Integrative Role of Royal Temples The impressive economic outreach of
the temples is best elucidated by the stupendous royal temples. In the case of
Tanjavur, it covered the whole Chola kingdom and in politico-cultural centres
like Kanchipuram, it covered the respective mandalam. In the arrangements
for the huge endowments to these temples, the reciprocal flow of revenues
from the peripheral to the core areas of the state and vice versa are confirmed
by royal records. For Tanjavur, it included even northern Sri Lanka, several
sabhas and nagarams supplying paddy or commodity, ritual and other
consumable articles for gold deposits received from the royal temple. For
Kanchipuram, the endowments created links between the city’s temples and
its huge hinterland, Tondaimandalam, through such reciprocal ways.
Political Importance
Different Perspectives on the Role of Ideology The devotional temple-
based Hinduism of the Pallava–Chola period is believed to have served the
brahmin-peasant alliance which constituted a foundation of localised self-
governing peasant regions. It facilitated the legitimisation of the dominance
of privileged elements within the peasantry, that is, nattar, on whom the
brahmadeya depended. Contrary perspectives, which perceive the reality of
royal power in the localities, take the opposite position, namely, that it was
the ideology of the ruling dynasty and not of the supposed brahmin-dominant
peasant alliance.
Transcending Religious and Sectarian Differences The Cholas, in
particular, adopted, elaborated and zealously practised this ideology through
various measures, like the collection of the bhakti hymns, their popularisation
through temple rituals and grants for such rituals and the construction of
temples in all the centres associated with the bhakti hymns. The temple-based
bhakti developed into a universal norm transcending religious and sectarian
differences. The Cholas gave permanence to all cult centres, through the cult
of the Shiva linga in particular, thus replicating the temple’s role in each one
of them through a systematic renovation in stone of old brick shrines and
construction of new ones.
                CHIEF IDEOLOGICAL                    APPARATUS