Adhanakkottai

Adhanakkottai (‘aa-tha-nak-kOt-tai’) (ஆதனக்கோட்டை) is an important village in Pudukkottai (புதுக்கோட்டை), which has an ancient Siva Temple. The battle between Hider Ali and Tondaiman-s (தொண்டைமான்) was fought here. There is also a ruined Sastha Temple (சாஸ்தா கோயில்) which has an important inscription.

Approach

Adhanakkottai is 24 km from Pudukkottai, half way to Thanjavur (தஞ்சாவூர்). Before the introduction of bus traffic, this was a convenient halting station for travellers. Fresh cashew nuts can be bought at Adhanakkottai when travelling between Thanjavur and Pudukkottai.

Historical importance

It is here a famous battle was waged. In 1780 and 1781 Hider Ali overran the Tamil country. After taking over Thanjavur (தஞ்சாவூர்) he was entering the Tondaiman (தொண்டைமான்) territory. The village could keep the invader at bay, thanks to the cunning strategy of an inhabitant of the village. Gandhara (காந்தாரா) was an enterprising, widely travelled Brahmin. Being a linguist, he spoke to the leader of the army in Hindustani and invited the army for a grand feast arranged in its honour. The exhausted army readily agreed. During the feast and the repast, the Tondaiman army surrounded them and they had no other way except to retreat. But when the army returned after a few days the Pudukkottai (புதுக்கோட்டை) army was well prepared. A man concealed himself in the hollow trunk of a tree and shot the commander of the Hider force. This contributed to the defeate of Hider Ali. The British were overjoyed.

In the 18th century the Tondaiman ruler gave away the village to the Brahmins as Brahmadeyam (பிரம்மதேயம்). There exists an agraharam (அக்ரஹாரம்) as a result. The traveller’s bungalow was built in 1833 for the use of the Collector of Thanjavur, who was, at the time, ex-officio political agent of the Pudukkottai State.

The monuments: Siva and Sastha temples

The presiding deity of the Siva temple is named Kulottungesvara (குலோத்துங்கேஸ்வரர்) after King Kulottunga Chozha (குலோத்துங்க சோழன்) who installed the lingam.

Adhanakkottai finds mention in a partially defaced inscription on the walls of a ruined Sastha temple (சாஸ்தா கோயில்). This inscription refers to the village as Adan-oor-kottai (ஆதனூர்கோட்டை), meaning the fort of Adan’s village. There is, however, no trace of a fort. The inscription also mentions a Siva temple built during the reign of Kulottunga III, a Mariamman (மாரியம்மன்) temple and a temple for Ayyanar (அய்யனார்), none of which could be found today.

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