TAMIL NADU

15th century sculptor’s scale found

A TRIBUTE: A sculpture of Uranga Villi Dasan, who had renovated the main vimana of the Kallazhagar temple.

A TRIBUTE: A sculpture of Uranga Villi Dasan, who had renovated the main vimana of the Kallazhagar temple.  

S. Ganesan

It has been carved on the lower part of the basement of the vimana of Kallazhagar temple

TIRUCHI: A 15th century sculptor’s scale has been found in the main vimana of the Kallazhagar temple at Azhagarkoil, near Madurai.

The scale was found by research scholars of the Dr. M. Rajamanikkanar Centre for Historical Research, Tiruchi, during an explorative study.

According to R. Kalaikkovan, director of the centre, a close study of the main vimana revealed the scale, carved on the lower part of the basement. Two plus marks, separated by 76 centimetres, are noted on the southern part of the ‘upana’ (base).

An inscription copied from the temple in 1930 says Thirumaliruncholai Ninran Mavali Vanadarayan Uranga Villi Dasan, a feudal lord who had ruled the region in 1469 AD, had renovated the main vimana from the ‘upana’ to the ‘stupi.’ Thiruvalan Somayaji, an official who had executed the work to the satisfaction of the king, was gifted with a village, Kulamangalam, as a tax-free property. Another inscription copied from the basement of the west wall of the ‘Thayar’ shrine mentions the name of a measure carved below as ‘Thirumalirucholai Ninran Mavali Vanadarayan Mathrankulam.’

Based on the two inscriptions, one may conclude that the sculptor’s scale discovered at the basement of the main vimana was used by sculptors of the 15th century to build the unique and ornamental vimana, says Dr. Kalaikkovan.

One of the embellished stone windows is depicted with a sculpture of an individual in a seated posture, with two attendants on either side. V. Vedachalam, an archaeologist of Madurai who accompanied the scholars, identified him as Uranga Villi Dasan, who renovated the vimana.

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