State and Religion in the Chola Empire:
Taxation for Thanjavur Temple's Music and Dance
THE Big Temple was built in the capital city of Thanjavur by Raja Raja I (985-1016 AD) to commemorate his victories in battle,proclaim the greatness of the Chola dynasty and to dazzle the subjects of the empire with the magnificent edifice. The temple symbolized the supreme achievements of South Indian architecture, sculpture and engineering. A substantial part of the empire's surplus product was lavished on the festivals and daily performance of dance,music and drama in order to draw people to the temple and to the establishment theology of Saivism (Siva cult) which enjoyed royal patronage. The "opium of the masses" was thus administered with the sugar coating of the arts.
The emperor spent millions of kasus (gold coin) on the construction of the temple. After its consecration, he gathered a numerous galaxy of dance and music exponents who were appointed as devar adiar or devadasis (a class of temple hetaerae).. Dance and music teachers, instrumentalists, vocalists and ornamental screen painters were appointed full-time temple employees to assist in the public performance of the artists. Their remuneration was fixed and paid regularly from the temple treasury.1
It is proposed in this study to estimate approximately the magnitude of the expenditure incurred on the upkeep of devadasis, musicians,