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Thripuranthaka in Malabar Kerala

Thripuranthaka in Malabar Kerala

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Published by Dr Suvarna Nalapat
Researchers have noticed installation of Thripuranthaka by Chalukya,Rashtrakuta,Pallava, and Cholas in various parts of India .In Kerala Thripuranthaka installations are very rare. Those which are present dates back to Parasurama's victory over Karthaveerya and Pandava victory over Kourava. The second bout is seen only when wars broke out between Zamorin and Cochin/Vallabhakkonaathiri .This feature is analysed from Historical perspective and anthropological practices of a people.
Researchers have noticed installation of Thripuranthaka by Chalukya,Rashtrakuta,Pallava, and Cholas in various parts of India .In Kerala Thripuranthaka installations are very rare. Those which are present dates back to Parasurama's victory over Karthaveerya and Pandava victory over Kourava. The second bout is seen only when wars broke out between Zamorin and Cochin/Vallabhakkonaathiri .This feature is analysed from Historical perspective and anthropological practices of a people.

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Published by: Dr Suvarna Nalapat on Jun 02, 2013
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Thripuranthaka temples in Malabar Kerala State:A historical enquiryCover Photo: Vizhinjam cave temple of Ay Vel
Dr Suvarna Nalapat
 
The history of a people is also the history of their subaltern anthropological history. In ancient India ,both in North and South, the practice of appointing a commander in chief (Senaapathi/Devasenapathi)was there.Usually this post goes to the yuvaraja, or the prince of the royal lineage.In Sangha Tamil thisperson is often reffered to as Irukkuvel (Velavan) who is the son of Siva, but the nephew of Mahavishnu.Thus the Yuvaraja (Ilam Ko) had an option to adopt either a Varma ( Kshathriya profession) or a Sharma( Brahmana/sacrifice all for learning ) and thus become a Ilamko Atikal. There will be several contestantsto the next post of King which is decided every 12 years (Maha makham festival) by the people andtheir great parliaments and advisors. Therefore, those who were posted as Irukkuvels in differentGrama/Nagara had to prove their military prowess. For this they were allowed to make advancesagainst nearby kings, but without disrupting the society life. During this army movements they wereallowed to install a Thripuranthaka idol in the direction in which they move .Only an Irukkuvel wasallowed to install Thripuranthaka.No other royal person had the right to do that. Because of this , theother relatives belonging to the Yadava,Mooshaka lineage do not install Thripuranthaka idols . Thisfactor is important since there is a common saying that the Valluvanaat Valluvakkonathiri Vallabha Rajadoes not attack nearby kings. Since the Valluvakkonathiri is a position of the overlordship and not thatof commander in chief , this saying is true. Pandya, western Gangeya,Nolambas,East Chalukyas of Venki,Yadava,Muttharaya (Amararya kula) , chera and early Chola ( till Paranthaka Chola) were onefamily belonging to same lineage and used to select their Emperor from among them and these peopledid not have the practice of installing Thripuranthaka. After Paranthaka Chola,Rashtrakuta kings startedto install Thripuranthakas everywhere claiming that they alone deserve ovarlordship of thecountry.Cholas won the wars with help of their great commanders , (their uncles-mother’s brother) whowere the great and famous Irukkuvels who sacrificed their property,position and life for the sake of theirsisters and the lineage of the sister. (Marumakkatthaayam).The famous leader among them was calledBhoothi Vikramakesari . (The Lion with prowess who worship the five elements or bhootha ).InThirupparmbiyam war with his help Cholas destroyed the race of the Pandya. Chola and their uncle racethe Chera became prominent .
 
The Irukkuvels of Kotumbaloor
had installed 4 Thripuranthaka .1.
 
Moovar Kovil complex (AD 880) In the southern shrine, on Greevakoshta facing East , on theright side, Thripuranthaka is seen fighting facing the south.Therefore in this idol , the fighting isfor defence and not aggressive. If the movement is to the left , then only the intention is toattack another king.2.
 
Thirukkattalai southern Bhadram. Face south3.
 
3 Kotumpaloor idol in Madras Museum. Bow and arrow are behind. Not in use. Right hand inChinmudra show Dakshinamurthi character. Therefore Guru in advisory role only.4.
 
Chathurbahu idol of Kodumbaoor in Puthukkotta museum .Bow ,arrow ,sword and shield inhands.Two wheels on the Peetha of idol showing the vehicle is a chariot which can move in anydirection.Thripuranthakamurthi is thus , either a Guru with advisory capacity , but not taking arms ; or adefending person who has no intention of killing ; and the last one with aggressive anddestructive aims. When a Thripuranthaka idol is installed , it indicates that a major militarymovement had occurred to that particular region, in that particular direction, and thus the idol
 
is a symbol of a war/military defence.Historians point out that south of river Narmada, in SouthIndia and Deccaan the idol of Thripuranthaka is more. Among them , majority are south of Kaveri River. 98 Thripuranthaka idols in 43 temple complexes had been reported by Historians inthese areas .According to the Mayamatha (A Book on Indian Iconography) Thripuranthaka isinstalled for Sathrusamhara (Killing enemies).
 
Chalukya kings
:In Vaathaapi Alampur SwargaBrahma temple on the North of the door , on the wall facing Easta picture is drawn (This is a Chithraabhaasa according to Iconography .Not a Chithra , or fullidol).The picture shows a warrior fighting in chariot moving to left , to the North. There is ainscription of Vinayadithya (AD 651-696`).His son Vijayadithya was Mandalaadhipa of entireAndhrapradesh, even before he was made Yuvaraja. He had taken part in battles against NorthIndian kings . In Pattaatakkal North Praasaada , East pillar the Thripuranthaka installed byVijayadithya (AD 733) faces North East. 8
th
century Mahur cave ,Pattatakkal MallikarjunaTemple, Virupaksha temple have one each installed by Vikramadithya 2 (733-745 AD).
 
Rashtrakuta kings
:Ellora Dasavathara cave No:15 (Danthidurga 733-756) with chariot having 2 wheels moving tosouth ,facing west and North, on the SE part of the Mandapa back wall. SouthernGujrat,Malawa,Vidarbha are on the NE and North parts showing the direction of his militarymovements.He had a war with Chalukya Keerthivarman on the south (AD 753) also .Krishna 1 had expanded empire in all directions. Ellora No:16 in Kailasa temple we see on theGopura facing East on the wall. The horses and the three Pura are shown. On the southeastwhere his major expansions were made the battle scenes are shown. In Kailasa temple on westfacing part is Thripuranthaka of Dhruva (AD 780-793) facing North. In Poona Pathaleswara cavealso is the same type.In Samgameswara near Alampur the 5
th
Thripuranthaka of Rashtrakuta(Govinda 111 AD 793-814) is on south of Antharala moving East.This shows , before the Cholasof Imperial times the Irukkuvels of these parts were installing Thripuranthaka and questioningthe suzerainty of Chola/Chera .The 5
th
Thripuranthaka of Rashtrakuta has a bow which is not inuse. It is in Papanasam south Mandapa face pillar as a small bas relief (Temple 6 .9
th
to 10
th
 century).On North in Mandal ghant Jaleswara temple, on wall facing North is the one installed by MalwaMourya lineage.(AD 825-850).On the west facing Niche (Bhadra) above in North subshrine of Brajmath –Gyaraspur ( 814-880),is seen. The successors of Amoghavarsha who fought with WestMalwa Gurjara-Prathihara had installed these. The 3 Kalachuri temples in Nohtha,Paali andDyorbeeja are from 10,12 and 13
th
centuries respectively. These sprang up after the marriagerelations of Kalachuri Rashtrakuta. Just North of Narmada in a North town of Daboi on wallfacing East, in inner wall Thripuranthaka fighting facing North is seen.This belongs to ChalukyaSolanki Sidharaja Jayasimha (1093-1142) who fought against the Islamic aggrssions in Gujrat.Near Badami 9Vaathaapi) a rockcut Thripuranthaka on Araleekkatti rock and the one onNorthern wall of Sringeri Vidyasankara temple (Of Vijayanagara kings) are worth mentioning.

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