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No. 180 ; PLATE CXLV

THIS inscription, which is a stōtra in praise of Śiva, was enlisted by R. B. Hiralal in his List of Inscriptions in Central Provinces and Berar,[1] and subsequently it was transcribed and edited for the first time by P. P. Subrahmanya Sastri, whose article, without a lithograph but with a note by N. P. Chakravarti, was published in the Epigraphia Indica, Vol. XXV (1939-40), pp. 173 ff. Chakravarti also transcribed the colophon of the stōtra, which was omitted by Sastri, since it was irrelevant to the main stōtra. The complete epigraph is edited here from the original stone which I examined on 21-3-1973, and a set of impressions placed at my disposal by Shri R. S. Garg, Curator of the Central Museum at Indore.[2]

The inscription is incised on four rectangular slabs of stone fixed into the southern wall of the ardha-maṇḍapa of the Amarēśvara temple at Māndhātā[3] in the Khaṇḍwā tehsīl of the East Nēmāḍ District of Madhya Pradesh. The first slab contains ten lines, the second twenty-one lines, the third twenty-two lines, and the fourth only three lines of writing. The last lines of the second, third and the fourth slab are only half lines. They are all vertically placed, one below the other, and respectively measure in height 17.5, 35, 35 and 4.5 cms. The breadth of the writing on the first slab is 90 cms. and on the others, which are wider on the left side, it is about 94 cms.

The slabs bearing the epigraph are all corse and none of them was made smooth before engraving. And though the mason has done his work carefully, the writing has suffered from damages here and there, more so on the second and the third slabs which have lost a few aksharas owing to slightly breaking off parts of stone on the farther left corners, where some of the aksharas have also suffered from weather. It is a pity that a few aksharas (7 to 10) at the end of each complete line of the whole inscription are also now lost in a part of a wall which was later on constructed.[4] the engraving is rather shallow.

The whole epigraph consists of 56 lines. The language is Sanskrit. Except for a short sentence paying obeisance to Śiva in the beginning, the composition in lines 1 to 50 is metrical, and the rest of the inscription is all in prose. In all, there are 71 verses ; and 61 of these in which the stōtra is composed, are in the Mandākrāntā metre, in imitation of the style of Kālidāsa’s Meghadūta, from which expressions have been occasionally adapted.[5] The stanzas of the stōtra are all numbered. The language is almost correct, except in the colophon (11. 48 ff.) which is the writer’s own composition.

The alphabet is Nāgarī of the time to which the document belongs. In respect of palaeography we note that the initial short i is indicated by two loops placed side by side and subscribed by the mātrā of short u ending in a graceful curve, as in iththha-, l. 2, and the lower extremity of the forelimb of the initial ē is joined to its vertical, as in ēka-, l. 3. Of the consonants, has not developed its dot, e.g., in –utsaṅga, l. 20 ; ch has begun developing its own

[1] Second edn., p. 84, No. 151.
[2] It was prepared by R. G. Ojha, the former Curator of the Museum, in 1931 A.C. It may also be noted here that Chakravarti copied the inscription in 1938, when some letters were lost.
[3] As already noted by Chakravarti, in the A.R. on Epigraphy for 1938, the northern wall contains (a) the Narmadā stuti in 8 ll. and 9 vv., (b) the Śiva-Mahimna-Stōtra in 22 ll. and 40 vv., and (c) Śiva- Pārvatīstōtra in 3 11, in 1 v.
[4] These letters were, however, restored by Prof. Sastri from manuscripts of the stōtra preserved in Government Oriental Library, Madras (No. 11271-11278). In the text given below, I owe these letters to him.
[5] For example, see vv. 24-25 and 58-59.

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