Monday, April 27, 2009

History Calling

I found this piece of news in New Indian Express interesting.

Velachery was a flourishing Vedic town

The 1,000-year-old inscriptions that were found during renovation work at Sri Yoga Narasimhar Temple in Velachery.

Just discovered inscriptions reveal that Velachery was a flourishing little town even a millennium ago and that it was a Brahmin settlement who specialized in Vedic education.

The 1,000-year-old inscriptions that offer a glimpse of the distant past were stumbled upon by temple officials while undertaking renovation work at Sri Yoga Narasimhar Temple in Velachery here a few days ago.

Officials of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are studying the inscriptions. Epigraphist, ASI, Dr S Rajavelu said the inscription revealed that the area was a Jina Chintamani chaturvedimangalam circa the 8th Century AD.

It was clear that the Brahmins who specialized in Vedic education lived here. The temple enjoyed the patronisation of Chola Kings Rajaraja I and Rajendra I. The area was referred as ‘’Velichcheri,’’ meaning an outskirt, in the inscriptions.

Interestingly, the adjacent locality of Taramani was a hamlet where agriculture was the main stay. Also, the new find corroborates the earlier evidence found in the Shiva and Chelliamman Temples in the same neighbourhood of Velachery.

A temple dedicated to Yoga Narasimha of the Pallava period is significant as there is no similar temple of the same period in the vicinity of Chennai city. Though Yoga Narasimha is represented in sculptures in a few temples, it is not the presiding deity anywhere except at the Velachery temple.

‘We are still studying the inscriptions as it is fragmented. More interesting facets of the ancient days could come out,’ Rajavelu said.

Former Director of Geological Survey of India, Dr. Badrinarayanan and Marine Archaeologist, Dr.Sasi Sekaran of National Institute of Ocean Technology who formed part of the experts team studying the inscriptions reiterated the views of the ASI official. The temple pillars were dismantled in an unprofessional manner leading to possible loss of archaeological evidence. Without realizing the importance of the old structures, paintings had been done in the past obscuring the archaeological value. ‘This should be avoided and temple officials must be sensitised on the issue.’

I live on the same road on which this hoary temple is located.

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