Mysore: The two face-to-face giant Nandi statues, unearthed at Arasinakere in Jayapura hobli of Mysuru taluk, has finally caught the attention of the Archaeology Department.
Officials from the Department of Archaeology, Heritage and Museums visited the village yesterday and took the entire site into their possession as they want to carry out further excavation to see if there are more historical idols buried under the earth.
Villagers of Arasinakere have unearthed two giant white soap-stone statues of Nandi (Bull) in a nondescript field (Survey Number 71) that was so far marooned in water. The idols are monolithic and so far were buried deep inside the earth.
While one Nandi statue measures 15 ft in length and 12 ft in height, the other statue is smaller. The horns of the Nandis were observed by the villagers and following this, villagers started offering pujas to them. The statues were excavated on Sunday using earthmovers in a four-day-long operation.
Villagers said that more than ten idols of Gods too were found at this spot but they did not have a specific identity of them. Although these idols are said to be dated to the Mysore Maharaja rule, there is no clarity about this, they said.
Taking cognisance of the findings and the statements of the villagers, the Department has decided to excavate the fields and surrounding areas in a scientific manner to throw more light on the history associated with the Nandis and other idols that are claimed to be buried under earth.
A team of officials from the Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage, including archaeologist M.L. Gowda and engineer Satish, visited the spot yesterday.
The Archaeology officials sought the permission of villagers to further excavate the site and this was agreed to by the villagers. Though there are many theories to the idols, it is believed that they belong to Vijayanagar period and the Wadiyars of Mysore.
Archaeologists say that the statues appeared to belong to the 16th or 17th century, dating back to the post-Vijayanagar period. He said that they resembled most of the sculptures carved out of the smooth soapstone during that period.
The statues are carved out of a single rock and are incomplete. While one is 60% complete, the other is 85% complete. Both the idols, though placed face-to-face were not identical in size. Small idols of other Gods like Venkataramana Swamy and Ayyappa Swamy are also found in the same place, adding credence to the belief that it may be a site of historical significance.
Officials said that a report on the excavation has been sent to the Commissioner of Department Archaeology, Museums and Heritage T. Venkatesh. For now, further excavation has been stopped and the officials are awaiting instructions from seniors on the steps to be taken for conservation of the statues.