Historical inscriptions lying in utter neglect

Valuable historic inscriptions lying in utter a state of neglect at old Shivalayam on Canal Road in the One Town area of Vijayawada.— Photo: V. Raju

Valuable historic inscriptions lying in utter a state of neglect at old Shivalayam on Canal Road in the One Town area of Vijayawada.— Photo: V. Raju  

10th to 12th century remains seen in Malleswara temple amid garbage bins

The southern States are known to have a vast number of inscriptions running into several thousands carved on the walls of extensive monuments that are the most authentic source of history and a veritable mine of information about the dynasties that ruled in the past.

But the general attitude towards these store-houses of knowledge, history and our culture has been either of utter indifference or disregard. Often inscriptions are neglected and more often they are disfigured.

Historical inscriptions carved on five pillars stacked one on the other and lying in a state of utter neglect on the premises of Malleswara temple, also known as Old Sivalayam near Radham Centre in One Town area, are a case in point. Archaeologist and CEO of the Cultural Centre of Vijayawada (CCV) E. Siva Nagireddy, as part of his explorations, found these ancient pillars surrounded by garbage bins and a few pairs of footwear placed on top of the pillars. “I was shocked to find these remains of 10{+t}{+h}century AD subjected to absolute neglect.”

Tamil inscriptions

Interestingly, Prof. Nagireddy found two Tamil inscriptions dating back to 12{+t}{+h}century AD and issued by the descendants of Chalukya-Cholas, basically Tamil rulers who controlled the coastal Andhra Pradesh and Bezwada as part of their region.

“The Tamil script is ornamental and reveals the calligraphy of the medieval period,” said Prof. Nagireddy, who is also an epigraphist. The ignorance of the temple staff reflects in placing their footwear on these pillars,” he rued.

Painted recklessly

Attempts to decipher the inscriptions proved difficult since the pillars were painted on the occasion of Kalyana Mahotsavam of Malleswara Swamy.

Of the eight inscriptions, Prof. Nagireddy could decode only five as the remaining are not legible due to thick coat of painting.

According to him, the inscriptions talk about donations, gifting of cows and buffaloes for the perpetual lamps of Malleswara temple.

Prof. Nagireddy said there are many sculptures scattered across the temple and a few 11{+t}{+h}century sculptures embedded in the walls of the temple have also been given fresh coats of fancy colours.

The CCV, as part of its ‘Preserve Heritage for Posterity’ programme, conducted a survey followed by the exploration at the temple.

Golla Narayana Rao, Sushankar Medasani and Chaitanya Ravela, office-bearers of the Vijayawada Buddha Vihara, launched recently by the CCV, also accompanied Prof. Nagireddy.

Disturbed by the complete disregard for ancient wealth, he says either the Endowments Department or the State Archaeological wing must rise to the occasion and protect and preserve these historically significant structures.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 6:44:35 AM |

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