TAMIL NADU

Pandya dynasty temple, fort unearthed near Tirunelveli

HISTORY REVEALED:Vasanthi, Deputy Superintendent, Department of Archaeology, taking a look at the buried temple lying in a barren land at Ukkirankottai in Tirunelveli district on Wednesday.— Photo: A. SHAIKMOHIDEEN

HISTORY REVEALED:Vasanthi, Deputy Superintendent, Department of Archaeology, taking a look at the buried temple lying in a barren land at Ukkirankottai in Tirunelveli district on Wednesday.— Photo: A. SHAIKMOHIDEEN  

A team of experts from the Department of Archaeology has unearthed a badly damaged portion of a temple and a fort constructed by a famous king of Pandya dynasty at Ukkirankottai near here 1,250 years ago.

After stumbling upon a few granite ‘Nandhis’ and a damaged dome of a temple strewn all over a barren land at Ukkirankottai, 26 km from here, a team of experts from Department of Archaeology, led by Deputy Superintendent Vasanthi, camped at the site for about two months and discovered the buried structure by digging a 15-foot-long and five-foot-deep trenches at five places.

“The unearthed constructions have proved the presence of a temple, a fort and a few more structures where commanders of Pandya King Paraakrama Veera Naarayanan, popularly known as Ukkirapandian, had stored their weapons and the king’s soldiers were staying,” said J. Ranjit, curator of the department and director of this project.

Apart from collecting the proof for the presence of a fort at Ukkirankottai, the team had gathered broken conch and glass bangles, terracotta dolls, floor tiles, granite Nandhis, damaged portion of a Siva temple, pots used for melting metals, etc.

“Since melting of metal had been done here, we believe that the weapons could have been prepared here with the molten metals,” Mr. Ranjit said.

After collecting the materials gathered during the excavation, the officials would preserve them in the nearest museum, he said.

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