Fieldnotes: Around Uttiramērūr
From August 24 to 26, 2019, Emmanuel Francis (CNRS) and Babu N. Ramaswamy (EFEO, Pondicherry), while surveying the site of Uttiramērūr, took the opportunity to visit other nearby sites.
In Tiruppaṇamūr திருப்பணமூர், the temple of Śiva (12°46’0.53″N, 79°35’21.02″E; Figs. 1‒2) is in decay. Villagers with whom we discussed explained that local people have plans to collect money for renovating the temple. The temple is itself, from the architectural point of view, interesting, as the shrine (vimāna) is in greystone and the hall (maṇḍapa) is in granite-like stone, much harder.
Continuous rains for several hundred years have severely affected the west wall of the vimāna, where portions of the greystone has been eroded (Fig. 3). On the base of the maṇḍapa, on the hard stone, the inscriptions are still much legible (Fig. 4).
In Kāppalūr காப்பலூர், we visited the Tirukāmeśvarar temple (12°27’17.52″N, 79° 5’58.83″E; Fig. 5) which has a corpus of almost 50 inscriptions (ARIE 1938-39/B/244‒289).
Among these is an impressive stele kept at the back of the inner compound (Fig. 6). Measuring more than 1.65 m, it bears an inscription starting with the meykkīrtti (Tamil metrical eulogy) of Rājendracōḻa I.
In Cīyamaṅkalam சீயமங்கலம், we visited the 7th-century cave that Mahendravarman I Pallava had excavated and that is presently now concealed by later buildings (12°25’51.68″N, 79°27’56.93″E; Figs. 7‒8).
We documented the Pallava inscriptions inscribed on the pillars of the cave-temple (Fig. 9).