Friday, December 11, 2020

Thiruketheeswaram Inscriptions of the Reign of Rajendra I

Thiruketheeswaram Inscriptions of the Reign of Rajendra I
A stone pillar containing two inscriptions of the reign of King Rajendra I (1012-1044 A.D.) was discovered from Thiruketheeswaram in Sri Lanka during the early years of the 20th century (Pathmanathan, 2005). It was removed from the original location and taken to the National Museum of Colombo for conservation.

The pillar
There are two inscriptions written separately on two faces of the stone pillar. However, the stone has been broken and therefore, the inscriptions are fragmentary (Pathmanathan, 2005). In its present state of preservation, the first inscription has 31 lines of writing while the second has 27 lines of writing (Pathmanathan, 2005). Scholars have dated these inscriptions to the reign of the South Indian Chola King Rajendra I [(1012-1044 A.D.) Pathmanathan, 2005].

The pillar is believed to be originally a part of a building attached to a temple (Pathmanathan, 2005). 

Content
The first inscription (31 lines of writing)
This inscription records some information about social and religious conditions in the city of Matottam (Pathmanathan, 2005). It reveals about a Saiva temple named Tiruviramisvaram and endowments made to it by a Chola dignitary, who was originally a native of Cirukulattur (Pathmanathan, 2005). Tiruviramisvaram is believed to be a shrine that was established near the principal Saiva temple at Thiruketheeswaram during the early years of the Chola occupation (Pathmanathan, 2005).

The second inscription (27 lines of writing)
The second inscription is historically important. It records the conquest of the whole of Ilam (Sri Lanka), the capture of the Sri Lankan king and queen, and their crowns, and the Pandya crown that left in the custody of a king of Sri Lanka long ago by a Pandyan ruler (Pathmanathan, 2005). It further mentions the conquest of Itaiturainatu (Raichur Doab), Vanavaci, Kollippakkai, and Mannaikkatakkam [(in Karnataka, India) Pathmanathan, 2005]. Besides this inscription, several Sri Lankan chronicles, and epigraphs (such as Hammenhiel inscriptions) confirm the fact that King Mahinda V of Anuradhapura (982-1017 A.D.) and his queen were taken away along with other treasures by the South Indian Cholas in the 11th century A.D.

References
1) Pathmanathan, S., 2005. Tamil inscriptions in the Colombo National Museum: Spolia Zeylanica. Vol 47. (2010). Department of National Museums, Sri Lanka, pp.1, 15-21.

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This page was last updated on 11 December 2020
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