Saturday, November 27, 2010

Jinavallabha's Inscription

A non descript village called Kurikyala in  Kareem Nagar district of Andhra Pradesh,India, is attracting historians, environmentalists and religious people from different parts of the country. This place became famous because of its connection with Kannada’s Adi Kavi Pampa.(Kannada is the language of Karnataka State, India)
                                                     Jinavallabha's Inscription
                                                  Bommalamma Gutta (Vrishabhadri)
Rewind to around AD 950.  The Chalukya King of Vemulawada, Arikesari-II asks Pampa to write an epic to immortalize him. Pampa takes up the work with utmost earnestness. Within one year, he creates Kannada’s greatest epic ‘Vikramarjuna Vijaya aka ‘Pampa Bharatha. Arikesari-II is greatly pleased with the work of Pampa. He bestows him with an honorific ‘Kavithagunarnava’ and also gifts him with an agrahara called Dharmapura.

Pampa had a younger brother named Jinavallabha.  He installs the idols of Chakreshwari and other Jain deities on a hill called Vrishabhadri, north of Dharmpura. He builds a Basadi named Tribhuvana Tilaka and also creates a garden called Madanavilasa.  At the bottom of the hill he constructs a lake and names it ‘Kavithagunarnava’ as a tribute to his brother. Finally he inscribes all what he has done on a rock below the idol of Chakreshwari.

This inscription is of utmost importance to Kannada and Telugu languages. It is written in three languages viz Kannada, Telugu and Sanskrith.  The Kannada portion contains invaluable information about Pampa. We come to know about Pampa’s parents and grand parents, their native places, their religion, pampa’s relation ship with Arikesari-II etc from this inscription.  The Telugu portion is the oldest Telugu Kanda Padya.  In short, this inscription is priceless.(Telugu is the language of the state Andhra Pradesh, India)

Fast forward to 21st Century. The hill Vrishabhadri is now  called Bommalamma Gutta.  Dharmapura, Madanavilasa and Tribhuvana Tilaka have vanished. Kavithagunarnava is unrecognizable. But the idols of Chakreswari, now being called Seethamma, and other Jain deities are still there. Below the idol of Chakreswari the rock inscription remains proudly proclaiming the glory of Pampa.

But how long?  The eyes of granite mafia have fallen on this hill. The Andhra Pradesh Govt. has granted licenses to contractors to operate quarry work on Bommalamma Gutta.  The villagers along with historians and like-minded people have protested against quarrying on this hill and have succeeded in obtaining a temporary halt to the quarrying.  But the threat is looming over Bommalamma Gutta. The Karnataka Govt., so far has not done anything to persuade Andhra Govt., to revoke licences of quarrying and to protect the hill. The people of Karnataka has also not responded to the news items appeared in many Kannada newspapers. Unless the people getup from their complacency and act, the priceless inscription and the hill will be razed to the ground. The relics of the poet, whose works were cited to get Classical status to Kannada, will be lost forever.

To save this hill and its historic relics write to The Chief Minister of  Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, India.
Photos provided by Sri Vuppu Lingaiah


  1. It is an excellent article. Bommalamma Gutta should be protected at any cost -Ramesh Babu, Bangalore

  2. It is the cultural and literary heritage of both Kannada and Telugu people. We have to protect these sites for future generations.- Sabbani Laxminarayana, Karimnagar


  4. Heritage has to be protected. Are they blind?

  5. Heritage has to be protected. Are they blind?

  6. Dear sir,
    FYI Kavitagunarnava is the title given to pampa by Arikesari.
    I heard about this inscription so long ago. Happy to read that in this blog.
    With regards,
    Ganesh Bhat koppalatota