Sunday, 15 September 2013

In search of imprints of Buddhism: Pondicherry

Dr B Jambulingam

AUGUST 24, 2013

I went to French Institute of Pondicherry during February 1999 to collect some materials in connection with the Buddha statues found in the Chola country for my doctorate. In connection with the Jain project carried out by the French Institute, Dr Murugesan contacted me during December 2011 for getting some clarification which I readily responded. Mr Thilllai Govindarajan, who carried out a project under the title "Jainism in Thanjavur district" also joined us. Later we exchanged information in connection with the Buddha statues found in this area. The Institute invited me for a discussion, on 24.8.2013 in connection with a seminar on  Buddhism in Tamil Nadu with special reference to Classical Tamil. I had the chance of giving my opinions in connection with their project which I felt as a great privilege. While comparing with the other earlier works, it seems, more number of Buddha statues have been found during the last two decades. In this seminar I shared the field work experience and also about other connected works in this field starting from Mayilai Seeni Venkatasamy's.






                            
                     In discussion during the seminar on Buddhism in Tamil Nadu with special reference to Classical Tamil      
Photos: Ramesh Kumar
1940
Mayilai Seeni Venkatasamy in his work Bouthamum Tamilum (in Tamil) refers to 10 places as having Buddha statues.

1956
French Institute of Pondicherry has among other collections, since 1956, photographs of granite Buddha statues found in the Chola country. During my first trip to the Institute I got information about 16 places in which Buddha statues were found, which included the four statues noted by Venkatasamy.

1960
P.R.Srinivasan in his article entitled "Buddhist images of South India" in Story of Buddhism with special reference to South India lists out eight places in which Buddha statues were found. Three statues referred to by Venkatasamy were found in this work.

1979
C.Minakshi in her article entitled "Buddhism in South India" in South Indian Studies-II analyses about 11 places which had Buddha statues including the nine places noted by Venkatasamy.

1979
T.N.Vasudeva Rao in his work Buddhism in Tamil Country mentions about 12 places in the Chola country in which Buddha statues were found. It includes eight statues referred by Venkatasamy.

1997
K.Sivaramalingam in Archaeological atlas of the antique remains of Buddhism in Tamil Nadu published by Institute of Asian Studies records 32 places where Buddha statues were found. He discusses about 10 Buddhas of Venkatasamy.   

1998
In the book entitled Tamil Nattu Varalaru: Chola Peruvendar Kaalam, Part II, (900-1300 AD) (in Tamil) published by Government of Tamil Nadu, 19 places have been shown as having Buddha statues. It includes Venkatasamy's six Buddha statues.

1993-2013
During the field work carried out for the past two decades 65 Buddha statues have been found in the Chola country. Buddha statues have been found in the following places  individually and with the help of other friends and scholars and were widely published in the media.

1.Mangalam (1999)
2.Ayyampet (Bronze) (1999)
3.Puthur (2000)
4.Gopinathaperumalkovil (2002)  (without head)
5.Gopinathaperumalkovil (2002) (Hip portion only)
6.Kudavasal (2002)
7.Sundarapandianpattinam, Ramanathapuram district (2002)
8.Tirunattiyattankudi (2003)
9.Ullikottai (2005)
10.Kuzhumur (2006)
11. Rajendrapattinam, Cuddalore district (2007)
12.Valayamapuram (2007)
13.Trichy (2008)
14. Kandramanickam (2012)
15. Kiranthi (2013)

(English version of the article which appeared on the 1st of this month)
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Gave a brief talk 
about the field work on Buddhism 
under the auspices of Rotary Club of Thanjavur Cavuery on 14.9.2013
Alongwith the office bearers of Rotary Club of Thanjavur Cauvery, Photo: Selvam

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For information on Buddha statues in the Chola country please visit: http://www.facebook.com/buddhismincholacountry.

2 comments:

  1. I am realy proud to see the discussion in French institute ,Pondicherry. Your contribution to finding buddha statue is widening and it is being brought out.

    s.sudalaimuthu
    SBT, Bangalore

    ReplyDelete
  2. More number of Buddha statues have been found during the last two decades.. because of your hard work and dedication.congrats Sir

    ReplyDelete