A 17th century Nayak period Tamil inscription notifying the construction of a weir and a stone sculpture of a man, apparently announcing it, have been found at a dry pond at Velur near Viralimalai in Pudukottai district.
The discovery is considered “significant” as the inscription on the construction of a ‘kalingu’ (weir) was found alongside a sculpture depicting a man announcing it with a tom-tom. The inscription and the sculpture were found by a history enthusiast, P.Loganathan. Subsequently, R.Akila, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Arignar Anna Government Arts College, Musiri, and M. Nalini, Head, Department of History, Seethalakshmi Ramasamy College, Tiruchi, visited the site and examined them, said R.Kalaikkovan, Director, Dr.M.Rajamanikkanar Centre for Historical Research, Tiruchi.
“It a very interesting sculpture indeed – it is a meaningful sculpture along with the notification of the construction of a weir. This is probably the first time that such a sculpture has been found near Tiruchi,” said Dr.Kalaikkovan.
According to Dr.Kalaikkovan, the pond with well raised bunds has stone and stucco mixed walls of 2.40 metres in height. The stepped up weir has four granite layers of which two are broader. A masonry platform with a short wall is built on top of this.
The granite sculpture that stands on the platform is fixed on the centre with a caved edge to facilitate surplus water to flow through. The stone on which the sculpture is done measures 1.30 metres in height. But the sculpture, with an ornamental lotus band in the upper portion of the stone, measures only 53 centimetres in height.
“The well built male figure has short attire at the hip and has armlets and bangles. A necklace with a pendent and a two-layered long chain adorn his chest. The ears are elongated and his head gear is typical of Nayaks. A tom-tom tide at his hip is beaten with two curved sticks held by his hands,” Dr.Kalaikkovan said.
The granite stone in which the inscription is engraved is found at the edge of the right side wall. The 16 line inscription gives its date as 22nd in Tamil month ‘Aani’ in 1698 C. E. It records the construction of the weir during the rule of the local feudatory Chinnakar Mada Srinayakkarayyan son of Muthukkar Mada Srinayakkarayyan when Manisarayappillai of Thiruvanaikkavan was the head man (Maniyam) of the village. The inscription ends with a prayer to Kamatchi Amman seeking to protect the newly built ‘kalingu.’
Dr. Nalini said that an inscription recording the donation of a piece of land by Muthukkar Mada Srinayakkarayyan, who is mentioned in the inscription at Velur, was discovered some time back in Chettiurunippatti of Alundur a nearby village. Hence, it could be surmised that this part of Tiruchirappalli and Pudukkottai districts were under the governance of Mada Srinayakkarayyan clan during the 17th century, she said.