Recent reading of inscription found in 1993 reveals that a Haihaya king ruled over Goa

Udupi-based historian T. Murugeshi estimates that the inscription belongs to 4th or 5th century C.E.

Published - June 21, 2024 03:19 pm IST - MANGALURU

The inscription was found in the Bhumika temple at Sattari, Paryem village, north Goa, in 1993.

The inscription was found in the Bhumika temple at Sattari, Paryem village, north Goa, in 1993. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A recent reading and interpretation of an inscription found in the Bhumika temple at Sattari, in Paryem village in north Goa, in 1993 indicates that it dates back to the 4th or 5th century C.E. and consists of two lines written in Sanskrit and Brahmi script.

According to T. Murugeshi, a retired Associate Professor, Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, MSRS College, Shirva, Udupi district, the inscription engraved on a pillar was first noticed by Pratap Singh Rane, a former chief minister of Goa.

“Thanks to the efforts of P. P. Shirodkar, a former Director, Department of Archaeology, Goa to decipher the text. A small note was published in the Nave Parva magazine of Goa. However, due to unscientific copying, there were potential misinterpretations of the text,” Mr. Murugeshi claimed on June 21.

“The recent reading of the inscription has shed light on a previously unknown dynasty that ruled over Goa. The inscription mentions a Haihaya king named Dharma Yajno, who performed a sacrifice with his army. The Haihayas, an ancient group of five clans referred to in the Puranas, included the Vitihotra, Sharyata, Bhoja, Avanti, and Tundikera clans,” Mr. Murugeshi said.

The text of the inscription reads: “ (1) Dhamlyajunoo hai ha: i, (2) Gamanadha (va) la mahi(ma) Dhalena ta(dha)ri panchamaha.”

Historical significance

Mr. Murugeshi said that this inscription is the earliest discovered in Goa till date. The name Haihaya was previously unknown in Goan history, although the Bhojas were recognised as a clan among the Haihayas.

The inscription reveals the name of the first Haihaya king. The inscribed pillar could be the Yupasthambha.

The Brahmi inscription is also useful in understanding the antiquity of the Bhumika temple and Hindu architectural growth in Goa.

Mr. Murugeshi expressed his gratitude to Munirathnam Reddy, Director of Epigraphy at the Archaeological Survey of India, for providing a fresh reading of the inscription.

He also thanked his Goan exploration team, including Rajendra Kerkar, Amey Kinjawdekar, Chandrakanth Aukhle, and Vithoba Gawade, for their contribution.

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