Tanjore Nayaks’ Restoration of the Chola’s Grand Anicut

After the Chola period, the Kallanai (Grand Anicut) across the Kaveri River in Thanjavur was restored during the reign of Vijayanagara Nayaka ruler Sevappa Nayaka. Additionally, numerous steps along the river banks (Paditura) and riverbank pavilions (Neerazhi Mandapams) were constructed during this time.

Achuthappa Nayakkar, recognizing the importance of the Cauvery River, facilitated the construction of steps and mandapams at various locations along its banks. This is documented in the Sungeetasuda Rukmaniparinayam. The structures built by him are still visible in Thiruvarangam, Thiruvaiyaru, Thiruvalanjuzhi, Kumbakonam, Thiruvidaimarudur, and Mayiladuthurai.

In Tiruvaiyaru, the area where the bathing steps and the tirtha mandapam are located is known as Pushya Mandapam. At the center of this mandapam, there is a platform designed for a five-person bull chariot, featuring legs on all four sides, black stonework, and intricate artistry.

An inscription by Achuthappa Nayak, written in Granth script, can be found on the southern base of this hall. The inscription provides valuable historical information.

Its translation reads: “Whoever undertook all the works for Ranganathan, who rebuilt the dam on the Cauvery, and in the month of Vaikasi achieved great wealth-based excellence, Achutappa Nayakkan Vishnu, the son of Chevappa Nayakkan, with the blessings of Brahma Kalyana Sindhu (Kaveri) on the left bank of Tiruvaiyat…”

We know that when the magnificent Kallanai Anicut, originally constructed during the Chola period, deteriorated due to natural calamities or enemy attacks, Achuthappa Nayakkar rebuilt it, enhancing its grandeur. This restoration was completed before 1596.

Thanjavur Nayakkar Varalaaru – Kudavoyal Balasubramaniam