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Inscriptions of 17th century found

Special Correspondent

At Ahalingesvarar Temple in Pudukottai district



CHARITY PERSONIFIED: The sculpture of a donor at the Ahalingesvarar Temple at Maravamadurai in Pudukottai district.

TIRUCHI: Seven inscriptions, dating back to 17th century AD, have been found at the Ahalingesvarar Temple at Maravamadurai near Ponnamaravathy in Pudukottai district.

The inscriptions found at the front mandapam of the 13th century temple reveal that the mandapam had been built by a Nagarathar family in the 17th century, according to former Pudukottai Government Museum curator J.Raja Mohammed.

The inscriptions were discovered by a team comprising Dr. Mohammed, epigraphist K.Rajendran and Museum Curator C.Govindaraj . The team had already copied three inscriptions from the temple in 2003.

The portraits of donor family members have been sculpted in the pillars and names inscribed. Members of the joint family had made donations for building different parts of the mandapam.

As per the inscriptions, Arivur Silamban Chettiar, his brothers Udayappa Chettiar and Valli Chettiar, and women folk of the family were the donors.

A line-drawing figure of a woman in a pillar bears the name ‘Peria Thaai.’ Two women were portrayed in another pillar with the inscription, ‘Alagathal Thanaatti Valliammal.’

The meaning ‘Thannati’ is not clear. “It is presumed to denote co-wives,” Dr. Mohammed said.

Ariyur is a corruption of Aruviyur which is near Piranmalai. Nagarathars, who were members of merchant guilds, had engaged in trade with countries in the Far East as indicated by inscriptions. They earned huge profits and spent on charity, Dr. Mohammed said.

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