Gerusoppa, 17th November 2019: An ancient Jain hero stone (Veeragallu) belonging to the 16th century in the form of a pillar has been recently found at Gerusoppe/Gerusoppa, an ancient Jain heritage center that flourished as the capital of the Saluva kings for several years. This has been found by Mr. Nitin H P an IT professional who works as Manager – Marketing Technology at Wipro Limited, Bengaluru.
This hero stone was discovered in the midst of the Gerusoppa’s forests a few years ago and was kept in the premises of the Jain Basadi just like any other stone without much attention towards it. This hero stone had instilled a lot of curiosity in the minds of Mr. Nitin on several instances during his visit to Gerusoppe. Impressed and amused by its structure Nitin started exploring more about this.
At present, this hero stone has been kept in the premises of Sri Vardhman basadi at Gerusoppa.
“It is rare to find hero stones related to Jainism and particularly finding a hero stone in the form of a pillar is very rare,” exclaims Nitin.
Details of the hero stone: We can find the carvings and inscriptions on three sides of this pillar. At the extreme top on all the three sides are seen the carvings of Kirthi Mukha (victory face).
The first section or the right side: This section has the inscriptions and carvings. The bottom-most portion has the carving of a hero fighting with another person. Above that are seen the carvings of three heroes. Two of them are seen holding a sword and shield in their hand while the other one is holding a sword and is throwing a spear from his left hand. Above this are seen three women raising both their hands. Above this is seen the inscription.
Central Section: This section has inscriptions and carvings. The bottom-most portion has the carving of a hero fighting against two persons. Above that are seen three heroes holding shield and sword in their hands. Above that are seen two nymphs with raised hands holding a pallakki (palanquin) in their hands. Inside the palanquin is seen the hero sitting with folded hands. Above the palanquin is seen some inscriptional text, above the text, is seen the carving of a Tirthankar in Kayotsarga (Standing posture) with lighted lamps flanking the Tirthankar. The lighted lamps beside the Tirthankar indicate that the hero had reached the heavenly abode.
Third Section/Left side: This section also has inscription and carvings like the other two sides. The bottom-most section has the carving of a hero on a horse throwing the spear & opposite to him is seen another hero fighting against him. Above that is seen the carvings of three heroes. Two of them are seen holding a sword and shield in their hand while the other one is holding a sword and a trumpet in his right hand. Above this are seen three women raising both their hands. Above this is seen the inscription.
Inscription’s Specialty: This is a Jain hero stone in the form of a pillar. Jain hero stones are rarely seen. Hence this is one of the very rare Jain hero stones found in Karnataka.
Inscription’s Summary: The inscription starts with reverence to Vitaraga deva and mentions about Shali Vahana Saka year 1428 Krodhana Samvatsara Phalguna Shuddha Panchami corresponding to Saturday 10th March 1506. It mentions Saluvamalla Prabhu – Immadi Salavamalla who was bestowed with the title Kali Trinetra, Simhasanadishwara Suregara. It mentions that he attained heavenly abode. The inscription indicates that Bemmana Nayaka had got this made.
The inscriptional text is distorted intermittently (particularly in the middle portion) and is hard to read.
“If they were not distorted, we would have been able to unearth a few more interesting facts”, says Nitin.
Acknowledgment – Nitin has thanked Dr. RaviKumar K Navalagunda (Harihara) for his help in deciphering the inscriptional text and Prof. G.K.Devarajaswamy for guiding him in the research. He has also thanked Sri M Lokaraj Jain president of Rani Chennabhyradevi Digambar Jain Trust ®, Gerusoppa, Sri Nagaraj Jain, Sri Srikanth Jain & Sri Venkatarama of Gerusoppe.
– Jain Heritage Centres News Service