The next morning, the sun was shining bright, warming up the front verandah of the Princess’s palace. An elephant with a howdah came and stood near the entrance. Kundavai and Vaanathi climbed up a flight of stairs and got into the howdah.
A master temple architect from Maamallapuram stepped up next and exhibited the miniature model of a temple. He explained how this was a new and unique temple construction. He expressed his desire to utilize this design for each of the 276 paadal-petra-sthalam temples, where the three main Shaivite saints had sung the Devarams.
Mandapam in ruins near Patteeswaram temple. (img src: gcmouli.com)
Before we get to Vandiyathevan’s entry into Pazhayarai, the reader is invited to get a brief glimpse of this beautiful city. It was one of the finest cities in the Chozha land filled with grand temples like Thirusakthimutram and Patteeswaram. It was a planned city with segregated areas for soldiers, traders, merchants, and royalty. Palaces were grand and the streets were wide.