In search of imprints of Buddhism: Kiranthi, Nagapattinam district
-Dr. B. JambulingamOCTOBER 2012
Mr.K.Ramachandran, Principal Secretary of Nagapattinam Historical Enthusiast's Assocation, who accompanied us during our field study of November 2011sent me a photograph of Buddha statue and said that Buddha was found at Kiranthi in Kilvelur taluk of Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. I expected the day to see the Buddha. On April 30, 2013 he telephoned me asking to come over there. As there was an inscription in the pedestal of the statue I requested Mr.Thillai Govindarajan to accompany me. He accepted my proposal and we planned to leave for Nagapattinam.
|Buddha at Kiranthi (October 2012)|
Photo: Mr K.Ramachandran
During early morning we started our journey and arrived the bus stand. We came to know that due to the arrest of a leader of a political party, no buses were plying after 4.30 a.m. When we thought of going by train it seemed that it would took more than one hour. Later by chance we got a van and our journey continued. Within an hour or so we reached Tiruvarur. There we saw the movements of bus. After having our breakfast we left Tiruvarur.
Mr.Ramachandran waited for us at Velippalayam. Mr.Thillai Govindarajan got a two wheeler from his relative who were at Nagapattinam. We started from Nagapattinam and reached Kiranthi. As soon as we reached the place, the villagers came very near to Mr.Ramachandran and enquired them about the visit. From their conversation we understood that he visited the place and the people many times. They accompanied us to the place where the Buddha was found. The body of the Buddha and the head portion were found separately. The Buddha was found lying down. One of the villagers said: "During your earier visit you made to sit the statue. Then on our land became dry and we did not get rain. Only after laying the statue down, it was started raining". Many villagers expressed the same opinion. They feel that only because of this Buddha they get rain.
|Buddha at Kiranthi (2013)|
Photo: Dr B.Jambulingam
During my earlier trips to Tirunattiyatthankudi in Tiruvarur district and Vikramangalam in Ariyalur district I came to know some stories connecting the rain with Buddha. We shall discuss about them later.
|Mr.Thillai Govindarajan and Dr.B.Jambulingam with Kiranthi Buddha |
Photo: Mr. K.Ramachandran
The statue had the iconographical features of the Chola country Buddhas. Since 1993, during my field study at Nagapattinam district, I have seen Buddha statues in Kutthalam, Kurumbur, Buddhamangalam, Poompuhar, Perunjeri and Pushpavanam. Poompuhar Buddha is in standing posture. Other Buddhas are in sitting dhyana posture. In order to read the isncription we wanted chalk piece or kolam powder which were not available at that time. Generally I used have, among other things sacred ash, during my field study. Now it came to our rescue. It was smeared over the pedestal which had scripts. Now it became possible to read the scripts. Mr.Thillai Govindarajan said that the name inscribed on it referred to "Kiranthi Theppillai" and it belonged to 11-12th century CE.
|With the villagers of Kiranthi (May 2013)|
Local people evinced much interest on the Buddha and they enquired about other Buddhas which I informed to them. I also told the speciality of the Kiranthi Buddha which had a beautiful inscription. On knowing them they felt much happy. After some time we thanked them for their help and courtesy and took leave of them.
Updated on 1 March 2022