TAMIL NADU

Two hero stones found

The hero stones found in the foothills of Pottamalai in Nalluthevanpatti near Usilampatti in Madurai district.

The hero stones found in the foothills of Pottamalai in Nalluthevanpatti near Usilampatti in Madurai district.  

Two hero stones were found in the foothills of Pottamalai in Nalluthevanpatti near Usilmaptti by K.T. Gandhirajan, an art historian.

Mr. Gandhirajan said one can find several references in the Sangam literature about the practice of erecting hero stones in memory of leaders and chieftains. Both the hero stones found at the site could be around 500 years old.

Mr. Gandhirajan said one of the stone was 8.8 feet tall and 4.5 feet wide. The lower portion of the stone depicts a man fighting a tiger. The upper portion shows a man riding a horse with a person beside him holding an umbrella.

“This region comes under Mullai (forest) landscape. One can infer from the stone that cattle herders tried to protect their cattle from tigers in those days. Due to people encroaching on tiger habitat, there were many instances of human-animal conflict in this region,” he said.

Such hero stones could also found in many northern districts. “However, this one is huge. Usually, they measure only up to five feet. Also, the sculpture has intricate details,” he added.

The second stone was found around 50 metres away. It was four feet tall and 2.5 feet wide. The lower portion of the stone depicted a woman holding a pot and the upper portion showed a man riding a horse, with a person holding an umbrella standing next to him.

Mr. Gandhirajan said 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.

Recommended for you