Today we are going to see a very rare and unique bronze from a spectacular temple. Kadambur brings back fond memories to all History buffs ( to be read as fans of Sri Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan). We visited Melaikkadambur an year ago !


It was the first day of our tour and we were pushing ourselves to complete this splendid temple before heading for our night halt at Chidambaram ( 30 kms away). It was already dark by the time we reached its gates and the dark clouds were threatening to open up anytime. The temple was getting ready for Prathosham the next day.


But then, i can see you asking, why it took a year to feature the same !

Two reasons - one, Sri Raja Deekshithar had done such a superlative task of documenting this temple, that i was corresponding with him to feature the same here. Unfortunately, fate intervened and the great soul left us. We are working on translating his post and featuring it here shortly. Second reason, was this bronze. He would be taken out only for Prathosha Pooja and despite all our pleadings, all we could get was a photo of the same from the temple board !


However, thanks to the net, managed to track down Sri Vijay the Managing Trustee of the temple via his site
Kadambur Temple
Regarding the origins of this temple check out

Kadambur Temple Puranam in illustrations

For starters, the temple is Amrithakadeshwarar Temple or Melaikkadambur temple. The current structure is assigned to the reign of Kulottunga Chola I (1075 -1120 C.E.). Regarding its architecture and sculptures, we will wait to feature the post of Sri Raja Deekshitar, and proceed to view the wonderful and Unique bronze first up.


This magnificent bronze is called Dasa Buja ( ten handed) Rishaba ( bull or on the bull) thandava murthy ( dancer!)

Lets take a closer look at the beauty.


The striking feature of this bronze is the high pedestal, with straight line edges and the characteristic plate fixed behind as the aureole with the flames emanating out.

Eminent scholar Sri Nagasamy writes thus about this bronze, ” The temple also houses several processional images of exquisite beauty, consecrated in the time of Kulottunga chola. The collection also includes one metal image of Siva dancing on the back of Nandi and surrounded by Ganesa, Subrahmanya, Bringi, Nandi, Bhairava and ganas. This particular image is from Bengal made in the time of the Pala rulers who were contemporaries of the Cholas of Tamilnad. This metal image belongs to 9th – 10th cent. It might have been brought by the Rajaguru of Kulottunga who hailed from Bengal. It is one of the finest and early bronze image of the Pala dynasty but found in Tamilnad. It also establishes a close link between Bengal and Chidambaram in the Chola times.”

Kadambur Temple Dr RN article

Lets compare this bronze with a Pala Bronze Buddha from the Metropolitan Museum Nyc.


You can see the resemblances as far as the pedestal and aureole go. Lets step in closer and analyse the features.


What clearly strikes you as the non local nature of this bronze is the Urdhva Linga of this bronze. We do not find this feature in South Indian bronzes.

Mr Vijay also accommodated our request to study this bronze is closer detail and without the back plate.


The style and grace of this bronze is evident in the way he is shown dancing. The attachment of the arms at the shoulders rather than at the elbow ( as we see in most early chola bronzes and even earlier Pallava bronzes) . You can study this aspect more clearly below.


There are a profusion of attendants and Gods on the aureole and on the Pedestal, whom we will see in Part 2 of this post.

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 6th, 2010 at 19:08 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

22 Comments so far

Raman Sankaran

Best one i ever seen , thanks Mr Vijay

December 6th, 2010 at 19:24

Amazing bronze. It is interesting to note that there was a Rajaguru of Kulottunga, hailing from Bengal. Just for curiosity, is there a Tamil speaking Bengali settlement anywhere in Tamilnadu. At the Amer Fort (Jaipur) there is a temple dedicated to Shiladevi (Durga) and traditionally the priests are Bengalis. There is a large settlement of Bengalis around the Fort.

December 6th, 2010 at 19:48
Parvadha Vardhini

அற்புதமான சிலை. கண்களை அகற்றவே இயலவில்லை.
மிக்க நன்றி

December 6th, 2010 at 19:58

one more place to see

December 6th, 2010 at 21:09

wow!! wonderful statue! Different style. Eventhough not to the level of our Cholas, this has a unique style and interesting features :) Bravo for the post, Vj :)

December 6th, 2010 at 21:11

And the Buddha statue is very cute & perfect!!

December 6th, 2010 at 21:13

Wonderful post! Thankyou Vijay.

December 7th, 2010 at 7:09

unique one… very nice..

December 7th, 2010 at 10:23

அழகுச் சிலை, தனித்துவமான வடிவமைப்பு, தச புஜங்கள் - கண்ணால் பார்த்திராத ஒன்றை கற்பனை கொண்டே வடிவமைத்த திறமை கொண்ட சிற்பிக்கு வந்தனம்.

சோழர் காலத்திற்கே முற்பட்ட சிற்பமா! நம்ப முடியவில்லை…

இந்தச் சிற்பத்தின் உயரம் என்ன இருக்கும்?

December 7th, 2010 at 22:57

hi satheesh, date is 8th to 10th CCE , by experts. it could be closer to 10th due to the advanced style of depicting the hands joining at the shoulder blades.

for size, this will give you an idea



December 8th, 2010 at 3:46

>>இது குலோத்துங்கனின் ராஜ குரு கொண்டு வந்ததாக இருக்கலாம். அவர் வங்க தேசத்தில் இருந்த வந்தவர். இது தமிழ் நாட்டில் கிடைத்த மிகவும் பழமையான பால கலை சிற்பம். சிதம்பரத்துக்கும் வங்க தேசத்திற்கும் இருந்த நெருங்கிய தொடர்பை இது காட்டுகிறது<<

Vijay! His name (Guru) is AGHORA SIVACHARI. A brilliant teacher who knows not only Vedas, also fighting skills and Dhevarams. He hails from Gowda Desa(Bengal). I have personally some craze on him and brings him in my novels too.

Dasa Bhujanga looks marvelous.

December 8th, 2010 at 16:05

very nice

December 9th, 2010 at 11:06
venkata rao

had an oppurtunity to see the the bronnze in 1993 nice to see another bronze for comparision hope to see beautiful again to refresh my memory good work my blessings to u

December 9th, 2010 at 20:05

Not only marvellous statue, had in depth knowledge of science, wider Shiva placed with balance and connected only with his feet (without any additional support or additional metal to strengthen, - had clear knowledge about centre of gravity and sand casting refer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_casting )

December 13th, 2010 at 21:26


December 14th, 2010 at 15:04
Kathie B.

Thanks for showing so many angles. I just sent him the text from SRM’s NATARAJA book about quite similar one, but 12armed, in Dhaka.

December 16th, 2010 at 21:19

Beautiful image of Nataraja. Does this style remind us about a Bhairava image in Dharasuram?

January 17th, 2011 at 15:05

Dear Sekhar

The one in Darasuram is eight armed Bairavar
Eight armed standing nude figure, wearing a garland of skulls. A big snake coils around the thighs; round ball-like eyes, protruding teeth, flame like hairs; holding a trident, parasu, sword and noose in the right arm; and with left, fire, kapala, khatvanga and bell. Behind the figure is shown an imperfectly carved hound.



January 17th, 2011 at 20:41

The best Pala Bronzes I’ve seen in photos were from Kurkihar, Bihar. Are they sure it wasn’t from around there?

June 18th, 2011 at 20:54

Really it is more informative.

July 20th, 2011 at 11:51

migavum arumayaga ulladhu vijay avargalukku nandri

October 27th, 2011 at 13:30

wonderful!! I am from Bengal and am a student of history of art. But I didnt know about this broze sculpture which relates us so closely to south India. This is a marvellous sculpture. Thank you

February 5th, 2014 at 21:50

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