The Temple Inscriptions of Srikakulam District a Cultural Study

Item Code: NAJ247
Publisher: Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, Tirupati
Author: G. Sudhakar Naidu
Language: English
Edition: 1990
Pages: 74
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Weight 80 gm
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Book Description



The importance of inscriptions to reconstruct the cultural history of our country cannot be overestimated. They reflect the social, economic and cultural conditions of the contemporary society. Needless to say that from the early times temples played a very significant role in the socio-economic sphere. Therefore in order to understand the cultural history of our country the study of inscriptions, which are associated with temples, is indispensab’e, Andhra Pradesh, like many other states of our country, is famous for important temples and some of the like those at Srikurmam, Mukhalingam, Simhachalam, Draksharamam, Vijayawada, Tripurantakam, Tirupati have had a rich and hoary past which is revealed by relevant inscriptions.


Shri G. Sudhakar Naidu made a humble beginning in this direction by choosing ths temple-inscriptions of the Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh for this study. The important temple towns Srikakulam and Mukthalingam are in this district and the temples of Srikurmanatha of Srikurrnam and Mukhalingesvara of Mukthalingam have as many as 208 and 147 inscriptions respectively. There are more than 75 inscriptions associated with other temples in the same district. Thus the study of Sri G Sudhakar Naidu is based on more than 425 inscriptions. He subjeted these inccriptions to a critical analysis and presented the results, which are significant to the cultural history of the Srikakulam district in particular and Andhra Pradesh in general, in a convincing manner. I am very happy to learn that he is contunuing his study of temple inscriptions covering a wider region, viz., the coastal Andhra Pradesh, I am sure that scholars in Indology can expect a valuable work from this hard working young researcher.




The Srikakulam dirtict, the Northernmost district on the East-coast of Andhra Pardesh was formed by bifurcasting the erstwile Vishakapatnam district in 1950.


This distrct covers the region extending from 180 20’ to 900 10’ of Northern latitude and 830 5’ to 840 5’ of the Eastern longitude. The important temple town like Mukhalingaml Srikuurmam, Arasavalli and Narayanapuram are in this district The History of the temples of Madhukesvara, Srikurmanatha, Suryanarayana and Nilesvara of Mukhalingam, Srikurmam, Arasavalli and Narayanapurarn respectively have a boar, ast. Particularly the temples of Madhukesvara and Srikurmay pnatha have as many as 147 and 208 inscriptions respective I Inscriptions discovered in the temples of Srikakulam district contribute valuable information for reconstructing the cultura, history of the Andhra country in general and the district in question in particular. Since these inscriptions were not subjected to a through study by earlier scholars an attempt is made in the following Pages to present a brief cultural history by utilising this enormous epigraphical wealh. The present dissertation is divided into six chapters. The First Chapter which is in the nature of Introduction deals with the nature of source material for the present study, and a brief historical background of the Srikakulam district. In the Second Chapter festivals and rituals found mentioned in the temple inscriptions of the Srikakulam district are discussed. The Third Chapter discuss the pattern of endowments made to the temples under study. A detailed account of various temple officials and the donors who were responsible for the economic and cultural growth of the temples is given in the Fourth Chapter. The social conditions of the medieval Andhra country as revealed by the Srikakulam district temple inscriptions are discussed in the Fifth Chapter. This chapter is divided into two sections namely, "Education and Society". It is very well known that temple played a significant role in promoting education and fine arts. The section on Education highlights the patronage extended by the temples of the district in question for promoting education. The second section deals with different sections of the society, position of women and other points of social interest which can be gathered from the inscriptions the last chapter of the dissertation ebmodies the conclusions arrived at after the present study.


Source Material: As the very title of the dissertation suggests the chief source material for the present study is the epigraphical wealth of the temples of the Srikakulam district. In all 432 inscriptions are publised in the Temple Inscriptions of Andhra Pradesh, Valume I, Srikakulam District, by the government of Andhra Pradesh in 1980. However, except 23 inscriptions all others were published earlier in South Indian Inscriptions, Valumes V and X and a few were critically edited in the pages of a couple of the valumes of the Epigraphica Indica. All the inscriptions taken for study belong to the class of Stone Inscriptions.


The regional brake up of the inscriptions under study is as follows:








Arasavalli and other Places




These inscriptions throw abundant light not only on the de- tails of daily worship in the temples, different kinds of endowments made for maintaining them and temple administration but also on various aspects of the society like social structure, position of women, education, etc. A couple of inscriptions which are of considerable social significance deserve mention here. An inscription from Mukhalingam, dated 1111 A.D. and belonging the 37th regnal year of the Eastern Ganga’ King Anantavarma Choda Ganga records an arrangement relating to the welfare of different visiting traders of both sea and land. According to this in the event of the death of such merchants the members of the Nakara undertake the responsibility of handing over the belongings of deceased to his nearest relative. In case no member is prepared to take up this responsibility the State itself takes care of the belongings for a maximum period of three years after which the same will be disposed of, obviously in the obsence of a rightfull claimant. Similarly, if a native merchant dies in similar circumstances else were his wealth will be handed over to his son or grandson or his brothers or sisters or nephews. Sufficient money of the diseased will be paid to his legal wife and daughters for their livelyhood as well as the marriage of his daughter. Only after making these arrangement the residuary will be credited to the State’s treasury. Another inscription whih is from Srikurmam pertains to the settlement of a boundary dispute that arose between two villages,·namely Ponnadi and Bomttakodu. It is stated in that inscription, which is dated 1230 A.D., that after checking up with the existing inscription the dispute was settled in favour of the village Ponnadi and boundary stones bearing the Sudarsana marks were planted around that village. It is further declared that whoever questions the settlement and violates it will be excommunicated after confiscating his wealth. These two inscriptions thus give us an insight into the legal process adopted in cases pertaining to property and boundary disputes.







Source Material

Historical Background


Festivals and Rituals


Pattern of Endowments


Temple officials and Donors


Social Conditions





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