History Updates

History Updates

Friday, 19 January 2018

Thillai Nataraja Temple - Chidambaram

Architecture of Thillai Nataraja Temple - Chidambaram

Chidambaram Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the heart of the Chidambaram,Tamil Nadu.The temple is located at 78 km south of Pondicherry and 235 Km from Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. The Sangam classics refer to Viduvelvidugu Perumtaccan, respected clan of traditional Vishwakarmas, as being the chief architect of the temple renovation. There have been several renovations in its history, particularly during the days of Pallava/Chola emperors in ancient and pre-medieval periods.
Chidambaram is one of the five holiest Shiva temples, each representing one of the five natural elements; Chidambaram represents akasha (aether). The other four temples in this category are: Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara,Trichy (water), Kanchi Ekambareswara (earth)Kanchipuram, Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara (fire),Thiruvanna malai and Kalahasti Nathar (wind),Kalahasti.


Chidambaram is one of the five holiest Shiva temples, each representing one of the five natural elements; Chidambaram represents akasha (aether). The other four temples in this category are: Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara,Trichy (water), Kanchi Ekambareswara (earth)Kanchipuram, Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara (fire),Thiruvanna malai and Kalahasti Nathar (wind),Kalahasti.



ARCHITECTURE

The Gopurams

The temple has 9 gateways and four of these have towering pagodas or gopurams each with 7 levels in the East, South, West and North. The eastern pagoda has all the 108 postures (karnams) of the Indian dance form – Bharathanatyam sculpted on it.

The Five Sabhais
The Gopurams of Chidambaram temple

There are 5 sabhas or diases or halls:

The Chit sabhai, which is the sanctum sanctorum housing Lord Nataraja, his consort Goddess Shivagamasundari.

The Kanaka sabhai – in front of the Chitsabhai, from which the daily rituals are conducted.

The Nrithya sabhai or Natya sabhai, to the south of the temple's flag mast (or kodi maram or dwaja sthambam) where the Lord is said to have danced with Goddess Kali – an embodiment energy and established his supremacy.

The Raja sabhai or the 1000-pillared hall which symbolizes the yogic chakra of thousand pillared lotus or Sahasraram (which in yoga is a 'chakra' at the crown of the head and is a seat where the soul unites with God. This chakra is represented as a 1000-petalled lotus. Meditating by concentrating at the Sahasrara Chakra is said to lead to a state of union with the Divine force and is the pinnacle of yogic practice).

The Deva sabhai, which houses the Pancha moorthis (pancha - five, moorthis - deities, namely the deities of Lord Ganesh - the remover of hurdles, Lord Somaskanda, a form where the Lord is in a seated posture with his grace and consort, the Lord's consort Sivananda nayaki, the Lord Muruga and the deity of Chandikeswarar - the principal and chief of the devotees of the Lord).

Other shrines

Apart from the five sabhais are:

The shrines for the original Shivalingam worshipped by Saints Patanjali and Vyagrapathar – called the Thirumoolattaneswarar and his consort Umaiyammai (உமையம்மை) or Umaiya Parvathi.

The shrines for the 63 prime devotees of Lord Siva – or the Arubathu moovar.

The shrines for Sivagami – an embodiment of knowledge or Gyanasakthi.

For Lord Ganesha – in his manifestation of one who removes hurdles.

For Lord Muruga or Pandiya nayakan – in his manifestation of one who holds the three forms of energy – Itchai or "desire" represented by his consort Valli, Kriya or "action" represented by his consort Deivayanai and Gnana or "Knowledge" represented by the spear he carries to destroy ignorance. There are also several smaller shrines in the temple complex.


Water bodies in and around the temple

Moorthi (Idol), Sthalam (Place) and Theertham (Waterbodies) signify the holiness of a temple. The Chidambaram temple is well endowed with several water bodies within and around it.
Moorthi (Idol), Sthalam (Place) and Theertham (Waterbodies) signify the holiness of a temple. The Chidambaram temple is well endowed with several water bodies within and around it.


The temple complex on 40 acres (160,000 m2) houses the temple tank – called the Sivaganga. This large tank is in the third corridor of the temple opposite to the shrine for Goddess Sivagami.

The Paramanandha koobham is the well on the eastern side of the Chitsabhai from which water is drawn for performing pooja in the temple.

The Kuyya theertham is situated to the north-east of Chidambaram near Killai near the Bay of Bengal and has the shore called Pasamaruthanthurai.

The Pulimadu is situated around a kilometer and a half to the south of Chidambaram.

The Vyagrapatha theertham is situated on to the west of the Chidambaram temple opposite to the temple of Lord Ilamai akkinaar.

The Anantha theertham is to the west of Chidambaram temple in front of the Anantheswarar temple.

The Nagaseri is the tank to the west of the Anantha theertham.

The Brahma theertham is to the north-west of the Chidambaram temple at Thirukalaanjeri.

The Siva piriyai is a tank to the north of the Chidambaram temple and opposite to the Brahma chamundeswari temple (aka the Thillai Kali temple).

Thiruparkadal is the tank to the south-east of the Siva piriyai.


 Govindaraja Shrine
The Chidambaram temple complex houses a shrine for the Lord Govindaraja Perumal and his consort Pundareegavalli Thaayar. This shrine is claimed to be the Thillai Thiruchitrakootam and is one of the 108 divyadesas – or the key shrines of Vishnu,

The Chidambaram temple complex houses a shrine for the Lord Govindaraja Perumal and his consort Pundareegavalli Thaayar. This shrine is claimed to be the Thillai Thiruchitrakootam and is one of the 108 divyadesas – or the key shrines of Vishnu, which have been sanctified (mangala saasanam) by hymns (the Naalayira divya prabantham) sung by the chief devotees of Lord Vishnu (called the Aalwars) . Tillai Chitrakootam (but not the Givindaraja Temple in its current form) has been sung by Kulasekara Alwar and Tirumangai Mannan Alwar. Both Alwars have recorded that the Chidambaram Brahmins(Dikshitars)were ones who were doing vedic and proper (in Tamil" muraiyaha")poojas for the Lord in Chitrakootam.There are controversies however, since many feel that the chitrakootam originally referenced to by alwars could have been the one at UP where Rama spent time in ashrams of sages like viswamitra and atri. This is because the currently available versions of works of alwars were copied and re-written centuries after the time of alwars sometime during late medieval ages. Many hymns written by alwars are missing and many changes incorporated in them. This apart some sources hold the founding of thillai chitrakootam to 1400 or probably 1600.C.E only.

Significance of the temple design

The layout and architecture of the temple is replete with philosophical meanings. The 9 gateways signify the 9 orifices in the human body.

The Chitsabai or Ponnambalam, the sanctum sanctorum represents the heart which is reached by a flight of 5 stairs called the Panchaatchara padi - pancha meaning 5, achhara – indestructible syllables – "SI VA YA NA MA", from a raised anterior dias - the Kanakasabai. The access to the Sabhai is through the sides of the stage (and not from the front as in most temples).

The Ponnambalam or the Sanctum sanctorum is held by 28 pillars – representing the 28 agamas or set methodologies for the worship of Lord Shiva.

The roof is held by a set of 64 beams representing the 64 forms of art and is held by several cross-beams representing the innumerable blood vessels.

The roof has been laid by 21600 golden tiles with the word SIVAYANAMA inscribed on them representing 21600 breaths.

The golden tiles are fixed using 72000 golden nails which represents the number of nadis exists in human body.

The roof is topped by a set of 9 sacred pots or kalasas, representing the 9 forms of energy. (refer Umapathy Sivam’s Kunchitaangristhavam)

Temple car

The Chidambaram temple car is, perhaps, the most beautiful example of a temple car in all of Tamil Nadu. This car, on which Lord Nataraja descends twice a year, is drawn by several thousand devotees during the festivals.

Source : Chidambaramnataraja.org

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Second Battle of Panipat and Death of Hemu

Second Battle of Panipat and Death of Hemu
The Second Battle of Panipat was fought between the forces led by Hemu (the general and chief minister of Adil Shah Suri) and the forces of the of the Mughal emperor, Akbar. The battle was fought on November 5, 1556.

Background

After the death of Babur(founder of Mughal empire), Humayun succeeded the throne of Delhi. However after the Battle of Kanauj  (17 May 1540) Sher Khan(Sher shah Suri) became the master of Agra and Delhi. Mughal Empire was put to an end for a while and Humayun lived in exile for next 15 years because of this Short Sur Dynasty founded by Sher Shah Suri.


Later Islam Shah Suri ascended the throne of Sur dynasty after the death of Sher Shah in 1545 at Kalinjar. Islam Shah Suri was a capable ruler, but died in 1554.  With these two deaths the Sur Empire was caught up in a succession battle. Humayun used this perfect opportunity for the Mughals to march back to India and regain the lost power in 1540. Humayun with Bairam Khan (commander-in-chief of the Mughal army) fought the Battle of Srihind againt Sikandar Shah Suri in 1555 and became victorious. The Mughal Empire was finally regained control over Delhi and Agra after 15 years.
Islam Shah was succeeded by his 12-year-old son, Firoz shah suri. But after a short period Adil Shah Suri maternal uncle of Firoz shah murdered him and ascended the throne of sur Empire. He appointed Hemu (general of the Suri forces) as his Chief Minister. Most of the affairs of the state were left to Hemu as Adil Shah Suri was interested in luxury and pleasure.
Later Humayun died on 27 January 1556 and succeeded by Akbar. Bairam Khan was appointed regent over the young king Akbar. Tardi Beg Khan was the governor of Delhi when Humayun died.

Humayun's death provided a great opportunity for Sur dynasty to defeat Mughals and regain the lost territories. Hearing about the death of Mughal leader, Hemu made a quick march and conquered  Sambhal, Bayana, Kalpi, Narnaul and Etawah. Hemu continued to Agra and by hearing about the invasion, the governor of Agra fled away without a fight. And later Hemu reached Tughlaqabad, where he ran into the forces of the Tardi Beg Khan (Mughal governor of Delhi), and defeated them in the Battle of Tughlaqabad. Then Hemu took possession of Delhi after the battle and claimed royal status, assuming the assuming the title of Raja Vikramaditya (Samrat Hemachandra Vikramaditya).



Battle

With the news of Tughlaqabad, Akbar and Bairam khan started to Delhi. On November 5 1556 Mughal army met Hemu’s forces on the battle field of Panipat.
Earlier, before the battle Hemu lost his artillery to the Mughals, still his forces are large in numerical to Mughal forces. Hemu himself led his forces into the battle field. While the mughal army was led by by Ali Quli Khan Shaibani in the centre with Sikandar Khan Uzbak in the right wing and Abdulla Khan Uzbak in the left wing. Akbar and Bairam Khan stayed in the rear.

Finally On November 5 1556 Mughal army met Hemu’s forces on the battle field of Panipat. With his 30,000 Rajput and Afghan cavalry and 1500 war elephants, Hemu started war on Mughals.
Hemu’s forces held the upper hand on Mughals and pointed towards winning the battle. But all of a sudden an arrow was hit in the eye of Hemu and he fell unconscious on his elephant (Hawai). This turned the fate of battle into the hands of Mughals. Seeing their commander falling, Hemu's army panicked and Mughals stood victorious in the battle.

Death of Hemu:

An arrow was hit in the eye of Hemu in the battle and he fell unconscious on his elephant (Hawai). The elephant carrying the wounded Hemu was captured by Shah Quli Khan and brought to the Mughal camp at Shodapur on Jind Road at Panipat. 



According to Badayuni(a historian and translator living in the Mughal Empire),
Bairam Khan (Regent at the court of the Mughal emperor) requested Akbar (13 year old) to behead Hemu so that he could earn the title of Ghazi (Warrior of the Faith). But Akbar refused to use his sword to a defeated and dying Hemu. After Akbar's refusal Hemu's body was denied honour by the Mughal battle tradition and was unceremoniously beheaded by Bairam Khan. Later Hemu’s head was sent to Kabul and his body was hung at Purana Khila.
Later Hemu's Smadhi Sthal, a memorial to the king Hemu was constructed at Shodapur village on Jind road near Panipat where he was executed.

Battle of Talikota (Rakkasa-Tangadi) - Destruction of Hampi (1565)

Battle of Talikota (Rakkasa-Tangadi) - Destruction of Hampi (1565)
The Battle of Talikota was fought by the Vijayanagara force lead by Aliya Rama Raya against the invading forces of the united Sultanates to the north of Vijayanagara (i.e. consisting of Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Golkonda, Berar and Bidar Husain Nizam Shah, Ali Adil Shah and Ibrahim Qutb Shah). The battle took place on 23 January 1565 at Talikota (In Present Karnataka State).
Some scholars say the armies fought near Rakkasagi and Tangadigi villages. Hence the battle is also referred as the Battle of Rakkasa-Tangadi. Some other scholars believe that battle was fought at Krishna-Bannihatti. Hence it is also known as the battle of Bannihatti.



Background:

After the death of Achyuta Deva Raya in 1542, Venkata Raya asseended the throne. Later Venkata Raya was killed in 6 months and Sadashiva Raya (minor nephew of Achyuta Raya) ascended the Vijayanagara Throne. Rama Raya appointed himself regent and controlled Sadashiva Raya.
Rama Raya acted as actual ruler confining Sadashiva Raya. He replaced the loyal servants of the kingdom with officers who were loyal to him. Later Rama Raya appointed the Gilani brothers (two Muslim commanders) as commanders in his army, a mistake that ruined the empire. These Gilani brothers were earlier in the service of the Sultan Adil Shah.

Cause:

During this time, the Muslim kingdoms (Deccan Sultanates) were suffering from internal disputes.
Seeing this disputes as an advantage Rama Raya interfered in the internal fights of the Deccan Sultanates (Shahi’s). He tried to follow the divide and rule policy between the Muslim Kingdoms and crush them. But soon Shahi’s realized the plan of Rama Raya and united to form a huge Shahi forces (consisting of Husain Nizam Shah, Ali Adil Shah and Ibrahim Qutb Shah) against Rama Raya through various matrimonial and other alliances.


The main cause for the battle was Rama Raya’s refusal of returning the Raichur to Ali Adil Shah, which invited both the forces to the battle of Talikota.

Battle

The united Deccan Shahi Sultans attacked Vijayanagara forces led by Rama Raya on 23 Jan 1565 in the battle of Talikota.
Rama Raya led the army very effectively and the Vijayanagara army was holding upper hand in the battle. All of a sudden the Gilani brothers, two Muslim commanders turned against Ram Raya and switched their side to united Shahi’s. Gilani Brothers captured Rama Raya and beheaded him on the battle field. This created a confusion in the Vijayanagara forces and finally resulted in the defeat of Vijayanagara Empire.

Destruction of Hampi

United Shahis followed by the victory in battle entered the Vijayanagara Empire. They destructed and looted everything. Finally they plundered Hampi and reduced it into ruins.
Vijayanagara, once a city of fabled splendour, the seat of a vast empire, became a desolate ruin, now known by the name of a sacred inner suburb within it, Hampi.



Robert Sewell, in his book The Forgotten Empire, concludes thus - "With fire and sword, with crowbars and axes, they carried on day after day their work of destruction. Never perhaps in the history of the world has such havoc been wrought, and wrought so suddenly, on so splendid a city; teeming with a wealthy and industrious population in the full plenitude of prosperity one day, and on the next seized, pillaged, and reduced to ruins, amid scenes of savage massacre and horrors beggaring description."

After the battle

Tirumala Deva Raya brother of Rama Raya fled from the battle to Vijayanagar. Tirumala then moved to Penukonda along with the minor prince Sadasiva Raya, and some members of the Royal Family,and with whatever treasures he could find in the capital just before it was sacked and destroyed. He later restarted the empire from Penukonda. Thus was the Aravidu dynasty was born. His reign was marked by revolts of the Gingee Nayakas and Madurai. He later renounced the throne, dividing it among his three sons, Sriranga( Penukonda), Rama( Sri Rangapatna) and Venkata( Chandragiri).

Source : Wikipedia

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Battle of Tughlaqabad (Battle of Delhi - 1556)


The Battle of Delhi also known as the Battle of Tughlaqabad was fought between the forces led by Hemu (the general and chief minister of Adil Shah Suri) and the forces of the Mughal led by Tardi Beg Khan. The battle was fought on 7 October 1556 at Tughlaqabad near Delhi.

Background

After the death of Babur(founder of Mughal empire), Humayun succeeded the throne of Delhi. However after the Battle of Kanauj  (17 May 1540) Sher Khan(Sher shah Suri) became the master of Agra and Delhi. Mughal Empire was put to an end for a while and Humayun lived in exile for next 15 years because of this Short Sur Dynasty founded by Sher Shah Suri.



Later Islam Shah Suri ascended the throne of Sur dynasty after the death of Sher Shah in 1545 at Kalinjar. Islam Shah Suri was a capable ruler, but died in 1554.  With these two deaths the Sur Empire was caught up in a succession battle. Humayun used this perfect opportunity for the Mughals to march back to India and regain the lost power in 1540. Humayun with Bairam Khan (commander-in-chief of the Mughal army) fought the Battle of Srihind againt Sikandar Shah Suri in 1555 and became victorious. The Mughal Empire was finally regained control over Delhi and Agra after 15 years.

Islam Shah was succeeded by his 12-year-old son, Firoz shah suri. But after a short period Adil Shah Suri maternal uncle of Firoz shah murdered him and ascended the throne of sur Empire. He appointed Hemu (general of the Suri forces) as his Chief Minister. Most of the affairs of the state were left to Hemu as Adil Shah Suri was interested in luxury and pleasure.



Later Humayun died on 27 January 1556 and succeeded by Akbar. Bairam Khan was appointed regent over the young king Akbar. Tardi Beg Khan was the governor of Delhi when Humayun died. 

Humayun's death provided a great opportunity for Sur dynasty to defeat Mughals and regain the lost territories. Hearing about the death of Mughal leader, Hemu made a quick march and conquered  Sambhal, Bayana, Kalpi, Narnaul and Etawah. Hemu continued to Agra and by hearing about the invasion, the governor of Agra fled away without a fight. This news reached the Tardi Beg Khan and he wrote to his master Akbar in Jalandhar explaining the situation for reinforcements to defend Delhi. Bairam khan sent Pir Muhammad Sharwani (lieutenant) to Delhi. Finally Tardi Beg Khan made all the preparations to stand and fight Hemu.

Battle

After winning Agra, Hemu reached Tughlaqabad near Delhi where he faced Mughal forces. According to Abd-ul-Qadir Bada'uni (a historian and translator lived in the Mughal Empire), Hemu's forces were well equipped with 51 cannon, 500 falconets, 1000 elephants and 50,000 horses. Andthe Mughals were outnumbered.

According to Jadunath Sarkar (a prominent Indian Bengali aristocrat and historian), the Mughals were commanded by Tardi Beg in the centre with Haidar Muhammad and Iskandar Beg leading the right and the left wings. Abdullah Uzbeg commanded the vanguard.

The cavalry in the vanguard and left wing launched an attack to beat back the Afghan vanguard along with Hemu's right wing. In this assault Abdullah Uzbeg and Iskandar Beg captured 400 elephants and 3,000 of Hemu's men lay dead. Imagining that they won the battle, many of Tardi Beg's forces pursued the enemy camp to plunder the wealth, and Tardi Beg e was left in the field very thinly guarded.

Hemu, however, had held back 300 of his best elephants and cavalry unit in reserve. Seizing the opportunity, he made a sudden charge on thinly-guarded Tardi Beg with with his reserve. And this attack was also supported by the timely arrival of fresh reinforcements from Alwar under the command of Haji Khan.



Seeing the troop of war elephants and dense cavalry advancing upon them, many of the Mughal officers fled away in terror without waiting to offer a defense and Tardi Beg along with Pir Muhammad Sharwani fled away.
Later the previously victorious Mughal vanguard and left wing returned from their pursuit, and left without offering a fight realizing they lost the battle.
Thus Afghans won the battle.

After the battle

Hemu took possession of Delhi after the battle and claimed royal status, assuming the assuming the title of Raja Vikramaditya (Samrat Hemachandra Vikramaditya). Following his failure, Tardi Beg was murdered by Akbar's regent, Bairam Khan. After 1 month Hemu would fought again with Mughals in second battle of Panipat.

Story of Ratha (The Indian Chariot)


Ratha, or the chariot is considered to be the best mode of transport in ancient India, especially during wars. It symbolizes energy and the zeal to move forward. But do we know everything about what is a Ratha ?

We only have a faint imagination of seeing Arjuna or Duryodhana fighting the Mahabharata war on Rathas in the B.R Chopra Mahabharata serial.  Although the chariots used in those serials were made up of low quality wood, the actual Rathas were quite powerful and could carry heavy loads.

The development of Ratha can be imagined. First man used to walk and travel. Later on, he started to ride the back of animals which was quite tedious but faster than walking. But some brilliant mind got the idea of a wheel and thus constructed a chariot moving on wheel which would be pulled by muscle power of animals while man can comfortably sit in the chariot.


Thus began the science of building a Ratha. Further developments took place.
  • The material which was used to build a Ratha was light.
  • The number of wheels, animals attached were varied.
  • The concept of Sarathi who drives the Ratha was consequently developed.
  • The concept of building a Ratha has not been properly described in scriptures, but we have scattered references mostly from Rigveda to describe the Ratha.
  • The Ratha is said to be constructed of wood. The specific trees used were Khadir ( Khair in today's terms which is also used in Hom-Havan) and Shimshapa ( or Sheesham in today's terms). This information is given in RV ( 3.53.17-19)
  • The wheels used to have spokes for higher speeds and for being light in weight.
  • Different animals were used to pull the Ratha. Horses were most preferred during wars. But apart from horses, bulls, mules and wild ass was also used. RV (6.75.7) clearly tells that horses pull a Ratha faster than a bull. RV (3.53.17) tells us that bulls were indeed used to pull chariots. Use of wild ass in the Ratha of Ashwini Kumars is stated in RV (1.116.2)
  • Almost every God had a Ratha. Hymns from Rigveda talk of Rathas of Indra, Agni, Ashwini Kumars, Usha,etc. Almost every king at war had a Ratha.
  • Mahabharata and Ramayana wars have ample references to kings fighting on Rathas. Why others ? Our very own Krishna spoke the verses of Bhagvad Geeta on a chariot.
  • We have an extra special hymn in Rigveda. It is 6.75. It is composed by Payu Bharadvaja. King Prastoka Sarnjaya had sought help from Payu to win a war. So Payu created this hymn in praise of all war-related things including bow, arrow, Sarathi, Ratha, different parts of Ratha,etc. It contains information about different parts of Ratha.
Apart from this, horses having 34 ribs were used in wars and to draw Rathas.
Now, a Ratha should have specific dimensions to bring the best out of it. For that, we have different Shulba Sutras which describe how a Ratha should be constructed.

It is said that the Ratha of king Priyavrata, the son of Swayambhuva Manu, was so powerful, that it created seven big ditches in Earth ,when he was circumambulating the Meru mountain, which became the seven seas. The land that got separated from the seas is the seven continents or Sapta Mahadweep.
The Ratha had become such an integral part of people's life, that it seeped into Sanskrit language.
The most ace warrior was thus called " Maha-Rathi". 
The unit for measuring distance "Rathanya" came from Ratha travelling a decided distance.
The names of kings ended with Ratha. For eg- Dasharatha, Ashtiratha, Bhagiratha,etc.

The Ratha also inspired construction of temples. The best example is of Konark temple in Udisha. The Ratha had become such an integral part of people's life, that it seeped into Sanskrit language.
The most ace warrior was thus called " Maha-Rathi". 
The unit for measuring distance "Rathanya" came from Ratha travelling a decided distance.
The names of kings ended with Ratha. For eg- Dasharatha, Ashtiratha, Bhagiratha,etc.



The Ratha also inspired construction of temples. The best example is of Konark temple in Udisha. 
Now another question- Were Rathas being used only in wars ? Was there any other use ?
Let's look at the different types of Rathas- 
  • Sangramik Ratha- For wars.
  • Deva Ratha- For Gods.
  • Karni Ratha- Special Ratha for women, particularly queens.
  • Vainayik Ratha- For giving training of driving a Ratha.
  • Pushya Ratha- For processions of kings.
  • Kreeda Ratha- For competitions and races.
To add, the Kreeda Ratha was used extensively. Chariot racing is a famous game, even today. 
Even rituals needed Rathas. A Vajpeya Yagya needs a special Ratha "constructed from wood and having wheels with 17 spokes. ".

Rathas are used even today. The processions of different Gods are conducted on Rathas and are called Rathotsav. The most famous is the Ratha Yatra of Jagannath Puri. 

Off lately, there has been a lot of farce created due to the false Aryan Invasion Theory over excavation of Rathas in different parts of world. Wherever the Rathas are explored, countries go in a frenzy claiming that theirs is the original homeland of the so-called "Aryans". Varying Rathas made of wood, heavy, non-spoked have been found which date back to 3000 BC in Europe. Similar excavations have been made in the Mesopotamian and Hittite- Mittani civilizations in central Asia. In India, a toy in the form of a Ratha has been found in Daimabad, Maharashtra which dates to 2200 BC.



What ever may be the archaeological excavations, one thing is for sure, Rathas had a very dear place in the hearts of our ancestors, just like horses. !!!

Friday, 20 October 2017

Kulothunga Chola III - Sarabeswara Temple - Battle Of Nettur

Kulothunga Chola III - Sarabeswara Temple - Battle Of Nettur
Kulothunga Chola III was the last recognised mighty Chola monarch who delayed the process of collapse of dynasty for about a generation. He ruled the great Chola empire which was once ruled by greatest ever rulers of Indian subcontinent like Karikala Chola, Vijayalaya Chola I, Aditya Chola I, Rajaraja Chola I, Rajadhiraja Chola I, Rajendra Chola I, Rajendra Chola II, Kulothunga Chola etc.

Kulothunga Chola III succeeded Rajadhiraja Chola II and ruled between 1178-1218 A.D. His chief queen was Bhuvanamuludaiyal. In his reign he waged wars on Pandyas, Hoysalas, Sinhalas of Ceylon, Chodas of Velanadu etc. Before him, the influence of central administration of Cholas on outlying parts was decreasing rapidly. After his coronation as king of Chola empire, he brought order to the internal administration and strengthened it.



Conquests and Battle of Nettur :

In his reign, Kulothunga Chola III fought in 3 wars with Pandyas (1182 A.D.,1188 A.D. and 1205 A.D.). During early time of his rule, there was a civil war going on in Pandyan country. Two pandyan princes were fighting for the crown. During Rajadhiraja Chola II's reign Vira Pandya somehow managed to capture the Pandyan throne. Vikrama pandya was eager to wage a war on Vira Pandya and capture the throne. The Sinhala king Parakramabahu joined hands with Vira Pandya and supported him as the king of Pandyan empire. Vikrama Pandya sought the help of Kulothunga Chola III in defeating Vira Pandya to become the king of Pandyan empire.

This led to invasion of Pandyan empire by Kulothunga Chola III. The Cholas and Vikrama Pandya on one side and Vira Pandya and Sinhala forces on other. The Cholas very easily defeated combined forces of Pandyas and Sinhalas. Vira Pandya was driven in to exile and Vikrama Pandya was made the king of Pandyan empire by Kulothunga Chola III. This was the first war with Pandyas for Kulothunga III which took place in 1182 A.D.

Vira Pandya was waiting in exile for revenge and for the Pandyan crown. He secretly built a vast army aided by his allies from Ceylon. In the year 1188-89 A.D., Vira Pandya invaded the Pandyan kingdom and tried to reclaim his throne. But his attempt was stopped by Kulothunga Chola III on the battlefield of Nettur. Vira Pandya tried very hard to defeat Kulothunga Chola III but due to increased strength of Chola army. This war which took place in 1188 A.D. between Cholas and Vira Pandya is referred as Battle Of Nettur.

After Vikrama Pandya, Jatavarman Kulasekhara Pandya became king of Pandyan kingdom in 1190 A.D. He rebelled against the Kulothunga Chola III's involvement in internal affairs of his kingdom. In 1205, Kulothunga III attacked Pandyan country and defeated Kulasekhara Pandyan.


During Kulothunga III's reign, the king of Hoysala was Veera Ballala II. He was an ambitious king and tried to extend his boundaries beyond his limits i.e. Kaveri-Thungabadra basin. In 1186 A.D., Kulothunga Chola III noticed the growing power of Hoysala king Veera Ballala II. A war took place between Kulothunga III and Ballala II around 1187-88 A.D. in which Veera Ballala II was very badly defeated by Kulothunga III. After this war, there were friendly relations between Cholas and Hoyasalas.

Sarabeswara Temple :

Kulothunga Chola III was a great builder and among his many well known constructions, the construction of Sarabeswara or Kampahareswara temple at Tribhuvanam near Kumbakonam was prominent. It is considered as a great specimen of Dravidian architecture. The design of this temple resembles Brihadeeswara temple in Thanjavur. This temple consists of Ramayana reliefs on its walls.


He also renovated many temples whiich were constructed by his ancestors. He erected a Mukha-mandapa of Sabhapati, the gopura of goddess Girindraja (Sivakami) and the verandah around the enlosure in the Siva temple of Chidambaram. He also renovated Shiva temples at Tiruvidaimarudur, Thiruvarur, Ekambareswarar temple at Kanchipuram, Halahalasya temple at Madurai etc.


Defeat in the hands of Pandyas :

During the last phase of his reign, Kulothunga Chola III had to face a defeat in the hands of Pandyan king Maravarman Sundara Pandya. Due to aging and lack of support from his feudatories, Kulothunga Chola III lost to Pandyas around 1216 A.D. Kulothunga III and his son Rajaraja Chola III were driven in to exile. After this Kulothunga III was succeeded by Rajaraja Chola III. By that time due to rising Pandyan power, the Chola empire was much reduced in size as well as influence.



Sunday, 1 October 2017

Rajadhiraja Chola II

He ruled Chola country which was once ruled by great kings like Karikala Chola, Aditya Chola, Parantaka Chola, Rajaraja Chola I, Rajadhiraja Chola I, Rajendra Chola I etc.
Rajadhiraja Chola II was one of the Chola kings who ruled during its downfall and one of the several kings who were responsible for the downfall of the great Chola empire. He ruled Chola country which was once ruled by great kings like Karikala Chola, Aditya Chola, Parantaka Chola, Rajaraja Chola I, Rajadhiraja Chola I, Rajendra Chola I etc.

Rajadhiraja Chola II succeeded Rajaraja Chola II around 1166 A.D. He ruled between 1166-1178 A.D. The major issue happened during his time which led to weakening of Chola empire was Pandyan succession dispute in which Chola intervened under Rajadhiraja Chola II. He was not the direct descendant of Rajaraja Chola II as he was the son of Rajaraja Chola II's sister. Rajaraja II chose him as his successor as he did not have son of his own.


As we know that the great Kulothunga Chola I of Chola dynasty invaded and captured whole Pandya empire. After that Kulothunga appointed Pandyan princes as Viceroys who work under Chola government. After that Cholas slowly started losing control over Pandyan territory as some of the Pandyan princes started revolting against Cholas. During Rajadhiraja Chola II's reign, they lost control completely over Pandyas. Around 1166 A.D., a dispute of succession arose between Parakrama Pandya of Madurai and Kulasekara. Kulasekara attacked Madurai with a heavy military force. Parakrama Pandya asked help of Parakramabahu I, king of Lanka. Before the help could reach, Kulasekara very brutally killed Parakrama Pandya, his wife and some of his sons. Parakramabahu I decided to kill Kulasekara and install Virapandya (son of parakrama Pandya) as the new king of Pandya empire. A fierce war broke out between Lankan forces and Kulasekara. Kulasekara requested the help of Rajadhiraja Chola II and a large Chola force was sent to his aid. The Chola help was of no use as Kulasekara lost the battle and Lankan king installed Virapandya on the Pandyan throne. Rajadhiraja II felt insulted and he continued to fight Lankan forces. Very soon, the Chola force won the battle and drove back Lankan force to their Island. Now Cholas made Kulasekara as king of Pandyan country.


Now the Lankan king wanted to take revenge on Cholas and planned to invade Chola country. The Cholas came to know this and they landed a attack on Sri Lanka. A large Chola force landed on Lankan Island and caused a huge damage there. Parakramabahu I recognised that his support to Parakrama Pandya gave him this result. So he thought that Kulasekara was the able king of Pandya empire and befriended Kulasekara. They both now planned to crush the Chola power and the Cholas didn't expected this alliance. Now the Cholas waged a war against the combined forces of Lanka and Pandyan empires. The fierce Chola army defeated Kulasekara and installed Virapandya to the Chola throne.


A number of feudatories of Cholas started revolting and declared themselves independent. This weakened the Chola power gradually. Rajadhiraja II saw many revolts during his reign and took no effective measures to crush them. He was succeeded by Kulothunga Chola III around 1178 A.D.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Battle of Kanauj (17 May 1540)

The Battle of Kanauj was fought between Mughal Emperor Humayun and Sher Shah Suri (Sher Khan) of Sur Empire. The battle took place on 17 May 1540.
The Battle of Kanauj was fought between Mughal Emperor Humayun and Sher Shah Suri (Sher Khan) of Sur Empire. The battle took place on 17 May 1540.


Background

The Mughal forces led by Humayun were completely routed and put to flight by the forces of Sher Khan in The Battle of Chausa fought on June 26, 1539. Humayun just saved his life by throwing himself into the river Ganges and escaped from the battle field.
Humayun returned to Agra from his defeat at the Battle of Chausa and tried to seek help from his brothers to fight against Sher Khan. Hindal Mirza agreed to support his brother with his forces, but Kamran Mirza refused to place his forcesunder Humayun's command as he was more interested in taking power for himself.
Later, having no chance of taking power from Humayun, Kamran left to Lahore along with his forces.
However Humayan managed to gather a sufficient army to fight against Sher Khan.


Battle

Humayun along with his brothers Askari Mirza and Hindal Mirza marched to Kanauj to meet Sher Khan. And Battle of Kanauj was fought on 17 May 1540.
Humayun repeated the mistakes he made during the battle of Chausa. He made many tactical errors and his artillery did not play any major role in the battle. All this lead to the defeat of Mughal forces again in the hands of Sher Khan (Sher Shah Suri). With the fall of Mughal forces Humayun and his brothers again escaped from the battle field and retreated back to Agra.


After The Battle

Humayun and his brothers did not choose to stay in Agra since Sher Khan followed them. Sher Khan became the master of Agra and Delhi. Mughal Empire was put to an end for a while because of this Short Sur Dynasty founded by Sher Shah Suri. Humayun lived in exile for next 15 years.

Pallava Dynasty

Pallava Dynasty
After the decline of the Sangam Age in the Tamil country, the Kalabhra rule lasted for about 250 years. Thereafter, the Pallavas established their kingdom in Tondaimandalam with its capital at Kanchipuram. Their rule continued till Tondaimandalam was captured and annexed by the Imperial Cholas in the beginning of the tenth century A.D.

Origin of the Pallavas

There are many disputes regarding the origin of Pallavas. Their antecedents are unknown. Some historians maintain that their origin could be traced to the Pahlava (Parthians) of northwestern India. But it is more likely that their name is derived from the Sanskrit equivalent (Pallava means ‘leaves’,’foliage’) of the Tamil word “Tondai” which designates their original domain, tondaimandalam. On the other hand there is a legend that first pallava was a stranger who married a native Naga princess. The Nagas are symbols of fertility and indigenous power. Another view was that the Pallavas were a branch of the Brahmin royal dynasty of the Vakatakas of the Deccan. Even the language of Pallavas was not certain. Some inscriptions stone indicates that the court language of the Pallavas, which in Andhra was at first Prakrit, changed to Sanskrit. Later, in the Kanchi area, from around the sixth century, Tamil began to be used more often.


Political History

The Pallavas were the first South Indian dynasty which succeeded in extending the political control and administrating it effectively. The early Pallava rulers from 250 A.D. to 350 A.D. issued their charters in Prakrit. Sivaskandavarman and Vijayaskandavarman were significant among them. The second line of Pallava rulers who governed between 350 A.D. what's more, 550 A.D. issued their contracts in Sanskrit. The most vital ruler of this line was Vishnugopal who was vanquished by Samudragupta during his South Indian endeavor. The leaders of the third line who ruled from 575 A.D. to their definitive fall in the ninth century issued their charters both in Sanskrit and Tamil. Simhavishnu was the first ruler of this line. He demolished the Kalabhras and immovably settled the Pallava administer in Tondaimandalam. He also crushed the Cholas and stretched out the Pallava region up to the river Kaveri. Other incredible Pallava leaders of this line were Mahendravarman I, Narasimhavarman I, and Narasimhavarman II.

Administration

Pallavas maintained a well-organized administrative system. Pallava state was divided into Kottams. Again Kottam was administered by officers appointed by the king. The king was at the centre of administration in which he was assisted by able ministers. He was the fountain of justice. He maintained a well-trained army. He provided land-grants to the temples known as Devadhana and also to the Brahmans known as Brahmadeya. It was also the responsibility of the central government to provide irrigation facilities to the lands.

A number of irrigation tanks were dug by the Pallava kings. The irrigation tanks at Mahendravadi and Mamandoor were dug during the reign of Mahendravarman I. Detailed information on the tax system could also be traced from the Pallava inscriptions. Land tax was the primary source of the government revenue. The Brahmadeya and Devadhana lands were exempted from tax. Traders and artisans such as carpenters, goldsmiths, washer-men, oil-pressers and weavers paid taxes to the government. The Pallava inscriptions throw much light on the village assemblies called sabhas and their committees. They maintained records of all village lands, looked after local affairs and managed temples.


Literature

Kanchi was a great ancient centre of learning. The founder of the Kadamba dynasty, Mayurasarman studied Vedas at Kanchi. Dinganaga, a Buddhist writer came to study at Kanchi. Dharmapala, who later became the Head of the Nalanada University, belonged to Kanchi. Bharavi, the great Sanskrit scholar lived in the time of Simhavishnu. Dandin, another Sanskrit writer adorned the court of Narasimhavarman II. Mahendravaraman I composed the Sanskrit play Mattavilasaprahasanam. Tamil literature had also developed. The Nayanmars and Alwars composed religious hymns in Tamil. The Devaram composed by Nayanmars and the Nalayradivyaprabandam composed by Alwars represent the religious literature of the Pallava period. Perundevanar was patronized by Nandivarman II and he translated the Mahabharata as Bharathavenba in Tamil. Nandikkalambagam was another important work but the name of the author of this work is not known. Music and dance also developed during this period.

Art and Architecture

The rulers of Pallava Kingdom were not only great soldiers but also very great patrons of Art and Architecture. The monuments at Mamallapuram are among the oldest remaining ones in the South India. They are rock temples and sculptures created under the patronage of kings of the Pallava dynasty in the sixth to eighth centuries, A.D. king Mahendras cave temple at Mamandur is another fine work of Pallavas.  Mahendra’s legacy of cave-temples provides us with the earliest documented rock-cut architecture in the Tamil country. His inscriptions engraved on the stone walls of several of his cave-temples have survived and proclaim his authorship through the use of his royal name and titles.
The monuments at Mamallapuram are among the oldest remaining ones in the South India. They are rock temples and sculptures created under the patronage of kings of the Pallava dynasty in the sixth to eighth centuries, A.D. king Mahendras cave temple at Mamandur is another fine work of Pallavas.


Mahendra’s cave-temples are characterized by plain, massive, square-sectioned pillars with an octagonally chamfered middle portion. Generally speaking, the only sculptured figures in these cave-temples are door guardians, though the walls of these shrines must have been originally plastered and painted with figures illustrating religious themes. These paintings have eroded away over the centuries. Fortunately, in one of Mahendra’s last cave-temples, the one which is excavated near the top of the Rock-Fort Hill, Tiruchirapalli, there is a splendid carving in relief of Shiva-Gangadhara on the western wall of its porch. This masterpiece demonstrates the excellence of Pallava sculpture in Mahendra’s day.

Art and Architecture  of Pallava Kingdom
King Mahamalla created something unprecedented in the Tamil country when his artisans carved whole temples out of solid rock masses. The Five Rathas of Mamallapuram are the best examples of these monolithic shrines.
The Great Penance Panel at Mamallapuram is another unique creation of Mahamalla’s. This expansive open-air relief carving remains unparalleled in world art.

The King Narasimha-II devoted himself mainly to the building of structural temples, using stone blocks. The twin towers of the Shore Temple are his creation. Other important structural stone temples built by him are at Panamalai and Kanchi. His Kailasanatha Temple, Kanchi, is a vast treasure-house of Pallava art.
Art and Architecture  of Pallava Kingdom


Chronology

The following chronology was composed from the charters of Nilakanta Sastri in his A History of South India:

Early Pallavas

·        Simhavarman I (275–300)
·        Skandavarman (unknown)
·        Visnugopa (350–355)
·        Kumaravishnu I (350–370)
·        Skandavarman II (370–385)
·        Viravarman (385–400)
·        Skandavarman III (400–436)
·        Simhavarman II (436–460)
·        Skandavarman IV (460–480)
·        Nandivarman I (480–510)
·        Kumaravishnu II (510–530)
·        Buddhavarman (530–540)
·        Kumaravishnu III (540–550)
·        Simhavarman III (550–560)

Later Pallavas

·        Simhavishnu (575–600)
·        Mahendravarman I (600–630)
·        Narasimhavarman I (Mamalla) (630–668)
·        Mahendravarman II (668–672)
·        Paramesvaravarman I (670–695)
·        Narasimhavarman II (Raja Simha) (695–722)
·        Paramesvaravarman II (705–710)
·        Nandivarman II (Pallavamalla) (730–795)
·        Dantivarman (795–846)
·        Nandivarman III (846–869)
·        Aparajitavarman (879–897)



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