Terracotta figurine of Chola era Ganesh idol found in Cuddalore

Terracotta figurine of Chola era Ganesh idol found in Cuddalore

The Ganesh idol measures 15 cms in height and 7 cms in width. Immanuvel also said that officials in the State Archaeology Department have been alerted and have asked for the idol to be brought to them.

CHENNAI: A terracotta figurine of a Ganesh idol belonging to the Chola era has been unearthed in the riverbed of the Southpennar at Enathirimangalam village, Cuddalore district.

As per archaeologist C Immanuvel, who led the team of independent archaeologists who unearthed the idol, said that based on certain features, it has been established beyond doubt that it belongs to the Chola era. “The crown on top of the idol is decorated and has two hands and is seen wearing bracelets on the arms. Both the ears are pierced and the tusk is longer. All these are distinctive points of identification of the Chola era idols. These differ to the previous Sangam era and the subsequent phases where the decorated crown and jewels are missing. Moreover, the calm posture of the Ganesh idol is another identifying feature,” Immanuvel said, adding, terracota figurines of dolls and other artefacts are usually unearthed in riverbeds but this is the first time in Tamil Nadu that an idol has been unearthed from a riverbed.

The Ganesh idol measures 15 cms in height and 7 cms in width. Immanuvel also said that officials in the State Archaeology Department have been alerted and have asked for the idol to be brought to them. They have suggested the idol could be around 1,000 years old and will be confirmed by the radiocarbon dating method.

How prominent was Lord Ganesh during the Chola era?

In Tamil Nadu Archaeology, Ganesh idols are very rarely unearthed as his worship was not prominent during the Chola era. As Cholas were mostly shaivites, most temples they constructed were for Lord Shiva. Immanuvel said that Lord Ganesh was worshipped as a secondary Lord in all the temples constructed by Cholas. Only in a very few temples were the Ganesh idols are prominent. “Paranthaka Cholan constructed a Ganesh temple in Perangiyur near Villupuram and it has one of the biggest Ganesh idols. It has samarams (a hand fan-like structure) on both sides of the idol,” said Immanuvel.

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