HISTORICAL ANTIQUITIES IN SENDURAI AREA AND A 1300 YEARS OLD PALLAVA INSCRIPTION WITH SRIVATSAM SCULPTURE – A REPORT

M. Amirthalingam

Historical Antiquities in Sendurai

Traces of pre-historic man have been found around Sendurai in Perambalur-Tiruvalluvar District of Tamilnadu.  On the bank of a stream beside the road from Sendurai to Nakkambodi, a rge number of urns and black and redware with allied objects were noticed.  Similar pre-historic antiquities were found at Thular and Palayakudi.  These antiquities date back to between 300 B.C. and 300 A.D. Besides, coins of Raja Raja Chola, the Vijayanagar period, the French and the East India Company, have also been found in the area. A fragmentary inscription of an Udaiyarpalayam Chief of 17th century is also found in Ayan Thaththanur near Sendurai.

Inscribed Srivatsa of the Pallava Period

A Srivatsa carving with a Pallava Inscription was found at Veeranutthur, a village near Sholingar in Tiruthani Taluk, Chengai MGR district.

The inscription is in the Pallava- Grantha characters of the 6th century A.D.   Since the stone slab is badly damaged, the inscription is incomplete.

The inscription reads as follows:

1st line             Sri Vikkri maha (na)maka bha

2nd line           inga yadiyar Tirukkoil i….

3rd line            ……illa…………………..

The name in the inscription is not clear or complete. The present name of the temple where the slab is found is the Sri Veeranathiswarar koil. This could be a corruption of an older name.

On the basis of the inscription, it is evident that the Srivatsa figure can be dated to the early Pallava period.  Similar figures of Srivatsa sculptures in stone have been found at Kaveripakkam near Sholingar (near Veeranathur), Kuram and Manimangalam in Chengai MGR district, Ariyalur Perumal temple in Trichy district and at Enathi in Thanjavur district, where the sculpture is cast in metal.

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The Srivatsa is a form of the Goddess Lakshmi.  Similar figures have been found in Megalithic burial sites at Udhaiyanatham near Tirukkoilur and Mottur in Tiruvannamalai Sambuvarayar district,   suggesting an abstract form of the Mother Goddess. The antiquity of Veeranatthur goes back further with the discovery of Megalithic black and red ware pottery (3rd century A.D.) in large quantities in this village. Apart from the Pallava inscription, a Chola inscription was also found on a loose slab lying in the courtyard of the Temple. Besides, a Naga sculpture found in the temple courtyard may be assigned to the Pallava period on stylistic grounds.


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