In the village of Udayalur, half submerged in a field behind a farmer’s house, lies a lingam. A flimsy pandal over the lingam, constructed with sticks and thatched leaves, is the only symbol that betrays the significance of this site. The spot is supposed to be the samadhi of Raja Raja Chola, one of the greatest Hindu kings that ever lived.
The illustrious Raja Raja Chola, is well known for his patronage of the arts, his vast conquests, and his tremendous temple building campaign. The famous Brihadeesvara temple, which recently turned a thousand years old, was consecrated by Raja Raja for Mahadeva.
This dilapidated samadhi of the Chola king is not an exception. Across India, we find similar examples that showcase the modern Hindu’s insouciant attitude towards the pitiful condition of historical structures that preserve the memory of our ancestors’ heroism and sacrifices.
The samadhi mandirs of Baji Rao, Hemu, and many others suffer from the same indifference. The cruel twist in this story is the ridiculous deification by modern Hindus of personalities who have been dedicated to the destruction of Hindus. Sonia Gandhi and Mayawati, both have opulent temples dedicated to them by their sycophantic followers. Then there are the temples devoted to the Tendulkars, Bacchans, and Kushboos of our country. In this age of Kali, the bull of morality stands on one leg. And so, the memory of the great Chola is relegated to such an ignoble fate.
Below part of Raja Raja Chola’s Legacy
1000 years ago, Raja Raja Chola did exactly that. Going down in the history of India as one of the greatest kings, he expanded the Chola kingdom over the whole of South India, Kalinga and Sri Lanka, his reign is considered the golden period of the Chola Dynasty. To commemorate the great achievements of his kingdom, he set out to leave behind a mark of his kingdom’s supremacy, something that told generations to come what a mighty and great dynasty ruled over the land. The culmination of that thought was the Brihadeeswara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva at the then capital of the Chola kingdom, Thanjav