MaleyurKanakagiri Field Visit Report
— Dr. G. B. Harisha
Maleyur is a small village situated in Chamrajanagar district of Karnataka, India. It is a Jaina centre having stone edicts and basadis, which goes back to 11th century, & Jain Digambar Mutt. My Visit to Maleyur was intended one. I did my doctoral thesis on a Monumental Sociocultural narrative of 19th Century, i.e., of Devachandra of Maleyur. After the Ph.D. was awared, I still wanted to explore the birth place of my poet in a sense to look into a vital picture of his birth place, its climate (both geograplical & cultural.) I was accompanied by my guide Prof. S. Shubhachandra, an eminent Jainology scholar & my wifeM.R. Girija, a Civil engineer by profession. On 14.11.04 from Mysore we set out the journey and reached the destination in the morning hours (ie., 1030 am). My field visit started with climbing the hill next to Maleyur known as Kanakagiri. The hill is not so steep & it has steps to reach the top. On the right side of the the Parshwanath basadi is the foot prints of Acharya Pujyapadaswami. According to tradition, he was born at Kollegala a place in Chamarajanagara district. The Kanakagiri (literally means the golden hill, Kanaka = gold, giri=hill) was the seat of his penance. Below the foot prints is written "Sri 108 Sri Pujyapadaswamy". It seems that both the remenscient & inscription are of recent origin. We took the help of a boy, Mahesh, to see various spots on the hill top. This boy belongs to the Vokkaliga caste of the region, but is continuing his studies with the help of Bhattaraka of Maleyur. Next to Pujyapada's memorial, 24 thirthankara kuta's are under construction. The idea is to help the Jaina devotees who are unable to visit Chaturvimshati kutas at Sammedshikharji.
The which is situated to the west of basadi is very attractive. It has nice stone carvings and leads to further kutas. On the extreme right side of the big stone which is situated to the west of Parswanatha basadi two important inscriptions are inscribed. The inscription which is at the very extreme of the big stone has the stone relief of Jaina Tirthankara. The relief is very attractive. Tirthankara relief is in with Jaina munis & about 10 Jaina householders). In this relief on Parswanatha's left is his Yaksha — Brahmadeva on horse. Therefore he is famous as kudure brahmadeva (In Kannada kudure means horse). The Thirthankara & Brahmayaksha are on the top most row, whereas to the left & right of Tirthankara are munis & In the 3rd row — in between the s & Munis is placed the Shrutapeetha, the seat of Jaina Canon. Most interesting about the relief is that it contains two Shrutas peethas. One on the first row next to Parswanatha, on his leftside. The order is very interesting. First is Teerthankara, next is Shrutapeetha & to next it are 3 Munis. (Mays be ganadhara & other Shrutakevalis). The second one is on the third row. If we remember that Maleyur was the centre for learning various Jaina , we can relate the existence of two Shrutapeethas to the vibrant learning process which took place here. The inspiration which is next to this is most important from the point of Devachandra scholarship (which is in a budding state). This stone inscription is on the same big stone, which is situated to the west of Chandrapraba Tirthankara, corresponds to A.D. 1838. According to the eminent scholars like the final date (death date) of poet Devachandra is A.D. 1841. The present inscription is no doubt made according to the instructions of Pandit Devachandra. This is a Kannada edict and has totally four lines. "Devachandranu pitru santanamam baresido" is the text. According to epigraphist Sitaram Jagirdar, this is not "Pitru santanamam" but it is "Tanna pitru nishidyam". (Pujyapada charite Ed: K.R. Sheshagiri, University of Mysore, Prasaranga, 1988,
Introduction xvi foot note 2). This inscription suggests about the family tree of Devachandra, but the names are not given here. For names of his family members we have to go through his Pujyapadacharite & Rajavalikathasara. One speciality of this inscription is that it makes use of Mahaveera year. Above this Kannada inscription there is a stone relief. In the middle of the picture is a chakra with 8 petals. Below the chakra is swastik. On the left & right side of this chakra are two munis. On the top of it is one more muni. Below the swastik & on either side are two more Jaina munis. In this way totally 5 munis are depicted. By looking in to these peripheral details villagers have named this picture as Panchaparamesthis. But by close examination it is found to be wrong. I think the sculputor has planned to depict some more figures like this for which small places are left. To the left & right side of the chakra first four munis, are sitting in mudra, the closed hand posture. While the top most one is in posture. On the top of this muni's head is an umbrella. Among the five his is the only relief in sitting posture. Though it is written with some paint as , by looking into the 5 munis & the 4 lines Kannada inscription I don't think that is is correct. I am sending the pictures of the same & I want your valuable suggestion on this. If I am correct I don't think that the sidha, the acharya, the and the sadhu will be folding their hands. From here we went to the backside of the Chandraprabha basadi, to Nagarjuna cave. It was little bit difficult to reach the cave bushes, shrubs & stones. Here we found no inscription. According to tradition Nagarjuna the nice of Pujyapadaswamy, an alchemist by nature resided in this cave of Kanakagiri. The inscription of A.D. 15th century mentions this hill as . (Hema=gold, adri=hill). Because of its attachment with Nagarjuna, the hill might have got this name related to gold. The cave inside is cool & it is wet with water. When we went it was not marshy. On the entrance of this cave, it is noted as "1500 year old Nagarjuna Cave". The writing which is of very recent times, also mentions the place as
"Sri Kshetra Kanakagiri" & "Atishaya Kshetra". Swastik and Tamil letters are painted on the stone in front of this cave. Inside the compound of basadi to the left of the main entrance to the altar, is a stone edict with 11 lines. It has 3 parts. (a) on the top most is Teerthankara statue (b) on the middle is Shruthapeetha with 2 persons (c) on the lower part of this edict is a Kannada inscription. We went in front of the basadi right to it is an empty old structure (unknown), in front of the basadi is a basement which has a tiny statue of Teerthankara. The main entrance the facing the east is closed. One has to enter the basadi from the northern entrance. I don't know when the main entrance of the compound, which appears like a fort from outside, was closed. Here the Jaina Mutt has collected a considerable number of books related to Kannada literature & Jaina agama. This library is in the name of Acharya Pujyapada. Visit Maleyur village: Maleyur is a small village situated on the foot hill of Kanakagiri. The members of poet Devachandra's family are the priests for two temples, i.e., Parswanatha basadi at Kanakagiri & Adinatha basadi at Maleyur. We visited the house of poet Devachandra. It is an old house of 16 pillars, known as tottimane ( ). These type of houses were very common during, 18, 19th & mid 20th century in southern Karnataka. The family members of present generation live under one roof. The basic house structure of poet's time is retained, while the front portion is extended & the middle portion is reduced into a small space. We met the 5th generation down Devachandra, and collected the names of the head of the family from Devachandra's times to this day. It is interesting that every alternative generation's senior most person (son) is named as Devachandra.
We couldnot meet the nead of the family i.e., Devachandraiah, who is a high school head master. Next we visited the Adinatha basadi which is adjecent to poets house. This basadi can accommodate not less than 300 people for worship & other religious activities. It is very painful that only 7 Jain brahmin families are remaining here and rest of them have converted themselves into lingayata sect or migrated from here. The Adinatha basadi is an evidence to this fact. Because otherwise in a small village with 7 Jain families such a big basadi wouldn't have come into existence at all. Adinatha basadi has the statues of Dharanendra & Padmavati. A separate place is provided for their construction inside the basadi. The Jains of this are like elswhere relay much upon Yakshi Padamavati to fulfill their daily prayers & ambitions. Next to Dharanendra & Padmavati there is a couple of footprints on a small stone. Below this footprint, there is an inscription with 3 Kannada letters as "Sree Deva". Much more study is required to know more about this.
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