A few months ago, a diminutive stone tablet breathed life into history. It had an engraving of Mylara and Mylaladevi, seated regally atop an ornate horse. Both figures held swords in their right hands. DC Image
Mangaluru: Rare sculptures believed to depict the Hindu deity Mylareshwar have been discovered in Udupi.
The find sheds light on the historical significance of the Mylareshwar cult that once thrived in the Deccan and Coastal Karnataka regions.
"Although a temple dedicated to Mylareshwara, worshipped in the form of a linga, stands in Kundapur and epigraphical reference to Mylareshwar worship was found in the past, the recent discovery of an idol and tablet of Mylareshwar in Udupi district marks the first of its kind in the Coastal region of Karnataka," says Retired Associate Professor of Archaeology, Prof T Murugeshi.
Mylareshwar is known as Khandoba in Maharashtra and North Karnataka region. The Mylareshwar Cult, an ancient spiritual phenomenon, commanded considerable reverence across the Deccan and Coastal Karnataka.
"For the first time, we have discovered an idol and also a tablet of Mylareshwar in Udupi district. There are similar images in other parts of the state, but these are the first to be discovered in the Coastal Karnataka region," he said.
The trail leads to Basrur, a suburb nestled near Kundapura in the Udupi district—a place where history converges with contemporary discovery. It's here that tangible evidence of Mylareshwar worship in the coastal region has emerged.
"There is a temple dedicated to Mylareshwar in Kundapur, but the deity is worshipped in the form of Linga there. This is the first idol of Mylareshwara to be discovered in the region," he said.
A few months ago, a diminutive stone tablet breathed life into history. It had an engraving of Mylara and Mylaladevi, seated regally atop an ornate horse. Both figures held swords in their right hands. This artifact, a testament to craftsmanship and devotion, hailed from the 17th century and was found in a tank belonging to Devananda Shetty of Halnad, who brought it to Murugeshi's notice.
A recent discovery within Basrur further deepened the narrative—a mutilated yet captivating 15th century sculpture was unearthed from a well, revealing a royal hero astride a horse. Holding a sword and a bowl in his right and left hands respectively, this figure exudes power and depth. However, Mylaladevi is not seated on the back of the horse. "The horse shown in sitting posture adds to the uniqueness of this sculpture. Probably the idol was being worshipped in a temple in the earlier days," he added.
Basrur, a historical trading city during the medieval era, was a bustling center of trade, animated by trading guilds such as Uhayadesi and Nanadesi, which cultivated an environment where diverse cults thrived.