Stone sculptures of Jain, Vishnu and Lakshmi, said to belong to the 9th century period, was found in a village near Tirukkattuppalli in Thanjavur district.
Mani Maaran, Tamil Pundit of Thanjavur Saraswati Mahal, who made a field study at Orathur village located around 30 kilometres from Thanjavur, said that a Jain sculpture with the Tirthankara in a sitting posture was found on a tank bund in the village.
Similarly, a Vishnu sculpture, reportedly salvaged from a dilapidated temple in the village, has been now placed in a small temple like structure. Vishnu is seen standing with a conch and wheel in his hands. Intricate jewellery motif is also seen in this sculpture. This apart, a Lakshmi sculpture in a sitting posture was also found in the village.
Stating that these sculpture could be of the later Chola period, around 9th century AD, Mani Maaran said the suffix ‘Palli’, denotes ‘of Jain influence’. The region nearby Tirukkattupalli and other areas could have been under the influence of Jainism. A Jain temple could have been in existence in the village during the later Chola era since the Chola kings patronised Jainism, he said.
“There were evidences of Jain influence in nearby Tirukkattuppalli, Senthalai, Amankudi, Karuppur, Allur and Azhisikudi,” he added. There were literary references of Orathur village in Sangam literature like ‘Pathitrupattu’, he added. He was assisted in the field study by Ramya, a research scholar from the village and K Manoharan, T Sundar.