Monuments

Banavasi – The First Kannada Capital

Chapter II

Inscriptions

There are about 40 inscriptions found at Banavasi. Though I am not able to trace all the 40, however all most important ones are documented below.

Naga inscription of the Chutu Period

  1. Brahmi label inscription – Excavations at Banavasi – this inscription is found on a bead and written in Ashokan Brahmi characters – dated to third century BCE on paleographic points – reads “Ra ha”, or “Kha ra” in mirror image, which probably refers to the name of some artisan
  2. Satavahana Chaitya motif inscription – Excavations at BanavasiSecond century CE – language Prakrit, characters Brahmi – This inscription is engraved over a small terracotta Buddhist memorial panel found in an excavation – “Siddham | Rano Vasithiputasa Siva Sri Pulumavisa Mahadeviya chhaa patharo..” – The memorial stone of the queen of king Vasishthiputra Siva Sri Pulumavi
  3. Naga slab inscription – Archaeological Survey of Western India vol X/No 1 South Indian Inscriptions vol XX/Epigraphia Indica vol XXXIV/Indian Antiquary vol XIV/No 1186 in Luders’ List in Epigraphia Indica vol X – dated to second century CE on paleographic grounds – language Prakrit, characters nail-headed Brahmi – “To the prefect! In the year 12 of the century of the king (being) Haritiputa Satakani, the cherisher of the Vehnukadadutu (?) family, the 7th fortnight of the winter months, 1st day, the meritorious gift of the Mahabhuvi (Mahabhoji) the king’s daughter, Sivakhandanagasri, wife of Jivaputa, with her son – of a naga, a tank and a vihara. These three works by the prime minister Khadasati. Nataka, the disciple of Damoraka and son of the Acharya Jayantaka and inhabitant of Sajayataka (Sanjayanti), made the Naga”
  4. Kare tank image pedestal inscription – Excavations at Banavasi – “Achariyasa Silavadhakisa Golasa sisena-Ravena Kato Balamitaykaru” – refers to stone craftsman Ravi who was the disciple of Acharya Golasa. The image was caused to be made by certain Balamitra
  5. Rice mill pillar inscription – language Sanskrit, box-headed Brahmi characters – Sixth century CE – The inscription opens with an invocation to Vishnu. It then refers to the Kadamba king Kakusthavarman, his son Shantivarman and his son Mrgeshavarman. It is mentioned that Mrigeshavarman defeated the Pallavas.
  6. First Banavasi Grant – Indian Antiquary vol VII – dated to the third regnal year of Mrgeshavarman – the record starts with invocation in adoration of Arhat, the lord of three worlds. The Kadamba king Mrgeshavarman is said to be the son of Shantivarman and born in the family of Kakustha. The Kadambas are said to be of the Angirasa-gotra and of Manavya-gotra. The objective of the grant is to record the donation of some black-soil land in the village of Brhat-Paralura to the divine supreme Arhat for the purpose of the glory of sweeping out temple, anointing the idol with ghee, performing worship and carrying out repairs. Mrgeshavarman is said to be the king of Vaijyanti.
  7. Second Banavasi Grant – Indian Antiquary vol VII – dated to the fourth regnal year of Mrgeshavarman – The objective of the grant is to record the donation of a village called Kalavanga. The village is to be divided into three equal parts, one part is to be given to the holy Arhat and great Jinendra residing in the Purva-mahac-chala, the second portion for the enjoyment of samgha of svetapata and the third portion to the samgha of Nirgranthas. The charter was written by a senapati named Naravara.
  8. Damaged record of Goggi – Excavations at Banavasi – dated Saka 919, corresponding to 997 CE – The record is engraved on a stone which has fine representation of a chief as evident by the chatri over him. Perhaps it refers to Mahasamanta Goggi, a feudatory chief under the Kalyana Chalukyas.
  9. Slab set up to the left of the Virabhadradeva shrine in the compound of the Madhukesavara temple – Epigraphia  Indica vol XVI/ No 41 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX  – This Record is dated Saka 990, corresponding to 1068 CE – language Old Kanareses, characters Kanarese – The record is of the reign of Kalyana Chalukya king Trailokyamalla  (Somesvara I) – It refers to Kadamba chief Mahamandalesvara Kirtivarmadeva governing  Banavasi-12000. The subsequent portion, which is badly damaged, seems to record a gift to Kalla-degula.
  10. Slab set up to the left of the Virabhadra temple in the compound of Madhukesvara temple – Epigraphia  Indica vol XVI/ No 88 South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – language Old Kanareses, characters Kanarese – belongs to the reign of the Kalyana Chalukya Vikramaditya VI – The record opens up with invocation to Shiva. It then mentions the Kalyana Chalukya king Permadi-deva (Vikramaditya VI) under whom the Kadamba chiefs were ruling over Banavasi-12000. The lineage of the Kadamba chiefs is provided from Chattuga, who worked under the Kalyana Chalukya king Jayasimha II and conferred with title of “Guardian of the Highland” when he drove the Malavas till the river Gautama-Gange (Godavari). Chattuga got five sons, Mavuli, Taila, Santaya-deva, Joki-deva and Vikramanka. Tailapa got Banavasi-12000 after his father. Taila begot Kirtti from his wife Chavundala-devi. The banner of the Kadambas said to have Hanumana over it. Mention of Mayurvarman is found who is said to be ruling over eighty-four towns and performed eighteen ashvamedha sacrifices.
  11. Broken slab lying near the south prakara of Madhukesvara temple- No 108 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – date lost – belongs to the reign of the Kalyana Chalukya king Bhulokamalla (Somesvara III) – This fragmentary record refers to a Mahamandalesvara probably of the Kadamba family. All details are lost.
  12. Stone in the Jaina Basti – No 249 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – dated 1081 CE – This inscription is dated in the 12th regnal year of Kadamba Chakravarthi  Vira[ma]. This Vira[ma] may be a mistake for Vikrama.  In that case Vikrama will have to identified with the son of Jayasimha. It may be noted however that no inscription of this Vikrama has as yet been found and it is doubtful if he ruled at all. The details of the date may be equated with 1081 CE. It may also be noted that Kirtideva who came after him has for him a date as early as 1068 A.D. It records the death, by the rite of samadhi, of Bhogave, the wife of Tippisetti sataya. She is stated to be the lay disciple of Sakalachandra bhattaraka belongings to Desi-gana, Pustaka-gachehha, and Kondakunda-anvaya.
  13. Broken slab set up Tirumaladeva temple - No 251 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX –  The date of this inscription is the 1st regnal year of [Kava]deva, but this date dose not correspond to the 1st year of Kavadeva. Since the record is much damaged, it is difficult to make out the exact name of the king. – It records the death, apparently by a rite (samadhi), of a certain Marakave, a lay disciple of a Jaina ascetic.
  14. Broken stone set up in the Jaina basti –  No 291 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – This fragmentary and damaged record – dated Saka 103[6] corresponding to 1114 CE – It seems to mention some officer via the rite of sallekhana.
  15. Pillar in the Madhukesvara temple – No 357 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX13th-14th Century CE – written in Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Nagari scripts – This record states that Vibhuti Gauraya disciple of  Panditaradhya of Oruganti, seeks refuge in god.
  16. Store set up near the village Chavadi – No 358 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX13th-14th century CE – This damaged record refers to a Hegade-manya.
  17. Pillar in the Madhukesvara temple – No 367 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX –  14th century CE – This record registers a gift to Bikkideva of Kadamba-kula, a pupil of  Lakulesvaradeva, for the benefit of the temple of Madhukanatha.
  18. Broken slab in the Jaina basti – No 227 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – date is missing – The inscription refers to a Sevuna Yadava king (name lost) and mentions Kalagavunda, the son of Boppagavunda.
  19. Slab set up to the left of Virabhadra shrine in the compound of the Madhukesvara temple - No 229of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – dated in Saka 1290, corresponding to 1368 CE – The inscription  states that when Mahaprabhana Madhavanka was governing Banavasi-12000, Nagappa, the son of the Prabhu Sivadeva of Rattakallu  installed an image of god Viresvara in the vicinity of Madhukanatha at Banavasi, and made a grant of a village and money to the god. The grant was entreated to Bikkidevea–odeya, the son of Lakulesvaradeva-odeya. The latter is described as Kadamba–kul-acharya. The king, supposed to be Bukka I of the Vijayanagara, is stated to be ruling from Hastinavatipura.
  20. Pillar in the Tirumaladeva temple outside the Madhukesvara temple – No 230 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – dated in Saka 1290, corresponding to 1386 CE – The inscription states that when Bukkaraya’s subordinate Madhananka was governing Banavasi-12000, the latter’s servant Aubhulatha (i.e Ahobalanatha) effected repairs to the temple of Gopinatha, in order to fulfill the desire of his master. Ahobalanatha also requested the Gaudas and the subjects of eighteen kampanas of Gutti whereupon the latter assembling at Banavasi, made a gift of land for the benefit of the temple, and entrusted the gift to Bikkideva, the son (i.e. the disciple) of Lakulisvaradeva. The king is stated to be ruling from Hastinavati.
  21. Three faces of a pillar in the temple of Madhukesvara  – No 231 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – dated in Saka 1[3]09, corresponding to 1387 CE – The inscription seems to record a gift of land to some deity, whose name is lost. The donor of the grant, whose name also is lost, seems to have been the governor of Gove (Goa). The king Harihara II is stated to be ruling from Hastinapuri. The writing on the second and third faces has been erased.
  22. Broken slab fixed in the south prakara in the Mahdukesvra temple – No 233 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – dated in Saka 1354, corresponding to 1432 CE – The inscription seems to record a gift of land made to Mallana, son of Rayanna who died in a fight with the robbers when the latter looted the Madhukesavara temple, when Mallana, son of the Chikkideva, called Tribhuvana-Bharatacharya was holding some office at Banavase and  Mahapradana  Bayicha-dannayaka was governing Give (Goa).
  23. Slab set up behind the shrine of Narasimha, in the compound of the temple of Madhukesvara – No 236 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – dated in Saka 1474, corresponding to 1552 CE – The inscription states when Mahamandalesvaras Ramarajayya, Tirumalarajayya and Venkatdrirajayya, the sons of Mahamandalesvara Rangarajayya  of the Araviti family, were governing the fort of Chandragutti, Padumappa,the attendant in the Ramaraja and Venkatadri constructed  two ranga-mantapas  in the temple of Madhukesvara, one for Parvati-devi and the other for Narasimha-deva. Padumappa acted at the instance of Ramaraja and Venkatadriraja and for their prosperity. The king  Sadasivaraya is stated to be ruling from Vidyanagari.
  24. Slab leaning against the west prakara wall in the Madukesvara temple – No 241 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX- dated in Saka 1494, corresponding to 1571 CE – The inscription records a gift of land by Arasadevi and the son (not named) of Immadi Arasappa Odeya, the Mahaprabhu of Sode, who belonged to Kausikagotra and Apastamba-sutra. The gift was made for the benefit of the temple of Narasimhadeva at Banavase, at the instance of Ramgapparajayya, son of Maha Mandelesvara Ramarajayya-Venkatadrirajayya. The latter is referred to as the Karyakarta of Sadasivaraya, while Immadi Arasappanayaka-Odeya was a subordinate of  Ramgapparaja.
  25. Slab standing between the shrines of Madhukesavara and Pravathidevi – No 253 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – dated in Saka 1521, corresponding to 1598 CE – The inscription  records a gift of land to the temple of Madhukesavaradeva of Jayantipura by Mahaprabu Immadi Arasappa-nayaka of Sode.
  26. Stone couch kept in a room in  the compound of Madhukesvara temple – No 254 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – on paleographical grounds, the record may be assigned to the 16th century CE - language Sanskrit – it states that the stone couch was presented to god Madhukesavara of Jayantipura, for use in the spring festival, by Raghu,  the king of  Sode.
  27. Pillar in the Parvati shrine in the compound of Madhukesara temple – No 255 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – on paleographical grounds, the record may be assigned to the 16th century CE – The inscription records that the stone mandapa in the Parvati shrine was an offering of Sadasivarajendra of Sode.
  28. Pillar in the Virabhadradeva shrine in the Madhukesavara temple – No 256 South Indian Inscriptions vol XX – on paleographical grounds, the record may be assigned to the 16th century CE – This record state that (this is) the service of Sadasivarajendra of Sode. It mentions Kanakavathi which was another name of Banavasi.
  29. Slab standing in the south-West corner of the compound of Madhukesvara temple – No 392 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX16th century CE – This badly damaged record seems to register a gift of land, the details of which are all lost. It refers to some Nayakas as witnesses of the gift.
  30. Outer side of the wall of the Madhukesavara shrine in the Madhukwsavara temple – No 393 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX16th century CE -The record mentions god Madhulinga.
  31. Outer side of the wall of the Madhukesavara shrine in the Madhukwsavara temple – No 394 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX16th century CE – This inscription refers to the family of the former Vodeyas of Banavase-sthala.
  32. Outer side of the wall of the Madhukesavara shrine in the Madhukwsavara temple – No 395 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX16th century CE – It refers to the three ankanas of the Vodeyas of Banavase-sthala.
  33. Outer side of the wall of the Madhukesavara shrine in the Madhukwsavara temple – No 396 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX16th century CE – This inscription mentions Channapa-Vadeya, lingappa-Vadeya and Shivappa-Vadeya of the former family of Vadeyas of Banavase-sthala.
  34. Outer side of the wall of the Madhukesavara shrine in the Madhukwsavara temple – No 397 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX16th century CE – This inscription mentions Sankara-Vadeya, Madhukappa-Vadeya and Virappa-Vadeya of Banavase-sthala.
  35. Outer side of the wall of the Madhukesavara shrine in the Madhukwsavara temple – No 398 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX16th century CE – This record mentions Madhukappa–Vadeya, Mallapppa-Vadeya and Sivappa-Vadeya.
  36. Outer side of the wall of the Madhukesavara shrine in the Madhukwsavara temple – No 399 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX16th century CE – The record mentions Channappa –Vadeya of Bijarane-sthala, Kechaappa-Vadeya and Madhukappa-Vadeya.
  37. Outer side of the wall of the Madhukesavara shrine in the Madhukwsavara temple – No 400 of South Indian Inscriptions vol XX16th century CE – This inscription mentions Panchangni Bemki-Vadeya, Chigare-Vadeya, Kalantaka-Vadeya, Rityunjaya-Vadeya and Honna-Vadeya.
  38. Bell Marathi inscription – Excavations at Banavasi – dated Saka 1701, corresponding to 1779 CE – the inscription refers to the gift of the bell in the service of Madhukeshvara by Parvati Bayi, the wife of Sadashivaraya. This Sadashivaraya defeated the Nawab of Savanur in 1740 and occupied Kittur, Gokak, Badami and laid the firm foundation of the Maratha rule in northern Karnataka.

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