Inscriptions of the Pallava Dynasty
village of Mamallapuram,
generally called “The Seven Pagodas,” is situated on the
seacoast, thirty-two miles south of Madras, and Saluvankuppam two
miles north of Mamallapuram. Both places are famous for their
Pallava remains, which have been often described.
Their Sanskrit inscriptions, however, have not hitherto been
properly deciphered. The subjoined transcripts are prepared from
mechanical copies made on the spot in December 1886.
different alphabets are employed in the Pallava inscriptions of
Mamallapuram and Salvankuppam. The first, very archaic alphabet is
found in the following inscriptions Nos.1 to 16 of the so-called
Dharmaraja Ratha. The bulk of the Mamallapuram inscriptions, viz.,
those of the so-called Ganesa Temple, Dharmaraja Mandapa and
Ramanuja Mandapa and the inscription No.17 of the Dharmaraja Ratha,
are written in the second, an extremely florid character. The third
alphabet occurs on the northern, and the fourth on the southern wall
of the Atiranachandesvara Temple at Salvankuppam. Dr. Burnell
assigns the first alphabet to about the fifth century, the second to
about 700, the third to the eighth or ninth century and the fourth
to the eleventh century A.D. To this I have only to add, that the
second alphabet probably belongs to the sixth century, as it
resembles that of Rajasimha’s and Mahedravarman’s inscriptions
first sixteen inscriptions of the Dharmaraja Ratha consist of a
string of words in the nominative case, which their first
decipherers, Drs. Babington and Burnell, took for names of deities.
From a comparison with the remaining inscriptions, where several of
them recur, it follows, however, that they are birudas of
a Pallava kind Narasimha (Nos. 1 and 7). Among these birudas,
Atyanktakama, Srinidhi and Sribhara were also borne by the two kings
mentioned in the later inscriptions of Mamallapuram and
Saluvankuppam. Other birudas reappear in the
inscriptions of the Pallava king Rajasimha at Kanchi, viz., Parapara,
Bhuvanabhajana, Srimegha, and Sarvatobhadra.
of the inscriptions, which are written in the second alphabet, viz.,
that of the Ganesha Temple and that of the Dharmaraja Mandapa, are
identical and consist of eleven verses. They record, that the two
temples, at which they are found, were built by a kind Atyantakama
and were called after him Atyantakama – Pallavesvara-griha. The
kind bore the birudas of Ranajaya, Srinidhi and Sribhara.
fragmentary inscription at the Ramanuja Mandapa consists of the last
verse of the two last-mentioned inscriptions. Consequently, it seems
to have been a third inscription of Atyantakama.
the last inscription in the second alphabet (No.17 of the Dharmaraja
Ratha) it appears, that Atyantakama appropriated to himself the
Dharamaraja Ratha, which had been excavated by his predecessor
Narasimha, and called it Atyantakama-Pallavaves-vara-griha. He also
added his own biruda Ranajaya to those engraved by Narasimha.
the inscription on the northern wall of Saluvankuppam Cave is a
later transcript of that on the northern wall. It adds seventh
verses we learn, that the temple was built by a King Atirnachanda
and was called after him Atiranachandesvar. The kind bore the biruds
Atyantakama, Ranajay, Srinidhi and Sribhara, all but the third
of which occur in the Kanchi inscriptions.
inscription on the southern wall of the Saluvankuppam Cave is later
transcript of that on the northern wall. It adds a seventh verse and
the four birudas Anugrasila, Kalakala, Samardhandhamjaya,
thee three first of which are also found in the Kanchi inscriptions.
Over the entrance, the name of the temple, Atiranachandra-Palla [
vesvara-griha ], is engraved in both alphabets.
Rev. E. Loventhal of Vellore possesses a fair number of Pallava
coins from Mamallapuram. All of them bear on the obverse a Nandi and
various legends over it. One of the coins, with a star on the
reverse, reads: another, with a
fish on the reverse, and a third, with a cross on the reverse. It
will be remembered, that Sribhara and Srinidhi were bridas of
the Pallava King Narasimha, who founded the Dharamaraja Ratha.
1.) May (Siva) the destroyer of Love, who is the cause of
production, existence and destruction, (but is himself) without
cause, fulfill the boundless desires
May he (Siva) be victorious, who is without illusion and
possessed of manifold illusion, who is without qualities and endowed
with qualities, who is existing by himself and is without superior,
who is without lord and the highest lord!
bears on his head the unborn (Siva),
by the weight of whose great toe Kailsa together with the
ten-faced (Ravana) sank down into Patala.
be victorious for a long time, who bears Bhava (Siva) in his
mind which is filled with devotion, and bears the earth on his arm
like a coquettish embellishment!
King Atyantakama, who has subdued the territories of his foes, is
famed (by the name of) Ranajaya;
- he caused to be made this house of Sambhu (Siva).
May he be victorious, who is both fire and air, who is both terrible
(Bhima) and kind (Siva), who is both the cause of
prosperity (Samkara) and the destroyer of Love!
be victorious, who is a king of kings, but is not ugly (like
Kuvera), who is an emperor, but does not distress people (while
Vishnu is both Chakrabhrit and Janardana), who is the lord of
protectors, but healthy (while the moon is the lord of stars, but is
subject to eclipses)!
and 9.) Just as in a large lake filled with water which is fit for
bathing, and covered with various lotus-flowers, handsome Samkara (Siva)
abides on the large head – sprinkled with the water of
coronation and covered with bright jewels – of the illustrious
who deprives his enemies of their pride, who is a receptacle of
wealth, who possess the charm of Cupid,
and who assiduously worships Hara (Siva).
He, desiring to attain the glory of Samkara (Siva), caused to
be made this lofty dwelling of Dhurjati (Siva), in order to
procure the fulfillment of their desires to his subjects.
Six times cursed be those, in whose hearts does not dwell Rudra (Siva),
the deliverer from the walking on the evil path!
temple of Atyantakama-Pallavesvara.
1 and 2.) Just as in a large lake filled with water which is fit for
bathing, and covered with various lotus-flowers, handsome Samkara (Siva)
abides on the large head-sprinkled with the water of coronation
and covered with bright jewels – of the illustrious Atyantakama,
who deprives his enemies of their pride, who is receptacle of
wealth, who possesses the charm of Cupid, and who assiduously
worships Hara (Siva).
For the welfare of the earth, he who stands at the head of the lords
of the earth, caused to be made this house of Sambhu (Siva),
which resembles Kailasa and Madara.
May Sribhara be Victorious for a long time, who bears Bhava (Siva)
in his mind which is filled with devotion, and bears the earth
on his arm like a coquettish embellishment!
the lord of the rulers of the earth, made this (temple called) Atiranachandesvara.
May Pasupati (Siva), attended by the mountain-daughter (Parvathi)
and the troop of Guhas, always take delight (in residing) here!
May the eight-formed lord of beings (Siva), for a long time
take up his abode in this temple (called) Atiranachandevara,
which was caused to be built by him, who, together with the name of
Atiranachanda, bears deep devotion to Isana (Siva), abundant
prosperity, the heavy burden of the earth and unequalled liberality,
and who is famed by the name of Ranajaya!
Who will be able to understand the music of Kalakala,
if it were not Vidhatri (Brahman), Bharata, Hari, Narada, or
(the conqueror of wealth in battle).
Samgramadhira (the firm in war).