No. 41─ AIVARMALAI INSCRIPTION OF VARAGUNA II, SAKA 792
S. SANKARANARAYANAN, OOTACAMUND
The subjoined inscription is engraved on the neatly dressed portion of the rock above
a natural cave on the hill called Aivarmalai in the village of Aiyampāḷaiyam in the Palrni
Taluk of the Madurai District. I edit it with the kind permission of the Government Epigraphist for India.
This epigraph in seven lines is in the Tamil language and Vaṭṭeluttu characters.
Unlike in the Ambāsamudram inscription of Varaguṇa II, the letter k assumes the slanting
form and the double kk is never written as a group. An in the Śuchīndram inscription of
Mārañjaḍaiyan, two forms of t are used, the one with ends of the two arms joined (cf. Kālattu
in line 3) and the other with separated arms (cf. ºnūrru=ttoºin line 1 ; amaitta in line 6). Though
the syllable po in pon (lines 6-7) resembles that in the Ambasamudram record, the syllable
pō in pōndana (line 2 ; cf. mō in line 6) is distinguished by the signs for ē and ā added to p.
A loop at the end added to the sign of medial i makes medial ī. The syllable śva in Pāriśva
(line 4) is written in Grantha characters.
This inscription is of great importance as it is dated in the eighth regnal year of Varaguṇa
equated with Śaka year 792 expired, and thus provides one of the two most important dates
in early Pāṇḍya chronology. It records a gift of 502 kāṇam of gold to the Jaina monk Śāntivīra-kkuravar of Kālam, who was a disciple of another Jaina monk named Guṇavīra-kkuravaḍigaḷ. The former is said to have renovated the figures of Pārśvanātha and the Yakshīs
(Iyakki-avvaigaḷ), probably attending on Parśvanātha, at Tiruvayirai, i.e., Aivarmalai.
The gift is said to have been made for food offerings (avi) to the deities and for feeding (śōru)
one Jaina ascetic (probably daily).
Though there is much disagreement on the identification of Varaguṇa mentioned in records
like the inscriptions from Tiruveḷḷarai and Lālguḍi, there can be no difference of opinion
in ascribing the present inscription to Varaguṇa II. For the Śaka date of this record is too
 A. R. Ep., 1905, No. 705
 Above, Vol. IX, pp. 89 ff.
 TAS, Vol. IV, pp. 118 ff.
 This seems to go against the view that the distinction between po and pō is an innovation later than the
Ambāsamudram inscription (above, Vol. IX, p. 85).
 The other is the Ānaimalai inscription of Mārañjaḍaiyan alias Parāntaka Varaguṇa I (cf. above, Vol. VIII,
pp. 317 ff.).
 Cf. the popular village deity called Iśakki in South India.
 A. R. Ep., 1905, No. 702, also, like early Tamil works (cf. Padirruppattu, Verses 21, 70 and 79), refers to the
Aivarmalai, from which it comes, by the same name. Thus the present record and other fragmentary inscriptions
A. R. Ep., 1905 Nos. 691-703) from the place show that the hill Aivarmalai had been a Jaina hermitage in the
9th century A. D. But at present there is only a Gaṇēśa temple, and popular belief connects it with the Pañcha-Pāṇḍavas (Aivar).
 For confliction views, see above, Vol. XI, p. 253 ; Vol. XXVIII, p. 39 on the one hand, and Vol. XX, pp. 48
ff., p. 50, note 5, on the other.