The Archaeological Survey of India, Hyderabad, has come across an interesting discovery of a unique inscribed image of a king in the Sri Kumara Bhimeswara Swamy Temple premises at Samarlakota in East Godavari District.
Describing the discovery as an astounding one, Superintending Archaeologist R. Krishnaiah, told The Hindu that in a remote corner outside the ‘Pancharama’ temple, Deputy Superintending Archaeologist D. Kanna Babu identified the inscribed (in Telugu) royal image.
It was a curious discovery from the archaeological research point of view, Mr. Babu said. “This find is vital for reconstructing the cultural life of ancient Andhra; the role of kings in promoting the spiritual spheres,” he said.
The ASI team led by Mr. Babu was carrying out a scientific exploration in order to ascertain the origin, antiquity and architectural ascendancy of the temple.
This is one of the earliest inscribed images of a king discovered so far in the State and a unique one, he said. The highly eroded sand stone sculpture was 108 cm high, 42 cm wide and 22 cm thick. It is a life-size form of a imperial personality standing on a broad pedestal with characteristic gesticulations of ardent Siva gana, he said.
“The King’s sculpture had a roundish face, soft cheeks, wide open eyes, a broad heavy nose and closed lips. Ear rings, a stringed necklace and a sacred thread can be seen on the King’s sculpture,” he pointed out.
On the eroded broad pedestal there is an inscription. Basing on palaeographical grounds, Mr. Kanna Babu described this as one among very few early Telugu inscriptions belonging to the 7th Century A.D. (early Eastern Chalukya times) and stands as a testimony to antiquity of language.
When deciphered it read: ‘This is the stone image of Chandrarasi, who is in ascetic attire, brought the intellectual Kedararasi after convincing him on the event of his victory’.
Chandrarasi, probably a royal personality of this region, seems to be a patron of God Sri Kumara Bhimeswara of Samarlakota, said Mr. Kanna Babu.