Chandesvarar sculpture found at Umaiyalpuram [Art & Culture]
- A sculpture of Chandesvarar, believed to belong to 10th century AD, has been found at Sundaikkai village near Umaiyalpuram on Tiruchi-Musiri highway by research scholars of the Dr. M. Rajamanikkanar Centre for Historical Research, Tiruchi.
- It is an early Chola icon. Headgear is arranged as "jatabhara" and the apparel at the hip is short and wavy and is kept in place by a well draped 'idaikkattu.' Seated in 'suhasana' with one leg folded and kept on the seat, his other leg rests on a pedestal.
- He is decorated with a sacred thread, a band at the stomach, and scanty ornamentation. His left ear has palm leaf rolled and inserted as a kundala while the right ear is naked. A broad necklace adorns his neck. His right hand holds a broad-bladed axe whereas his left hand rests on his thigh.
- Chandesvarar is one of the 63 Nayanmars of the Saivite sect and was the first among them to find a place in temples. He is housed in a separate shrine on the northern side of all the Saivite temples, facing the presiding deity.
- He is the only devotee to have the credit of getting announced as His son by the Lord Himself and is given the very high rank of Chandesapatham.
- The most distinguished shrine of Chandesvara was built by Rajaraja I at the Rajarajesvaram at Thanjavur.
- The discovery of the icon suggests the presence of a dilapidated Siva temple in the vicinity and a study would be undertaken by research scholars to identify the same.