AND SANSKRIT INSCRIPTIONS CHIEFLY COLLECTED IN 1886-87
I - part I, II, III, & IV)
Tamil and Sanskrit inscriptions contained in this volume, were, for
the most part, coped in situ by myself, after taking up the
appointment of Epigraphist to the Government of Madras on the 21st
November 1886. The
Original manuscript, which was forwarded to Dr.Burgess on the 20th
September 1887, contained only on the materials collected on my
first tour to the Seven Pagodas (12th to 22nd
December 1886) and to parts of the North Arcot District (6th
January to 22nd April 1887).
As Dr. Burgess considered it desirable that this manuscript
should be revised and enlarged, and as a considerable number of
types had to be cut before it could be printed.
I was enabled to add the Sanskrit and Tamil inscriptions of
the Kailasanatha Temple at Kanchipuram, where I stayed from the 27th
September to the 19th October 1887, a few inscriptions
copied during my next two tours, and some historically important
copper-plate grants. A
second volume, which will contain the inscriptions of the great
temple at Tanjore, is now nearly ready for the press.
first object kept in view in the preparation of this volume, has
been scrupulous accuracy in the minutest details of the transcripts.
The second aim was, not merely to give a translation each
record, but to extract from it all the historical facts, to support
and supplement these by a comparison of similar records, and thus to
contribute some share to a future history of Southern India.
the Tamil inscriptions I was fortunate enough to have an able and
efficient helpmate in my assistant, Mr. V. Venkayya, M.A., a Tamil
Brahmin, who promises to do excellent work in the field of
South-Indian Epigraphy. It
is still a popular opinion that a colloquial knowledge of one of the
vernaculars with a slight smattering of Sanskrit is sufficient for
editing successfully the records of bygone time.
But this is an undertaking which, besides god linguistic
attainments, requires careful training in the methods followed
by the European school of classical philology ;and, before
al, an earnest and patient desire for truth, - the object of all
science. It is to be
hoped that other young native graduates will follow on
Mr.Venkayya’s lines and take up the neglected subject of
South-Indian Epigraphy. The
records are so numerous, and so many intricate historical questions
have still to be solved, that there is room for a large number of
independent qualified workers.
editing the Tamil inscriptions, it was necessary to deviate somewhat
from the method followed by Dr.Buhler and Mr.Fleet in their
publication of Sanskrit inscriptions.
The spelling of the originals is so arbitrary that, in order
to correct all inaccuracies, the editor would have to give two
transcripts of each inscription, an uncorrected one.
Thus, for instance, n and
r are interchangeable with n
The letters e and o – a later invention of the celebrated
- are not distinguished from e and o. The long forms of
i and u are
rarely used. Of the use
of the Pulli or
the dot over consonants, which corresponds to the Nagari Virama, there are only traces in two ancient inscriptions.
As, however the Tamil character without the Pulli is
to the unexperienced about as unintelligible as the Semitic
character without vowel marks, that sign has been everywhere added.
In some cases the correct transcription was not easy to
ascertain, especially in the case of which in Tamil inscriptions represents the modern
letters a, r, and ra. Consequently, ko may be read as ko, ko, ker,
kera and kera. As an instance that even Tamilians may puzzled by
this deficiency of their ancient alphabet, it may be mentioned that
in an inscription of Rajendra-Chola-deva,
Mr. S. M. Natesa Sastru has transcribed the word by kola (for kola
while the correct reading is Kerala ;
and Rajendra-Chola-deva surname
has been sometimes transcribed as Koppakesarivarman instead
A further peculiarity of Tamil inscriptions is the
indiscriminate use of Grantha letters.
Strictly speaking, these ought to appear exclusively in
Sanskrit words. But,
throughout this volume, the reader will find numerous instances of
Sanskrit words, of which
some letters are Grantha and others Tamil ; and, vise versa, Grantha
letters are occasionally introduced into pure Tamil words. All these
anomalies are scrupulously preserved in the transcripts.
Wherever the irregular orthography might perplex the reader,
or where evident mistakes are committed by the writer or engraver,
the correct forms are given in the foot-notes.
Superfluous letters are enclosed in round brackets (
) and indistinct
letters in square brackets [
]. A small star
marks letters which are supplied conjecturally [
Tamil alphabet is transcribed as follows : -
aa, i , iie, u, vuu, e, ai, o, ow
or g, ing, ich, inj, it or id , in, ith or idh, in, ip or ib, im, iy,
ir, il, iv, izh, il, ir, in.
the transliteration of Sanskrit words, the system employed in the Indian
Antiquary, the Epigraphia Indica, elsewhere, has been
followed. Proper names
derived from Sanskrit are given in their Sanskrit forms in the
translations and introductions.
royal dynasties, to which most of the inscriptions contained in this
volume belong are the Pallavas, Eastern Chalukyas, Cholas and
Vijayanagara Kings. The
first few pages contain the earliest inscriptions of the Pallavas,
which are found at the Seven Pagodas.
These are followed by the inscriptions of the same dynasty at
Kanchipuram. The period
of some subsequent Pallava kings is settled by a copper-plate grant
from Kuram (No.151).
grant from the Sir. W.Elliot Collection (No.39) enabled me to extend
the pedigree of the Eastern Chalukyan dynasty and to fix with great
probability the time of three Chola kings,
whose names, together with those of some predecessors, were known
from the large Leyden grant.
The regnal years of one of
these kings can now be converted into years of the Saka era
through Mr. Fleet’s calculation of lunar eclipse, which, according
to an inscription at Tiruvallam, took place in the 7th
year of Rajaraja. A
pedigree of the first dynasty of Vijayanagara is furnished by an
inscription, which is still at their former capital (No.153).
books, from which I have derived most help, are Bohtlingk and
Roth’s great Sanskrit Dictionary, Bohtlingk’s abridged Sanskrit
Dictionary, the excellent Dictionnaire Tamoul – Francais, Pondichery,
1855 and 1862, Burgess’s and Fleet’s Indian Antiquary, Fleets
Dynasties of the
Kanarese Districts of the Bombay Presidency, and Sewell’s Lists
of Antiquities in the Madras Presidency.
In conclusion, I
have to thank Mr. R. Hill, the Superintendent of the Madras
Government Press, for the patient care he has bestowed on the
sometimes intricate proof-sheets, and for the correctness and
elegance with which he has carried this volume thorough the press.