Centuries-old sculptures found in Chengalpattu

Two identified as those of Goddess Vinayaki, Lakulisa

Published - December 20, 2021 01:02 am IST - CHENNAI



A team of the Chennai Circle of the Archaeological Survey (ASI) of India has dated three sculptures, found at Irumbedu in Chengalpattu district, at 5th century AD

Two have been identified as the sculptures of Goddess Vinayaki, the female form of Lord Vinayaka, and Lakulisa, the preceptor of Pasupatha school of Shaivism. The figure in the third sculpture is yet to be firmly ascertained, the ASI officials said.

R. Ramesh, archaeologist, Chennai Circle, said an ASI team visited the village a few months ago after Ezhil Murugan, a resident, alerted them to the presence of two sculptures. The team included M. Prasanna, archaeologist, Temple Survey Project, Southern Region, Chennai Circle, ASI, and P.T. Nagarajan, epigraphist, Chennai Circle, ASI.

“The two half-buried sculptures were worshipped by the villagers,” Mr. Ramesh said. They were sculpted on stone slabs. One was that of Goddess Vinayaki, which is rarely found in Tamil Nadu. The other was worshipped as Goddess Durgai Amman.

“However, the iconographic features indicate that the sculpture is of a male. It may either be Lord Vishnu or Karthikeya. We are not able to say with certainty yet,” he said.

Recently, the team was alerted to the presence of a third sculpture in the village, which was subsequently identified as that of Lakulisa. Mr. Ramesh said the age of the sculptures was estimated on the basis of the inscriptions found in them. “The script was a form of Tamil that was used around that period,” he said.

All the three sculptures had the same inscriptions that read, ‘Cheyam Patta Mutthira Varikan Madavathi’. This indicated that the sculptures were donated to the village by a person named Mutthira Varikan Madavathi to mark his victory.

“We do not have further information. We will be researching more on these sculptures,” he said.

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