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Re: On Vazhuti and Peruvazhuti (Siva Temples)

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  • Francesco Brighenti
    ... The excavations undertaken by I.K. Sarma indicate that the linga of Parasuramesvara temple in Gudimallam with a standing figure of Siva on its frontal
    Message 1 of 88 , May 26, 2013
      I had written:

      > > There were no Siva temples anywhere in India during the
      > > third-second century BCE!


      Carlos Aramayo replied:


      > That's a limited vision. It is well known the 3rd-2nd century BCE
      > Gudimallam temple in Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh, with its
      > Siva idol and lingam:
      >
      > http://tinyurl.com/at7om7s

      The excavations undertaken by I.K. Sarma indicate that the linga of Parasuramesvara temple in Gudimallam with a standing figure of Siva on its frontal facet was at first set into a circular arghapitha (offering platform) separated from the habitations by a square vedika-like barricade on all its sides. This hypaethral shrine dates from the second century B.C. The practice of worship of linga-in-railing under the trees or over a platform in the open was already known in Mathura, Taxila and Ujjain in the third-second century B.C. In the later Satavahana period (first-second century A.D.) the Siva linga of Gudimallam was brought within an apsidal temple in brick serving as a garbhagriha for the purusha; the original vedika surrounding the linga remained quite intact. This absidal brick structure can be said the be the first "temple" erected for the Parasuramesvara deity at Gudimallam; the earlier open-air shrine cannot be defined a "temple" in the current sense of the term.


      > In northern India, at Sanchankot, Uttar Pradesh, there are also
      > five recently found Siva temples excavated by D.P. Tewari from
      > Sunga times (2nd century BCE). Even one of these Siva temples was
      > reported to be 2300-2400 years old:
      >
      > http://tinyurl.com/b5hm4s8


      However, we were talking about the existence or non-existence of "temples" (of Siva) in *Southern* India -- more specifically, in Tamilnadu -- in the second century B.C. A thorough investigation may bring a hypothesis that the worship of Siva lingas enshrined in brick temples could be seen in Tamilnadu, at the earliest, by third century A.D. due to the inflow of the Northern Sanskrit traditions.

      Regards,
      Francesco
    • Francesco Brighenti
      ... Puhar/Kaveripattinam is *principally* known to archaeology for its trade with the Roman Empire, although its merchants certainly traded with other
      Message 88 of 88 , Jun 23, 2013
        Ravilochanan Iyengar wrote:

        > It has to be noted that Pattinappalai does not mention the
        > word 'Yavanar' anywhere as far as I can remember. So, why should it
        > be assumed that Karikala belonged to the period of trading with
        > Greek states or even the Roman empire? Should the presence of a
        > port necessary imply trade with Romans?

        Puhar/Kaveripattinam is *principally* known to archaeology for its trade with the Roman Empire, although its merchants certainly traded with other countries too.

        In this connection, let me introduce a new element of textual analysis which, though I am not claiming it to amount to "proof" that Roman (`Yavana') merchants -- i.e. ethnic Greeks, Egyptians, Arabs etc. -- are mentioned in the Pattinappalai, appears worth of discussion to me.

        The Pattinappalai (in J.V. Chelliah's English translation) refers to the "fair", "coral-like" complexion and the "pink" feet of the bejewelled women living in the harbour quarter of Puhar in the age of Karikala; the poet further compares the hands of those women to flowers of kAntaL (Malabar glory lyly, having orange or red-and-yellow flowers) and makes a simile between their (foreign?) tongue(s) and the screech of the parrot's call:

        In cloud-topped, lofty, storeyed halls
        Around which there are piers built
        Are numerous courts and doors, both large
        And small, and spacious cloisters reached [160]
        By long ladders with close-set steps.
        In them do gather fair women
        Whose feet are pink, whose thighs close-set.
        Adorned are they with gauds of gold.
        Their hips are broad, their dress is soft;
        Fair are their red coral-like skins.
        Arrayed are they like gay peacocks.
        Their eyes are deer-like, and their speech,
        Like the parrot's prattle; these enjoy
        The breeze that blows through the windows. [170]
        They worship with bejewelled hands
        Resembling clusters that do sprout
        From kAntaL's joints whose blooms do spread
        Their pollens sweet on mountain slopes.
        Wide is the street where people trade...

        As is well-known, the Pattinappalai also tells us that in the age of Karikala Puhar was a large port-town having colonies of foreign merchants:

        As those who are united close
        By various high cultures, at times
        Together come to ancient shrines,
        So people speaking diverse tongues
        That come from great and foreign homes
        Mix free in friendly terms with those
        Who occupy this glorious town. [260]

        (N.B. Of course, the Cilappatikaram [5. 1-10] *explicitly* refers to `Yavana' merchants living in their separate quarters in Puhar, but this is another matter as this Tamil epic dates from the 5th-6th centuries CE.)

        Could not the fair-complexioned women referred to in the Pattinappalai, whose tongue, seemingly unintelligible to the poet, is compared by him to the parrot's call, be `Yavana' women – that is, women hailing from the Roman Empire?

        Regards,
        Francesco
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