4th century mini Siva sculpture discovered

The 3x3 inch Maheswara Murthy was unearthed from fields in Palnadu, Guntur district by a priest of Durgi village.

Published: 15th July 2017 11:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th July 2017 11:30 AM   |  A+A-

Maheswara Murthy, an aspect of Lord Siva

Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: A rare miniature sculpture of Maheswara Murthy, an aspect of Lord Siva, supposedly dating back to 4th century, was discovered in the fields by Jagannadham, a priest of Durgi village in Palnadu of Guntur district. 

 Siva Nagi Reddy, an archaeological expert and CEO of Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati (CCVA), who went to Palnadu area on July 12, looking for archaeological remains, was shown the miniature sculpture by Jagannadham.

“Though Jagannadham is a priest by profession, he is very much interested in ancient lore and could be called an amateur explorer of archaeological sites. On that day, when we were discussing the archaeological potential of Palnadu region, he told me about his latest find, which he had kept in his place of worship,” said Reddy.  The priest found the sculpture a week prior to his meeting with Reddy.

When the small soapstone sculpture measuring three inches height and three inches width was shown to him, Siva Naga Reddy was surprised. After studying it for sometime, he concluded that it is a rare sculpture of Lord Siva. “It was the earliest specimen found in Palnadu area, which is known as cradle of early Shaivite art,” he said.

The sculpture of Maheswara Murthy depicting the head from the neck to Jata Mukuta (hair locks), has three faces, with one looking straight and the other two being in side postures facing right and left.  “It is an art style of post Ikshvaku period and resembles the iconographic features of the Panchavira plaques reported earlier from Kondamodu (Piduguralla) in Guntur, Darsi in Prakasam, Vijayawada and Peddamudium,” said Reddy. 

When he told his old acquaintance Jagannadham about the antiquity of the sculpture, the latter was dumbstruck and said he was lucky to have such an ancient idol with him to worship. “It is not just Durgi, but several places in Palnadu are peppered with archaeological rarity and sites of ancient culture, waiting to be explored,” Reddy said. 

The archaeological expert appealed to the Department of Archaeology to conduct a thorough survey in and around Durgi to identify the potential of the site dating back to pre-Chalukyan period.
Reddy is currently busy preparing detailed project reports  (DPRs) for the reconstruction of dilapidated temples identified by him in the past couple of years in Guntur district. 


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