Cholamadevi - A little know temple built by Rajaraja Chola
Site Name: Cholamadevi
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location: Cholamadevi, near Trichy, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights:A temple built by Rajaraja Chola; believed to be older than Tanjore Big Temple
Nearest Railway Station:Trichy
How to reach:Well connected by road from Trichy
Hotel: Go to Trichy where there are a lot of options
Restaurants: Go to Trichy where there are a lot of options
Cholamadevi is a tiny village located in the middle of lush paddy fields near Trichy city in South India. The nearest well known site is Tiruverumbur. The village has a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The highlight of the temple is that it was built by Rajaraja Chola I, who also built the internationally famous Big Temple of Tanjore. It is believed that this temple is older than the Big Temple.
This 11th century CE temple has inscriptions of Rajaraja Chola I, Rajendra Chola and Veera Rajendra Chola. As per the inscriptions, the village was once called as 'Tenkarai Brahmadeyam Sri Cholamadevi Chadurvedi Mangalam'. This village was an important site during those times.
The main deity (Shiva) is called as Kailayamudaiyar. The Goddess is named as Karpagambal. The temple is in dilapidated state today. As the shrine of Goddess is not in good condition, the idol of Goddess is also placed near the main deity. The main shrine has the big relief images of dwarapalaks. They look somewhat similar to the images of Tanjore Big Temple.
The small bali peeth and Nandi idol are found facing the temple under the open space.
A lot of idols that are excavated in and around the site are placed inside the temple - Ayyanar with two consorts, Koumari, Murugan and Valli, Chandikeshwarar, Surya, Vishnu Durgai and another Goddess.
Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Bhikshatanaar, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga are found as koshta idol surrounding the temple wall. The image of Dakshinamurti is completely destroyed. The other idols look very attractive.
In the temple wall, there is a small hole with the relief image of snake; it is the hole which was left for the snakes to enter inside the temple, it is believed.
It is said that Cholamadevi (referred in this place) was the 13th wife of Rajaraja Chola; he built this temple and a palace nearby for his queen. As per one of the inscriptions found in this temple, a huge flower garden measuring around 7 acres was there adjoining the temple; the flowers were used to be sent til the far off Kanchipuram city. As per the inscriptions, it is the site where a scholar named Sidhanandi Padarar wrote commentary for Adi Shankaracharya's 'Sareeka Bashyam'. It is rare to find such an old historical reference about Adi Shankaracharya.