Kiranur

A place that shows traces of occupation from very early times and has
pre-historic burial sites. There is a 9th century AD Siva temple with
many important inscriptions. It is an important Muslim centre. Presently
a business centre and also an important junction in the Pudukkottai –
Tiruchi (புதுக்கோட்டை – திருச்சி) road

Approach

Kiranur
(‘kee-ra-noor’) (கீரனூர்) lies on the Pudukkottai-Tiruchirappalli Road
and 24 km away from Pudukkottai. It is the headquarters of the Kolattur
(கொளத்தூர்) Taluk. It is well connected with Tiruchirappalli,
Pudukkottai, Karaikkudi with regular transport services.

Historical background

The
place shows traces of occupation from very early times. Near to this
place are prehistoric burial sites. It is one of the oldest
Karala-Vellalar (காராள வெள்ளாளர்) settlements. There are vestiges of an
old mud fort called Samantan-kottai (சமந்தன் கோட்டை), after Achyuthappa
(அச்சுதப்பா), a Nayak king of Thanjavur (தஞ்சாவூர்), referred to in a
Malayadippatti (மலையடிப்பட்டி) inscription as Acyuta-nayaka Samantanar
(அச்சுத நாயக்க சமந்தனார்).

During the middle ages Kiranur was an
important town, with an Ur (ஊர், village assembly) and Sabha (சபா,
Brahmin assembly) and was ruled directly by Araiyar-s (அரையர்). It was a
Padaiparru (படைப்பற்று, military cantonment). It was included in the
territory of the Vaiththur Pallava-raya-s (வைத்தூர் பல்லவராயர்), and
later was ruled by the Kolattur Tondaiman-s (தொண்டைமான்). During the
siege of Tiruchirappalli (திருச்சிராப்பள்ளி) in the middle of 18th
century by the French and Chanda Sahib, the English force camped here.
The enemies partly destroyed it when they overran it in revenge for the
help that the Tondaiman-s (தொண்டைமான்) had given to the English. In
1754, the French and Chanda Sahib’s troops camped here until they were
expelled.

The Monuments

Kiranur has a
structural temple probably built by the Muttaraiyar-s (முத்தரையர்) in
9th century AD. This probably is deduced from the name the temple it
bears, the Uttama-nathesvara (உத்தம-நாதேஸ்வரர்). Ilango Muttaraiyar
(இளங்கோ முத்தரையர்) bore the title of ‘Uthama-daani’ (உத்தமதானி) and he
might have built this temple.

The temple’s walls have no
deva-koshtam (தேவகோஷ்டம்). The grivam (கிரீவம்) and sikharam (சிகரம்)
are circular. Raghunatha Raya Tondaiman (இரகுநாத ராய தொண்டைமான்)
(1769-1789) added a prakaram.

One of the many epigraphs of the
temple belongs to the eighth year of Kulottunga Chozha III (மூன்றாம்
குலோத்துங்கன்). There are other epigraphs belonging to the reigns of a
Tribhuvana-chakravarti Sri Rajarajadeva (திரிபுவன சக்கரவர்த்தி ஸ்ரீ
ராஜராஜ தேவன்), so far unidentified, a Mara-varman Sri Kulasekharadeva
(மாரவர்மன் குலசேகர தேவன்), Vijayanagara chiefs, etc.

There is a
pond opposite to the fort ruins named Krishnattu urani (கிருஷ்நாத்து
ஊரணி) after Krishna, a mistress of one of the Kolattur Tondaiman-s.

Kiranur is an important Muslim centre in the state, and has a fairly large mosque.

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