Mayadevi Chola

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Ālvār Sri Parāntakan Sri Kundavai Pirāttiyār or Kundavai Pirāttiyār or Mayadevi Chola was one of the queens of the Chola empire.[1] She was the daughter of Parantaka Chola II and the elder sister of Rajaraja Chola I.[2][3][4]

Life and works[edit]

Kuntavai commissioned many temples for Siva, Vishnu and Jaina.[5][6] She features in Chola inscriptions.[7][8]

“ ..vessels and ornaments made of gold, silver and pearl and presented to the temples of Kundavai-Vinnagar-Alvar, Iravikulamanikka-Iswara and Kundavai Jinalaya, built by the princess Parantakan Kundavai Pirattiyar, daughter of Ponmaligaittunjinadevar.[9] ” She built at least two Jain temples, one at Rajarajeswaram later known as Dadapuram and the other at Tirumalai.[8] She built a hospital after her father named Sundara Chola Vinnagar atula salai at Thanjavur and donated extensive lands for its maintenance.[10][11] She made lavish donations to the Brihadeeswarar temple at Thanjavur during the reign of her younger brother Rajaraja Chola I and her nephew Rajendra Chola I.

One of the inscriptions reads:

“ Records gift of sheep for lamps to the temple of Kundavai-Vinnagar-Alvar by princess Pirantakan-Kundavai-Pirattiyar. Also mentioned is the senapati, Mummudi-Chola Brahmamarayar who was in charge of the management of the temple[12] ” [13] Some of the images or idols set up by princess Kundavai include:[14]

Here is an excerpt from the 29th year of Rajaraja that lists some of her gifts to Brihadeeswarar temple:

“ Hail! Prosperity! Until the twenty-ninth year (of the reign) of Ko-Rajakesarivarman alias Sri-Rajarajadeva who..- Arvar Parantakan Kundavaiyar, (who was) the venerable elder sister of the lord Sri-Rajarajadeva and the great queen of Vallavaraiyar Vandyadevar ..gave three thousand five hundred karanju of gold, which was a quarter superior in fineness to the (gold standard called) dandavani, and one thousand five hundred karanju of gold, which was one (degree) inferior in fineness to the dandavani, – altogether, five thousand karanju of gold.[15] ” “ Hail ! Prosperity! Until the third year (of the reign) of Ko-Parakesarivarman, alias the lord Sri-Rajendra-Soradeva,- Arvar Parantakan Kundavaiyar, (who was) the venerable elder sister of the lord Sri-Rajarajadeva (and) the great queen of Vallavaraiyar Vandyadevar gave-

..One sacred girdle (tiruppattigai), (containing) ninety-seven karanju and a half, four manjadi and nine tenths of gold. Six hundred and sixty-seven large and small diamonds with smooth edges, set (into it), – including such as had spots, cracks, red dots, black dots, and marks as of burning, – weighed two karanju and a quarter and six tenths (of a manjadi). Eighty-three large and small rubies, viz., twenty-two halahalam of superior quality, twenty halahalam, twenty smooth rubies, nine bluish rubies, two sattam and ten unpolished rubies, – including such as had cavities, cuts, holes, white specks, flaws, and such as still adhered to the ore, – weighed ten karanju and three quarters, three manjadi and two tenths. Two hundred and twelve pearls, strung or sewn on, – including round pearls, roundish pearls, polished pearls, small pearls, nimbolam, ambumudu, (pearls) of brilliant water and of red water, such as had been polished while still adhering to the shall, (and pearls with) lines, stains, red dots, white specks and wrinkles, – weighed eighteen karanju and two manjadi. Altogether, (the girdle) weighed one hundred and twenty-nine karanju and seven tenths (of a manadi), corresponding to a value of four thousand and five hundred kasu..

One ring for the foot of the goddess, (containing) seventy-one karanju and a half and two manjadi of gold. Four hundred and fifty-nine diamonds, set (into it), viz., four hundred and fifty diamonds with smooth edges, and nine small square diamonds with smooth edges, including such as had spots, cracks, red dots, black dots, and marks as of burning, – weighed (one) karanju and a half, three manjadi and nine tenths. Thirty-nine large and small rubies, viz., ten halahalam of superior quality, eight halahalam, nine smooth rubies, three bluish rubies and nine unpolished rubies, – including such as had cavities, cuts, holes, white speeks, flaws, and such as still adhered to the ore, – weighed three karanju and three quarters, three manjadi and six tenths. Altogether, (the ring) weighed seventy-seventy-seven karanju, four manjadi and (one) kunri, corresponding to a value of a five hundred kasu.[15] ” Kundavai spent the last days of her life with her nephew Rajendra Chola I at the palace in Pazhaiyarai.[11][16][17]

“ ..run-tiru-amudu sëd-arulavaum ăga nellu padin kalam-āga ōrādaikku nellu nūrru irubadin kalamum udaiyār sri-Rājarājadēvarkku mun pirand-arulina sri ālvār sri-Kundavai Pirāttiyār pirand-arulina avitta-tirunālāl tingal oru nāl tiru-vilā elund-arulavu.[18] ”