Rare 10th century Kannada inscription unearthed in south Goa, revealing heroic tale of Kadamba dynasty

A recent discovery by a former history professor reveals a unique Kannada and Sanskrit inscription at the Mahadeva Temple in Cacora.


Published Jan 05, 2024 | 3:36 PMUpdatedJan 05, 2024 | 3:36 PM

The inscription initiates with the auspicious phrase 'Be it well' (Swasthi Shri). (X - @VedveerArya3)

A former history professor from Udupi has unearthed a rare inscription, written in Kannada and Sanskrit, on the premises of the Mahadeva temple at Cacoda in Southern Goa.

Having examined the inscription, T Murugeshi, a former associate professor of ancient history and archaeology from Udupi, discloses that it bears engravings in Kannada and Nagari characters dating back to the 10th century AD. The inscription is credited to the Kadambas of Goa.

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A vow and a desire

The inscription initiates with the auspicious phrase ‘Be it well’ (Swasthi Shri) and chronicles that during Talara Nevayya’s administration of the mandala, his son Gundayya, committed to fulfilling his father’s desire to capture the Gopura, the port of Goa, engaged in a fatal battle and succumbed after accomplishing his father’s wish.

Expressed as a vocal statement by a grieving father, the record adopts a literary style similar to the Talangre inscription of Jayasimha I from the same era, as per Murugeshi’s analysis.

During the same period, the Kadambas of Goa held a subordinate position to the Chalukyas of Kalyana. Recognising Kadamba Shasthadeva’s aid in toppling the Rashtrakutas, Chalukyan emperor Tailapa II appointed him as Mahamandaleshwara of Goa.

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A heroic fight

In 960 AD, Kadamba Shasthadeva seized the city of Chandavara from the Shilaharas. Subsequently, he triumphed over the port of Gopakapattana, which is modern-day Goa. It is conceivable that Gundayya, Talara Nevayya’s son, partook in this battle. He ultimately secured the port at the sacrifice of his life.

In honour of his son’s valiant struggle, Talara Nevayya erected a memorial stone. This had an inscription on the temple grounds of Mahadev in Cacoda.