A memorial stone with inscriptions from the Kaliamman Temple
A memorial stone with inscriptions from the Kaliamman Temple Photo | Express

Tamil Nadu: 13th-century memorial stone laden with inscriptions discovered near Kallakurichi

The inscriptions outside the Vanavareddy Kali Temple, dating back to the fifteenth regnal year of Kulothunga III, provide invaluable insights into the religious landscape of the region.

VILLUPURAM : Archaeological enthusiasts belonging to Yakkai Heritage Trust discovered inscriptions on memorial stone dating back to the 13th century in the quaint town of Vanavareddy in Kallakurichi district. The discovery came to light when a bird conservation non-profit by the name Kuyili had identified the inscription, which later led to an investigation by the people from the trust.

Sources said that senior archaeologist R Poongundran, former joint director of the Archaeology department of the Government of Tamil Nadu, examined the inscription and validated its historical significance.
Yakkai Heritage Trust Secretary Kumaravel Ramasamy said that their team, during a fieldwork, uncovered a memorial stone with inscriptions from the Kaliamman Temple and a fragmentary inscription from a nearby Aiyanar temple. "These findings shed a light on the establishment of a Sapthamadhar Temple, honouring the Ezhupidari," he said.

Historically, he said, the Vanagovaraiyar dynasty reigned over vast swathes of territory, including the present-day Salem, Perambalur, Kallakurichi, Villupuram, Tiruvannamalai, and several parts of the Cuddalore district. "Their reign marked an era of flourishing religious diversity, as evidenced by the patronage extended to Buddhism, Shaivism, Vaishnavism, and folk deities," he added.

Ramasamy said the inscriptions outside the Vanavareddy Kali Temple, dating back to the fifteenth regnal year of Kulothunga III, provides invaluable insights into the administrative and religious landscape of the region. "Notably, it mentions the establishment of a temple dedicated to seven Pidaaris by Ponparappinaan -- a title bestowed upon the kings of the Vanagovaraiyar dynasty.

The association between the Pidaari Temple and the Aiyanar Temple underscores the enduring legacy of folk worship in Tamil Nadu. The ancient adage 'oorukoru pidaari, erikoru aiyanaru' (a pidaari for a village, an aiyanaar for a lake) epitomises the ubiquitous presence of these deities in every village and by every lake," he said.

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