Veeragallu commemorates sacrifice of Sati Veera Masti and her husband Masanayya
Mysore/Mysuru: A research team from the Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Kannada (CESCK) has unearthed a herostone (Veeragallu) of the time of Second Veeraballala of the Hoysala Empire at Chakashettyhalli near Pandavapura of Mandya district.
The information was shared with the media at a press conference held at CESCK premises on Wednesday. Chakashettyhalli is at a distance of over six kilometres to the West of Pandavapura that has a temple dedicated to Shambulingeshwara, built during the Vijayanagar period on the Eastern direction of the village, which is mentioned as Dasara Shettihalli in the inscriptions.
The herostone was buried under the earth on the right side of Shambulingeshwara Temple facing the East. It has been engraved in ‘soapstone’ (chlorite schist) and has sculptural panels in three tiers and two panels in the middle containing inscriptional text.
The information about the herostone was provided to the CESCK by Prof. N.S. Rangaraju, retired Professor from the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore, who is also a Member of Heritage Conservation Committee, Government of Karnataka.
A team from CESCK visited Chakashettyhalli on Jan. 6 to explore and found the special herostone of which, only half was visible above the ground. The herostone was estamped after obtaining permission from local village leaders Jayashankara Murthy and Basappa.
Usually, herostones are erected to commemorate the heroes who fought and died. Mahasati stones are erected to commemorate the deceased husband’s wife (Sati). But this particular herostone has been erected to commemorate the death of a husband who killed his wife, said researchers.
“Monumental inscriptions of this type have not been found in the Hoysala period or any other dynasty. In addition, herostone and mahasati stones are found in several villages across Karnataka. But this is the first time that inscriptions and sculptures have been found where the wife was killed by the husband who died after being stabbed in a battle. So the current herostone inscription is special in this aspect,” said researchers.
Summary of the inscription
The inscription begins with the auspicious word ‘Swasti’, and the first plate contains many of the titles of Hoysala King Second Ballala. In the second inscription plate, Shalivahana Saka has been mentioned and after converting this inscribed date to AD, 1209 corresponds to Feb. 17.
The inscription has the text as: “Masanayya, the son of Ramajeeya, a resident of Dasara Shettihalli and a member of the Vaishya (merchant) clan, stabbed his wife to death. This stone has been erected in the memory of Masanayya and his wife who became Kailasavasi. This inscription sculpture was engraved during the reign of Hoysala ruler Veeraballala II, whose empire spread throughout South India. (Reign of Veeraballala II – 1173 to 1220 AD).”
Deciphering the text
Half of the text of the inscription consists entirely of the titles of the Hoysala ruler Veeraballala II, while the other half mentions the titles of Sati Veera Masti and her husband Masanayya and his father Ramajeeya.
Notably, Dasara Shettihalli was an administrative centre during the Hoysala period. Masanayya was the Sthanika (an important position in the Hoysala administration). He may also have been the ‘Garuda’ of the Second Ballala. As evidence of this, he wears an ornament called ‘Gandapendara’ on his left leg.
After Masanayya fought a war, he was mortally wounded and was sure to die. Out of love for her husband (she could not live without him), this heroic wife also wanted to die with Masanayya and stabbed herself and died after being stabbed by her husband as well. The herostone has been erected to commemorate the sacrifice of both of them, reveal researchers.