Chittamur

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Chittamur is the headquarters of the Digambara Jain community in this region. Its matha has been presided over by a succession of pontiffs from the sixteenth century to the modern period. Chittamur has two temples -Mallinatha and Parshwanatha. In the temple of Mallinatha, enshrines an oblong panel representing Neminatha, Adinatha, Parshwanatha and Bahubali carved into the surface of a large rock. Three important Chola inscriptions are found in this temple, namely the inscriptions of Rajakesarivarman, Kadavarkonpavai and Rajadhiraja II. According the to the inscription of Rajakesarivarman it is evident that this temple was previously called Kattamapalli and the mantapa in the same complex was known as Otturaikkummantapa, from where sermons were presented to the Jain laity. Two epigraphical records have been brought to light from the Parshwanatha temple. The fIrst one is engraved on the basement of the five subsidiary shrines built to the north of the main shrine. It records that the five shrines of Brahmadeva, Ganadhara, Sarasvati, Padmavati, .and Jwalamalini were constructed, with the approval of the pontiff of the Chittamur matha, by Gunamalaiammal, the wife of Sri Balaiya of Tirupparumbw near Kancipuram. Balaiya was the Deputy Collector looking after the administration of Gingee region under the old Madras presidency during the British regime. The second important inscription is located on a pillar in the alankaramantapa of the same temple. It states that Swasti Sri Laksmisena Bhattaraka Bhattacarya, the Pontiff of the Jinakanchi matha at Chittamur, renovated the Parshwa tirthankara mantapa, alankaramantapa on Monday the twenty-second, the auspicious full moon day, in the month of Tai of the Tamil year Vilrute, and Saka 1873, corresponding to 1951. The record incidentally mentions the other pontifical pithas at Delhi, Kolhapur, and Penukonda.

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Chittamur is situated at a distance of 20 kilometers North-West of Tindivanam and ten Kilometers east of Gingee in South Arcot district.

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Post Author: JHC