On Dec 25th, we were blessed to pay our respects to probably one of the greatest emperors of all times – Raja Raja Chola or as he is fondly called Ponniyin Selvan (Cauvery’s beloved son). Ponniyin Selvan’s samadhi is in a nondescript village called Udayalur near Kumbakonam.
We are in Trichy and we went to Kumbakonam to visit some of the temples and Raja Raja Chola’s samadhi. Our taxi driver was quite amused with our request as no other tourist has ever asked to visit this place.
The Chola dynasty ruled for nearly 1400 years, the longest ruling dynasty anywhere in the world. Not just that, they built some of the most amazing temples, had a naval fleet that was 3000 vessels strong and were just rulers, not barbarians. The Brihadeeswara temple at Tanjore, built by Raja Raja Chola has the statue of the main sculptor of the temple and 600 names of all those who worked to build the temple.
In contrast, Shah Jahan cut off the hands of those who built the Taj Mahal and the Britishers cut off the thumbs of Muslin weavers 😔.
The pandit told us that Raja Raja Chola is buried underneath the platform and the Shiva Linga on top is worshipped everyday. Ponniyin Selvan was a Shaivite and built several temples for Bhagwan Shiva.
It’s sad to see one of the greatest emperors of all times to lie in this asbestos roofed shed :(:(. India has never been the culture that forgets its heroes but we seem to have changed in the 200 years of colonial rule.
From being the richest country in the world to being partitioned and looted blind and reduced to one of the poorest countries has not been a happy story. That we are resilient and back on our way to being a prosperous nation is the silver lining. I just hope we bring back all that was good in our culture and get back that pride in our history and civilisation.
A request to PM Modi to build a monument befitting Raja Raja Chola in this place. Wouldn’t want this great man to be forgotten ever.
Do read – Book Review – Ponniyin Selvan #1 and all the subsequent book reviews by me. Kalki Krishnamurthy deserves a Padma Vibhushan for writing the Chola history as a historical fiction so that everyone could enjoy reading about them.
p.s Haven’t watched Mani Ratnam’s movie yet. Will watch it and post a review.