'Hero' stone from Vijayanagar Empire unearthed

'Hero' stone from Vijayanagar Empire unearthed in Teggarse

Archaeology students of MSRS College dug out a stone inscription as part of a practical expedition

The stone inscription. Credit: Special Arrangement

A four-panelled stone inscription detailing a "hero's" fight and a war scene, believed to be from the Vijayanagar Empire (1336-1646), was discovered at Teggarse, a small village in Byndoor taluk of Udupi district.

The stone, which was sunk near the residence of one T Narayana Hegde of Teggarse, was carefully dug out by archaeology students of MSRS College, Shirva, with the help of the family, said T Murugeshi, Associate Professor of Ancient History and Archaeology, MSRS College.

“The hero stone that is under study narrates an interesting story of a deceased hero. In all four panels, the deceased hero is shown in the same headgear and same facial expression on the right side. But, in three panels, three heroes in three different headgear and with totally different faces are shown. This indicates that the deceased hero had fought with three different persons. Thus, it is a sword fight competition. The letter’s found on the stone has a close similarity with the Vijayanagar style of inscription,” he said.

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The 'hero stone' was found at the edge of Kambala Gadde, where an annual buffalo race is conducted by the Hegde family of Teggarse. The stone has four panels of depictions on the horizontal slab and each panel is separated by a horizontal frame.

In the bottom panel, two persons are seen facing each other with swords and round shields, with their attendants in close attendance. In the same panel, the man on the left is seen advancing towards the one on the right, pointing his sword.

In the second panel from the bottom, four persons are seen, in which the persons were found holding their swords upright. In the third panel, two pairs of two persons each are seen facing off. 

On the top panel, the hero, believed to have been martyred, is shown standing before a lingam (representation of Lord Shiva) to the right with a bull to the left of the lingam. The top of the stone is designed like a horse shoe, with a lion's head figure at the centre. Although there are two lines of inscription, only a few letters could be deciphered, said Murugeshi.

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