A land measure of early Chola period has been discovered by research scholars at Avanisvaram Temple at Gopurapatti near Manachanallur in the district.
The measure was discovered by R. Akila, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Aringar Anna Government Arts College, Musiri, and M. Nalini, Head, Department of History, Seethalakshmi Ramasami College, while undertaking an explorative study at the temple.
While deciphering the epigraphical records engraved on the southern basement of the mukha mandapa, the scholars stumbled upon the land measure that is marked on the fillet immediately above the basement.
R. Kalaikkovan, Director, Dr. M. Rajamanikkanar Centre for Historical Research, who examined the measure, said that it was represented as two engraved plus marks with a distance of 1.50 metres between them.
The measure can only be identified as a local land measure as it exceeded the usual size of sculptors’ scales found so far in Tamil Nadu.
The land measures were of different sizes and were used to measure the wet and dry lands of the neighbourhood during the Chola rule. Standardised land measures with specific names were also in use as mentioned in the inscriptions.
Avanisvaram, a Saivite temple, built probably during the early reign of Uttamachola in the 10th century CE, was a protected monument and under the care of the State Department of Archaeology.
The temple has only the sanctum and a mandapam in front.
The super structure of the sanctum is lost due to the ravages of time. The temple is rich in inscriptions and has magnificent sculptural wealth.
The miniature panels carved in the basement depict selected themes from Bhagavata, Sivapuranas and Ramayana.
Scenes of cultural reflection of the bygone era are also noted. More than five dance modes of Siva are found recorded here.
This is unique to the shrine as it is not found in any other temple in the district, Dr.Kalaikkovan said.
The discovery of the land measure has been informed to the authorities concerned, Dr.Kalaikkovan added.