Kannada Jain Inscription of 11th Century Found in Latur District

Kannada Jain Inscription of 11th Century Found in Latur district.
  • Discovered at Karla village near Killari, Asusa Taluk, Latur district,Maharashtra
  • Unique temple with 3 Tirthankar idols installed on a single pedestal in its sanctum sanctorum
  • Inscription found along the pedestal on which Tirthankar idols are installed
  • Mentions about a Digambar Jain Muni called Parshwanendu & his nature
  • Has details of the Muni’s lineage with their connections to Yapaniya Sangha
  • Mentions that the temple was called Ratnatraya Jinalaya
  • Inscription discovered & deciphered by Dr.Sujatha Subhash Shastri of Solapur

Latur (Maharashtra), 21st June 2019: An ancient Jain inscription belonging to 11th Century has been discovered at Karla Village in the Latur district of Maharashtra. The inscription has been found along the pedestal of Tirthankar idols in a Digambar Jain temple at Karla village near Killari in Asusa Taluk of Latur district. This has been discovered by Dr. Sujatha Subhash Shasti of Solapur during her recent field-work.

Karla is one among the villages in Latur district, affected by the disastrous earthquake that took place on 30th September 1993. The earthquake had shaken and ravaged the region and had affected many parts of the cities, towns and villages. However, the ancient Digambar Jain temple at Karla remained undisturbed without a minuscule of distortion. This is due to the architectural design and structural patterns followed during the construction of this temple. There are no Jain families residing at Karla and the villagers are not aware of its historic significance and hence have ignored it. Sri Matisagar Patil, an octogenarian from Kasar Sirsi near Killari has taken keen interest in its renovation. Heritage enthusiast Sri Dileep Khobare of Anaduru had informed Smt. Shastri about the inscription found along the pedestal of these idols.

Unique Tirthankar Idols – An interesting fact of these idols is that all the 3 Tirthankar idols have been installed on a single pedestal. The idol in the centre is of Lord Parshwanath, the 23rd Tirthankar and the identity of the other two are unknown as the symbols along the pedestal have been erased. This type of installation with three Tirthankar idols on a single pedestal in a sanctum sanctorum is not seen elsewhere in Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Measurements

  • Pedestal’s width – 76”
  • Over all height of the enclosure including the pedestal, idol and prabhavali (the carvings behind the idol) – 77”
  • Parshwanath Tirthankar’s height – 39”
  • Height of Tirthankar idols on either side – 37”

Inscription’s Content – Speaking about the inscription’s content Dr. Sujatha says that, “The inscription found along the pedestal is engraved all along its width in 11 different steps in a single line. It mentions about a Digambar Muni called Parshwanendu who belonged to Chitrakutanvaya’s Kranuragana and Mesha Pashanagachha. Elaborating about the muni’s nature it says that he was a person of pure, clean mind and was an embodiment of spirituality. It further mentions that a prominent person in the society called Gangapathi, a follower of this Muni got the Ratnatraya Jinalaya made.  It elaborates that he got the idols of the Tirthankaras installed and the consecration was done by Jain Pandits. It is worth noting here that the Munis belonging to this tradition worshipped Lord Parshwanath and used to motivate their disciples to install the idols of Lord Parshwanath and especially worshipped Yaksha and Yakshis”.

Influence of Yapaniya Sangha Kranuru Gana and Mesha Pashanagachha mentioned in the inscription belongs to Yapaniya Sangha. Hence it can be concluded that Yapaniya Sangha had its influence over this Basadi. Additionally, we can also find many more inscriptional evidences about the influence of Yapaniya Sangha in the region and neighbouring Osmanabad district,” says Dr.Sujatha.

11th Century Inscription – Inscriptional language is Sanskrit, but its text is in Kannada. Its period in not mentioned anywhere. However, based on the text it can be concluded that it belonged to early part of 11th century.

Built in the local architectural style the temple is south facing. The villagers have considered the deities facing south as inauspicious and have shifted the idol along with its pedestal to a small room next door!

It is required to create awareness among the localites about the importance of the idol and the temple and undertake its renovation.

Lattanuru, the present Latur was one of the chief Jain Heritage centres during the medieval period of Karnataka heritage. This inscription and the temple provides adequate evidence for further research in this region.

Dr. Sujatha has immensely thanked
research scholar Dr.Ravikumar K Navalagunda from Harihara and
epigraphist Dr.Nagaraja Rao from Mysuru for helping her in the process of research by reading the inscription. She has also thanked Mysuru’s Sri M N Prabhakar for his co-operation in this research.

-Nitin H P, Jain Heritage Centres News Service (JHCNS)

Post Author: JHC