MADURAI: The inscriptions found at the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple indicate that the earliest mention of the presiding deity’s name ‘Meenakshi’ was on the engravings of Paavai Vilakku dating back to 1752 CE (268 years ago), said Archaeological Expert C Santhalingam who carried out a year-long study on the temple’s inscriptions.
The deity was referred to as ‘Thirukkamakkottam Udaiya Aludaiya Nacchiyar’ in the 13th-century inscriptions belonging to Pandya period, he added. Addressing media persons on Friday, he said “As a part of the recent study that went on for a year, 410 inscriptions (nearly 99 per cent of all the inscriptions were found in the temple) have been documented.
Of which, 78 contain the full text and 304 were found as fragments. Of the 78 fully intact inscriptions, 77 are in Tamil, while one is in Sanskrit with Grantha characters.” Led by Santhalingam, a team of experts, including State Archaeology Department Archaeological Officer B Asai Thambi, Government Madurai Museum Curator M Marudhu Pandian, Researcher (Pandya Nadu Centre for Historical Research) R Udhayakumar involved in the survey-cum-documentation that commenced in July last year. The findings are soon to be released by temple management.