+ Found at Betur village in Davanagere district.
+ 12th century Jain inscription.
+ Inscription found along the pedestal of the Tirthankar idol.
+ Discovery indicate the existence of a Chaturmukha Basadi at Betur.
+ Discovered by Dr.R.Shejeshwara Nayak, Shivamogga & Dr. Ravikumar K Navalagunda, Harihara.
Davanagere (Karnataka), 30th November 2021: A 12th century Jain inscription has been discovered at Betur village in Davanagere district & taluk of Karnataka.
Dr.R.Shejeshwara Nayak, Assistant Director, Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage, Shimoga & Dharwad and Dr. Ravikumar K Navalagunda, Epigraphy Researcher, Kannada Lecturer, Government Pre-University College, Bannikodu have discovered this during their joint field work to Kalleshwara temple at Betur.
“Three Digmabar Jain idols and an idol of Yakshi Ambika that were besides the Basaveshwara temple were shifted to the Kalleshwara temple. On carfully examining all the 3 idols we found an inscription on one of the Jain idols”, says Dr. Nayak.
The Tirthankar idol on which the inscription has been discovered is of black stone and measures 31 inches wide and 39 inches high. The idol seated on a Lotus has its hairs drooping down the shoulders. Since the hairs are drooping down the shoulders it can be concluded that this is an idol of Tirthankar Adinath.
Inscriptional Text – “Mallishena Maladhara Deva’s disciple Baladeva Shetty had got the idol made.”
Inscriptional Details & Period – “The term Mallishena Maladhari Deva used in the inscription is that of a Digambar Jain muni. Mention of Mallishena Maladhari Deva are seen in the inscriptions at Shravanabelagola and Haveri districts Guttal village and a few other places. They indicate that Muni Mallishena Maladhari Deva lived during the 12th century A.D. Based on the inscription’s Lipi – letters it can be clearly concluded that this inscription belongs to 12th century A.D. It can be further concluded that Muni Mallishena Maladhari Deva had visited Betur village, and Baladeva Shetty has got this idol made at the behest of his Guru”, says Dr. Ravikumar.
Existence of a Chaturmukha Basadi – Along with the idol on which the inscription is found we can also see two other idols of Tirthankar Adinath. However, there are ruins of a temple with a centrally located sanctum sanctorum. This indicates that there might have been a Chaturmukha Basadi at Betur. Had this temple survived this would have been one of the oldest Jain Chaturmukha Basadi.
One of the other inscriptions at Betur indicate that “Kuchiraja a general had got the Lakshmi Jinalaya, a Jain temple dedicated to Tirthankar Parshwanath built at Betur in his wife Lakshmi’s memory.”
They have thanked Kannada lecturer Dr.Nagaraj K Navalagunda and Sri Shivakumar, who looks after the Kalleshwara Temple. – Jain Heritage Centres News Service