The 10th CE vattezhuthu inscription ascertains the presence of early Pandya period Siva temple

A vattezhuthu inscription belonging to 10th century CE and two fragmented inscriptions have been found at Naththampatti village near Karumathur in Madurai district.

Based on a clue from Dr. P.Ganesan, Assistant Professor of History, Madurai Kamaraj University, a team from Pandyanadu Centre for Historical Research comprising the president, P. Rajendran, secretary, C. Santhalingam, and assistant secretary B. Athmanathan, explored the site.

The inscription is engraved on adhistana portion of the dilapidated Siva temple. Only the middle portion of the inscription remains. According to the inscription, paddy and ghee were donated to the temple for maintaining a perpetual lamp, burning incense sticks and applying sandal paste for the idols in the temple.

According to palaeography, a well developed vattezhuthu script is dated to early 10th CE.

Two more fragmentary inscriptions that begin with the words ‘Kocha’ and ‘Aruluvicha’ are also there at the temple. “The word ‘Kocha’ might be a reference to an early Pandya king Kochadaya. The inscription engraved on a broken Nandi figure reveals incomplete information and only says…‘installed by,” says Mr.Santhalingam. “These fragmentary records are also in vattezhuthu characters,” he adds.

The team also found stone sculptures of Avudaiyars, one Ganesha and a damaged Nandi (Divine Bull) among the remnants of a Siva temple.

From this discovery, it is evident that during 9th-10th C.E., a Siva temple existed at Naththampatti. Around Usilampatti region, Siva temples belonging to early Pandya period are found at Anaiyur and Thidiyan villages.

“Naththampatti temple also belongs to the same period,” says Santhalingam and adds “since this record is incomplete, name of the king and temple are not traceable.”