A team of archaeologists has discovered two Vaishnava saint sculptures (also called Vamana Avathar sculptures), both around 500 years old with identical carvings on the stones, at Pongalur (the one in Avinashi taluk) and Nariyampallipudur situated seven km. apart in the district.
“During those era, Vaishanava mutts or monastic establishments used to give away land to the people in Kongu region as ‘grants’ for farming activities and collect tax from the agricultural revenue.
The amounts thus collected are used for renovation of temples, lightning of lamps during temple festivals in the region.
When giving away lands, these monastic establishments used to place sculptures of gods/saints to denote that the expanse was given as ‘grant’ and also for the people to worship the same for soil fertility,” S. Ravikumar, one of the members of Virarajendran Archaeological and Historical Research Centre which discovered the sculptures, told The Hindu .
In both the sculptures, Vamana holds holy pot with water on right hand (kamandalam) and the left hand has the umbrella. Both the sculptures have the emblems of sun and moon.
“History books point out that the sun and moon are symbolically carved out in that era to tell the villagers that the land given as grants should be used only for the purpose meant till sun and moon exists,” pointed out C. M. Ramesh Kumar, another member of the team.
When spoke to some villagers in both the places, they were not aware of the historical importance of the stones.
“We thought that it as a stone kept to mark the boundary,” said M. Kanagraj, a farmer from Nariyampallipudur on whose farm border lays one of the sculptures.