Tam: கங்கைகொண்ட சோழபுரம் kaṅkaikoṇṭa cōḻapuram
‘The Chola who took the Ganges’ Village/Temple Site/former Capital, Tamil Nadu (TN)
From Chola (dynasty); Ganga/Ganges (river); Tam: koṇṭa, ‘take’, ‘obtain’; and Skt: puram, ‘town’, ‘fort’, ‘city’.
The Chola king was Rajendra I who founded this city in 1025 as a celebration of victory over the Pala dynasty in Bengal.
This conquest had particular significance for him and he used it to symbolically bring the sacred Ganges water south in hundreds of pots (imitating the mythical king Bhagiratha who had brought the Ganges waters down from heaven).
He embellished (the city) with a colossal temple to Siva whose central, nine-storey shrine soars to a height of fifty-six metres. Inside he had a well dug for the sacred Ganges water into which was placed the statue of a lion, a Chola dynastic symbol. Completed in 1035, the temple served to publicize Rajendra’s military successes in conquering not just neighbouting kingdoms but -symbolically- all of India [Eaton, 2020].
The city was a capital for 250 years. Today it is little more than a village.