17th Century inscription, snake sculpture found in Tamil Nadu

It mentions the name of the place where the inscription is found as Pandavanam and adds Ayyannan is always at the service of the Lord of Thalaimalai.

Published: 16th December 2019 10:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th December 2019 10:34 AM   |  A+A-

Stone engraving and sculptures found near Musiri in Tiruchy

Stone engraving and sculptures found near Musiri in Tiruchy. (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

A team of historians found an ancient inscription tablet along with a snake sculpture belonging to the 17th or 18th century on paleographic grounds close to the remote village of Pappappatti near Musiri.

Several boulders of various sizes surrounded by thick vegetation can be seen in the outskirts of the village on the banks of a seasonal stream, locally called Panchamuga river.

R Jeyaraj, secretary of the local council, visited the place for a survey and came across an inscribed rock. He informed R Anbalagan, a lecturer at Arignar Anna Government Arts College, Musiri to seek help in deciphering the inscription.

A team of historians, including Dr R Akila, assistant professor, Department of History along with Dr M Nalini, Head, Department of History, Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College visited the village and explored the entire area.

The team found three engravings - two on slabs and one on a larger rock.

Dr R Kalaikkovan, Director, Dr M Rajamanikkanar Centre for Historical Research, said, "One of the two slabs has a depiction of a crawling hooded cobra. The second slab has a well-sculpted pair of entwined snakes. The two circles formed by their coils are used by the sculptor to exhibit a Linga and flower medallion. The Linga with a square base adorned with a garland occupies the top circle. The medallion is sculpted as a fully blossomed flower filling the lower circle. The inscription engraved on the slab gives the name of an individual as Ayyannan, probably the donor."

He added the larger rock which had a pair of footprints portrayed on one side is chiselled to make for a smooth surface on the lower side for the Tamil inscription. The 14 lines record the construction of a stone pavilion on the rocky path that lead to the temple of Venkatesvara Swami at Thalaimalai by Ayyannan, son of Venkatapathi, on the 14th of the Tamil month Thai in the year Vilambi.

It mentions the name of the place where the inscription is found as Pandavanam and adds Ayyannan is always at the service of the Lord of Thalaimalai.

It is also mentioned those who protect the stone pavilion and the inscription would be blessed by the God of Thalaimalai with plenty of children. 

Thalaimalai is 3 km way from where the discovery was made and temple is presently known as Sanjiviraya Perumal Koyil. The presiding deity is Venkatachalapathy and the goddess is Alarmelmangai Thayar. It takes a 4-km trek through rocky terrain from the foothill to reach the temple.

It is strange to find a record of construction at a distance of 3 km. from the actual site and one can assume Ayyannan probably was a native of Pappappatti. 

Nalini dates the inscription to the 17th or 18th century on paleographical grounds and the discovery has been reported to the concerned authorities.


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