Madurai

200-year-old inscriptions, temple, chathiram, found near Madurai

Assistant professors of the Department of History, R. Praiya and S. Rajagopal along with the 200-year-old inscriptions they found close to a village near Madurai

Assistant professors of the Department of History, R. Praiya and S. Rajagopal along with the 200-year-old inscriptions they found close to a village near Madurai

Two assistant professors of Mannar Thirumalai Naicker College in Madurai, have discovered a few inscriptions, a temple and a chathiram that are believed to be over 200 years old.

The discovery by the assistant professors of the Department of History, R. Praiya and S. Rajagopal, revealed the philanthropic activity of the Chervaikarars of Pothumbu village, who used to provide shelter and food for travelers.

Among their discoveries are nine inscriptions, a Vinayakar temple and an adjoining chathiram amidst a field about two kilometers from the village of Pothumbu in Madurai West Panchayat Union. The temple is now known as Marudaiya Temple and Shenbagavinayakar Temple.

During their field visit, the assistant professors chanced upon the inscriptions which they verified with retired Assistant Director of Archeological Survey of India, S. Santhalingam.

Both the chathirams were in the area, which was once a public thoroughfare frequented by travelers. The tired travelers were fed and sheltered in the chathirams, said Dr. Praiya.Mr. Santhalingam said the stone chathirams could be older than 200 years, and were similar to many along Madurai- Srivilliputtur highway that served travelers.

“This is the first time these chathirams and the inscriptions have come to light,” he said.

The inscriptions talk about Chervaikarars of six generations. One Subramanyam Chervaikarar belonging to the sixth generation had converted one chathiram into a temple for general public worship.

While seven inscriptions were found in the temple, two were in the chathiram.

The temple and the chathiram are surrounded by fertile farmlands which were safeguarded by the Chervaikarars identified as Maniyan Chervaikkaran, Kumara Irulappa Chervaikkaran, Muthirulandi Chervaikkaran, Kumara Sonai Chervaikkaran, Alagayi, Virai, Chennammal Kumaran, Veeran Chervaikkaran and Kumaran Subramania Chervaikkaran.

The Tamil words chathiram, kinaru (well), thoppu (farm), oorani (waterbody), Sivam and Vinayagan Thunai are also found in the temple built by Kumaran Subramania Cheruvaikkarar.

In memory of these Chervaikarars, who dedicated their lives in meticulously safeguarding the lands, the sculptures of the Chervaikarar are found along with their spouses.

The upper part of the temple is adorned with bas-relief sculptures where there are stone carvings of a four-foot fish, a bird swallowing a snake, and a worshiping devotee.

Dr. Rajagopal said several such rare inscriptions found in the district should be identified and recorded to know the rich history of Tamils.

Ends


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Printable version | May 16, 2022 3:09:15 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/200-year-old-inscriptions-temple-chathiram-found-near-madurai/article38323155.ece