Ancient copper plates, gold coins found in Karnataka temple
|Copper Plates of Sankama Sankama 11, 1180 A.D. of Kalachuri Dynasty." [Credit: Sreenivasa Rao/ASI]|
The gold coins belong to the “Ane Gadyana” variety, portraying elephants on the obverse and floral designs on the reverse. They weigh around four grams each. Ganga ruler Sivamara-I (regnal years 679 CE to 726 CE) issued three of them.
The ASI found the bonanza when it laid a trial pit in the south-east corner of the temple’s maha mandapa. The temple’s foundation had sunk and the nature of the soil had to be studied.
The result was quite unexpected with the yield of the copper plates and the coins, said Superintending Archaeologist of ASI Bangalore Circle M. Nambirajan. The coins were “beautifully made and typical of the issue of the western Gangas,” he noted.
Deputy Superintending Archaeologist T.M. Keshava said, “For the first time, eight gold coins have been found in the interior of Karnataka and they belong to the Gangas’ period, whose ruling domain was elsewhere at Talakadu. They are among the finest specimens of gold coins and some carry the legend ‘Si Ma’ in southern Brahmi script.”
The copper plates were found on February 11 the gold coins on February 16 and 17.
The temple is datable to the Kadamba rulers of Banavasi, who ruled these parts between 4th century CE to the late 6th century CE. However, it has vestiges of the Satavahana rulers, taking back its antiquity to the 2nd century CE.
The temple is simple in plan and elevation. It has a square sanctum, which houses a Shivalinga. As its foundation had sunk, resulting in the wall going out of plumb, there was need to dismantle and reset it. As the structure is situated in a heavy rainfall area, the soil’s nature and its foundation had to be studied. For this, the ASI laid a few trial pits.
Its team, led by Dr. Nambirajan, comprised Mr. Keshava, Assistant Archaeologists P. Aravazhi and Teekam and senior Conservation Assistant Arjun Bangargi.
A copper-plate charter has five leaves, each 28 cm long and 14 cm wide, held together by a royal seal with a beautiful engraving of a couchant bull. The plates carry inscriptions in Sanskrit and the script is in Devanagari. The other set has three leaves, each 24.5 cm long and 13 cm wide, with a Varaha (boar) emblem on the ring.
|Seal Kalachuri Copper Plate of Sangama [Credit: Sreenivasa Rao/ASI]|
Kalachuryas were a group of nomadic rulers, who ruled from Madhya Pradesh down to Karnataka, in the 12 century CE. “The significance of the discovery of the plates is that we have got more data on the Kalachurya rulers, their purpose of stay at Banavasi because they were issued when they were staying at Banavasi and we get authoritative data on the battle between the Kalachurya and the Hoysalas,” said Mr. Keshava.
The ASI plans to excavate a big mound near the temple that may reveal the vestiges of the ancient township of the Kadambas.
Author: T. S. Subramanian | Source: The Hindu [February 21, 2013]