What Is India News Service
Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Indian Analyst


South Indian Inscriptions






List of Plates

Additions and Corrections



Altekar, A. S

Bhattasali, N. K

Barua, B. M And Chakravarti, Pulin Behari

Chakravarti, S. N

Chhabra, B. CH

Das Gupta

Desai, P. B

Gai, G. S

Garde, M. B

Ghoshal, R. K

Gupte, Y. R

Kedar Nath Sastri

Khare, G. H

Krishnamacharlu, C. R

Konow, Sten

Lakshminarayan Rao, N

Majumdar, R. C

Master, Alfred

Mirashi, V. V

Mirashi, V. V., And Gupte, Y. R

Narasimhaswami, H. K

Nilakanta Sastri And Venkataramayya, M

Panchamukhi, R. S

Pandeya, L. P

Raghavan, V

Ramadas, G

Sircar, Dines Chandra

Somasekhara Sarma

Subrahmanya Aiyar

Vats, Madho Sarup

Venkataramayya, M

Venkatasubba Ayyar

Vaidyanathan, K. S

Vogel, J. Ph

Index.- By M. Venkataramayya

Other South-Indian Inscriptions 

Volume I

Volume II

Volume III

Vol. IV - VIII

Volume IX

Volume X

Volume XI

Volume XII

Volume XIII

Volume XIV

Volume XV

Volume XVI

Volume XVII

Volume XVIII

Volume XIX

Volume XX

Volume XXII_Part I

Volume XXII_Part II



Volume XXIII

Volume XXIV

Archaeological Links

Archaeological-Survey of India



(1 Plate)


Śivanvāyal is a village situated about 9 miles north-east of Tiruvaḷḷūr, the headquarters of the tāluk of the same name in the Chingleput District, Madras Presidency. The village was visited by me in the course of the epigraphical survey of the tāluk in November 1944.[1] The antiquity of its name goes back to Pallava times, the village being mentioned under that name in a record of Pallava Kaṁpavarman (c. 850 A.D.) at the place.[2] In Tamil, the name Śivanvāyal means the abode of the entrance (vāyal < vāśal) of Śiva and the Sanskrit rendering of the name would he Śivadvāra.[3] True to its import, the village contains the remains of an old temple of Śiva.[4] which is the main attraction to the eye as one approaches the village from the north. The remains at present visible at the site are a liṅga of huge size, a nandi in front and debris consisting of granite slabs some of which are dressed, having been evidently used in the construction. A little away from the Śiva temple stands a temple of Vishṇu, of simple construction, comprising an ardhamaṇḍapa and the garbhagṛiha. The deity, which is under worship in this temple, is locally called Vaikuṇṭha-Varadarāja-perumāl. Although the present structure appears to be modern, the temple seems to be an ancient one, because an inscription in Pallava-Grantha characters of about the 9th century A.D. engraved on a stone now built into the ceiling of the temple, refers to the god as Vaikuṇṭhanātha,[5] which is preserved in the present appellation of the god. At the entrance to this shrine was found a massive broken pillar of reddish-grey granite which the local residents used as one of the steps. On examination, the pillar was found to contain on its three sides an inscription engraved in ornate Pallava-Grantha characters.[6]

The pillar, which stands just four feet high, is about one foot square in section. Up to a height of 3¼ feet from the bottom, the pillar is cubical but not geometrically perfect, as two sides of it, which are 1 foot 2 inches broad, are broader than the other two by 2 inches. The middle portion of the shaft just above the lower cubical part has its angles bevelled off, thereby making this portion of the pillar octagonal in section. The cubical portion at the bottom is decorated with the design of a conventional lotus-flower similar to the lotus medallions appearing on the stone railings of the Amarāvatī stūpa.[7] As only a part, viz., the lower part, of the middle octagonal portion, about ¾ foot inheight, is preserved, it would seem that nearly half the pillar must have been lost at the top. The pillar should have formed part of a monument the nature or the shape of which it is not possible now to determine.

The characters of the inscription are what is termed Pallava-Grantha alphabet, and they closely resemble those of the Trichinopoly cave pillar inscriptions of Pallava Mahēndra[8] as also those of the Bādāmi inscription[9] of Mahēndra’s son Narasiṁhavarman I. Bühler cites the latter inscription as the latest example of the ‘archaic variety’ of the Grantha alphabet.[10] In general execution,


[1] The village was again visited by Dr. B. Ch. Chhabra, Government Epigraphist for India, and in 1945, when photographs of the antiquities and fresh estampages of the inscriptions were secured.
[2]A. R. E., No. 13 of 1944-45.
[3]Cf. Kāñchivāyal and Kāñchīdvāra which are used synonymously in the Udayēndiram Plates of Pallava Nandivarman (S. I. I., Vol. III, p. 365 ; Ep. Ind., Vol. III, p. 145 ; Ind. Ant., Vol. XXII, p. 67 n. 63). Names of places similarly ending in vāyal or vāśal like Kuḍavāśal, etc., are common in the Tamil country.
[4]The god is locally called Śivanāṇḍīśvara.
[5]A. R. E., No. 10 of 1944-45.
[6]A. R. E., No. 11 of 1944-45.
[7]A. H. Longhurst : Pallava Architecture, Part I : Mem. Arch. Sur. India, No. 17, p. 9. The decorative style of such pillars of the Pallava period is characterised by Longhurst at the Mahēndra style.
[8]S. I. I. Vol. XII, Pallavas : Pl. I, opp. p. 5.
[9]S. I. I. Vol. XI, pt. 1, plate opp.p. 1.
[10]Indian Polarography (Ind. Ant., Vol. XXXIII, App.), p. 70.

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