Tracing Chola Footsteps in ‘Namma’ Bengaluru


Madivala is a familiar name for many Chennaiites, who rush to Bengaluru on any given weekend. Though it sounds like a typical Kannada name, it actually owes its origin to  Tamil. Madivala is derived from the Tamil words Madai  and Valagam, and was where priests and temple workers resided. Besides the stray set of familiar sounding words, the common love for idly and dosa, and the thousands of native Tamilians thronging Namma Bengaluru— the link dates back to 995 AD, when a Chola king set foot on this land. P Venkatesan, a retired superintending archaeologist, threw light on this deep connect during a lecture session on Chola kingdoms in Karnataka organised by the Tamil Valarchi Iyakkam on Wednesday, 27th May, 2015, . Venkatesan narrated the story of  a Chola temple, which was discovered in Bengaluru, a decade ago. On a small lane off the main road in Domlur stands the Chokkanathaswamy Temple, which is the oldest in Bengaluru city. Venkatesan, who has trained archaeologists in epigraphy, revealed that Tamil might be the root of all Dravidian languages spoken across South India today. “Traveling to the little towns around Bengaluru was like visiting Thanjavur. When you trace the temples along Cauvery, every local will tell you that it was built by the Cholas,” he said.Chokkanarayan-Swamy-Temple-4_slider_main

This temple is dedicated to the deity known as Chokkanathaswamy or Chokka Perumal. The temple stands on a high base and there are several notable sculptures and decorative features in the complex and the temple, Vijayanagara style Navaranga and pillars can also be found here. A Tamil inscription dated 1270 A.D. on a door frame states that the doors were donated by one Alagiyar and another inscription says of donation by one Talaikattu and one more inscription in Kannada dated 1290 A.D. states that Poysala Vira Ramanada made donations to the temple. The temple has been extensively renovated several times. The images of Vishnu, Sridevi and Bhudevi found here was established in Garbhagraha and is carved out of Shaligrama stone brought from Gandaki river, Nepal.

He narrated tales of the temples scattered across Karnataka, some hidden, many in ruins, and some still standing. All the temples bear the Tamil verses and inscriptions that was the trademark of Raja Raja Chola and his successors, who remained in the old settlement of Karnataka (formerly Gangapadi) until 1114 AD, when Hoysala kingdom overthrew them. He explained how the old Chola markings adorned every temple they built, “In the plinth, on the walls and along the pillars —these Tamil scripts are everywhere,” he said, sharing his years of research on the subject.

But besides Madivala, the Cholas also managed to christen other parts of  Bengaluru like Koramangala and Ananda Giri Hills (now called Nandi Hills). So, the next time you are in the outskirts of Bengaluru, you might want to discover the Tamil connect.

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