Shift them to Government museum, says archaeologist
TIRUCHI: A couple of ancient stone relief sculptures of an Ayyanar along with an elephant are lying uncared for near Sevanthilingapuram along the Tiruchi-Musiri highway. Worse still, they are in danger of being damaged by speeding vehicles as a minor traffic diversion is in force at the spot for the construction of a minor bridge along the highway.
“The two sculptures already present a muddied look and there is a need to protect and preserve them,” says V.Ganapathy, Advisor, District Exnora, who noticed the sculptures recently.
The sculptures have become visible to passersby along the highway now owing to the traffic diversion.
According to K.Sridharan, former deputy superintending archaeologist, State Archaeological Department, the image on a stone slab is a relief sculpture possibly dating back to 10th or 11th century AD.
The Ayyanar statue is a village deity and the elephant in front of the image is the vehicle. During the early Chola period, it was customary to erect Sastha sculptures in open places as a guardian deity of a village.
Mr.Sridharan, who had previously served as the Registering Officer of the department in the district, suggested that the sculptures be shifted with the help of local villagers to the Tiruchi Government Museum for preservation.