Medieval period derelict Mahishasuramardhini sculpture in Prakasam district

A 10th century carving of Mahishasuramardhini, locally called Paleti Ganga, carved out of rock at Peda Alavulapadu village near PC Palle in Prakasam district is at serious risk of damage to its antiquity, according to archaeologist and CEO of Pleach India Foundation E. Sivanagi Reddy.

Based on information provided by local historian Jyothi Chandramouli, Mr. Reddy visited the place with the First Sunday as part of documenting historical relics in Erragaddapadu, Lingalakonda and Peda Alavulapadu villages associated with popular folklore ‘Katamaraju katha’. which recounts the fight between the forces of Katamaraju and Manumasiddhi in the 13th century AD.

This is in line with the research carried out previously by the folklorist Prof. TV Subbarao, which revealed the historical significance of the sculpture.

The sculpture measuring 4.5 x 2.5 x 0.3 feet in length, width and depth respectively sits comfortably on the head of the demon Mahishasura and holds sankham, chakram, khadgam, sulam,gada and a shield in his eight hands. Also called Vishnu Durga, the idol belongs to the Eastern Chalukyan period (10th century AD).

Indologists lament that the idol is prone to deterioration due to the deliberate coating of chemical colors every summer during the temple’s annual festival by locals unaware of its historical significance.

Inscription

Mr Chandramouli said that there was an inscription on a rock located next to this sculpture issued by a certain Ravuri Raghavareddy in 1526 AD (reigning period of Sri Krishnadevaraya) which records the gift of a Gangapatnam village to Kanigiri- Polacharla-Musunduru Seema, a division territory of the Vijayanagara empire, to the 16 rituals (shodasopachara) of Someswara Swamy and Bagadi Ganga of Lingalakonda.

They sensitized the villagers on the historical significance of the place and the sculpture and called on them to take care of it by immediately removing the chemical colors to restore the sculpture to its original appearance.

They offered to provide the necessary technical advice in this regard and also to write a legend with historical and iconographic details to be displayed for the benefit of visitors and researchers.

Mr. Karunanidhi, an amateur historian from Kanigiri, participated in the documentation program.

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