The Indian Analyst

South Indian Inscriptions





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Part I    -Sanskrit Inscription

Part II  -Tamil & Grantha Ins.

Part III -Notes & Fragments

Part IV  -Addenda

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Chola Inscriptions

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Pallava Inscriptions

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Ins. during 1903-1904

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Annual Reports 1935-1944

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Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum Volume 2, Part 2

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Early Gupta Inscriptions

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The original of the subjoined grant was bought for Government from the Dharmakarta of Kuram, a village near Kanchipuram.  It is engraved on seven this copper-plates, each of which measures 10 1/8 by 3 ¼ inches.  as the plates are in very bad preservation, the work of deciphering them was somewhat difficult. Of the seventh plate about one half is completely lost.  Next to it, the first, fifth and sixth plates have suffered most. An elliptic ring, which is about 3/8 inch thick and measures 4 by 4 ¾ inches in diameter is passed through a hole on the left side of each plate.  The seal is about 2 ½ inches in diameter and bears a bull, which is seated on pedestal, faces the left and is surmounted by the moon and a linga. Farther up, there are a few much obliterated syllables. A legend of many letters passes round the whole seal.  Unfortunately it is so much worn, that I have failed to decipher it. 

The language of the first 4 ½ plates of the inscription is Sanskrit,-verse and prose; the remainder is written in Tamil.  The Sanskrit portion opens with three benedictory verses, of which the two first are addressed to Siva and the third mentions the race of the Pallavas.  Then follow, as usual, a mythical genealogy of Pallava, the supposed founder of the Pallava race:-















The historical part of the inscription describes three kings, viz., Paramesvaravarman, his father Mahendravarman and his grandfather Narasimhavarman. of Narasimhavarman it says, that he “repeatedly defeated the Cholas, Keralas, Kalabhras and Pandyas,” that he “wrote (three) syllables of (the word) vijaya (i.e., victory), as on a plate, Pulakesin’s back, which was caused to be visible (i.e., whom he caused to turn his back) in the battles of Pariyala, Manimangala, Suramara, etc.,” and that he “destroyed (the city of) Vatapi.” No historical information is given about Mahendravarman, who, accordingly, seems to have been an insignificant ruler.  A laudatory description of the virtues and deeds of his son Paramesvaravarman fills two plates of the inscription.  The only historical fact contained in this long and difficult passage is that, in a terrible battle, he “made Vikaramaditya,-whose army consisted of several lakshas,-take to flight, covered only by a rag.”

The three kings who are mentioned in the Kuram grant, viz., Narasimhavarman, Mahendravarman and Paramesvaravarman, are identical with three Pallava kings described in Mr.Foulkes’ grant of Nadivarman Pallvamalla[1], Narasimhavarman I., Mahendravarman II. and Paramesvaravarman I.  of Narasimhavarman I. the last-mentioned grant likewise states, that he “destroyed Vatapi”  and that he “frequently defeated Vallabharaja at Pariyala, Manimangala, Suramara, and other (places).” Here Vallabharaja reports, that Paramesvaravarman I. “defeated the army of Vallabha in the battle of Peruvalanallur,” It is evident that it alludes to the same fight as is described in the Kuram grant.

If we combine the historical information contained in both grants, it appears-1. that the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I.  defeated Pulakesin, alias Vallabharaja, at Pariyala, Manimangala, Surama, and other places, and destroyed Varapi, the capital of the Western Chalukyas, and-2.that his grandsonParamesvaravarman I. defeated Vikramaditya, aliasVallabha, at Peruvalanallur.  As stated above (p.11), Pulakesin and Vikramaditya, the opponents of the two Pallva kings, must have been the Western Chalukya kings Pulikesin II. (Saka 532 and 556) and his son Vikramaditya I. (Saka 592 (?) to 602 (?), who more indico, likewise boast of having conquered their antagonists.[2] Thus, a grant of Pulikesin II. says, that “he cause the leader of the Pallavas to hide his prowess behind the ramparts of Kanchipura;” and, in a grant of Vikramaditya I., it is said that “this lord of the earth, conquering Isvarapotaraja (i.e.,Paramesvaravarman I.) took Kanchi, whose huge walls were insurmountable and hard to be broken, which was surrounded by a large moat that was unfathomable and hard to be broken, which resembled the girdle (Kanchi) of the southern region (read dakshinadisah).”[3]

Another Pallava king, viz., Nadipotavarman, is mentioned as the opponent of the western Chalukya king Vikramadiya II. (Saka 655 to 669) in the Vakkaleri grant, which was published by Mr.Rice.  The table inserted on p.11, above shows that this Nadipotavarman must be identical with the Pallava king Nandivarman Pallavamalla, who is mentioned in Mr.Foulkes’ grant.  Though digressing from my subject, I now sub-join a transcript from the facsimile and a translation of that part of the Vakkaleri grant, which describes the reign of Vikramaditya II.

“Vikramaditya Satyasraya Sri-Prithivi-Vallabha, the king of great kings, the supreme ruler, the lord,-to whom arose great energy immediately after the time of his anointment at the self-choice of the goddess of the sovereignty of the whole world, and who resolved to uproot completely his natural enemy, the Pallava, who had robbed of their splendour the previous kings born from his race,-reached with great speed the

Tundaka-vishya(i.e., the Tondai-mandalam), attacked at the head of a battle and put to flight the Pallava, called Nandipotavarman, who had come to meet him, took possession of the musical instrument (called) “harsh-sounding” and of the excellent musical instrument called “roar of the sea,” of the banner (marked with Siva’s) club, of many renowned and excellent elephants, and of a heap of rubies, which drove away darkness by the light of the multitude of their rays, and entered (the city of) Kanchi,-which seemed to be the handsome girdle (kanchi) of the nymph of the southern region,-without destroying it.  Having made the twice-born, the distressed and the helpless rejoice by continental gifts, having acquired great merit by granting heaps of gold to (the temple) of stone (called) Rajasimhesvara, which Narasimhapotavarman had caused to be built, and to other temples, and having burnt by the unimpeded progress of his power the Pandya, Chola, Kerala Kalabhra and other princes, he placed a pillar of victory (jayastambha), which consisted (as it were) of the mass of his fame that was as pure as the bright moon in autumn, on the Southern Ocean, which was called Ghurnamanarnas (i.e., that whose waves are rolling) and whose shore glittered with the rays of the pearls, which had dropped from the shells, that were beaten and split by the trunks of the frightened elephants (of his enemies), which resembles sea-monsters.”

That Vikramaditya II. really entered Kanchi and visited the Rajasimhesvara Temple, is proved by much obliterated Kanarese inscription in the KailasanathaTemple at Kanchipuram.  This inscription is engraved on the back of a pillar in the mandapa in front of the Rajasimhesvara Shirne, close to the east wall of that mandapa, which at a later time was erected between the front mandapa and Rajasimhesvara.  It begins with the name of “Vikramaditya Satyasraya Sri-Prithivi-vallabha, the king of great kings, the supreme ruler, the lord” and mentions the temple of Rajasimhesvara.

I now return to the Kuram plates.  The three last of them contain the grant proper, and record in Sanskrit and Tamil, that Paramesvara (i.e., Paramesvaravarman I.) gave away the village of Paramesvara-mangalam,-which was evidently names after the king himself,-in twenty-five parts.  Of these, three were enjoyed by two Brahmanas, Anantasivacharya and Phullasarma, who performed the divine rites and looked after repairs of the Siva temple at Kuram,  which was called Vidyavinita-Pallava-Paramesvara, and which had been built by Vijayavinitha-Pallava, probably a relative of the king.  The fourth part was set aside for the cost of providing water and fire for the mandapa at Kuram, and the fifth for reciting the Bharata in this mandapa.  The remaining twenty parts were given to twenty Chaturvedins.


At the time of the grant, the village of Kuram belonged to the nadu (country) or, in Sanskirt, manyavantara-rashtra of Nirvelur, a division of Urrukkattukkottam (lines 49 and 57 f.), and the village of Paramesvaramangalam belonged to the Panma-nadu or Patma-manyavantara-rashtra, a division of Manyirkottam (lines 53 and 71).  As, in numerous Tamil inscriptions, “panma” corresponds to the Sanskrit ,-the form Panma-nadu, which occurs also in No.86, might mean the country of the Varmas, i.e., of the Pallavas, whose names end in varman, the nominative case of which is varma.  There is, however, a possibility of “panma” being a mistake for, and “panma” a Tamil form of, Padma, one of the names of the goddess Lakshmi.  With Manayirkottam compare Manavirkottam in No.86 and Eyirkottam in No.88. Possibly Manavirkottam is a mere corruption of Manayirkottam, and Manayil stands for Man-eyil, “mud-fort” which might be a fuller form of Eyil, a village in the South Arcot District, which seems to have given its name to Eyirkottam.

In conclusion, an important paleographical peculiarity of the Tamil portion of the Kuram plates has to be noted.  The pulli, which corresponds to the Nagari virana, occurs frequently, though not regularly, in combination with seven letters of the Tamil alphabet. In the case of five of these (ing, im, il, il, in) it is represented by a short vertical stroke over the letter, as in the inscription No.82, above.  In the case of the two other (inth and ir) it has a similar shape, but is placed behind the letter and at an angle with it, in such a way that the lower part is nearer to the letter than the upper one.


A. Sanskrit portion.

Hail! (Verse 1.) May (Siva) protect us, who has five faces (and) fifteen fearful eyes, who bears the moon on his crest, who wears the trident, whose sacred thread is a terrible serpent, who possesses ten strong arms, who is to be respected by Mukunda (Vishnu) and the other immortals, who produces the creation, who is propitiated by spells, the creator, (who is) knowledge incarnate, who performs perfect self-restraint, and whose form is the universe!

(Verse 2.) Victorious is that Paramesvara (Siva), who consists of the three Vedas, the crest-jewel of the three worlds, who places in the hearts of beings the power which effects actions, the moon of the highest sky, the succession of whose particles (causes) a multitude of products, and whose rays crystallize, when they fall, as on a moon-stone, on the mind of the learned!

(Verse 3.) May that race of the Pallavas ,-in which we hear no prince was (ever) born, who was not pious, who did not perform the sona sacrifice, who raised the club of war unjustly, who was a sham saint, who did not perform heroic deeds (only for the sake of) liberality, whose tongue was so false as to speak an untruth, or who was alarmed in battles,-be unobstructed in protecting earth, which is free from calamities!

(Line 9.) From Brahman (sprang) Angiras; from him, Brihaspati; from him, Bharadvaja; from him, Drona; from him, Pallava, who drove away (every) jot of a calamity from his race; from him, the race of the Pallavas, the favourites of the whole world.

(Verse 4.) May that Pallava race last (for ever), in which we have heard no prince was (ever) born, who was not pious, who was not liberal, (or) who was not brave![4]

(Line 12.). The grandson of Narasimhavarman, (who arose) from the kings of this race, just as the moon and the sun from the eastern mountain; who was the crest-jewel on the head of those princes, who had never bowed their heads (before); who proved a lion to the elephant-herd of hostile kings; who appeared to be blessed Narasimha himself, who had come down (to earth) in the shape of a prince; who repeatedly defeated the Cholas, Keralas, Kalabhras, and Pandyas; who, like Sahasrabahu (i.e.,the thousand-armed Kartavirya), enjoyed theaction fo a thousand arms in hundreds of fights; who wrote the (three) syllables of (the word) vijaya (i.e., victory), as on a plate, on Pulakesin’s back, which was caused to be visible (i.e.,whom he caused to turn his back) in the battlesof Pariyala, Manimangala, Suramara, etc., and who destroyed (the city of) Vatapi, just as the pitcher-born (Agastya) (the demon) Vatapi;-

(Line 17.) The son of mahendravarman, by whom prosperity was thoroughly produced (su-rachita), just as prosperity is heaped on the gods (sura-chita) by Mahendra; and who thoroughly enforced the sacred law of the castes and the orders;-

(Line 19.) (was) Paramesvaravarman, whose beauty (darsana) surpassed (that of) all (others), just as Paramesvara (Siva) has (one) eye (darsana) more than all (others) ; who, like Bharata, was a conqueror of all; who avoided improper conduct (asamanjasa), just as Sagara abandoned (his son) Asmanjasa[5];who possessed a strongbody (anga) just a Karna was (king) of the prosperous Angas; who was fond of poems (kavya), just as Yayati of (his father-in-law) Kavya (Usanas); whose command always caused pain to haughty kings, like a chaplet (forcibly placed on their heads),[6] but gave splendour to the faces of friends by reaching their ears, like an ear-ring; who was constantly clever in the sport of the fine arts (kala), (just as) the moon is charming in the beauty of her digits (kala);(who resembled) the string of pearls (muktaguna) on the breast of Cupid, but who, at the same time, avoided unlawful (intercourse) with women (even) by thought.[7]

(Line 23.) At the head of a battle,-in which the disk of the sun was caused to assume the likeness of the circle of the moon through the mist of the dust, that was produced by the marching of countless troops of men, horses and elephants, which was terrible through the thunder-like sound of drums, which teemed with unsheathed swords that resembled flashes of lightning, in which elephants were moving like clouds, and which (therefore) resembled an unseasonable appearance of the rainy season ; in which tall horses looked like billows, in which elephants caused distress on their path, just as sea-monsters produce whirlpools, in which conches were incessantly blown (or cast up), and which (therefore) resembled the gaping ocean; which was full of swords and shields (avarana), just as of rhinoceroses, creepers and varana (trees), which was crowded with heroes who possessed bows and mighty elephants, as if it were crowded with sara (grass) and with asana,naga, tilaka and pumnaga (trees),  in which confused noises were raised, and which (therefore) appeared to be a forest; which was agitated by a violent wind, (but) in whch the path of the wind was obstructed by arrows, that flew past each other on the bows (themselves), while these were bent by the warriors; in which javelins, pikes, darts, clubs, lances, spears and discuses were flying about ; in which troops of furious elephants firmly impaled each other’s faces with the piercing thunderbolts of their tusks; in which squadrons of horsemen were connected by their swords, that had struck each other’s heads; in which there were soldiers who were noted (for their dexterity) in fighting with sword against sword, (pulling of) hair against (pulling of) hair, and club; in which the ground was thickly smeared with saffron, as the blood was mixed with the copious rutting-juice of elephants, that issued in consequence of (their) considering each other as equals (or) despising each other; in which (both) large armies had lost and dropped arms, necks, shanks, thigh-bones and teeth; in which, owing to the encounter of the armies, both sides were broken, urged on, put to flight and prostrated on the ground which was attended by the goddess of fortune, sitting on the swing of the doubt about mutual victory or defeat; in which brave warriors were marching on the back of lines of fallen elephants, that formed a bridge over the flood of blood; in which soldiers stood motionless,[8] if their blows did not hit each other’s weak parts; which was covered here and there with shattered banners and parasols, with fallen elephants and with dead and half-dead soldiers, who had done their duty, whose strong arms (still) raised the weapon, whose lips were bitten and whose eyes were deep-red with fury; in which a multitude of white chamaras was waving ; in which tiaras, armlets, necklaces, bracelets and ear-rings, were broken, crushed and pulverized; in which the Kushmandas, Rakshasas and Pisachas were singing, intoxicated with drinking the liquor of blood; and which contained hundreds of headless trunks, that were vehemently dancing together in a fearful manner according to the beaten time,-he, unaided, made Vikramaditya, whose army consisted of Several lakshas, take to flight, covered only by a rag.


(Verses 5 and 6.) He, having caused to be accoutred the elephant called Arivarana (i.e., ‘warding off enemies’), whose golden saddle was covered with the splendour of jewels, whose rut was perpetual, who (therefore) appeared to be the king of mountains himself whose torrents never cease to flow, and who was followed by thousands of (other) elephants,-and the horse called Atisaya (i.e, ‘eminence’), whose noble breed was manifest, and who wore a saddle (set with) jewels, together with lakshas of (other) horses, whose ears were covered with chamaras . . . . . [9]

(Line 49.) This Paramesvara gave to the blessed lord Pinakapani (Siva),-who had been placed in the temple of Vidyavinita-Pallava-Paramesvara in the midst of the village called Kura, which possessed one hundred and eight families that studied the four Vedas, (and which was situated) in the manyavantara-rashtra called Nirvelur, in the midst of Urrukkattukkotta, in order to provide for the worship, the bathing (of the idol), flowers, perfumes, incense, lamps, oblations (havir-upahara-bali), conches drums, etc., and for water, fire and the recitation of the Bharata  at this (temple),-the village called Paramesvara-mangala in the manyavantara-rashtra called Patma, in the midst of Manayi[r]kotta, as a divine gift (and) as a gift to Brahmanas, at the request of  Vidyavinita, the lord of the Pallavas, with exemption from all taxes. The executor (ajnapati) of this (grant was) Mahasenadatta (of) Uttarakaranika. And for (performing) the divine rites and the repairs of this temple of Vidyavinitha-Pallava-Paramesvara,-Anatasiva-acharya, the son of Kuratt-acharya, was given(!), and secondly Phullasarman; (their) sons and grandsons were (also) appointed.

B. Tamil portion.

(Line 57.) (At) Kuram and Nammanambakkam. . . . . . . in Nirvellur-nadu,(a division) of Urrukkattukottam,-Vidyavinitha, the Pallava king, bought one thousand and two hundred Kuris of land, for which he paid the price in gold.  (Other) land was purchased, in order to burn tiles for building a temple.  After the patti of Sulaimedu within Talaippadagam and five and a quarter pattis of land in the village, together with the land on which the mandapa was built, were bought; after the temple of Vidyavinita-Pallava-Paramesvara was built; after the tank was dug; and after houses and house-gardens were allotted to those, who had to perform the worship at this temple,-the land, which remained, was to be cultivated for (providing) the customary offerings.  The eastern boundary of this land is to the west of the road to the burning-ground; the southern boundary is to the north of the road, which leads in to the village; the western boundary is to the east of the road, which leads to the district-channel (?) (and which is) on the north of the road, which leads into the village; the northern boundary is to the south of the district-channel.  After the land included within these four boundaries,-with the exception of the temple, the tank, and the houses and house-gardens for those, who had to perform the worship,-and the patti of  Sulaimedu had been given as land to be cultivated for (providing) the customary offerings,-the whole land round the tank(?) in (the village of) :Paramesvaramangalam in Panma-nadu,(a division) of Manayirkottam, (was divided) into twenty-five parts (and set aside) for performing the divine rites and the repairs necessary for this temple, and in order to grant a brahmadeya to twenty chaturvedins. Of these, three parts shall be (for) performing the divine rites and the repairs of the temple at Kuram;one part shall be for water and fire for the mandapa at Kuram; one part shall be for to twenty Chaturvedins. (The donees) shall enjoy the houses and house-gardens of this village, the village-property(?), the oil-mills, the looms, the bazar, the brokerage, the kattikkanam (?) and all other common (property), after (the proceeds) have been divided in the proportion of these twenty-five parts.  The dry land (?) (along) the Perumbidugu channel, which was dug from the Palaru[10] to the tank of Paramesvara at this village, (and) all the land, in which . . . . . . .channels (from) fountains were dug, (shall be) the land of Paramesvaramangalam . . . .  . . .  .

(Line 83.) Of the three parts, which were given, Anantasiva-acharya and his sons and further descendants (shall enjoy) one and a half part . . . . . . . .

(Line 86.) Phullasarman and his sons and further descendants. . . . . . .

[Lines 89 to 95 contain fragments of five Sanskrit verses, in the first of which the inscription is called a prasasti[11]or eulogy; the remaining four were, as usual, imprecatory verses.]

[1] Ind. Ant. Vol. VIII, p.275; Salem Manual, Vol. II, p.356.  The following correction have to be made in the transcript:- Line 13, read Simhavishnor api ; line 14, Pariyala-Mani ; line 16, Peruvalanallur[r]-yyuddhe.

[2] Similarly, Rajendra-chola and Jayasimha III. claim to have conquered each other (see page 96, above) And, in a Mahoba inscription (Journal of the German Oriental Society, vol. XL, p.50) and in the prologue of the drama Prabodhachandrodaya the Chandella king Kirtivarmanand his general Gopala are said to have completely defeated Karna of Chedi or Dahala, who, in the Vikramankacharita (sarga xviii, verse 93), is called “the death to the lord of the Kalanjara mountain” (i.e., to the Chandella king).

[3] The corrupt passage, which precedes the sentence quoted in the next, mentions a “Srivallabha, who had crushed the fame of Narasimha, destroyed the power of Mahendra  and sur-passed Isvara by his polity.” In whatever way the next following lines have to emended, there is, I think, little doubt, that Srivallabha must refer to either Pulikesin II. or Vikramaditya I., and Narasimha, Mahendra and Isvara to the three consecutive Pallava kings Narasimhavarman I., Mahendravarman II and Paramesvaravarman I. 

[4] The same sentiment is expressed in different words in verse 3.

[5] Elsewhere called Asamnja or Asamnjas

[6] The following play on Karnapura, “filling the ears” and “an ear-ring,” suggests that the composer intended to make a similar pun of pida, “pain,” and apida, “a chaplet.” Apida is elsewhere only used as a masculine.

[7] The second muktaguna stands for muktah agunah yena, and aguna for adharma.  With the irregular construction vanitanam muktagunah for mukthavanigunah, compare kshatarakshnam divah for kshtadyurakshnam in the Sisupalavadha, sarga I, verse 48.

[8] With the denominative luptakriyayita compare palikayita in line 34.

[9] Part of verse 6 and the whole of the ensuring prose passage (lines 44 to 49) are corrupt and therefore left untranslated.

[10] This is the Palar river, which flows to the south of Little Kanchi.

[11] According to Mr.Fleet, Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol.III, P.87, note 10, the only other instance, in which the term prasasti is applied to an inscription on copper-plates, is the Chicacole grant of the maharaja Indravarman.


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