Tamil Nadu

Two hero stones found at foothills of Pottamalai

A hero stone erected in memory of a person who died while killing a tiger was found at the foothills of Pottamalai in Nalluthevanpatti village of Usilmaptti block by K.T. Gandhirajan, an art historian. Photo: Special Arrangement

A hero stone erected in memory of a person who died while killing a tiger was found at the foothills of Pottamalai in Nalluthevanpatti village of Usilmaptti block by K.T. Gandhirajan, an art historian. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Two hero stones were found at the foothills of Pottamalai in Nalluthevanpatti village of Usilmaptti block by K.T. Gandhirajan, an art historian who undertakes research and documentation of historical monuments across the State.

Mr. Gandhirajan said there were several evidences in the Sangam literature about the practice of erecting hero stones in memory of leaders and chieftains who had died.

Both the hero stones found at the site could be around 500 years old, he said.

One of the hero stones found at the site called ‘pulikuthi kal’ was erected in the memory of a person who died while fighting a tiger. Mr. Gandhirajan said that the stone measured 8.8 feet in height and 4.5 feet in width. The stone had two portions — the lower portion depicted a man fighting a tiger and the upper one depicted a man riding a horse and a person standing next to him holding an umbrella.

“This region’s landscape was Mullai (forest). The stone indicates that here were cattle herders in this place who tried to protect their cattle from tigers. Due to the human being’s encroachment upon the natural habitat of the tiger, there were many instances of human-animal conflicts in this region,” he said.

Such hero stones were found in many northern districts of the State. “However, this hero stone was peculiar as it was huge in size. Usually, hero stones measuring up to 5 feet were only found. Also, the sculpture in the hero stone has been carved with such intricate details. This shows that there existed a culture of worshiping an act of bravery during those times,” he added.

But, for some reason the hero stone was left abandoned after being sculpted. “It could be due to lack of transportation facilities to carry such a huge hero stone,” he said.

The second hero stone was found around 50 metres from the first stone. It was 4 feet in height and 2.5 feet in width. It too has two portions- the lower portion depicted a woman holding a pot; the upper portion had a man riding a horse and a person next to him holding an umbrella. “This is also a memorial stone. But, the exact reason for erecting the stone could not be understood yet,” he added.

Mr.Gandhirajan said that stones belonging to the microlithic period, dating back to 3,000 to 4,000 years, were found at the site. Iron-age remains, including iron slags, were also found.

“This place is geographically important as it was an old trade route leading towards the Chera kingdom,” he added.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2020 8:43:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/two-hero-stones-found-at-foothills-of-pottamalai/article32259506.ece

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