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10th Century’s Rashtrakuta Period Sallekhana Memorial Jain Inscription found at Morigeri

    • Found at Morigeri village, Hagari Bommanahalli Taluk, Vijayanagara District, Karnataka.
    • Jain Muni Yantikara Bhattarakha’s Sallekhana Memorial Inscription.
    • 10th century’s Rashtra King Krisha III Jain pillar inscription.
    • Discovered by Dr. Ravikumar K Navalagunda, Harihara.

    Morigeri, (Hagari Bommanahalli Taluk, Vijayanagara District, Karnataka), 24th April 2022: A 10th century Jain Sallekhana memorial pillar inscription has been discovered at Morigeri village in Hagari Bommanahalli Taluk, Davanagere district of Karnataka. Dr. Ravikumar K Navalagunda, Epigraphy Researcher, Kannada Lecturer, Government Pre-University College, Bannikodu has discovered this during his field work recently.
    This inscription with the Tirthankar idol on it has been discovered while digging the ground for constructing the compound wall of Sri Sheethalanath – Brahmadeva Jinalaya. The inscription has been engraved on a black coloured stone measuring 148 x 31 cms. This is a 37 lines inscription that has worn out intermitently. This is a pillar inscription with inscriptional text exgraved on 3 sides.

    10th Century's Rashtrakuta Period Sallekhana Memorial Jain Inscription found at Morigeri
    10th Century’s Rashtrakuta Period Sallekhana Memorial Jain Inscription found at Morigeri

    “According to the inscriptional text it belongs to Saka year 873 Virodhikrutha Samvatsara Jyeshta Bahula Bidhige, Monday. This corresponds to Monday 26th April 952 A.D. This inscription has been installed during the period when Rashtrakutas ruled Karnataka. Rashtrakuta King Krishna III ruled during this period. The inscription does not have any referenc to the Rashtakutas’s nor Krishna III’s name. However, this period corresponds to Rashtrakuta King Indra’s period”, says Dr. Ravikumar.
    The inscription is mainly related to the death of a Jain Muni. On the monday of Saka year 873 Virodhikrutha Samvatsara Jyeshta Bahula Bidhige the Jain Monk Yantikara Bhattaraka invited death through the Sanyasana ritual, remained in fast for 15 days and then died to reach the heavenly abode. In memory of the death of her guru Devasiri Kanthi got this inscription engraved, performed pooja and has got this installed. This is a rare inscription installed by a disciple in memory of her teacher.

    Yantikara Bhattarakha mentioned here before undertaken Sanyasana vow has donated to the deserving. The inscrption mentions that he died while worshiping the Jina. While praising Yanthikara Bhattaraka it states that he was well known and was a person with a great character. Since the inscription is worn out additional details are not available.

    Through this inscription it is evident that a Jain temple existed at Morigeri since the Rashtrakuta period. Now we can find a Digambar Jain temple dedicated to Shitalanath Tirthankar and a very few families reside here. The temple has gone through constant renovation regularly.
    Morigeri was an ancient Agrahara (an administative unit granted by a King) that has seen the rule of various kingdoms. We can find many inscriptions and hero stones in the village. All these have been assembled and preserved in the premises of the Basadi. We can also find Nolamba period temples at Morigeri.
    Dr. Ravikumar has thanked Sri Padmanabh H; Sri Sannappa H; Sri Jinadattappa J; Sri Sureshbabu J; Sri VasathaKumar R; Sri VijayaKumar Gunjal, the temple’s priest and his brother Dr.Nagaraj K Navalagunda for supporting him during the field work. – Jain Heritage Centres News Service

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