The Chola dynasty of South India, has a long association with valor and bravery, and it gives me great pleasure to present a sculpture that links their valor, sculptural beauty, spirituality etc. Many thanks to Sri N.S. Narayanasamy
(www.shivatemples.com) for allowing us the use of this rare sculpture and content.

Its a simple legend and a lovely sculpture. Lets take a look at the legend first. When a Chola King named Veeravadhithan was passing a town on his elephant, the animal suddenly turned rogue and went around creating collateral damage. ( The Kings soldiers were no match for the rogue elephant. As per some version - The pious King prayed to Lord Shiva. He graced his blessings on a rooster which was nearby) The rooster showed remarkable courage is standing up to the rogue elephant and took on the mighty beast. It flew high to its head and used his sharp beak and claws to inflict lot of damage on the elephants sensitive eyes. The vanquished elephant was almost blinded and ran away ( to take refuge / calm down near a tree). Seeing the valor of a common rooster and the spiritual energy in the place, the Chola King decided to use the City as his capital.

Lets look at the sculpture now - from the Panchavarneshwarar Temple in Uraiyur.

uraiyur legend.jpg

A very simple sculpture, but you can still see the detailing. The raised tail of the elephant indicating its rage, the barve rooster clamped on its massive head. That the elephant is loosing, is clearly shown by its demeanor - the bent front legs and the almost crouched head.

Seeing the valor of a simple rooster the Chola king, thought it fit to shift his capital to the town - Uraiyur - which got a new name Kozhiyur ( kozhi hen or rooster) and the kings were praised as Kozhi vendhar ( vendhar - Lord or king ) surprised since technically you could get into trouble for comparing a King to a hen.

Infact, Sri kalki Krishnamurthy would pull this explanation as an answer to a simple question in his immortal work Ponniyin Selvan when describing the Tiruvisaippa sung by Kandrathitha Chola - where the King takes pride in calling himself a hen or rooster king !!


But who is this King and what period can we ascertain him to. When we tried to search more we found references to the “hentown” in Thevaram Verses.
There are Thevaram verses. But the great surprise came when we found the legend in Elango’s Silapathigram ( a tamil work dated roughly to the 2nd C AD) - Tale of the Anklet. The hero and heroine - Kovalan and kannagi , in search of a new market ( after the has wasted all his wealth on his `other’ women Mathavi) move from Chola country into Pandya land towards Madhurai - passing through Uraiyur - Kozhiyur. So the legend was famous even then to find mention in the work !!

So much for legends living on for 1800 years !!!

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13 Comments so far


Excellent post! The sculpture is really unique.

March 15th, 2009 at 21:23
Sivaram Kannan

Hi Vj,

Is the Uriyur in the description the one in Trichy near Thillai Nagar, or this is a different place?

March 15th, 2009 at 21:44

அருமை ஐயா!
டுமீலே டுமீலே டுமான் டுமான் கொய்யா என்று தனித்துவமான தமிழில் பாடல்கள் வந்து கொண்டிருக்கும் இந்த நாளில் திருவிசைப்பாவிலிருந்து ஒரு ஒரிஜினல் தமிழ்ப் பாட்டை எடுத்தாண்ட விதம் மிகவும் அருமை ஐயா!

March 15th, 2009 at 22:35

ஏன் சோழர்களை உறையூர் கோழி என்றும் கோழி வேந்தர் என்றும் சொல்கிறார்கள் என்று தெரியாமல் இருந்தேன். இன்று விளங்கியது நன்றாக.
ஒரு சிறிய சந்தேகம், யானையை கோழி தாக்குவதால் தன் துதிக்கையை மேலே தூக்கி கோழியைத் தாக்கத்தானே யானை முயற்சி செய்ய வேண்டும்?

March 16th, 2009 at 21:11

Wonderful legend and the sculpture too. thanks.

March 17th, 2009 at 14:35
குமரன் (Kumaran)

ஏன் சோழர்களை உறையூர் கோழி என்றும் கோழி வேந்தர் என்றும் சொல்கிறார்கள் என்று தெரியாமல் இருந்தேன். இன்று விளங்கியது நன்றாக. நன்றி.

April 11th, 2009 at 1:13

hi PNS sir, thanks. All credits to Mr Narayanaswamy sir.

நன்றி குமரன் மல்லி அவர்களே.


April 12th, 2009 at 6:00
Ashwin Chandaaraanaa


March 3rd, 2010 at 10:35

tks ashwin

March 5th, 2010 at 11:57

Amazing dude……….great experience on reading it………..made me feel goose bumps…..

March 6th, 2010 at 16:00

hi Arun. welcome and nice name !!!

March 8th, 2010 at 11:35

அருமையான பகிர்வு அதுவும் எனகுப் பிடித்த பொன்னியின் செல்வனில் இருந்து .நன்றீ விஜய்

April 1st, 2010 at 19:04

Just Excellant…i really appreciate and adore the efforts u guys put here…..

May 18th, 2010 at 16:34

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