History was standing everywhere in Pudukottai. Historically it had been a huge Jain area with Jain sculptures, Jain Monuments and Jain Beds in caverns everywhere.
Proof of this Jain inhabitance is here ever since 2nd C BC. We did spot several several deserted Jain sculptures everywhere. However many of them had their head chopped off which was done during the 12th C AD during the social, religious unrest that happened in this part of the world.
One was this. This Jain Thirthankara is Thiruppalli Malai Azhvar. His head too is missing. However today he is worshipped as Lord Vinayaka. Vinayaka Chathurthi is celebrated here in full swing with head and trunk made out of sandalwood & turmeric paste and fixed onto this Thirthankara sculpture! There were broken loose sculptures of Yaksha and Chatradhara (fan bearer) beside.
There was a iron spear kept in front of him, kept very recently which read 'Sri Muneeswaran Thunai' who is a local diety!!!
At a place called Mayilapatti, a 7 ft granite slab with 4 line Jain inscription. This place was earlier called Mayilappore. Now in this area are a Shiva Lingam, a Vinayaka, and a local diety Karuppar...
At another spot was a granite slab with 27 line inscription. The Thirthankara in this area is called Perunarkilli Perumbpalli. The inscription talks about the river is the Perunarkilli Pereri, i.e., the River of Perunarkilli. This river has been existing since the Sangam Era. With the literary proof of the Sangam Age this locality was called Kavi Naadu then, and this river was called Kavi Naadu Kanmai.
In another locality called Putthambur, another ancient Jain Thirthankara sculpture and another loose sculpture of a Yaksha. According to Prof. Muthazhagan this must have been the oldest sculpture given the amount of erosion that has taken place on this. The best part is meeting some local boys here. On striking up a conversation with these boys, they said, this is a sculpture of Buddha and that's why this place is called Buddhamur aka Putthambur. Well, local legends are always there!!!
This river and this this locality is called Thazhikkadu. An inscription of the Chola Period talks about this place specifying 'East till Thazhikkadu, West till Rajarajan Peruvazhi'. It means that there has been a highway called Rajarajan Highway in this locality which till date has not been deciphered where!
Yes, the religious unrest was all there in the 12th C, but to some extent glad to see that these deserted sculptures are today still worshiped, may be not as thirthankaras, but as vinayaka, or munishvara or buddha or some local diety!!!
P.S: Click here to know what I wore on this day...
To Reach Pudukkottai:
From Chennai: 400 km via Villupuram, Trichy
Trains to Rameshwaram go via Pudukottai.
Trains / Buses can be taken to Trichy and regular buses are available from Trichy.
From Trichy: 50 km. Regular buses are available.
From Madurai: 115 km via Tirupatthur
From Coimbatore: 300 km via Dharapuram, Dindigul
Dedicated to Prof. Swaminathan, Prof. Muthazhagan, Prof. Jambunathan, and the whole group...