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Kotravai Sculpture from Pallava period unearthed near Ulundurpet


Prelims: Pallava period

Mains: General studies I – Indian Culture – Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Why in the News ?

A team of archaeological researchers has discovered an eighth-century Kotravai sculpture, an artefact that dates back to the Pallava period, near Ulundurpet.

Source: The New Indian Express

Key Facts 🗝️

  • The idol is depicted with eight hands, indicating its origin in the eighth century during the Pallava period.
  • The sculpture depicts various elements such as chakkara, sword, bell, and abhaya mudra in the right hands
  • Kotravai is portrayed standing on the head of a buffalo, with two guards on each side
Kotravai Sculpture
Kotravai Sculpture


  • Pallava Dynasty : 

    • Emergence: The Pallavas rose to power during the reign of Mahendravarman and Narasimhavarman-I. 
    • Region: The Pallavas established their authority over south Andhra Pradesh and north Tamil Nadu, with the capital at Kanchi.
      • Kanchi: Under them became an important temple town and a centre of trade and commerce.
    • Society & Culture:
      • The social composition in the Pallava period witnessed the growing effects of Aryan culture.
      • Because of this impact, a leading position was assigned to the Brahmins both in status and in the grant of lands.
      • Aryanization was visible in the field of education.
      • There were three types of places during this time:
        • Ur: Peasants lived here and it was headed by a headman who collected and paid the taxes to the government.
        • Sabha: THese were the land granted to the Brahmins, also called as Agrahara villages. These were tax-free.
        • Nagaram: Merchants and traders resided at this place.
    • Religion: 
          • Pallavas were the followers of Hinduism and made gifts of land to gods and Brahmins.
          • In contact with the frequent customs, some rulers performed the Aswamedha and other Vedic sacrifices.
          • The Chinese monk Xuanzang who visited India during the power of Narasimhavarman I reported that there were 100 Buddhist monasteries, and 80 temples in Kanchipuram.
    • Architecture:
      • The beautiful Pallava architecture can be divided into four styles:
        • Mahendra style (600-625 AD).
        • Mammala style (625-674 AD).
        • Rajasimha and Nadivarman style (674-800 AD).
        • Aparajita style (early 9th century).
      • The Pallava era witnessed a transformation from rock-cut to free-standing temples.
      • Mahendravarman was an explorer in rock-cut architecture. Mandagapattu temple was the first rock-cut temple developed by him.
      • Narasimhaverman II also known as Rajasimha built the famous Kanchi Kailashnath Temple during the late 7th century AD.
      • The Shore Temple was also built by Narasimhaverman II. It is the oldest temple in South India. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.
      • The Vaikuntha Perumal at Kanchipuram was built by Nandivarman II.
      • The Dravidian type of architecture started with the Pallava reign.

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