14th century bronze idols discovered

The icons of Lord Vittala and Lord Janardhana date back to the Vijayanagar period

December 12, 2014 01:17 am | Updated 05:33 am IST - Udupi:

T. Murugeshi, associate professor in ancient history and archaeology, M.S.R.S. College, Shirva, recently found two bronze icons dating back to the Vijayanagar period.

The icons of Lord Vittala and Lord Janardhana were found at the Janardhana temple in Belanje village near Hebri in Karkala taluk, he said in a press release here on Wednesday. Both the icons appear to belong to the early Vijayanagar period, that is 14th century A.D.

The icons are mentioned in the dated, but incomplete, inscription found in the temple. The inscription dates back to Saka year 1326, which is 1404 A.D. It refers to the icon as Lord Vittala, which was worshipped by Bhodhana Tirtha Swami, a disciple of Sripada Odeya Swami of Kangu Math.

It mentions Pandarideva as the Governor of Barkur province under Harihara II of the Vijayanagar dynasty. The inscription states the direction given by a prince, Mallikarjuna, to provide 630 gold coins and nine ‘murras’ of rice to the temple for the purpose of worshipping Lord Vittala at Brelinje, which is the present day Belanje village. (One ‘murra’ of rice is equal to 38 kg).

The icon of Lord Vittala is 28 cm in height and stands on a lotus pedestal in ‘samabhanga’ posture, while the icon of Lord Janardhana is 18 cm in height and stands on a ‘padma-peetha’ in ‘samabhanga’ posture.

“From the standpoint of iconography and chronology, the icon of Lord Vittala is a good specimen for study,” Prof. Murugeshi said.

Subrahmanya Holla, hereditary trustee of the temple, and his family members Vasudeva Samaga and Shubhalakshmi, and Prof. Murugeshi’s students Vishwaraja Bhat and Srikanth Nayak assisted him in studying and copying the inscription, he said.

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