A sleepy town today served as the political capital of the mighty Chola kings before Tanjore was planned and built. A town that was the venue for many important political decisions lost its glory after the downfall of the Chola monarch. But what is still left there is a wonderful temple that the Cholas built for Siva with detailed sculptures ornamenting the complex. Pazhaiyarai Someswarar Temple or Pazhaiyarai Vadathali is a Hindu temple dedicated to Someswarar, a form of Shiva. It is located 6 km away from Kumbakonam. The temple is believed to be built during the Chola period and has several inscriptions dating back to the 8-9th century. The presiding deity, Someswarar is revered in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the nayanars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. The temple has a gopuram (gateway tower) in the dilapidated state. The gopuram is believed to have been constructed during the later part of a 12th-13th century by Later Cholas. The scene of Ravana lifting Mount Kailash is carved in this temple. There is a sculpture of Narasimha, an avatar of Vishnu, believed to be made during the Chola period. The first of the two shows the fight between the eight-handed Narasimha and Hiranyakashipu. The other panel depicts the earlier scene where Prahlada prays and Narasimha emerges from a pillar. The other panel shows Narasimha tearing the insides of the demon thrown in his legs.

Pazhayarai Vadathali




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