A peep into the cultural aspects of Andhra people

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Kanaparthi, where the Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation (APGenco) proposes to set up a thermal power plant, is an Indologist’s delight with numerous artefacts throwing light on Andhra culture during pre-historic and historic periods. 

Kanaparthi Museum in Prakasam district is a treasure trove of artefacts throwing light on Andhra people’s lives for centuries [Credit: The Hindu]

The State Archaeological Museum, named after Andhra State first Chief Minister T. Prakasam Pantulu in 1953, abounds with great collection of stone inscriptions in Prakrit and Brahmi and also other artefacts providing vivid account of political, socio-economic and cultural aspects of the life of Andhra people for several centuries. 

“We have a collective responsibility to preserve them for posterity for a proper study by present and future archaeologists,” said Kanaparthi Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituency (MPTC) member Komatla Trinatha Reddy. “We are planning to improve the museum with MGNREGS funds this year,” he says. 

A caretaker of the archaeological resources, K. Prasad Babu, says the artefacts here provide a lot of information about, among other dynasties, the Satavahanas, Eastern Chalukyas, Sangama and Cholas. The site here is notified as area of national importance for protection and conservation by the Centre. 

The evidences found in and around Kanaparthi show that it was once a flourishing centre of Buddhism and also Jainism and deserve to be put on the international tourism circuit. The Yeleswara temple at Kanaparthi has been a thriving centre of Saivism for centuries. The museum houses statues of Ganesh, Kumaraswamy, Narayini, Brahmini, Surya, Parasurama, and Varahini, besides a large number of Sivalingas of different sizes and shapes. They give credence to the view that non-indigenous stones were imported from far off places and chiselled in front of Lord Yeleswara temple for a long time by dedicated sculptors before they were exported to various countries. 

‘Dhara sivalinga’ 

An architectural marvel in the Museum is the finely-chiselled “Dhara sivalinga,” with 32 dimensions. When water is poured over the rare piece, it falls in 32 directions. 

The Cholamamba temple here speaks of matrimonial alliances that existed between the Eastern Chalukyas and the Cholas. A stone inscription in the museum gives an account of a Chola king constructing the temple of mother goddess for his daughter for worship, in their in-laws’ place. 

A “Veera” statue at the museum gives a pictorial account that “a person who dies fighting for the king will be honoured in heaven,” in a bid to boost the morale of war-weary soldiers. Recovery of over four lakh bricks of 18 inches in size shows that people led a comfortable life. The artefacts indicate that women used ivory bangles, tone earrings, wares for making lipstick, and glazed pottery. 

Author: S. Murali | Source: The Hindu [April 28, 2011]

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