The Family of Śivaṉ in the Kāvēri River Valley

Paul Younger

in Playing Host to Deity

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780195140446
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834907 | DOI:
 The Family of Śivaṉ in the Kāvēri River Valley

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The festivals of the Tiruvnaikka temple in the fertile Kaveri River valley reflect the concerns of the landlord Velala caste and the Cola dynasty when, as their many inscriptions show, they joined together to start their famous irrigation system. The symbol system they used has an elaborate medieval quality, which sees things in a bipolar form. The “land” and “water”, which make the irrigation system work, correspond with the Goddess Akilantesvari, who gives fertility to the earth, and the God Sivan, who brought water to earth by catching the river Ganges in his hair. In the festivals, this symbol system is played by reversing the roles of female and male, by comparing the “elephant” concerned, like the priests, with daily devotional work and the ”spider” concerned, like the kings, with building permanent structures such as temples. These festivals are now elegant reminders of a medieval style of thinking and worshipping.

Keywords: Akilantesvari; Cola dynasty; Ganges; Goddess; kings; medieval; priests; Sivan; Velala

Chapter.  4322 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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