Mangaluru: A Tulu inscription, dating back to the 12th century and said to be the oldest discovered till date, has been found at the Sri Veeranarayana Temple in Kulashekhara village of Mangaluru.
The 14 line, 2- ft. tall inscription was discovered on the left side of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in the village, which is believed to have been named after Alupa king, Kulashekhara.
Prof T Murugeshi of the history and archaeology department of the MSRS College- Shirva and his students have concluded after studying the inscription that it dates back to the 12th century as it mentions the year 1159 AD and talks about "Kule (Sekhare) Lokontamanta," which is the exact Tulu translation of "Samasta Loka Vikyata Kulashekhara," the Kannada title of king Kulaskhera.
The professor, who was guided by Mr Vignaraj of the Sri Dharmasthala Samskruthi Samshodhana Samsthe in reading the inscription, says it reveals that 12 villages came under the jurisdiction of the temple at the time.
"The inscription is very important for the information it provides about the Alupa dynasty. The first inscription found of Kulakshekara dates back to 1162. But now with this inscription we know that he was in power by 1159," he adds.
Although Tulu inscriptions have been found in Kasargod and Udupi districts, this is the first to be found in Dakshina Kannada district. While the inscriptions discovered in other places do not have proper dates, the Mangaluru temple inscription is specific in its dating, he points out.
"It may be the oldest Tulu inscription discovered till date and can be called the Halmidi inscription of Tulu (Halmidi inscription is the first Kannada inscription)," he adds.