Daily News Analysis

Megalithic era caves found

3rd April, 2021 Culture

GS Paper 1: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Context: The ancient rock-cut cave of megalithic period that was found during the renovation of Ananta Padmanabha Temple of Puttige Mutt at Paniyadi in Udupi. 

  • The cave belongs to 800 BC and is of 2,000 years old in antiquity.
  • Similar megalithic rock-cut caves have been found at Pavanje Subrahmanya Temple, Sooda Subrahmanya Temple, Sasturu Subrahmanya Temple and elsewhere in coastal Karnataka.
  • This discovery is unique in understanding the antiquity of the Phanis. Pani and Haadi, together forming Paniyadi, means settlement of Phanis.
  • Phanis were referred to in the Mahabharatha and the Puranas as an ancient original inhabitants of the country.
  • Places such as Paniyur, Paniyadi in Udupi district indicate the existence of Phanis settlements in the past.
  • Phanis were famous for their Naga worship while Naga was their totemic emblem.
  • Paniyadi’s presiding deity Ananta Padbhanabha was also related with Naga worship.
  • Iconographically, he was Para Vasudeva, a Vaisnavate god. He sits on the Naga coil and the Naga hood stands high on his head.
  • A similar icon found in Keelinje near Udupi belongs to 10th Century AD, while the Paniyadi deity belongs to 14th Century AD.
  • The idol of the presiding deity, Ananta Padmanabha, is a unique one as it is in a sitting posture atop Adi Sesha.