The Indian Analyst

South Indian Inscriptions






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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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Of the 588 inscriptions copied during the year 1906 by this office and included in this volume, 484 records are in Tamil.  These epigraphs represent the collections secured from the various districts of Tamil Nadu and from the districts of Chittoor and Cuddapah in Andhra Pradesh.  Among them nearly about 40 records have been published elsewhere, while the texts of the remaining numbers are included here.  They belong to the dynasties of the Cholas, Pandyas, Hoyasalas, Vijayanagara Kings and a number of chiefs such as those of Ummattur etc.

The earliest inscriptions are the cave records found incised on the Jaina caverns of the places like Marugaltalai, Anaimalai, Mangulam etc. They –(Nos.407, 457 and 460 to 465) Are assignable to the period from third century B.C. to the early centuries of the Christian ear. The inscriptions from Mangulam (Nos.460 to 465) are the earliest, which have been assigned to the third century B.C. shri K.V. subrahmanyam Ayyar, discussed first in detail on the Mangulam epigraphs in his elaborate paper on “The earliest monuments of the Pandya Country and their inscriptions”, published in the proceedings of the 3rd All-India Oriental Congress held in 1924.  They have all been deciphered completely by Shri I. Mahadevan, subsequently, and published in the Seminar on Inscriptions, 1966, Madras (pp. 57 ff.) 

The language of the inscription as pointed out by shri subrahmanya ayyar, is Tamil with prakrit words absorbed appropriately and the script is brahmi. Scholars are of the opinion that the Brahmi script used in the caves of Tamil nadu is an adaptation of Asoken Brahmi for writing Tamil language. The varga letters ‘dh’ and ‘s’ which are of common occurrence in the Asokan brahmi inscription are present in the expressions dhammam and asiriya in two of the Mangulam inscription (Nos.460and 465). The letter ‘m’ is written in the form of a horse-shoe shape with a cross bar connecting the two upright arms the letters ‘t’ has two forms, one with a straight stem from which angle

On the right branches off and the other with the two arms downward from out of the vertical main stem. Forms of letters peculiar to Tamil such as ‘1’, ‘1’, ‘r’ and  ‘ii’are found in these inscriptions. 

Next to the cave inscriptions, the inscription No.7 found at the Ranganatha cave temple at Namakkal in salem District written in Sanskrit language and Grantha characters of the 7th century A.D. deserves our attention.  This consists of three pieces and along with a fourth price subsequently discovered in 1960-61 has been revised and edited in the Epigraphia Indica (Vol. XXXVI, pp. 131 ff. and Plate) The cave temple is described as a Sayya-griham, the sleeping apartment, with the reclining deity (Vishnu) surrounded by (the figures of) Markandeya, Garuda, Varuna, Brahma, Isa, Daksha, Sasi, Tumburu, Narada, Guru, Bhrigu, the five weapons, Sri and the demons Madhiu and Kaitabha.  The sculptures carve in the central shrine agree with this description.  The cave temple is called Atiyanatha-and-Aliyendra-Vishnugriham and is attributed to the authorship of gunasila (also called Soma?) an Atiya chief, the senior among the grandsons by the daughter of a king whose name is not clear.  An interesting parallel is found in the name Kongavarman, and Soma family in describing the Kambuja King Bhavavarman.  This architectural activity of excavating this cave-temple could have been possible only sometime before 750 A.D. when both the Pallavas and Pandyas were otherwise engaged. 


An inscription (No. 402) on a stone set up in the Satyagirinatha temple at Tirumaiyam engraved in characters of about the 9th century A.D. belongs to a Muttraiyar chief.  It registers a grant probably of some land and village Andakaudi with the Karanmai-miyatchchi for the renovation of Paudukkuppuram and for the maintenance of the central shrine and as unnaligaippuram, respectively, by perumbiduguperundevi the mother of Videlvidugu Vilupperadiaraisan alias Sattan Maran.  He was member of the Mutturaiyear family, who got the title Videlvidugu after Pallava Nandivaraman, probably as a subordinate.  Shri K.G. Krishnan has identified Perumbidugu Perundevi as the queen of Cattan, the earliest known member of this Muttaraiyar family and has said that these chiefs had added to their official or dynastic designations the titles like Videlvidugu and Perdumbiduga (studies in South Indian History and Epigraphy, Vol. I,  pp-133ff).

There is an interesting record from among the inscription of Parantaka I. One of the sides of a stone containing this does not mention the name of the ruling kind and his date (No. 348).  But from the nature of its contents, it appears to be connected with the other side of the same slab, which refers to the 32nd year (938-39 A.D.) of the reign of Parantaka I (No. 347).  The dated record refers to the digging of a tank by Orriyur-Peruman, son of Narumanjira Kaliyotti of Urrukadu.  A person by name Iravi A [ch]chal Pa[va]dali A[na]n is stated to have offered his head as a sacrifice probably for the successful completion of the above mentioned tank thus affording an instance of sacrifice made for public welfare.  There is a picturesque portrayal of this incident on stone to the right of the epigraph. 

Gramam in South Arcot District called Mudiyur in ancient time is believed to have been the head-quarters of a large army under the command of Prince Rajaditya.  During the years between the 29th (935-36 A.D.) and 39th (945-46 A.D.) years of the King parantaka I, this prince is connected with the gifts made to the temple of Sri Arruttali Perumanadigal at Mudiyur which was reconstructed in stone by one of his generals Vellan Kumaran (A.D. Ep.1905, No. 735).  Similarly the place Jambal in the same district is known as Valaiyur in the record of tenth century A.D.  A mandapa in the name of the nagarattar is stated to have been raised by princess Viranaraniyar, the wife of Pillaiyar Gandaradittar and daughter (in-law) of Solamadeviyar, in the 34th year (940-41 A.D.) of the reign of Parantaka I (No. 108).  This body gave an undertaking to maintain the structure in good condition by means of an endowment of 70 kalanju of gold collected through tax and to maintain a lamp therein during nights from out of the interest accrued thereon. 

An inscription from Tirumalpuram (No. 286) dated in the 14th year of the reign of Konerinmaikondan is an order issued from the original site of the mansion (pon-maligai) in the palace at Kachchipedu (i.e. Kanchi). 

This is an interesting document throwing some light on the contemporary administrative practices.  It is addressed to Manaiyil-nnnattar, brahmadeyakkilavar, the authorities of the devadana, palichchandam, kanimurruttu and vettapperu villages (urgal) and the cities (nagarangal) regarding the proceedings pertaining to the dues from the village Chirri[dai]yarrur in Manaiyil-nade to the temple of Mahadeva at Tirumalppperu. A grant of the entire village excluding the kani of Samgappadi-kilan was made to this deity as a tax-free devadana in the 21st year (892 A.D) in the reign of Chola Aditya I and the administration of the charity was entrusted to the sabhaiyar of puduppakkam in purisanadu. But this transaction was entered into the register only in the 4th year (910-11 A.D.) of the reign of parantaka I. The saghaaiyar of puduppakkam failed to pay the dues to the temple in respect of this kani. A complaint was made to the king regarding this by the temple authorities. The king Konerinmaikondan who may be identified with Uttamasola conducted an enquiry. Having found out the truth, he fined the sabhaiyar of puduppakkam and ordered that the entire dues from village as well as from the individual land be paid regularly by them from the 14th year (985 A.D.) of this reign. The whole proceedings commenced from the 116th day in the 14th year and the final entry in the register was made on the 218th day (line121) in the same year. The list of officers from Kodukulavan Chatta alias Parakesari-muvendavelan of paruttikkudi, the highest executive (karumam araykimra) down to the person in charge of the register (variyilidu) who were set on this job is given in the record. Thus we get here a record of a particular transaction spread over a period of 93 years. This is published is south Indian Inscription, Vol.III, No.142. 

The reference to the original site in the golden mansion (pon-maligal-adi bhumi) in the place at Kachchi enables us to conclude finally that sundarasola who is reported in the Tiruppalittattai inscription to have died in this palace, which continued to be used by the later kings. The village Sirriyarrur and pudukkan have been defined with Chittattur and puduppakkam in Walajapet Taluk of the North Arcot District. 

In the inscription of parantaka I, jambai is referred to by the name vadagarai valaipur. The village got additional names Nittavlnodapuram and Virarajendrapuram respectively in the record of Rajaraja and Kulottunga I. It was also called sanbai. A record (No.84) dated in the 24th year (1008-09 A.D.) of Raja raja I from this village refers to the digging of a tank by the Chief Rajaraja vanakovaraiyan, for the benefit of Nerkunram, Rajaraja vanakovaraiyan governing the vanakoppadi- nadu, in which division the village jambai was located (No.71) was a subordinate of the king. This chief is described as Mahabalikulatilaka and parivaipura- paramesvara and also called Maravan Narasimhavarman in his 26th year (1010-11 A.D.) inscription (86). 

One of the records (No.80) of Rajendra dated in his 3rd year (1014-15 A.D.) begins with the prasasti  ‘Tirtumagal-maruviya’, ect., and refers to a case of suicide committed by a lady by drinking poison unable to bear the harassment of a tax collector. Since the body.   “Nangu-disal-padinenbumi-nanadesi” are said to have interceded in the above matter and demanded atonement from the man responsible for her death, it may be surmised that her son Virar-puttiran might have been a member of this body. This arrangement was to be overseen by the nagarathar of Rajendrapuram (I,e.Valaiyur). Another case of the powerful intercession by the same mercantile body in respect of a death of a women caused by her husband, the circumstances being not clear, recorded in No. 91.

Of the two epigraphs of Virarajendradeva from jambai (Nos. 83and 100), No.100 refers to a certain mahavrati Lakulisa-pandita, the head of a matha attached to the temple of Tirukkarrali- mahadevan at Virarajendrapuram. We have heard of mahavratins from a number of chola inscriptions found in places like Tribhuvanam in the south and Gudimallam in the north of the Chola territory. 


A solitary record (No.133) coming from Elavanasur in south Arcot district is dated in the 3rd year of solakeraladeva.Two records of this prince are known from Tirukkoyilur (S.I.I, Vol.III, Nos.189 and 140). Rjendradeva in his records is stated to have conferred the title solakeraladevan on one of his sons. It is likely that he ruled jointly with his father in this area under that epithet. 

Of the records of Kulottunga II, one of them (No.67), which is dated I his 3rd year, refers to an accidental death caused by the faulty aim of arrows while hunting which was atoned for by means of a gift for the perpetual lamp by the person concerned to the temple of the place. It is stated in this epigraphs that the body called Chitrameli periyanattar enquired into the case and made an award to this effect. This along with the other instance cited above attested to the influence of the corporate bodies like the Nanadesis and the periyanadu in such matters requiring juridical action. 

A record of Rajendra II dated in his 18th regnal year from Tirukkedaiyur (No. 32) lists the endowments made up to that date to the temple of the place by number of persons including Tirchchirrambalamudaiyan permumanambi alias Pallavarayar. Of Karigaikulattur and vedavanamudaiyan Ammaiyappan of Palaiyanur. The former was the famous general and minister of Rajaraja II who took a dominant part in the war of pandya succession by vanquishing the Ceylonese army that took sides with parakrama pandya and latter reinstated his rival Kulasekhara on the pandya throne. (See Ep. Ind, Vol. XXI, p.186). 

One set of verse inscriptions engraved on the walls of the second gopura in the sikhanathasvami temple (Nos. 373,374 and 376) at Kudumilayai assignable to 13th century on grounds of paleography are in praise of a Pandya king described as Seyyaperumal, Minvarkon Kannivalanadan and Tennavan the last of the three epigraphy (No.376) refers to a fight of this Pandya king with the Chola, in which the latter was forced to flee. It is a clear reference to Maravaraman  Sundarapandya I (acc: 1216 A.D) No. 374 refers to a his generosity. Without propriety (iaram), in granting the Chola territory (i.e., conquered portions) to the Bana chief (Cf.Tiruvellarai inscription (A.R.No.196 of 1938-39). 

Another set of verses (Nos. 381-383 and 385) engraved not on the rockcut temple but on the rock behind the Ayyanar (Arai for short –in No. 385). They are Rajarajan, his son ponparappina-perumal and his second chief called as vira Magadan Rajarajadevan pon parappinan Magadaipprumal. This chief also called, Rajarajadevan ponparappinan alias vanakovaraiyan of Aragalur, figures in the records of Kulottunga III from Tiruvannamalai (S.I.I. Vol.III Nos 283, 284 &296) This Chief is described as vadugerinda-Magadesan in No.381. The term ‘vadugerinda’ may be taken to mean that he' overthrew the vadugas’. Vadugais an expression that is used to denote the northerner. Since this chief is known to have been also a subordinate to Kopperunjinas (S.I.I.Vol.XII. No.235) It is possible that he took part in the latter campaign In the north against the Kakatiya i.e., the northerner the circumstances under which the Bana chief turned against the pandya as evidenced by Nos.381 and 383 are not clear. 

Three records from Tirumaiyam belonging to Maravarman sundara-pandya of accession 1238(No.387, 388 and 392) establish the friendly relations that existed between the pandya and the Hoysalas. The first (No.387), which is dated in the 7th year, gives the details of date. This record dated on the 7th may, 1245 A.D. refers to the settlement of a dispute between the authorities of the temples of Siva and Vishnu of that place affected in the presence of Appanna-danda-nayaka.The dandanayaka who took over the nadu on behalf of Hoysala Somesvara seems to have caused this act and his adjudication of the dispute would show the hold of the Hoysalas on the Pandya king referred to in the inscription. The Vishnu temple at Murappanadu in the Tirunelveli district (Nos .431-35) is known from the inscription as named after Somideva i.e., somesvara deva. He is the name of the riling king is not mentioned in Nos. 431-34, he must obviously be sundara pandya who is referred to above. 

A record. From Tirukkadaiyur (No.46) is dated in his 34th year, which along with other details of date corresponds to 1301 A.D., September 10 in the reign of Maravarmam Kulasekhara I. It is learnt from this record that after the nadu (Ambur-nadu and envirous) was distributed by the king for being ruled over by his brothers as tirukkaivalakkam. Since there was anarchy for a long time and people were put to much hardship, the nattar comprising brahmanas and vallar appealed to the king to restore his own rule over the area and arranged to provide for 108 lamps daily for his merit. The practice of the king distributing the dominions (Tirukkadaiyur being in the conquered areas in the Chola country) among his brothers was obviously an extension of the practice that already obtained in the pandya country and also among the Cholas. 

Two epigraphs from Tirumaiyam (Nos.395-96) are dated in the 57th year of Chadaiyavarman  parakrama-pandya who cannot be identified with either of the same name of acc. 1315 or 1358 A.D. (N.sethuraman imperial pandyas, p 247) on account of the manner of dating. They are however interesting as they refers to a certain siraladevar Munaiyadaraiyan –Mukkanayinan of Melur in Kananadu along with the sister of one Tiruvudaiyar Piravikkunallar, He is mentioned to have settle some holdings on his son before this marriage and sold some others. The sum of 200 panam thus raised was paid as marriage money to the brother who was perhaps the guardaian and 540 panam towards angaghushanam for the bride. 


A record (No.161) from Elavanasur, dated in saka 1368 (1446 A.D.-the other details of dated of date being given) refers to the rule of Vijayaraya-Maharaya and endows him with the usual imperial titles. It was hitherto known that after the death of Devaraya II, vijayaraya advanced his claims to the throne and briefly asserted himself   for some time [1] in 1446-47 A.D.  Until finally Mallikarjuna succeeded to the Vijayanagara. Throne this record is of much political signification in that it is stated that his officers were forcibly colleting presents from the villagers of both the sects valangai and idangai with every change of administration.  The ryots who were oppressed ran away from their settlements and thus thus the worship in the temples came to a standstill. Epidemics spread in the kingdom and the people became heart broken. On learning about the situation, the king issued ordered to Annappa Udaiyar through Nagarasa –Udaiyar not to collect kanikkai, and idangai-vari from the people of both sects. 

From an inscription of saka 1453 belonging to Achyutadeva (No.253) from Tirippanangadu in North Arcot District it is evident that Chellappa Vira- Narasingaraya started to be defiant even in the reign of Krishanadeva–raya. This chief retained the amount that was due as judi to the temple at that place in spite of the king’s sanction.  Finally, he turned out to be a rebel against the king Achyuta and joined hands with the Tiruvadi kings in order to throw off the yoke of the Vijayanagara kings.  On the orders of Achayuta his general Tirumalaideva-maharaja Marched upon Chelllappa and brought him as a prisoner.  The amount due to the temple of Tiruppanangadu was restored to the same temple by the king through his subordinate Bhogayadeva who is referred as Cholakulatilaka in one of the inscriptions (No. 174). 

Three inscriptions dealing with one and the same subject are found engraved in three different languages (Telugu, Tamil and Sanskrit) at Narasamangalam in North Arcot District (No.s 261, 262, and 264).  No. 262 records the construction of a tank at Dusi Mamandur in Saka 1560 (1638 A.D.) by Venkatappa-Nayaka, son of Chennappa-nayaka and grandson of Venkatappa of the Irugala-gotra and of the famous Damarla family.  This tank called Chennasagara after his father was fed by channels from the Palar and had irrigation channels supplying water to 32 villages.  He is stated to have fought a battle against a Senji chief and his brother Akka is praised as Navabhoja in the Sanskrit version (No. 263). 


This Akka may be identified with Anka, author of Ushaparinayam who States therein that his brother Ayyappa (Venkatappa?) built the town of chennapatnam, one of the earliest names of Modern Madras (the other being Madras Pattanam) again named after his father.[2]

[1] Cf. P.B. Desai (ed.). A History of Karnataka (Dharwar 1970), p. 358.

[2]  K.V. Raman, Early History of the Madras Region p.120.

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