Nandi on Sengol inspired by royal symbol of Nolamba Pallavas: researcher

Nolamba Pallavas royal symbol found in Hemavati temple in Sri Satya Sai district of Andhra Pradesh

June 17, 2023 08:06 pm | Updated June 18, 2023 11:43 am IST - ANANTAPUR

The royal symbol of Nolamba Pallavas sculpted on pillar of Hemavati temple in Sri Sathya Sai District. Photo: Special Arrangement

The royal symbol of Nolamba Pallavas sculpted on pillar of Hemavati temple in Sri Sathya Sai District. Photo: Special Arrangement

The Sengol that is fixed in the central hall of the new Parliament building in New Delhi has a Nandi on the golden orb on top of the five-foot sceptre. A history researcher, MyNaa Swamy from Sri Sathya Sai district, believes the “Padma Nandi” — the royal symbol of Nolamba Pallava Kings — was the inspiration for the sceptre of Chola kings, which is the inspiration of present-day Sengol.

During his visit to the Siddheswara Swamy temple at Hemavati in Amarapuram mandal of Sri Sathya Sai district, he told The Hindu that the Nolamba emblem was etched/sculpted on a pillars of the Mandapam (open hall) of the temple. Mr. MyNaa Swamy researching the Nolamba Pallava sculpture said they ruled parts of present-day Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, with Hemavati (Henjeru) as their capital until 1052 CE from 730 CE. 

The royal symbol of Nolamba Pallavas sculpted on pillar of Hemavati temple in Sri Sathya Sai District.

The royal symbol of Nolamba Pallavas sculpted on pillar of Hemavati temple in Sri Sathya Sai District. | Photo Credit:

The pillared mandapam known as the Agra mandapa has the royal emblem, facing the north. The emblem was sculpted in the form of Nandi, sitting on a blossoming lotus. Next to the Nandi is the royal insignia, the chhatram (umbrella). Below Nandi, there is a kirtimukham, a swallowing fierce monster face with huge fangs, and gaping mouth, very common in the iconography of Hindu temple architecture in India, and there are miniature sculptures of lions here and there. 

Mr. MyNaa Swamy explained that the royal emblem — Padma Nandi figure — was found on the gold coins minted by the Nolamba Pallavas, and the gold coins are now confined to museums. The sceptre designed by the Cholas has a figure of Nandi seated on a lotus at its head. Padma Nandi in Hemavati has close similarities to Nandi in the sceptre, he opined.

Nolamba Pallavas fought wars with the Ganga, Bana, Vaidumba, and Chola kings and established a stable kingdom. But Chola king Rajadhi Raja 1 (1044 CE–1052 CE), accompanied by his brother Rajendra II, attacked and occupied the Nolamba and Chalukya kingdoms. An inscription reveals that Rajendra II moved about 40 most beautiful pillars of Hemavati and built a temple at Tiruvayyur, near Thanjavur, in Tamil Nadu.

The sceptre known as Sengol is also found in the sculptures of the Chalukyas, but the historian believes that the Chola kings may have been inspired by the royal emblem of Nolamba Pallavas.

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