On Saturday, Oggu Anjaiah, a farmer at Kotlanarsimhulapalli village in Telanganaâ€™s Karimnagar district, was ploughing his land for cultivation (as the monsoon arrived) when his tractor ploughed up an object along with the soil.
According to the revenue authorities in Gangadhara mandal in the district, Anjaiah unearthed an ancient idol, which is believed to be of Jain monk Vardhamaana Mahaveer. The idol is reportedly in a Dhyana Mudra (meditation posture).
The local revenue authorities have kept the statue under a tree in the same field. Soon, the villagers lit a lamp in front of the statue and have started offering prayers.
Gangadhara Mandal Tehisildar V Jayanth, who visited the site, told TNM, â€śAccording to our preliminary assessment, the statue appears to be of a Jain monk. This neighbourhood and area are known for its Jain heritage. We have informed the Archaeology Department, which will further study the site and the statue to make concrete observations.â€ť
Speaking to TNM, Karimnagar Assistant Director of Archaeology Department Nagaraju also said that the statue could be of a Jain monk, given the specific area's Jain heritage in the district during the eighth and ninth century.
â€śThe statue could either be of Adinathudu (Vrushabanathudu), the first Tirthankara (spiritual teacher) of Jain or the 24th Tirthankara, Vardhamaana Mahaveer. The sculpts of both these monks have close similarities," he explained.
"Around 15km from the Kotlanarsmlupalli, there is hillock called Bommalagutta, where there was a Jain monastery. This statue might have been buried here, or there might have been a similar monastery," noted Nagaraju, adding that the team will carry out excavation for further study
The Assistant Director said that the historical findings such as the infamous 'Kurukyala Inscriptionâ€™ suggest the patronisation of Jainism, making Bommalagutta the epicentre by Rashtrakuta and Vemulawada Chalukya dynasties.
History and heritage enthusiasts in the state are demanding the Telangana government to take necessary measures to preserve the precious heritage sites for future generations.
For the residents of Kotlanarimlupalli village, discovering rare heritage items is nothing new. According to revenue and Archaeology Department authorities, less than two years ago, archaeologists had unearthed an idol of the 23rd Parshvanatha Tirthankara in the same field.