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Four Unpublished Jain Inscriptions from 13th to 16th Century found at Gummettu Chandranath Basadi

Karkala (Udupi District, Karnataka), 13th March 2021: Four Unpublished pedestal Jain Inscriptions have been discovered at Sri Chandranath Basadi in Gummettu near Hosmaru in Karkala taluk of Udupi district, Karnataka. These were discovered by Dr. Ravikumar K Navalagunda an epigraphist and a research scholar. These belong to a time frame between 13th to mid-16th century A.D. Of these one of them is a panchaloha (five metals) inscription and the remaining 3 are brass inscriptions.

Ganadhara Pada Pratishta Inscription – Of these the inscription on the “Ganadhara Pada Pratishta” is the oldest. In Jainism, the term Ganadhara is used to refer the chief disciple of a Tirthankara. In samavasarana, the Tīrthankara sat on a throne and around, the Tīrthankara sits the Ganadharas. The Ganadharas convey the teachings of the Tirthankaras to the common men. The monastic sangha of Jainism is divided into a number of orders or troupes called ganas, each headed by a ganadhara. Likewise as a matter of respect to the Ganadharas and ascetics the Ganadhara Padas are seen installed in many Jain temples. On the same lines this “Ganadhara Pada” has been installed. On the pedestal of this Ganadhara Pada is seen inscribed an inscription that is covers all the four sides.

The inscription reads that “Uliya Hosabu Shetty’s son Puliya Shetty and Uliya Vardhaman Shetty got the Ganadhara Pada installed.” The term “Uliya” might signify an place or a family. Based on the inscriptional text it is concluded that this inscription belongs to 13th century.

Inscription on Pancha Parameshti Sculpture – The 2nd inscription engraved on the attractive 9 inches high reads that “The ruler Ammanna Shetty’s wife got the Panchaparameshti idol made with a wish that punya be bestowed upon the ruler”. The ruler’s name nor Ammanna Shetty’s wife’s name is not mentioned in the inscription. Many times in the Indian social setup woman call their husbands as their ruler. Usage of the term “Ammanna” could be termed as a reuse of the proper noun that might have been used earlier. Based on the inscriptional text it is concluded that this inscription belongs to 13th century.

Inscription on Parshwanath Tirthankaras Pedestal – The 3rd inscription found at Chandranath Basadi is engraved on a 6 inches high idol of Tirthankar Parshwanath idol’s pedestal. It reads that “A person called Vikranta Shetty Baliya got the pedestal with Prabhavali made”. Prabhavali is a halo in art around the idol. Based on the inscriptional text it is concluded that this inscription belongs to 14th century.

Inscription on Tirthankaras Pedestal – The 4th inscription is found on the pedestal of a brass Tirthankar’s pedestal. In reads that “Kunyidudiya near Tunganta got the Tirthankar idol made”. The Tirthankar’s name is not mentioned in the inscription. This Tirthankar idol is made of brass, it has a prabhavali, flanked by Yaksha and Yakshi. Above the Tirthankar is found an umbrella. Based on the inscriptional text it is concluded that this inscription belongs to 16th century.

“Based on the available inscriptions we can trace the history of Gummettu Chandranath Basadi’s history to 13th century. Other inscriptions that might have existed in the temple might have been lost over a period of time. If an attempt is made to search more inscriptions we might be able explore new, interesting aspects of the temple and its heritage”, says Dr. Ravikumar K Navalagunda. Dr. Ravikumar has thanked Sri Sandesh Jain (Bengaluru), Sri Bharataraj Jain (Karkala), Sri Vijayakumr Hosmaru and the temple’s priest Sri Shamit Chandra for helping him in the inscriptional research.
– Jain Heritage Centres News Service