Category Archives: INDIA

8th Century Jain Idol Found By Farmer While Ploughing Fields In Southern India

8th Century Jain Idol Found By Farmer While Ploughing Fields In Southern India

A significant discovery was made in India by a farmer working on his land. He uncovered a remarkable Jain statue dated back a thousand years. Traces of a temple are believed to have also been found. The discoveries contribute to the knowledge of the history of the region by researchers as it was an important Jainism center.

Oggu Anjaiah is a farmer from the village of Kotlanarsimhulapalli, in Karimnagar district, which is in the state of Telangana in the south of India. He was plowing his land before the monsoon when he came across something large.

Oggu had plowed up an ancient statue. He alerted other villagers and they immediately realized that it was something sacred. According to Telangana Today, local people “performed pujas to the statue”, meaning acts of worship.

Speculation Over the Identity of Jain Statue

The local authorities were alerted to the find and they visited the site of the discovery. According to The News Minute, experts believe the statue could represent the 24th Tirthankara, Vardhamaana Mahaveer.

He is an important figure, a saint, and a spiritual teacher in Jainism and was crucial in the development of the religion. He is regarded as one of the twenty-four saints of the faith and is still worshiped by Jains to this day. Jainism is an ancient Indian religion that teaches that salvation can be achieved by a life of non-violence and renunciation.

“The idol is reportedly in a Dhyana Mudra (meditation posture)”, reports The News Minute. There is some debate as to the identity of the figure depicted.

Karimnagar Assistant Director of the Archaeology Department, Nagaraju, told The News Minute that “the statue could either be of Adinathudu (Vrushabanathudu) [also known as Rishabhanatha], the first Tirthankara (spiritual teacher) of Jain or the 24th Tirthankara, Vardhamaana Mahaveer.” What is clear, however, is that the statue is of great historic and religious importance.

White stone sculpture of Rishabhanatha (another name for Adinathudu), the first of twenty-four Tirthankara, or spiritual teachers, of Jainism.

Possible Remains of Jain Temple Found Nearby

State archaeologists “found the imprints of a structure (Jain temple) and decided to take up excavation in the half-acre area,” according to Telangana Today.

The structure was similar to modern Jain places of worship and was probably decorated with many reliefs and statues. It is likely that monks from the monastery buried the idol here, though the reasons remain unknown. Nagaraju, the Assistant Director of the Archaeology Department, told The News Minute that the site is some 11 miles (15 km) from a “hillock called Bommalagutta, where there was a Jain monastery.”

Some years ago an idol belonging to the 23rd Jain Theerthankara called Parshvanatha was found in the same fields”, reports The Hindu.

The find is believed to date from the 8 th and 9 th century AD when the Rastrakuta dynasty ruled this region. Their abandoned capital is located not far from the village.

The Rastrakutas adopted Jainism, becoming patrons of the religion, and sponsored the building of temples as part of their policy of promoting the faith. After the fall of this dynasty, Jainism went into decline and Hinduism grew in popularity. During Muslim rule, members of the religion were often discriminated against and there are few adherents of the religion in this part of India today.

Dispute Over Final Resting Place for Ancient Jain Sculpture

Assistant Director Nagaraju, told The Teleangan Times that “more sculptures and structure of Jains may be found at the spot.” The authorities want to move the statue to a regional museum, but the local villagers have so far prevented this.

They want to erect a shrine or temple in the village in order to house the statue. As a result of this stand-off, the idol is now being kept under a tree near where it was found.

Ancient Jain statues have been excavated in the area.

The recent discovery has once again shed some light on the history of Jainism. It has also helped to revive interest in this ancient faith, which now has over 4 million followers in India. A Jain trust has also committed to building a temple in the area if they can secure land.

200-year-old temple buried in the sand, excavated in Southeastern India

200-year-old temple buried in the sand, excavated in Southeastern India

The Hindu reports that a brick temple was revealed during sand mining in southeastern India’s Penna River. Estimated to be about 200 years old, the temple may have been submerged and buried as the river changed its course after flooding in 1850, according to Rama Subba Reddy of the Archaeological Survey of India.

The ancient temple of Nageswara Swamy, which was believed to have been buried in the sand for eight decades, was located on the banks of the Penna River in the Indian Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.   Some local youth from the village of Perumallapadu under Chejerla Mandal (block) excavated the sand and discovered the temple of Siva, which it was said was consecrated by Lord Parasurama.

Archeology officials say that after 1850 floods in the Penna River the temple may have begun to bury by the sand. The floods had submerged the village and the people relocated away from the river banks.

A historical temple of Nageswara Swamy buried in the sand was unearthed at Perumallapadu, near Chejerla, in Nellore district on Tuesday.

Locals say their elders told them that sand dunes covered the entire structure about 80 years ago. They wanted to continue the sand excavation, the authorities stopped them saying this could damage the structure.

Archaeology Assistant Director Ramasubba Reddy said the higher officials would inspect the site soon and decide on the excavation and preservation works.

People from Perumallapadu and surrounding villages are thronging the place to see the temple and worship. A few policemen were deployed to guard the site.

The officials of the Archaeology and Endowments departments said they would work out a plan to restore the temple respecting the sentiments of the villagers.

It is believed that Sri Nageswara Swamy temple along with Kotiteertham temple and Sangam Sivalayam in the district were built 300 years ago. Some youth, who had returned home from various places due to the lockdown, took up sand excavation to unearth the temple.

“This has been the dream of the villagers. We had heard about the ancient temple from our elders and since we were sitting idle home, we decided to start digging work to find it. Our dream has come true,” said one of the youth.

The group of about 35 villagers said they had taken permission from the local officials before taking up the work. The villagers claimed that the temple had 110 acres of land in various villages under the Mandal.

Since the temple was buried in the sand, the revenue from the lands was being deposited in the Endowments department.

Stating that there are no accounts of the revenue earned from these lands, they demanded the authorities come out with all details and take up restoration of the temple.

A local official of Endowments department said Rs four lakh earned as rentals from the 68 acres of land was deposited in the bank. The Archaeology Department plans to hold talks with public representatives on the restoration of the temple.

Hindu religious leader Swamy Kamalananda Bharati also visited the temple on Wednesday.

Swamy, who heads the Hindu Temples Protection Committee, demanded that the authorities immediately take up works to restore the temple.

6th century Gold Coin Discovered in Southern India

6th century Gold Coin Discovered in Southern India

The Times of India reports that a sixth-century gold coin measuring less than one-half inch in diameter was unearthed in the Agaram neighborhood of southern India’s city of Chennai.

One side of the coin bears a U-shaped symbol called a Naaman, a religious mark usually placed on the forehead, he explained. This side of the coin also bears an image that looks like the sun, with a figure of a lion below it, he added.

According to the leading Tamil weekly magazine, ‘Anantha Vikatan’, the gold coin found during the excavation seems to be 6th century AH coins.

The coin has a U-Shaped symbol referred  to as 'Naamam' infront along with a sun like symbol in the middle and a lion below it.
The coin has a U-Shaped symbol referred to as ‘Naamam’ infront along with a sun like symbol in the middle and a lion below it.

In Keezhadi, the outskirts of Madurai and the border of Sivagangai district, now the 6th phase of excavation is going on, this was inaugurated by the state Chief Minister Edapadi Palanisami before lockdown on February 19, 2020. 

During the lockdown period, the excavation work was halted which has been now started again. 

Archeological activist Gemini Ramesh told the Tamil weekly that 6th Century Syrian Gold Coin was found under the earth at Elandhakkarai near Kalaiyar Koil, Sivagangai district of Tamil Nadu. 

The unearthing of the gold coin shows the advent of Islam very early in the Madurai area.

The Keeladi findings have led academics to describe the site as part of the Vaigai Valley Civilization. Pieces of evidence of civilization before 2300 years have been found here in Keezhadi a few years back. That is why the excavation has been going on since 2015.

Mohamed Yusuff, Madurai resident who is a lawyer by profession, told Times Now that Islam arrived in Madurai even before Malik Kafur’s invasion of Madurai in the 14th century.

Quoting History professor R Venkataraman,  Yusuff said even before the advent of Islam, Arabs maintained trade links with South India, especially for the pearls the Madurai Pandya Kingdom was famous for.

“Sufis, Muslim saints, started coming to Tamil Nadu by 900 AD. The entry of Islam to the region was peaceful as Sufis conceived God as love,” he said.

 According to Venkataraman, the short-lived Madurai Sultanate and Islamic influence did have their impact on the city, especially on warfare and town planning.

“Muslim rulers introduced arch construction they learned from the Romans. It changed the style of architecture here in a significant way.”

Yusuff further said that his home is situated at the riverbank of Vaigai and the excavation sites his not far away from his locality.

Meanwhile, the excavation work has been revived after the lockdown was lifted in the area. He hoped that many things related to Islam’s early presence would be uncovered during the excavation.

500-year-old temple submerged in the Indian state of Odisha’s Mahanadi river resurfaces

A 500-year-old temple submerged in the Indian state of Odisha’s Mahanadi river resurfaces.

An old temple was found in Mahanadi in Odisha, experts who lead a documentation project for heritage sites throughout the river valley.

Approximately 500 years old, the 60-foot temple was recently held during a workout in the framework of the project, according to Anil Dhir, project coordinator of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) in Odisha.

It was found in the middle of the river near Baideswar in Cuttack’s Padmavati region, he said on Sunday.

An archaeological survey team from the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage that visited the village in Nayagarh district, said the top of the Gopinath Dev temple was visible due to the reduction in the water-level of the river.

The temple dates back to the late 15th or early 16th century, considering the construction style of the Mastaka and the materials used for the construction, Dhir said, adding that INTACH would approach the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to take steps for relocating and restoring the temple.

We will soon write to the ASI requesting it to take steps to relocate the temple to a suitable site. They have the required technology to do it. The state government should also take up the matter with the ASI, he said.

Stating that INTACH has so far located as many as 65 ancient temples in the Mahanadi river during its documentation project, Dhir said many of the temples in the Hirakud reservoir too can be dismantled and reconstructed.

INTACH’s project assistant Deepak Kumar Nayak, who with the help of a local heritage enthusiast Rabindra Rana located the temple, said he was aware of its existence.

The temple was dedicated to Gopinath Dev, he said. The region used to be known as “Satapatana” in the early days. However, with the river changing its course due to catastrophic floodings, the entire village was submerged, Nayak said.

In the mid 19th century, the deities of the vulnerable temple were shifted and installed in a safer and higher place, which is presently the Gopinath Dev temple of Padmavati village, he said.

Dhir said INTACH Odisha had launched its project on the documentation of the heritage of the Mahanadi valley early last year.

A systemic survey of all the tangible and intangible heritage of the entire length of the Mahanadi, from the source to the sea, covering a distance of nearly 1,700 km, is in its final stage of completion, he said.

A multi-volume report of the nearly 800 monuments that have been documented will be released next year, he added.

Amiya Bhusan Tripathy, the state convener of INTACH, said this will be the first of its type study on any river in India and is the pilot project of the trust.

A comprehensive survey of the heritage, on either bank, has been undertaken in the nine districts through which the Mahanadi flows, he said.

Dhir, who had earlier led the Old Jagannath Sadak and the Prachi valley documentation projects, said the richness and diversity of the Mahanadi valley have not been studied properly to date.

He lamented that many of the ancient monuments have been destroyed, or are in a state of advanced decay.