A team of history buffs, which includes a BMTC bus driver and a retired Kannada professor, has discovered two inscriptions, one dating back to the Hoysala kingdom during the 14th century and the other to the Wodeyar rule in the 18th century, near Rajanukunte, Doddaballapura.
Both inscriptions pertain to land grants in the erstwhile ‘Yelahanka Nadu’. The local villagers have initiated steps to conserve them.
K. Dhanapal, a driver and tour guide on BMTC’s Bengaluru Darshana, has been an epigraphy enthusiast who has discovered and helped conserve several inscriptions in the erstwhile Yelahanka Nadu, including a rare 9th century inscription discovered in Jakkur. He came across the two inscriptions in October.
“I got information about an inscription stone at a temple in Kadatanamale village,” he told The Hindu.
Prof. K.R. Narasimhan, a passionate epigraphist who led the study team, said the inscription was actually found around five years ago. The villagers had put it on display for the public, half buried in concrete.
“Last week, we led an effort to unearth the inscription and read it. It’s dated 1310 AD, during the reign of Hoysala king Veera Ballala III. The inscription is written in 14th century Kannada, easily understood even today, and has 18 lines. It says Kameya Dandanayaka, son of Ponnanna Dandanayaka, the prime minister of Veera Ballala III, ruling over Elahakka Nadu, has donated all the land of Kadatanamale for the welfare of the people of the village,” he explained.
The inscription stone was found in the Kambada Anjaneya temple in which the sanctum sanctorum has a pillar on which there is an engraving of Anjaneya.
“The pillar is a Garuda kamba, usually placed outside a large temple. Now, only a portion of the pillar remains, which has become a temple in itself. This site probably had a large temple in the 14th century,” Prof. Narasimhan speculates.
The inscription refers to Yelahanka as Elahakka Nadu. “Over 50 inscriptions have been found in this region that date back to the Hoysala period, especially to the reign of Veera Ballala III. When studied together, they show this particular king had taken keen interest in the development of this region,” Prof. Narasimhan said. “Earlier inscriptions dating back to the Chola period refer to this region as Ilaippakka Nadu.”
While the team was at Kadatanamale, they were tipped off about a similar inscription near a sweet water well in Arakere, a neighbouring village.
Mr. Dhanapal said, “That inscription too was half-buried next to a well, and the water had erased many lines. As we unearthed the inscription, we realised it was probably cut in two, and this was only one part of it. Despite an extensive search, we could not find the other half.”
Prof. Narasimhan said, “The second inscription dates back to 1750 AD, to the time of Wodeyar rule. It is also a land grant, but since the inscription is incomplete, we do not have the details.”
Villagers at Kadatanamale and Arakere have come together to conserve these inscription stones.
“The government and the villagers need to preserve these inscriptions in these villages, with a plaque educating visitors of their contents and significance,” Mr. Dhanapal said.