"Shri Nedumbrayur (Thirumathaliyappan) Mahadeva Temple Thali
(Thrissur Dist) (Protected Monument - Dept of Archaeology , Govt of Kerala)"
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Introduction

The Tali Mahadevar temple ,popularly known as 'Thiruma thaliyappan' temple Is located near Varavur Thali at Nedumpurayur in Thichur village,Varavoor Panchayath, Talappilly taluk . It is one of the oldest temples in the district of Thrissur. The temple is a protected monument of the Kerala State Department of Archaeology.

The old name of Sree Thirumathaliyappan Siva temple was 'Sree Nithyavichareswarathu Kshetram'. The local tradition about the temple is that, it is one of the one hundred and eighth siva temples established by Perumals who ruled from Mahodayapuram, the present day Kodungallur. People also believe that one of the Cheraman Perumals ruled from Nedumpuryur and his palace could be located near the temple. A big tank extending about 12 acres locally known as 'Arakulam' is located 400 meters east of the temple. Kodungallur (Mahodayapuram), the capital of the Perumals also has a very big tank known as 'Arakulam'. On the top of a near by hill near the Thirumathaliyappan temple there is a Kizhthali temple. A Kizhthali temple is also located at Kodungallur near the palace complex. The temple names of Kizhthali and Nedumpuram Thali are remains of evidences of the rule Perumal from Nedumprayur.

Temple structures

The temple, facing east, is placed iside a compound having 2.75 acres of land surrounded by a wall on all sides. The road from the village turns left just in front of the gate of the temple. After entry to the temple compound 'deepastambham', 'valiyabalikkal' and 'agramandapam', are sighted first. Deepastambham is a later structure while valiyabalikkal is as old as the temple. Agramandapom is in traditional style with a granite 'nandi' on the center of the hall wooden seats on the south and north. Agramandapam is locally known as 'nandippura'. The door in the western wall is the entry to the udjassant structure , vatilmadam.

Valiyambalam

On both the sides o f the passage (vatilmatom) from agramandapam to Sreekovil, on the north and south basements of the valiyambalam, have inscriptions that belongs to the period of 11th and 12th centuries. The inscription is in vattezhuthu script and old Malayalam language. Though there is no definite date in the inscription historians have calculated tenth century as the period of the inscriptions. These inscriptions do not mention any thing about the construction of the temple. The open spaces on the north and south have been used temple festivals and other auspicious occasions.Koothu and Patakom were performed in these halls formerly. The open spaces have six wooden pillars on each side.

Mahasala

Mahasala is the first floor of the valiyambalam. Mahasala is closed on all four sides with wooden rafters and brackets. The wooden floor of the mahasala has two floors. There is a gap of about two feet between the lower ceiling and the upper ceiling. The purpose of the gap is unknown. Mahasala have wooden seats and was used by the family members of the 'uranma'or the managers of the temple to participate in the temple festivals and other temple functions in olden days. The wooden staircase to the mahasala is on the southern side of the valiyambalam. There are two sub shrines on the southern and northern portions of the valiyambalam. Both shrines faces the west. The southern sub shrine have Bhagavati, Ganapati, Sastha, and Nagar. This shrine is on the 'agnikone' of the temple. The northern sub shrine has Sreekrishna as the diety. This small sub shrine or sreekovil has a small namaskara mantapa built in traditional style.

Thitappalli

Thitappalli or the temple kitchen is on the south eastern corner of valiyambalm.

Sreekovil

Sreekovil is of square dwitala(double roof) in style with tiled roof.The wall is of laterite covered with lime plaster. Adhishtanam is covered with cement plaster (later intervention).The adhishtanam has the mouldings of 'padukam', 'jagathy', 'vritha-kumudam', 'galam','kampam' 'gala-pati' and 'vedi'.The sreekovil has 'mukhamandapam' (a projection in continuation of the sreekovil ).(Photographs of the front, left and right sides of the mukha mandapam ).The roof of the mukhamandapam is supported by wooden pillars.There is sukanasa at the front of the mukhamandapa.

The sreekovil is of sandhara type i.e., there is a space between the wall of the 'garbhagriha' (sanctum sanctoram) and the outer wall of the sreekovil (circumambulatory ).The garbhgriha has its own roof built of laterite and lime. The roof of the sreekovil is above the roof of the garbhagriha.

The 'sopanam is of granite' with eight steps leading to the mukhamandapam. The banisters on both sides have vyali figures on top and figures of Ganapathi and poornakumbham and also niches on the sides. There are two 'dwarapalakas' beautifully carved on granite on either side of the entrance of the mukhamandapam. The sreekovil have three 'ghanadwaras' (false doors) on three sides and one functional door. There are niches with beautiful designs on all three sides. There are some stucco reliefs of faces on the walls. Aesthetically designed stucco sculptures called salabhanjaras are seen on the 'greeva'. The granite 'pranalam' has makarasimha face at the base, multifaceted sundu with pearl rings and curved end with 'gomukha' tip. There is no namaskara mandapa for the main sreekovil. The space between the vatilmatam and sreekovil is known as 'kannadithalam'.where special poojas are performed.

A subshrine of 'kannimoola Ganapati', an independent square structure having a side of 3.5 meter is located on the south west corner of the main sreekovil.

The 'chuttambalam' (the rectangular building surrounding the sreekovil ) has entrances from four sides. The northern part of the chuttambalam is used as 'oottopura (dining hall )which is in the 'esanakone' of the temple structure.

Puram sivan

There is another independent subshrine outside the chuttambalam on the southern side, that belong to 'Dhakshinamurthi', popularly known as 'puram sivan'.






Temple tank

The temple has its own temple tank outside the temple compound on the western side. The temple tank is big and used for multi purposes.

New sub shrine

A new sub shrine for Ganapati,Bhagavathi and Sasthavu are being constructed on the south eastern side of the temple compound outside the chuttambalam.

Kottaram

There is a traditional style two storeyed building on the east of the temple near the main entrance. This is now used as administrative office and record office.

History of Nedumpurayur

Nedumpurayur nadu was part of the Cera kingdom of Mahodayapuram during the period between eighth and twelfth centuries. The history of the origin and development of this kingdom is obscure. It is distinguished from the earlier Cera kingdom of the Sangam age by its new capital Mahodayapuram. The site of the Sangam Cera capital Vanci is a subject of controversy among the scholars. Some identified it as Kodungallur and others put it as Karur-Vanci. The weight of the evidences would in favour of Karur-Vanci especially after the discovery of plenty of Sangam Cera coins from Karur and the discovery and decipherment of Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions, mentioning the namses of several Cera kings of the Sangam age ,from the neighbourhoods of Karur. Whatever be the location of the ancient Vanci,it is clear that the Ceras of the Sangam age controlled Karur in the interior as well as the two harbor towns of Tondi ( Tyndis) and Mucir (Muziris) on the west coast. Gradually, towards the close of the Sangam age, Karur seems to have acquired much prominence. Whether it was the ancient Vanci or not, Karur came to be known by the 8th and 9th centuries as 'Vanci manakaramana Karur'. Therefore it may be assumed that when Calukyas,Pallavas,and other powers refer to the conquest of the Ceras or Keralas they invariably mean the acaeras of Karur, i.e., the Ceras of Kongudesa.

In post -Sangam age the Cera country often conqured and subdued by the Pallavas,Calukiyas and others. Meanwhile the influx of the Aryan Brahmins coming from the North seems to have silently brought about a transformation of the west caost, causing of its language and culture from the rest of Tamilakom through the establishment of their 32 colonies.The Calukyas were great patrons of the Brahmins and the Aryan culture, and their kings had issued several copper plate charters to Aryan settlers in all over their territory. The Calukya epigraphical record of the 7th and 8th centuries mention the conquest and subjugation of Kerala and the transformation of Keralas into vassalage. There is no clear picture of the political history and administration in the Cera kingdom Kongu during this period when they were subordinate to the Calukyas. The earlier Sangam works and inscriptions would suggest that at least during the close of the Sangam age some members of the Cera royal family lived in the capital Karur while others ruled in Thondi and Muciri. This same system could have continued in the post-Sangam period from the 4th century onwards, and when Calukyas and Pallavas and later on the Pandyas became the over lords they must have exercised this right to send governers to this part of Kerala. Perhaps this is what the traditional Brahmin chronicle of Keralolpati describes as the system of Brahmins assembling at Tirukkariyur (Karur) and bringing Perumals from other countries or Psndidesa.

The governers from outside must have been appointed by the Ceras of Karur in Kongu or by their overlords-Calukyas,Pallavas,and the Pandyas. However, the exact point in time when the governors were discontinued and the new kingdom was established at Mahodayapuram cannot be ascertained with the help of sources available at present. It is possible that a political revolution supported by the new powerfull Aryan Brahmin oligarchy enabled some governor belonging to the Cera dynasty to become the founder of a new kingdom with its capital at Mahodayapuram,near the site of ancient Muciriof the Sangam age. The Brahmins of the Aryan settlements had become established and prosperous by the 18th century.They could very well have had a share in promoting the foundation of this kingdom at some time in the beginning of the 9th century.Their traditional chronicle, Keralolpathi gives an account of such a development.

Ceraman Perumal who became the founder of the of the new kingdom is described in Kolpathi as a contemporary of Vasubhatta, who is described elsewhere in the same work as the courtier of Kulasekhara and disciple of MahabharataBatta.The latter must have been the same as the famous Yamaka poet Vasubhatta, the auther of Tripuradahana, Saurikatha, Yudhishtiravijaya, and disciple of Bharathaguru,who has been identified as the contemporary of Rama Kulasekhara and Sthanu Ravi Kulasekhara. On the basis of this Ceraman Perumal-Vasu Bhatta -Kulasekhara synchronism, Rama Rajasekhara the immediate predecessor of Sthanu Ravi Kulasekhara may be taken to be the first Ceraman Perumal who is described as the founder of the dynasty in the traditional chronicle.

The list of the rulers of Mahodayapuram

1, Rama Rajasekhara (C. 800-844 )
2, Sthanu Ravi Kulasekhara ( C.844-883 )
3, Kota Ravi Vijayaraga (C.883-913)
5, Kota Kota Kerala Kesri ( C. 913-943)
6, Indu Kota (C.943-962 )
7, Bhaskara Ravi Manukuladitya ( C.962-1021 )
8, Ravi Kota Rajasimha ( C.1021-1036 )
9,Rajaraja, Ravi Rma Rjaditya, Adityan Kota Ranaditya ( C.1036-1089) and
10, Rama Kulasekhara( 1089-1122).

The rulers of Mahodayapuram was generally known history as the Perumals of Kerala. The capital of the kingdom was Mahodayapuram or Muyirikkode which is identified as the present day Kodungallur. The kingdom is a combination of several natus or districts administered by 'Utayavers', or governors who appointed by the Perumals. The kingdom is divided into several nadus of which Nedumpuraiyur natu is an important one.

Nedumpuraiyur Natu.

The name itself implies that the district had its headquarters at Nedumpuraiyur natu where the temple of Nedumpuraiyur Thali yielded several Cera inscriptions. These inscriptions reveal the names of governers of the natu also. They were Manalmanrathu Yaakan Kota in seventeenth year of the Perumal Indu Kota (C.943-62), Kota Ravi in thertifirst year of Bhaskara Ravi (962-1021), Panritturuthi Pozhan Kumaran in the thirtifirst year of Bhaskara Ravi and Mangattu Kumaran Ravi in the eleventh year of the same king. The difference in the family name oroves that governors were not hereditary bt nominated. Moreover, the practice of putting more than natu under the same governor is revealed by the fact that Panrithuruthi Pozhan Kumaran was simultaneously governor of Nedumpuraiyur natu and Kalkarainatu also.

It may be noticed further that of the four families which supplied governors to this district Manalmanrathu,Panrithuruthi,Mangattu, and Thalaippulathu- the first two provided governors to other district also. Thus Manalmanrathu Yakkan Cirikantan was governor of Nanruzhaintu in the reign of Ravi Rama and Panrithuruthi Ykkan Kunrappozhan was governor of Kalkarainatu in the reign of Indu Kota. This would establish the fact that nominated governors of the districts were drawn from a few aristocratic families.

The members of the Manalmanrathu family were nairs in caste. Therefore it may be inferred that they belonged to the warrior classand were rewarded for distinguished military service. Two officers named Nedumpuraiyur natu Patainair {military commander of Nedumpuraiyur natu ) -Kanjirappalli Ravi Kunnapiran and Cerupullur Kumaran Kumaradityan -are seemed to be regulating temple affairs on behalf of the governors at Netumpuraiyur Tali temple.



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