12th century idol discovered near Manipal

 12th century idol discovered near Manipal
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Shwetha S

Udupi, Feb 04, 2021: A look at this idol would make you feel that the artist has just finished the carving work. It is hard to believe that it is an over 600-year-old idol and was dumped in an old for several years.

Thanks to the archeology exploration by the team of MSRS College- Shirva that has removed the beautiful idol from the 20 feet well. The team is now studying the history of this place.

Prof Murugeshi discovers idol near Manipal in Udupi
The idol of Janardhana (Vishnumurthy)

Here is an old structure in ruins and also a well at a place called Alembi, just behind the 80 Badagubettu Panchayat office near Manipal. There is a ‘Paada,’ of an idol on the ‘Panipeetha,’ inside this structure. That was all and nobody knew much about this place.

Now the archeology exploration by the team led by Prof T Murugeshi of MSRS College History and Archeology department has discovered an idol of Sri Janardhana hinting that the temple might have once been dedicated to the deity.
Ganesh Saralebettu, a resident nearby, who was curious about this place brought it to the notice of Prof Murugeshi a few days ago.

Murugeshi, who visited the spot immediately concluded that exploration could throw more light to the place.

On January 26 the team headed by Prof Murugeshi and comprising Final BA students Kavya, Bhavya, Shreyas, Nagaraj, Rajesh, and Gautham started the ‘operation.’

“I found that the well in the spot which was filled with tiles and stones. We concluded that our exploration should start from here. On January 26 we went inside the well and started searching for ‘history,’ that might have been buried under the sand there. Around 3.30 pm our students got a ‘Gadha.’ carved in a stone,” Prof Murugeshi narrated.

The team was now sure that it was moving in the right direction. They were already 18 feet below and wanted to go further. But as it was getting dark they decided to come after some days.

On January 31, the team again went to the spot and continued with their work. In the afternoon they found a Cobra there.

“We felt this was an indication and we would get something in that place shortly. Around 3.30 pm we found a beautiful idol of Sr Janardhana. I will call it a masterpiece. It is a very attractive idol. Though it dates back to the 12th century and was in the well, it looks as if the artist has just finished carving,” Prof Murugeshi told The Canara Post.

The idol is of Janardhana commonly known as Vishnumurthy in the Udupi region. This beautiful sculpture which is now damaged has curly hairs, a Karanda mukuta (crown), makara kundala (earrings), armlets, anklets, Kaustubhahara, and very neat eyebrows, nose, and lips which make it a masterpiece of Coastal Karnataka.
The leg portion, left hands, ‘Prabhavali,’ (the arch behind the idol) and Gadha (right side) is broken.

“There are similar idols in Udupi. But this one is very attractive. The idol is of Janardhana, who is considered as ‘Pitru Karaka,’ deity. These idols or temples are found in Brahmin settlements. So this place must have been once a big Brahmin settlement,” he added.

However, the reason for the present situation of the temple and disposal of the idol in the well is unclear.

“We will continue our exploration. We are sure that we will get some interesting facts,” he added.

Prof Murugeshi thanked residents Ganesh Acharya and Ganesh Saralebettu for the information and cooperation in the exploration.

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