Rare 1000-Year-Old Mahavir Statue Unearthed in Tamil Nadu, India

Rare 1000-Year-Old Mahavir Statue Unearthed in Tamil Nadu, India

A rare and ancient stone statue of Mahavir, the 24th and last Tirthankara of Jainism, has been unearthed by a group of archaeology students and professors in Tamil Nadu.

Location and Age

  • Location: Manavarayanendal near Thiruchuli in Virudhunagar district, Tamil Nadu.
  • Estimated Age: Approximately 1000 years old.

Discovery Team

  • Members: S Rajapandi, assistant professor of history, SBK College, Aruppukkottai, and M Sarath Ram, a student in the Tamil Nadu state archaeological department.

Discovery Details

  • Location Found: The statue was half-buried in the soil in a garden belonging to a farmer named Ilayaraja.
  • Material and Carving: Made of granite, intricately carved with fine details.
  • Depiction: Mahavir depicted sitting on a throne with makara-toranas (arches with mythical creatures) on both sides, accompanied by sculptures of yakshas (attendant deities).
  • Additional Features: Triple umbrella above his head with creepers carved on it, a halo called prabhavali with a tiara design representing chandraditya, nityavinoda, and kala-bhasana.

Significance of the Statue

The statue is a significant discovery as it reveals the traces of Jainism in the region, which has been largely overshadowed by the dominant Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

Cultural and Historical Context

  • Time Period: Believed to belong to the 11th century AD, during the Chola period.
  • Archaeological Assumptions: Based on the style and technique of the sculpture.

Preservation Efforts

  • Reporting: Archaeologists reported their findings to the Department of Archaeology.
  • Recommendation: Requested preservation and protection of the statue, suggesting placement in a government museum for public display and research.

Heritage and Diversity

The statue is also a testimony to the rich and diverse heritage of Tamil Nadu, showcasing the tolerance and harmony among different faiths and communities in the past.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs):

  1. Where was the rare Mahavir statue discovered?
    • A) Manavarayanendal, Kerala
    • B) Thiruchuli, Karnataka
    • C) Manavarayanendal, Tamil Nadu
    • D) Thiruchuli, Tamil Nadu
    • Answer: C) Manavarayanendal, Tamil Nadu
  2. Who noticed the statue half-buried in the soil?
    • A) Farmer named Ilayaraja
    • B) S Rajapandi
    • C) M Sarath Ram
    • D) Both B and C
    • Answer: D) Both B and C
  3. What is the estimated age of the Mahavir statue?
    • A) 500 years old
    • B) 1000 years old
    • C) 2000 years old
    • D) 3000 years old
    • Answer: B) 1000 years old
  4. What material is the Mahavir statue made of?
    • A) Marble
    • B) Granite
    • C) Sandstone
    • D) Limestone
    • Answer: B) Granite
  5. What is suggested for the preservation of the Mahavir statue?
    • A) Keeping it in a private collection
    • B) Selling it to a foreign museum
    • C) Placing it in a government museum for public display and research
    • D) Burying it again for future archaeologists
    • Answer: C) Placing it in a government museum for public display and research