In search of imprints of Buddhism: Kavinadu

 Dr B Jambulingam
SEPTEMBER 30, 2013
Dr A.Chandrabose (Assistant Professor, PG & Research Department of History, H.H.The Rajah's College, Pudukottai) who informed me about the presence of a Buddha statue in  Sundarapandianpattinam during September 1999, contacted me over phone to inform that he came to know about a Buddha statue in Pudukottai. He asked me if I saw any Buddha statue in that area saying that there were many Jain statues. I told him that I am unaware of the presence of any Buddha and expressed my wish to go over there. 

OCTOBER 1, 2013
From press reports, quoting Dr Chandrabose, I came to know that there was a Buddha, measuring 3.5' height and 3' breadth, in Kavinadu tank near Kattiyavayal at Pudukottai-Kudumiyanmalai road in Pudukottai of Tamil Nadu. I congratulated him over phone for his new findings and enquired him about the statue. From the cursory look of the photograph which accompanied the press clipping I felt that it might have been a Jain Tirthankara and told him that I wanted to visit the spot, which he readily accepted.   

OCTOBER 6, 2013
I waited for the Sunday and went to Pudukottai through bus. From there I reached the destination, the Kavinadu tank. After walking a distance of 2 kms I spotted the statue. The place was very beautiful to look. I came to know that this was the biggest tank in Tamil Nadu. Coiled hair could be seen in both Buddha and Jain statues. But the flame over the head, tilak mark on the forehead and dharmachakra on the palm were found missing in the statue. Having realised that it was a Jain, I left the place so as to come over there another time. . 

OCTOBER 12, 2013

Kavinadu Jain (Front view) Photograph: Dr Chandrabose
I waited for the next holiday, the subsequent Saturday. Once again I started to Pudukottai. Before leaving Thanjavur, I informed Dr Chandrabose about my plan. He heartfully informed that he would accompany me. After reaching Pudukottai, I met him and we had a discussion about the statue. Later I accompanied him to Kavinadu on his bike. 

Kavinadu Jain (Rear view) Photograph: Dr Chandrabose
After reaching the place we were shocked since the statue was found without head. A woman who was standing there said that someone who were playing there threw the head in the tank. We saw the statue clearly. Though a line was found representing the presence of dress in the photograph, no dress was found over the body. 

Jambulingam with Kavinadu, Jain Photograph: Dr Chandrabose

From the rear view of the statue we found the statue was without dress. Mayilai Seen Venkatasamy in his work Bouthamum Tamilum (Buddhism and Tamils in Tamil, 1940) says that Buddha statues were found in Alangudipatti, Chettipatti and Vellanur (all in Pudukottai district). During field work I saw a Jain Tirthankara in Alangudipatti. The statues found in Chettipatti and Vellanur might have been Jain Tirthankaras. The presence of this statue in Kavinadu vouchsafes the fact that Pudukottai was a Jain centre. 

Since entering into this field, from 1993, when I went in search of Buddha statues I came across many Jain statues. This Jain Tirthankara, Mahavira, is the 12th Jain statue found during my field study. My search towards Buddha statues leave me to find Jain statues for which the field study was helpful. Really a rare experience.   

My sincere thanks to Dr A Chandrabose who not only accompanied me during my second trip to Kavinadu and also for providing me photographs of Kavinadu Jain Tirthankara. 
My special thanks to the newspapers including the following, for having published the newsitem.

1.Jain statue found in Kavinadu, Dinamani, Tamil daily, 15.10.2013
2.Not Buddha, Jain Tirthankara, The Hindu, Tamil daily, 15.10.2013
3.The statue found in Kavinadu is a Jain Tirthankara, Dinamalar, Tamil Daily, 15.10.2013
4.Jain statue found near Pudukottai,says Tamil University Superintendent, Dina Thanthi, Tamil daily,  15.10.2013
5.Jain statue found in Kavinadu, Malai Malar, Tamil daily, 15.10.2013
6.Statue found in Pudukottai not of Buddha, The Hindu, 15.10.2013
7. Statue found in Kavinadu Tank is a Jain Tirthankara, claims research expert, The New Indian Express, 15.10.2013
8.The statue found in Kavinadu tank is not Buddha, Dinakaran, Tamil daily, 16.10.2013
9.The statue found in Kavinadu tank, Dinamalar, Tamil daily, 14.10.2013
10.Ruined sculpture of Mahavira, not Buddha, Times of India, 21.10.2013

ௌத்த சுவட்டைத் தேடி: கவிநாடு
புதுக்கோட்டை கவிநாடு கண்மாயில் ஒரு புத்தர் சிலை கண்டுபிடிக்கப்பட்டதாகச் செய்தி வெளியாகியிருந்தது. செய்தியுடன் வெளிவந்த புகைப்படத்தைப் பார்த்தபோது அச்சிலை சமணர் சிலையைப் போலத் தன்றவே, களப்பணி மேற்கொள்ளப்பட்டு அச்சிலை சமண தீர்த்தங்கரர் சிலை என உறுதி செய்யப்பட்டது.  இப்பதிவின் தமிழ் வடிவம் இம்மாதம் 1ஆம் தேதி வெளியாகியுள்ளது.

For more information on the Buddha statues found in the Chola country please visit the following link:


Even as rain penetrates an ill-thatched house, so does lust penetrate an undeveloped mind. - The Dhammapada 13 
Even as rain does not penetrate a well-thatched house, so does lust not penetrate a well-developed mind. -The Dhammapada 14

Prince Nanda, the step-brother of the Buddha, was admitted by the Buddha into the Order on his wedding day. As he was constantly thinking of his bride-elect instead of meditating, the Buddha employed an effective means whereby the venerable Nanda renounced his former lustful thoughts and attained Arahantship. The Buddha compared his former state of mind to an ill-thatched house and his changed pure mental state to a well-thatched house.   
 (The Dhammapada, Narada Thera, The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, Taiwan, ROC, 1993)


  1. I am really shocked to learn that the head of the statue was thrown into the tank like a ball. I don't know when are we going the realize the importance of our heritage

  2. In search of imprints of Buddhism: Kavinadu = ஆர்வமுள்ளவர்கள் படிக்க வேண்டிய அற்புதமான கட்டுரை. Jambulingam B அவர்களின் கட்டுரையை எனது பக்கத்தில் பகிர்கிறேன். நன்றி ஐயா திரு Jambulingam B

    I request my Friends - Ram Kumar, Geetha Gunalan to read this article.
    Thank You Friends.

  3. வருத்தமான தகவல்,..சிலையின் முக்கியத்துவம் தெரியாமல் பாழ்பட்டு போனதே...(மூடர்கள்)..சிலையின் தலை குளத்தினுள் தேடுவது என்பது சிரமம் தான்.. தண்ணீர் இல்லாத போது கண்டுபிடிக்க வாய்ப்பு உள்ளது.


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