Proof of 900 year old TN hospital found

Inscriptions found at an ancient temple in Kancheepuram reveal the existence of a 15-bed hospital and vedic school.

CHENNAI: Inscriptions found at an ancient temple at Tirumukkoodal village in neighbouring Kancheepuram District have revealed the existence of a 15-bed hospital and vedic school around 900 years ago.

The inscriptions at Venkatesa Perumal Temple found by epigraphist K V Subramanya Iyer spoke about 'athura-salai', a hospital attached to this temple which treated students of the vedic schools and temple staff, Archaeological Survey of India sources said.

The temple, which has been declared a protected monument and maintained by ASI, is located at the confluence of Palar, Vegavathi and Cheyyar rivers. The hospital, called Vira-Cholan, had 15 beds and a large staff, comprising a physician named Kodandaraman Ashvathaman-Bhattan, a surgeon, several nurses who attended on patients, servants who fetched medicinal herbs and a barber.

The payment given to hospital staff and the names of about 20 Ayurvedic medicines stored in this hospital are given in detail in the informative epigraph. According to the epigraphs in the shrine, Tirumukkudal was situated in the ancient territorial sub-division called Madhurantaka-Chaturvedimangalam which was part of Kalatur-Kottam, a district of Jayamkonda-chola-mandalam.

The temple, which once reverberated with the sound of Vedic chanting and recitation of Sanskrit texts, now stands mute testimony to the glorious times of the Pallavas and the Cholas, whose kings, besides being great conquerors and administrators, strove for the propagation of learning and literature.

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The New Indian Express