brick shrine pre Pallava Hindu temples to be found in the state, the other being the Veetrirundha Perumal Temple at Veppathurdedicated to Vishnu. The dynasties of early medieval Tamilakkam expanded and erected structural additions to many of these brick shrines. Sculptures of erotic art, nature and deities from the MaduraiMeenakshi Amman Temple, Chidambaram Thillai Nataraja Temple and the SrirangamRanganathaswamy Temple date from the Sangam period.


The Rathas in Mahabalipuram-Tamilnadu

The Pallavas ruled from AD (600-900) and their greatest constructed accomplishments are  the single rock temples in Mahabalipuram and their capitalKanchipuram, now located in Tamilnadu.

Pallavas were pioneers of south Indian architecture. The earliest examples of temples in the Dravidian style belong to the Pallava period. The earliest examples of Pallava constructions are rock-cut temples dating from 610 – 690 CE and structural temples between 690 – 900 CE. The greatest accomplishments of the Pallava architecture are the rock-cut temples at Mahabalipuram. There are excavated pillared halls and monolithic shrines known as rathas in Mahabalipuram. Early temples were mostly dedicated to Shiva.  The Kailasanatha temple also called Rajasimha Pallaveswaram in Kanchipuram built by Narasimhavarman II also known as Rajasimha is a fine example of the Pallava style temple. Mention must be made here of the Shore Temple constructed by Narasimhavarman II near Mahabalipuram which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Contrary to popular impression about the succeeding empire of the Cholas pioneering in building large temple complexes, it was the Pallavas who actually pioneered not only in making large temples after starting construction of rock cut temples without using mortar, bricks etc.(**) The shining examples of such temples are the Thiruppadagam and Thiruooragam temples that have 28 and 35 feet (11 m) high images of Lord Vishnu in his manifestation as Pandavadhoothar and Trivikraman forms of himself. In comparison the Siva Lingams in the Royal Temples of the Cholas at Thanjavur and Gangaikonda Cholapurams are 17 and 18 feet (5.5 m) high. Considering that the Kanchi Kailasanatha Temple built by Rajasimha Pallava was the inspiration for Raja Raja Chola’s Brihadeeswara at Thanjavur, it can be safely concluded that the Pallavas were among the first emperors in India to build both large temple complexes and very large deities and idols(**) Many Siva and Vishnu temples at Kanchi built by the great Pallava emperors and indeed their incomparable Rathas and the Arjuna’s penance Bas Relief (also called descent of the Ganga) are proposed UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The continuous Chola, Pallava and Pandiyan belt temples (along with those of the Adigaimans near Karur and Namakkal), as well as the Sethupathy temple group between Pudukottai and Rameswaram uniformly represent the pinnacle of the South Indian Style of Architecture that surpasses any other form of architecture prevalent between the Deccan Plateau and Kanniyakumari(**). Needless to add that in the Telugu country the style was more or less uniformly conforming to the South Indian or Dravidian idiom of architecture.(**)


Srivilliputtur Andal Temple is the official symbol of the Government of Tamilnadu. It is said to have been built by Periyaazhvar, the father-in-law of the Lord, with a purse of gold that he won in debates held in the palace of PandyaKing Vallabhadeva.

The primary landmark of Srivilliputtur is 12-tiered tower structure dedicated to the Lord of Srivilliputtur, known as Vatapatrasayee. The tower of this temple rises 192 feet (59 m) high and is the official symbol of the Government of Tamil Nadu. It is said to have been built by Periyaazhvar, the father-in-law of the Lord, with a purse of gold that he won in debates held in the palace ofPandya King Vallabhadeva. The Government of Tamil Nadu uses this temple tower as part of its symbol.


Detail of the main vimanam (tower) of the Thanjavur Temple-Tamilnadu

The Chola kings ruled from AD (848-1280) and included Rajaraja Chola I and his sonRajendra Chola who built temples such as the Brihadeshvara Temple of Thanjavur and Brihadeshvara Temple of Gangaikonda Cholapuram, the Airavatesvara Temple of Darasuram and theSarabeswara (Shiva )Temple, also called the Kampahareswarar Temple  at Thirubhuvanam, the last two temples being located near Kumbakonam. The first three among the above four temples are titled Great Living Chola Temples among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Cholas were prolific temple builders right from the times of the first king Vijayalaya Chola after whom the eclectic chain of Vijayalaya Chozhisvaram temple near Narttamalai exists. These are the earliest specimen of Dravidian temples under the Cholas. His son Aditya I built several temples around the Kanchi and Kumbakonam regions.

Temple building received great impetus from the conquests and the genius of Aditya I Parantaka I,Sundara Chola, Rajaraja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola I. The maturity and grandeur to which the Chola architecture had evolved found expression in the two temples of Tanjavur and Gangaikondacholapuram. In a small portion of the Kaveri belt between Tiruchy-Tanjore-Kumbakonam, at the height of their power, the Cholas have left over 2300 temples, with the Tiruchy-Thanjavur belt itself boasting of more than 1500 temples. The magnificent Siva temple of Thanjavur built by Raja Raja I in1009 as well as the Brihadisvara  Temple of Gangaikonda Cholapuram, completed around 1030, are both fitting memorials to the material and military achievements of the time of the two Chola emperors. The largest and tallest of all Indian temples of its time, the Tanjore Brihadisvara is at the apex of South Indian architecture. In fact, two succeeding Chola kings Raja Raja II and Kulothunga III built the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram and the Kampahareswarar Siva Temple at Tribhuvanam respectively, both temples being on the outskirts of Kumbakonam around AD 1160 and AD 1200. All the four temples were built over a period of nearly 200 years reflecting the glory, prosperity and stability under the Chola emperors.

Contrary to popular impression, the Chola emperors patronized and promoted construction of a large number of temples that were spread over most parts of the Chola empire. These include 40 of the 108 Vaishnava Divya Desams out of which 77 are found spread most of South India and others in Andhra and North India(**). In fact, the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, which is the biggest temple in India (**) and the Chidambaram Natarajar Temple (though originally built by the Pallavas but possibly seized from the Cholas of the pre-Christian era when they ruled from Kanchi) (**) were two of the most important temples patronized and expanded by the Cholas and from the times of the second Chola King Aditya I, these two temples have been hailed in inscriptions as the tutelary deities of the Chola Kings (**). Of course, the two Brihadisvara Temples at Thanjavur and Gangaikonda Cholapuram as well as the other two Siva temples, namely the Airavatesvara Temple of Darasuram and the Sarabeswara (Shiva )Temple which is also popular as the Kampahareswarar Temple at Thirubhuvanam, both on the outskirts of Kumbakonam were the royal temples of the Cholas to commemorate their innumerable conquests and subjugation of their rivals from other parts of South India, Deccan Ilangai or Sri Lanka and the Narmada-Mahanadi-Gangetic belts(**). But the Chola emperors underlined their non-partisan approach to religious iconography and faith by treating the presiding deities of their other two peerless creations, namely theRanganathaswamy Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu at Srirangam and the Nataraja Temple atChidambaram which actually is home to the twin deities of Siva and Vishnu (as the reclining Govindarajar) to be their ‘Kuladheivams’ or tutelary (or family) deities(**). The Cholas also preferred to call only these two temples which home their tutelary or family deities as  Koil  or the ‘Temple’, which denotes the most important places of worship for them, underlining their eq. The above-named temples are being proposed to be included among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which will elevate them to the exacting and exalting standards of the Great Living Chola Temples(**).

The temple of Gangaikondacholapuram, the creation of Rajendra Chola I, was intended to exceed its predecessor in every way. Completed around 1030, only two decades after the temple at Thanjavur and in much the same style, the greater elaboration in its appearance attests the more affluent state of the Chola Empire under Rajendra. This temple has a larger Siva linga than the one at Thanjavur but the Vimana of this temple is smaller in height than the Thanjavur vimana.

The Chola period is also remarkable for its sculptures and bronzes all over the world. Among the existing specimens in museums around the world and in the temples of South India may be seen many fine figures of Siva in various forms, such as Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi, and the Siva saints. Though conforming generally to the iconographic conventions established by long tradition, the sculptors worked with great freedom in the 11 th  and the 12 th  centuries to achieve a classic grace and grandeur. The best example of this can be seen in the form of Nataraja the Divine Dancer.

Badami Chalukyas Main article: Badami Chalukya Architecture

Virupaksha temple, Pattadakal, Karnataka built in 740

The Badami Chalukyas also called the Early Chalukyas, ruled from Badami, Karnataka in the period AD 543 -753 and spawned the Vesara style called Badami Chalukya Architecture. The finest examples of their art are seen in Pattadakal, Aihole and Badami in northern Karnataka. Over 150 temples remain in the Malaprabhabasin.

The most enduring legacy of the Chalukya dynasty is the architecture and art that they left behind. More than one hundred and fifty monuments attributed to the Badami Chalukya, and built between 450 and 700, remain in the Malaprabha basin in Karnataka.

The rock-cut temples of Pattadakal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Badami and Aihole are their most celebrated monuments. Two of the famous paintings atAjanta cave no. 1, “The Temptation of the Buddha” and “The Persian Embassy” are attributed to them. This is the beginning of  Chalukya  style of architecture and a consolidation of South Indian style.


The view of the Kailash Temple from the top. The photo is taken at the cave temples clusters of Ellora, Maharastra, India.

The Rashtrakutas who ruled the deccan fromManyakheta, Gulbarga district, Karnataka in the periodAD 753 – 973 built some of the finest Dravidian monuments at Ellora (the Kailasanatha temple), in the rock cut architecture idiom. Some other fine monuments are the Jaina Narayana temple at Pattadakal and the Navalinga temples at Kuknur in Karnataka.

The Rashtrakutas contributed much to the culture of theDeccan. The Rashtrakuta contributions to art and architecture are reflected in the splendid rock-cut shrines at Ellora and Elephanta, situated in present dayMaharashtra. It is said that they altogether constructed 34 rock-cut shrines, but most extensive and sumptuous of them all is the Kailasanatha temple at Ellora. The temple is a splendid achievement of Dravidian art. The walls of the temple have marvellous sculptures from Hindy mythology including Ravana, Shiva andParvathi while the ceilings have paintings.

The project was commissioned by King Krishna I after the Rashtrakuta rule had spread into South India from the Deccan. The architectural style used was dravidian. It does not contain any of the  Shikharas common to the  Nagara  style and was built on the same lines as the Virupaksha temple at Pattadakal inKarnataka.

Western Chalukyas Main article: Western Chalukya architecture

Dodda Basappa temple, Dambal, Gadag district,Karnataka

The Western Chalukyas also called the Kalyani Chalukyas or Later Chalukyas ruled the deccan from AD973 – 1180 from their capital Kalyani in modern Karnataka and further refined the Chalukyan style, called the Western Chalukya architecture. Over 50 temples exist in the Krishna River-Tungabhadra doab in central Karnataka. The Kasi Vishveshvara at Lakkundi, Mallikarjuna at Kuruvatii, Kalleshwara temple at Bagali and Mahadeva at Itagi are the finest examples produced by the Later Chalukya architects.

The reign of Western Chalukya dynasty was an important period in the development of architecture in the deccan. Their architectural developments acted as a conceptual link between the Badami Chalukya Architecture of the 8th century and the Hoysala architecture popularised in the 13th century. The art of Western Chalukyas is sometimes called the “Gadag style” after the number of ornate temples they built in the Tungabhadra – Krishna River doab region of present day Gadag district in Karnataka.