The Archaeology of Kṛṣṇa at Tiruveḷḷaṟai, a Site for Tamil Poetry in the 7th–9th Centuries




Divyaprabandham, Tiruveḷḷaṟai, Bhāgavatapurāṇa, Muttaraiyar, Pallava, Kṛṣṇa’s iconography


In many of the oldest known sites of the Pāṇḍya country located not far from the Kāverī River in Tamil Nadu, a dual Hindu obedience, Vaiṣṇava and Śaiva, was developed concomitantly. Alongside these Bhakti deities, others are present in these places of communication with the sacred. As stone figures attached to the site and texts evoking the place are the two means used to give form to their deities, one would expect these two mediums to interact, but it is often difficult to correlate them in the Tamil country of the first millennium. This paper aims at exploring such possible relationships at Tiruveḷḷaṟai, the earliest remains of which date to the 8th c. The site has unique archaeological features, such as a svastika-shaped well and the earliest known depictions of some of Kṛṣṇa’s feats; it inspired hymns of the Tamil Vaiṣṇava devotional corpus, the Divyaprabandham, and offers numerous inscriptions. The link between Śiva, Viṣṇu and local goddesses proves to be as remarkable here as that between texts and archaeology.


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How to Cite

Schmid, Charlotte. 2022. “The Archaeology of Kṛṣṇa at Tiruveḷḷaṟai, a Site for Tamil Poetry in the 7th–9th Centuries”. Cracow Indological Studies 24 (2):149-84.