A stone inscription at the Sri Veeranarayana temple in Kulashekara here is in complete Tulu script and language and belongs to the 1159 A.D., according to T. Murugeshi, associate professor, Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, MSRS College, Shirva, Udupi district.
Mr. Murugeshi, who took up the study of the inscription about two weeks ago on an invitation by the Muzrai Department, has concluded that it relates to Alupa dynasty king Kulashekara I.
Kulashekhara I was a famous ruler of the dynasty, who had built a new city in his name, the professor said.
The earliest dated inscription of Kulashekhara I had been found in Korsi-Kalthodu, near Kundapur in Udupi district, more than two decades ago. It was dated to 1163 A.D. So far, the same inscription was believed to be the earliest record of Kulashekhara I. But now, the one at Veeranarayana temple becomes the earliest inscription, he said.
“Now, it emerges as an important inscription for the study of Tulu script and language, Tulu culture and history of the Alupas,” the professor said.
The inscription begins with an invocation of lord Hari, a Vaishnavite god, who is still worshipped as Sri Veeranarayana in Kulashekara. It is dated in Solar year and is the first Tulu dated inscription so far discovered.
“The inscription mentions that the god belongs to 12 villages as ‘pitru-devata.’ Janardhana was generally treated as the bestower of salvation on the departed souls. Interestingly, the image of Veeranarayana of Kulashekhara also holds a ball-like thing in his right hand, which is called as Pinda,” the professor said.
Pure Tulu words have been used in it. So, it becomes the earliest record of Tulu language so far found, he said.
“It has definitely provided a solid base for the language and script and supports the demand of the Tuluvas for inclusion of Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution,” he said.
He acknowledged the cooperation of Vignaraj, a Tulu and Sanskrit scholar in Dharmasthala, in reading the inscription.
The professor said that he is yet to complete the reading of another stone inscription kept in the same temple for many years.