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900-year-old mandapam dedicated to Lord Shiva found in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu's the Ramanathapuram Archaeological Research Foundation members found a 900-year-old mandapam in Tamil Nadu built by a cowherd

The members of the Ramanathapuram Archaeological Research Foundation in Tamil Nadu were thrilled as they found a 900-year-old mandapam. This discovery they made with the help of a Tamil poetic inscription dating back to 12th Century which is engraved on the wall of the mandapam which is located at Uthirakosamangai in Ramanathapuram district.

The inscription was discovered by V.Rajaguru, RARF’s head and is located on the eastern side of the Vettai Mandapam on the road from Uthrakosamangai to Thirupullani. After estampage (taking an exact copy of the inscription), along with M. Vimalraj and D. Manoj, Rajaguru took assistance of S. Santhalingam, senior archaeologist to read it.

Sharing details with India Narrative about the mandapam, Rajaguru said: “The mandapam is square shaped and is six metres wide and six metres long and it has a total of 16 square pillars with capitals. The mandapam was built in the 8th regnal year of a Pandya king who ruled in the 12th century AD.”

Shiva Mandapam RARF2
The inscription has 3 lines and talks about the person who made the mandapam

He went on to add that the mandapam faces the Uthrakosamangai Shiva temple in the west and its pillars are made of beach rocks.

Talking about the inscription, Rajaguru told India Narrative: “Even though the inscription is in 3 lines, it is a Venba poem (a form of classical Tamil poetry) in 4 lines. Based on the writing style, it can be confirmed that it belongs to the Pandya period in the 12th Century AD”

Elaborating about the inscription, Rajaguru said: “The meaning of the poetic inscription is that in the 8th regnal year of a Pandya king, Kayapan Chera Anda Pillai, a Andar from Tharukkavai, made a beautiful mandapam for Thunnu sadaya Chola Pondiswarar. The king’s name is not in it and Tharukkavai may be a village called Tharukakudi near Melur in Madurai district.”

Explaining further, he added: “Thunnu sadaya Chola Pondiswarar in the inscription may be the old name of Shiva who has a temple at Uthirakosamangai. During the period of Rajendra Chola I, the Cholas directly ruled the Pandya country under the name Chola Pandya. The Lord may have been given this name at that time.”

Rajaguru also said that Pillai who made the mandapam “belonged to the Idaiyar clan or Yadav (cowherd) clan”. “The mandapam was used to celebrate a particular festival or festivals dedicated to Lord Shiva,” he clarified.

Also read: 8,000-year-old Neolithic Age grain grinding structure found in Tamil Nadu