In search of imprints of Buddhism: Perandakottai, Thanjavur district

Archaeologist Mr K. Sridharan, who was instrumental in  helping me to identify a Buddha with moustache in Mangalam, Trichy district, was one among the scholars who were helping to my research. The newspaper clipping of 1978 of The Mail (date not available) sent by him helped me to locate a head of Buddha statue in Perantakottai, situated on the Thanjavur-Mannargudi road, at a distance of 12 km from Thanjavur.      

THE MAIL clipping of 1978 sent by Mr K.Sridharan
From the newspaper clipping it was learnt that a Buddha statue of 11th century CE was identified by the State Archaeology of Government of Tamil Nadu. In the accompanying photograph a head of Buddha was found. Based on the information sent by him I went to Perantakottai (next to Kattur and Padikkolam bus stops) on the Thanjavur-Vaduvur town bus. When I enquired about the Buddha I could not get any information. I continued my enquiry and continued to walk. When I asked for Buddha the locals looked me surpisingly. Still I had a doubt whether it would be possible to locate the Buddha which was identified two decades ago.  

Later I started questioning in a different way. "Is there any Ayyanar or Karuppan Samy?" Pat came reply. One person asked me, "Are you asking about Samban?" His question answered my doubt. He said, "Just go through the route. You will find the Samban". When I asked him to clarify if it was a man or statue, he politely said, "Go there". After sometime I reached very near to the place. I started searching for the Buddha but could not able to find. Continuous walking forced me to take some  rest. I sat there for some time. I would not  leave the place till I saw the Buddha. At that time another person came there. He asked me, "Do you come here to see Samban?" Though I had in mind to tell him that I came there to see Buddha I changed my stance and said, "Yes. I came to see Samban". He took me to a nearby place and showed me the statue. It was the head of the Buddha which I saw in the newspaper clipping. Flames were found broken. Tilak mark was found on the forehead of the Buddha. He informed me that they were worshipping the statue as Samban. He also told me that the place in which the statue was found was known as Sambankoil (Temple of Samban).        

Perandakottai Buddha (1999), Photo: B.Jambulingam
In the Chola country Buddha is worshipped in many places including Ayyampet, Ayiraveli Ayilur, Ullikottai, Ogulur, Karur, Killiyur, Pattiswaram, Paravai, Pushpavanam, Buddhamangalam, Puthur, Perantakottai, Perunjeri, Mangalam, Mannargudi, Manambadi, Vikramangalam, Vikramam and Vellanur. In Ayyampet Buddha is worshipped as Munisvaran and in Perunjeri as Rishi. 

MAY 2004
When Mr D.Ravikumar of Kalacchuvadu and Mr S.Anand of  Outlook came to see me in connection with my research, I took them to many places in the Chola country where Buddha statues were found. At that time the Buddha was under worship.

MAY 2010
When Mr Kombai Anvar of Yathum came to see me for taking a documentary on Buddhism under the title of "In search of roots" we had the chance of visiting Perandakottai and came to know that the locals were worshipping the Buddha.

APRIL 2014
During the field work of Mr Mani.Maaran, Tamil Pandit of Thanjavur Saraswathi Mahal Library I accompanied him. After completing the field study, on return, we went to Perandakottai. Though I had been to Perandakottai many time, I could not able to identify the place where the head of Buddha was found. On enquiry I came to know about the location we went there. After passing through the fields we reached the spot and saw the Buddha. Locals informed that they came to know from somebody that remaining part of the statue was found near to that place. We could not able to locate it. After 15 years I had the privilege of the seeing the Buddha once again. After thanking the local people we returned.        



Perandakottai Buddha (2014), Photo: B.Jambulingam
B.Jambulingam alongwith Perandakottai Buddha (2014), Photo: Mr.Mani.Maaran
 Mr Ayyampet Selvaraj once informed about the prevalence of a head of Buddha in Vayyacheri near Ayyampet. During field study I have seen such head of Buddha in Muzhaiyur near Pattiswaram and Kudavasal. Perandakottai Buddha has a special place because only here the Buddha is worshipped. 

My thanks are due to 
Mr K.Sridharan for giving me the newspaper clipping of THE MAIL
Mr Kattur Rajendran for helping me during field study 
Mr Mani.Maaran for accompanying and taking photographs
Mr Panneerselvam 

பௌத்த சுவட்டைத் தேடி: பெரண்டாக்கோட்டை
1978இல் The Mail இதழில் வெளியான பெரண்டாக்கோட்டை புத்தர் தொடர்பான செய்தியின் அடிப்படையில் களப்பணி மேற்கொள்ளப்பட்டது. அச்சிலையைச் சாம்பான் என்று அங்கு வழிபடுகிறார்கள். ொடர்ந்து பார்த்துக்கொண்டிருக்கும் இந்த புத்தரைப் பார்த்த அனுபவம் பற்றிய தமிழ் வடிவம் இம்மாதம் 1ஆம் தேதி வெளியாகியுள்ளது. 

Though much he recited the Sacred Texts, but acts not accordingly, that heedless man is like a cowherd who counts others' kine. He has no share in the fruits of the Holy Life.  - The Dhammapada 19

Though little he recites the Sacred Texts, but acts in accordance with the teaching, forsaking lust, hatred and ignorance, truly knowing, with mind well freed clinging to naught here and hereafter, he shares the fruits of the Holy Life.  - The Dhammapada 20

There were two monks - one a wordling but well-versed in the Dhamma, the other an Arahant though not so erudite. The wordling did not practise what he knew; the one who knew little practised the Dhamma and, realizing Nibbana, enjoyed the fruits of the Holy Life. The scholarly monk desired to embarrass the other by putting some intricate questions in the presence of the Buddha. Knowing well his base motive, the Buddha raised some questions connected with the realization of the Dhamma. The Arahant answered them all from personal experience, but the other could not as he had not attained to any Paths of Sainthood. Thereupon the Buddha praised the Arahant who had practised His teaching, though possessing less knowledge of the Dhamma.   
(The Dhammapada, Narada Thera, The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, Taiwan, ROC, 1993)


  1. Buddha become a Samban.
    People are ready to whorship the Gods irrespective of their Religion.
    Yours efforts to unearth the lost statues is to be appreciated/

  2. Though head of Buddha statues were found in other places here only Buddha is worshipped, which I learnt during field study. Thank you for your compliments.

  3. உண்மையைத் தேடும் தங்களின் ஆய்வார்வம் வியப்பளிக்கின்றது. பாராட்டுகள்.

  4. தங்களைப் போன்றோரின் வருகையும், வாழ்த்தும் என்னை மென்மேலும் எழுதவும் தேடவும் வைக்கின்றன. நன்றி.

  5. வணக்கம்

    தங்களின் ஆய்வுப்பணி தேடல் இந்த றூற்றாண்டுக்கு மட்டும் ஆதாரம் இல்லாமல் வருகிற சந்ததியினருக்கும் பயன் பெறும் வகையில் உள்ளது.தங்களின் ஆய்வுப்பணி தேடல் தொடர எனது வாழ்த்துக்கள்.ஐயா


  6. தேடல் என்பது முடிவற்றது. வரலாற்றுக்கு நம்மால் ஆன பங்களிப்பு என்ற நிலையிலும், முதன்மை ஆதாரம் என்ற நிலையிலும் இப்பணி முக்கியத்துவம் பெறுகிறது. தங்களின் அன்பான வாழ்த்து என்னை மென்மேலும் ஊக்குவிக்கிறது. நன்றி.


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