Ayyanar stone idol found near Vellore

Residents find the idol when clearing bushes on an open plot to make a pathway

June 24, 2022 08:40 pm | Updated 08:40 pm IST - VELLORE

A rare Ayyanar stone idol was found in Thandalai Krishnapuram (TK Puram), near Vellore, when a group of residents cleared bushes on an open plot to make a pathway in the neighbourhood a few days ago.

The residents were not sure whether the idol belonged to the neighbourhood or was abandoned in the village. “This is the first time we found such a sculpture in our village. It will be handed over to government authorities for conservation,” said S. Mariappan, a resident.   Local heritage enthusiast C. Tamilvanan, who inspected the idol in the village, said it could date back to the Pallava era in the eighth century. However, revenue officials said that a proper study by archaeologists including district museum officials was needed before tracing its origin.   Archaeologists said that Ayyanar worship had been documented from the Sangam age to the medieval period by merchants’ guilds for their prosperity and safety along with ancient trade routes. In the sculpture, the Ayyanar is seated on a stone throne in a special posture described in the agamas as ‘Maharaja Leelasana’. He holds a weapon called ‘senndu’ in his right hand. In the lower part of the sculpture, a dog and a boar can also be seen.   Officials said that under the Indian Treasure Trove Act 1878, anything found below one feet depth belongs to the government. As per norms, such treasure should be handed over to the district treasury with the Collector being the sole guardian of the find. In this case, a report from the Government Museum (Vellore) would be sent to the Director of Museums (Chennai) and to the Vellore Collector on the treasure.

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