Jain site sculpture Telangana Hyderabad
The two pillars, one of granite and another of black basalt, bear inscriptions in Telugu-Kannada script | Pic courtesy: Twitter

1,000-year-old Jain archaeological site found near Hyderabad

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Two square pillars bearing Jain Tirthankara sculptures and inscriptions, which show the existence of a Jain monastery nearby, during the 9th–10th centuries CE, were recently found in a village on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

Noted archaeologist E Sivanagi Reddy, a former government official, said he inspected the spot at Enikepalli village in Moinabad Mandal in neighbouring Ranga Reddy district after P Srinath Reddy, a young archaeologist and heritage activist, provided information about the presence of the two pillars.

Sivanagi Reddy said that the two pillars, one of granite and another of black basalt, bore the images of four Jaina Tirthankaras, namely Adinatha, Neminatha, Parsvanatha, and Vardhamana Mahavira, seated in meditation on their four sides and decorated with Keerthimukhas on the top.

He said there are inscriptions in Telugu-Kannada script on both the slabs, which could not be deciphered as they are fitted in the masonry walls of the sluice of the village tank.

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The visible part of an inscription refers to a Janina Basadi (monastery) located close to Chilukuru village in the mandal, a prominent Jaina centre during the Rastrakuta and Vemulawada Chalukyan times (9th–10th centuries CE).

The details could be ascertained only after the slabs are removed from the sluice, Sivanagi Reddy said. “Yes. We can say a Jain monastery existed about 1,000 years ago near Chilukur,” Sivanagi Reddy said.

Chilkur village is home to a famous Lord Balaji temple now.

Sivanagi Reddy said the slabs bearing the Jaina Tirthankara might have been brought from a local dilapidated Jain temple and fitted to the sluice some 100 years ago. In view of the archaeological importance of the Jaina sculptural pillars and inscriptions, Sivanagi Reddy appealed to the villagers to protect them by removing them from the sluice and erecting them on a pedestal with proper labelling and historical details.

Kolanupaka village in Yadadri district is home to a famous Jain shrine. About 77 km from Hyderabad, the temple is said to be more than 2000 years old.

It is believed that Jainism was prevalent in Telangana before the 4th century AD, and Kolanupaka was one of the prominent centres of Jainism from early times, official sources said.

(With agency inputs)

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