R. Sundaram

400-year-old; man on horse marches to warfare

ERODE: A rare 400-year-old Hero stone has been found at Chamundi Muniappan Temple, Periya Puliyur village near Kavindapady, Erode district.

Informed by a researcher in history B. Kandasamy about the stone, Erode District Museum curator C. Maheswaran rushed to the area and conducted an on-the-spot field survey along with Mr Kandasamy and identified the stone as belonging to Vijayanagar period.

Bas-relief sculpture

Mr. Maheswaran told The Hindu : "This Hero stone is sculpted as bas-relief sculpture in three-tiers on a rectangular stone slab five feet high and 2.6 feet wide. Over the right side corner of the lowest tier, a hero riding a horse is seen marching to warfare."

His three consorts are depicted on the other side corner. The territorial borders of the battlefield and the household are demarcated by a vertical ridge sculpted thereof.

While in the middle tier, the hero and his three consorts, who stand in a linear order, are flanked by celestial maids keeping flywhisks.

On the left corner of the upper tier, Lord Vishnu is depicted within a vertical rectangular compartment in a sitting posture. `Garudazwar' is seen kneeling adjacent to this.

Over the right corner of the upper tier the Hero and his consorts are seen worshipping Lord Vishnu in a seated position.

Mr. Maheswaran said generally in such three-tier hero stones, which were owing to the impact of Karnataka, the Sivaloga would be depicted with Sivalingam, Nandhi, priest and the Hero.

Contrary to this, the Curator said in this Hero stone, the other world was depicted as Vaikunda, the abode of Lord Vishnu.

This is the first time in the history of the Kongu region that a three-tier hero stone with an impact of Vaishnavaism has been identified.

He added: "This is quite strange that there is no depiction of Sridevi, Bhoodevi and Snake Bed `Aadhiseshan' in Vaikundam."