By scholars of Dr.M. Rajamanikkanar Centre for Historical Research during field studies

Three early Chola inscriptions have been discovered from a Siva Temple at Koviladi, about 20 from Tiruchirapalli on the Tiruchi-Thirukattupalli Road, by scholars of Dr.M.Rajamanikkanar Centre for Historical Research.

The inscriptions were unearthed during field studies by researchers of the centre led by M. Nalini, associate professor, History Department, Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College.

According to R. Kalaikkovan, Director of the centre, two of the inscriptions belong to the reign of Chola King Parantaka I ( AD 970-955) and they mention that Kadaimudi, where the temple was built, belong to the Idaiyatru Nadu on the south bank of the Cauvery river. One of the inscriptions notes that Ezhuvan Pandi of Thathakudi had gifted 12 ‘kalanju’ (a measure) of gold to the temple authorities to light a perpetual lamp. The authorities had accepted the gift and agreed to light the lamp with stipulated measure of ghee from the interest accruing out of the gift.

Another inscription records the gift of 90 sheep to the temple to light a perpetual lamp. The name and place of the donor could not be deciphered from the inscription whose first few lines have been damaged.

Another much damaged inscription refers to Parakesari, who according to Mr.Kalaikkovan could be identified as Parantaka I on palaeographic grounds, and speaks about a gift of gold made by an individual towards special service and offerings to the deity.

Temple authorities had utilised the gift to purchase a land, which was exempted from tax. Rice, plantain and flowers produced in the land were to be given for the temple service. The quality of the flowers to be collected and the way in which they should be tied and adorned on the deity have been recorded with specifications in the inscription, Mr. Kalaikkovan said.

English inscription

Interestingly, an inscription in English was also discovered near the adjacent Amman Temple by R. Akila, assistant professor, Department of History, Arignar Anna Arts and Science College, Musiri. The inscription on a stone slab, measuring 85 centimetres in height and 38 cm in width, was found buried in bushes.

The nine-line inscription mentions than the Amman Temple was renovated in memory of the ‘inam’ (gifted) lands of Kovilaadi Chathram being brought back to cultivation in 1928. The chathram and the granary that stored the grains still exist at Koviladi, Mr.Kalaikkovan said.

Arulmozhivarman, a surgeon from Musiri, M. Murugesan and other residents of the village assisted the scholars in unearthing the finds.