ARIYALUR: Chief Minister MK Stalin also inaugurated the second phase of excavation at Maligaimedu near Gangaikondacholapuram in Ariyalur district, through video conference on Friday. Gangaikondacholapuram was established by King Rajendra Chola after his victorious expedition to the Gangetic plains. He also built Brihadeeswarar Temple there as an example of the architecture of Chola empire, which has been declared a protected monument.
Archaeological excavations in Maligaimedu were carried out in 1980, 1981, 1985, 1987, 1991 and 2010, during which remains of Chola palaces were found. Pottery, roof tiles, iron nails, ornate stones, bracelets, bells, ivory carvings and coins were unearthed.
Last year, the State government ordered excavations at Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Maligaimedu and its surrounding areas near Jayankondam. Tamil Nadu State Department of Archaeology (TNSDA) officials began the first phase of the work, which lasted until September 2021. A two-storey wall and drain-like structure were discovered during the excavation.
Following the approval of the Central Archaeological Department for the second phase of excavations, Stalin inaugurated the work on Friday. State Backward Classes Welfare Minister SS Sivasankar and Collector P Ramana Saraswathi inspected the excavation.
TNSDA site director S Nandakumar told TNIE, “The purpose of this excavation is to discover the architecture of the city and palace at Gangaikonda Cholapuram, the capital of Rajendra Chola. We have to dig further to find brick structures. This is the largest Chola monument in Tamil Nadu if we find the bricks structure here. So far, the excavations have been done on a small scale. This year, it is going to be on a large scale. The work will continue until September.”