Oct 23, 2009

Jain Vestiges in Coimbatore District (2)

Jain Vestiges in Coimbatore District (2): identification of Perur

Continues from part 1

The question that has to be decided here is the identification ofPerur mentioned in Ganga records. Taken in conjusction with thehistory of the Rattas, the Kongadesarajakkal furnishes proof that itwas on their fall that the Gangas rose to power and began ruling fromSkandapura in Kongudesa (which is the ancient name for the territorycomprising the modern disteicts of Coimbatore and Salem). TheChronicle would even inform us that the last Ratta ruler changed hisreligion from Jainism to Saivism and that was the cause of hisdownfall. Further, all the early activities of Konganivarman-as thefirst historical ruler of the Ganga house becomes known in all therecords of this dynasty-are confined to this Kongudesa.(Kongadesarajakkal (Or Mss. Edn.) pp. 2-3). It is true that we lackdefinite epigraphic evidence in support of this, which we have mainlyonly from the Tamil chronicle above referred to. But it must beremembered that in the first place we have only a few records for theGanga period here referred to; and even the few references that wehave to the early grants of the Gangas seem to refer only to placesin Coimbatore district. Such are places like "Kudluru" to the west ofthe Tatla and east of "Marukarevisaya", in which the names of Kudluruand Marukarevisaya are easily identifiable with the present Gudalurand Madukari in this area. (Kudaluru grant of Madhavavarman; MAR.,1930).

The conclusion naturally follows that Per here referred to as thespot on which Madhava was initiated into Jainism and conferred akingdom on condition that he upheld it through all its confines mustbe the Perur within 3 miles from Coimbatore. We have numerousevidences to show that at the time referred to and for longafterwards this Perur was indeed an important place. The placereferred to by this name cannot be the Perur in Cuddapah district, asRice surmises, where no Jain remains are to be found. The tratditionis that Dadiga and Madhava were sent to the south of Mysore, asalready indicated. Further, the very title assumed by the first ruleras Madhava Konganivarman seems to give an unmistakable proof of thisconclusion, since as the Kongadesarajakkal aptly remarks:

"As wealth, the Kongu country and great
munificence were possessed by him he was
styled srimalt Konganivarman Dharmamahadiraja."(Kongadesarajakkal(Taylor's trans.); MJLS., XIV)

While the mention of Simhanandi as a "person of the southern country'in the inscription at Parsvanatha Basti at Sravana Belgola alreadyreferred to, seems to set the seal upon this conclusion.

to cont.

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