Tamil Nadu

Chola-period sluice pillars with inscriptions found in Pudukottai district

The sluice pillars found inThimmayampatti in Pudukottai district.

The sluice pillars found inThimmayampatti in Pudukottai district.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

An expert said that pillars with Chola records are a rarity and two inscriptions of the same period in a single sluice unit are even rarer

A research scholar of history has stumbled upon two Chola-period sluice pillars with inscriptions during a field study in Thimmayampatti in Pudukottai district

M. Paramasivam, the research student of the Department of History at Arignar Anna Government Arts College, Musiri, while exploring the area, found two inscribed stone pillars and informed his guide R. Akila, an assistant professor at his college.

Dr. Akila, along with M. Nalini, Head, Department of History, Seethalakshmi Ramasami College, Tiruchi, and Selvi, a research scholar from Srirangam, studied the inscriptions with the help of R. Muttandi, a higher secondary student and P. Loganathan, a history enthusiast.

R. Kalaikkovan, Director, Dr. M. Rajamanikkanar Centre for Historical Research, after examining the two granite pillars, said that the stones are erected on the inner side of the village tank locally known as kurunkulam (small pond) near its eastern bund. They were found erected on either side of a sluice known as madai. The structure helps to regulate or divert water that is collected in the pond for agricultural needs and is usually a box-like structure supported on the sides by a pair of such pillars.

Among the two sluice pillars of the Thimmayampatti pond, the northern one is rectangular in shape with a circular top. Three strips are carved in between the two sections. The pillar measures 1.43m in height and 25 cm in breadth. “The deeply planted sluice pillar has a Tamil inscription of the Chola period (10th century C.E.) that runs to 9 lines carved on the lower half of its northern face. Two lamp stands are depicted below the inscription. The record identifies the pillar as Neerazhikkal (stone that lets out water) but the locals call it as aanaiyadikkal. The inscription records that the first right for water from the pond was assigned to a certain Kilavan Pavalakkunru alias Kandankusa Velan,” Dr. Kalaikkovan said.

The southern pillar which is chiselled into an octagonal shape, has a rectangular base of 43 cm height and measures 28 cm in breadth. The height of the pillar from the top of the base is 1. 48 m. The upper part of the pillar is round, giving it an appearance of a tall Linga. As in the first case, here also three bold strips differentiate the two portions. A seven-line inscription of the same period (10th century C.E.) on the southern face of the base also refers to the pillar as Neerazhikkal. The inscription records that the first water right of the pond was assigned to Vaikai Churri alias Uttamacholan, the head man of Urattur Nadu, according to Dr. Kalaikkovan..

Dr. Nalini added that while such sluice pillars with inscriptions are found in many of the districts of Tamil Nadu, pillars with Chola records are a rarity and two inscriptions of the same period in a single sluice unit are even rarer.

The historians have advised the village residents and the authorities that proper safety measures be taken to preserve the structure for posterity.

Repairs are currently underway to fix large pipes at the outlet of the pond very close to the Chola structure and may cause damage to the existing old sluice, she said.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 4:22:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/chola-period-sluice-pillars-with-inscriptions-found-in-pudukottai-district/article30878646.ece

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