Wednesday, 15 January 2014

In search of Imprints of Buddhism : From the notes of field work

This is the 51st posting in this blog, that too a different one. Since 1993 I have been on field work in search of Buddha statues. On some occasions I saw the Buddhas which were notified by other scholars. I  also had a chance of finding new Buddhas. The experiences were many.
Title page of Ph.D., Thesis entitled Buddhism in Chola Country  ( in Tamil, 1999) 
Though I registered for M.Phil., in Madura Kamaraj University, in October 1993, it took some time for me to take notes and get information during the field work. After realising the importance of the sources I started recording them, and am continuing till date. I feel happy to share with you, from my notes, a brief account on my field work which I carried on a particular day. 

20.1.1999 FIELD WORK
Sannapuram, Putthakaram and Seeyatthamangai 
(Vol IV, page 177)

1) SANNAPURAM  : On the bus to Nagapattinam through Nacchiyarkovil-Nannilam route. This place is called as Sannanallur and Sannavur. There was no place in the name of Sannapuram near here or around Nannilam.

2) PUTTHAKARAM : On the above route in Nannilam-Sannanallur, Putthakaram is found. This Putthakaram is known as Enangudi Putthakaram. No Buddha statues were found there. No such remnants were also available there. I met Mr Rajendran (Village Administrative Officer, Athalaiyur, Nagapattinam district). He told that he somewhere a Buddha statue. He also informed that he would inform Mr Pakkirisamy (Village Administrative Officer, 73 Putthakaram, Nagapattinam district) about it. I had no chance of meeting Mr Pakkirisamy. 

3) TIRUCHATTHAMANGAI (SEEYATTHAMANGAI)  : After covering N.Kovil-Nannilam and Sannanallur, I went to Tirumarugal. Next to that place was found Seeyatthamangai. No Buddha statues or remnants of Buddhism were found in this area. A person from this place had these to say:

a) There was a Buddha in Vichur. To go there you should go through Seeyatthamangai-Tirumarugal by walk and go to Vichur through Adhinakkudi and Ganapathipuram by bicycle. 
b) There is a place known as Puthakalur near Vazhkkai. From there that place could be reached by bicycle.

With the help of Mr A.Jayaraman (Kolmedu Ambal PO) I reached the spot and got a surprise. I found the Buddha which I photographed during my earlier trip on 16.1.1999 was found there. Later I returned to Tirumarugal through Kidamangalam and Polakam. I covered a distance of 16 km. This is the very first time I covered such a distance by walk and by bicycle. I went to Tirumarugal to inform the photo studio, to send me the photograph of the Buddha. (SP Saravanan, SPS Colour Photo Studio, Tirumarugal) 

Kumbakonam-Nannilam busfare - Rs.3.25
Nannilam-Putthakaram                   - Rs.1.75
Puthakaram-Seeyatthamangai     - Rs.3.00
Seeyatthamangai-Tirumarugal      - by walk
Tirumarugal-Nannilam                     - Rs.3.00
Nannilam-Kumbakonam                 - Rs.5.25

NOTE : During earlier stages I went on field to many places in the Chola country - to see the Buddha statues which were found there earlier and to spot new Buddhas, Buddhist centres and related places - based on the places cited by Mayilai Seeni Venkatasamy in his book Bouthamum Tamizhum During this field work I spotted the same Buddha which I found two days earlier (ie on 16..1999). The first trip was carried out through Kottappadi and Tirumiyachur. Now the Buddha was seen by going through alternative route. Not knowing the Buddha was one and the same, due to non clarity in the route I had to see the same Buddha twice within three days. 

பௌத்த சுவட்டைத் தேடி: களப்பணிக் குறிப்பிலிருந்து
முதன்முதலாக பார்த்த ஒரு புத்தரை மூன்று நாள் இடைவெளியில் மறுபடியும் பார்க்கும் வாய்ப்பு கிடைத்தது. ரியான வழித்தடம் தெரியாததால்  இந்நிலை ஏற்பட்டது. இந்த அனுபவம் பற்றிய தமிழ் வடிவம் இம்மாதம் 1ஆம் தேதி வெளியாகியுள்ளது. 
For more information on the Buddha statues found in the Chola country please visit the following link:


Here he rejoices, hereafter he rejoices. In both states the well-doer rejoices. He rejoices, exceedingly rejoices, perceiving the purity of his own deeds. - The Dhammapada 16

A devout person, named Dhammika, who led a religious life, lying on his death-bed, saw happy visions, and after a peaceful death, was born in a celestial plane.    
(The Dhammapada, Narada Thera, The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, Taiwan, ROC, 1993)


  1. Your field experiments will definitely guide the other researchers. Thank you sir

  2. This is the first time that I record my field work as entered in my notes. As said by you this will help other scholars to get a basic idea on field study.

  3. A welcome contribution to Buddha researchers and knowledge explorers.

  4. களஆய்வு பணி செய்யும் போது எப்படி குறிப்புகளை எழுத வேண்டும் என்பதற்கு, இந்த பணி குறிப்பேடு பயனுள்ளதாக இருக்கும். மேலும் இந்த குறிப்பேடு ஒன்றை தேடி பயணித்து, கிடைத்தபின் அப்போது அடைந்த மகிழ்ச்சியையும் வெளிப்படுத்துவதாக இருக்கிறது.

  5. ஆய்வின் ஆரம்பகாலகட்டத்தில் இவ்வாறாகப் பதிவு செய்யாமல் பல முக்கியமான செய்திகளைத் தவறவிட்டேன். நாளடைவில் அதன் முக்கியத்துவத்தை உணர்ந்தேன். நன்றி.

  6. Definitely this will help the young researchers.

  7. This is an innovative topic.It is an example for field research. The expense list will tell the time of research.Congrats! This will help the young researchers very much. Really you are making me active.Dr.k.ravindran

    1. Felt happy to know that my field work activities made you active. I am sure that your encouraging words will help me to continue my research activities.

  8. தங்களுடைய ஆய்வுக் குறிப்புகள் ஆய்வாளர்களுக்கு மிக்க பயனுடையதாக அமையும் -அ.கலைமணி

    1. வருகை தந்து கருத்தளித்தமைக்கு நன்றி.

  9. ஐயா.... நல்ல பணி ..தொடரட்டும்


    தமிழ் இயலன்

  10. நம்முடைய முதல் சந்திப்பில் பௌத்தம் மீதான தங்களின் ஆர்வத்தை வெளிப்படுத்தியது இன்னும் என் நினைவில் உள்ளது. தங்களின் வாழ்த்துக்கு நன்றி.