What Is India News Service
Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Indian Analyst


South Indian Inscriptions




About 4 miles to the south-west of the town of Arcot is a rocky hill which popular belief connects with the five Pâṇḍavas, and which is hence known as Pañchapâṇḍavamalai,[1] i.e. ‘ the hill of the five Pâṇḍavas.’ There are of course no monuments on the hill to justify this connection. But the fact that these sculptures are ascribed to the Pâṇḍavas, who are held to have been the authors of many ancient buildings all over India, suggests their comparative antiquity. Another local name of the hill, Tiruppâmalai, is evidently derived from the original name Tiruppânmalai, ‘ the sacred milk hill,’ which occurs in the second of the subjoined inscriptions.

The largest of the excavations on the hill is an artificial cave near the base of the eastern face of it, which slopes down precipitously. This cave consist of seven cells, containing six pairs of pillars. Neither the cave itself nor the pillars bear any sculptures or inscriptions. A short distance above the cells is a rock-cut Jaina image, which resembles another that will be noticed below, but is more roughly executed. On the southern side of the rock, half-way up, is a natural cave which contains a pool of water. Within the cave is cut, in high relief, a seated female figure with a chaurī in her left hand, attended by a smaller male figure on her proper right. In front of the seat on which the female figure rests, are three small figures, a man standing, another on horse-back, and a third, standing figure, apparently female.[2] On the front face of the rock which overhangs the cave, is engraved the inscription A. Farther to the left, but higher up on the same face of the rock is a seated Jaina figure with a chaurī on each side of its head.[3] This is the figure which has been already mentioned as resembling the one above the seven cells. On the western face of the same rock, which slopes inwards, is engraved the inscription B. Underneath this inscription is a rough and weather-worn naked male figure, and below it, to its proper left, a standing quadruped,- dog or tiger,- which faces the proper right. The sculptures and, as will be seen in the sequel, the inscriptions as well, prove that the hill and its neighbourhood originally belonged to the Jainas. “ The place has now been taken possession of by the Musalmāns, who have several tombs in and around the cave, besides a small masjid ” near the inscription B.[4]


This short inscription is written in very archaic Tamil characters[5] and consists of a single sentence in the Tamil language, which records that an inhabitant of the village of Pugalâlaimaṅgalam caused to be engraved an image of Ponniyakkiyâr, attached by the preceptor Nâganandin.[6] ponniyakkiyâr is the honorific plural of Ponniyakki, which consists

[1] Compare Mr. Sewell’s Lists of Antiquities, Vol. I. p. 166, and Dr. Hultzsch’s Progress Report for February to April 1890, p. 1.
[2] A photograph of the group in the cave is given on the Plate facing this page.
[3] See the Plate referred to in the preceding footnote.
[4] See the Manual of the North Arcot District, second edition, Vol. II. p. 310.
[5] A facsimile of it is given on the Plate facing p. 142.
[6] A preceptor of the same name is mentioned in a Vaṭṭeluttu inscription at Kalugumalai in the Tinnevelly district (No. 58 of the Government Epigraphist’s collection for 1894). With the permission of Dr. Hultzsch I subjoin the text and translation of this short inscription.
1 Śrî [||*] [Â]ṇanu(nû)r Śiṅgaṇan-
2 di-kkurav-aḍigaḷ mâ-
3 ṇâkkar Nâgaṇandi-kkurav-a-
4 [ḍi]gaḷ śe[y]vitta ti[ru]mêni [||*]
“ Prosperity ! (This) image was caused to be made by the holy preceptor (gurava) Nâganandin, the pupil of
the holy preceptor Siṁhanandin of Âṇanûr.”

Home Page

Archives | Links | Search
About Us | Feedback | Guestbook

© 2006 Copyright What Is India Publishers (P) Ltd. All Rights Reserved.