Copper plate inscription of Vijaya Gaṇḍa Gopāla Deva

          Donations were made to temples, mutts, religious persons and the same was recorded in Palm leaves, copper plates and stone epigraphs by which the records were called as “Tribalī-śāsanam”. Such copper plate inscriptions are available at Kāmakoṭi pīṭham which claims its lineage from Śrīmad Ādi Śaṅkara Bhagavatpāda at Kāñcīpuram. Actually the mutt possessed more than 120 copper plates including that of Coḹas etc. Sri. Babu Rao , Mahraṭṭa translator for Col Mackenzie makes the claim in Mackenzie Collection, Vol II, published in 1828 CE.

          “10th (April 1817) : I visited the Chief priest of Śaṅkārācāri, expending four rupees on fruit etc., to introduce myself and requested him to give me a copy of the copper plate inscriptions, he had in his Maṭham. But some of the Kāryasthalu directly denied that there were any inscriptions on copper plate, being afraid of loosing their original documents which they saved through many years from destruction of different wars. I encouraged them, mush assuring them, that I would take no original, but only wanted a copy; they answered that if I assured them only a copy was to be taken, and that I would give them a recommendation to my master regarding their discontinued Jāhirs and obtain the restoration of any of the discontinued villages, that he would give me a particular account o the Cola, Cera and Pāṇḍya together with that of the Rājas of Vijayanagar as he was the Guru of all the Rājas. I accordingly gave them recommendatory letter. Then confiding in my assertions that I had only come to copy inscriptions and collect historical information, he was much pleased and promised to get me particular information of the Rājas. He took me into his agrahāram and showed me about 125 copper śāsanams.. he gave me a copy of two, presented me with a piece of cloth worth 5 rupees and gave me leave, promising me to get me a particular account of the Coḹa Rājas together with several coin…”

But due to unawareness most of the plates are lost and when Sri. T.A.Gopinatha Rao tried to edit the copper plate inscriptions of the Mutt, he could find only 10 copper plates. The officials of the mutt kept only those connected with land endowments, in the villages, which were then under actual enjoyment of the Mitt. Some aged scholar of the Mutt informed that copper plates containing inscriptions were melted ad converted into Pañcapatrams and other vessels in about the last quarter of 19th CE.

The earliest amongst the inscriptions that are found is the inscription of Vijaya Gaṇḍa Gopāla Deva of Telugu Coḹa race. The inscription contains two plates with 8.7 inches length at the sides and 10.9 inches at the middle. The inscription is in Sanskrit and inscribed with Grantha letters of 13th CE.


          The copper plate inscription confers in perpetuity the village of Ambikāpuram, near Kāñcīpuram on the preceptor, Śrī śaṅkarārya of the maṭha, for feeding one hundred and eight Brahmins every day. The village Ambikāpuram is a village on the northern bank of Vegavatī and is now known as Ambi. In this village Kāmakoṭi maṭha still possess some landed property. Gṛdhrapura one of the boundaries of Ambikāpuram mentioned is the modern Tiruppuṭkuḷi. Other boundaries mentioned are Kāñcīpuram, Kaidaḍuppūru and Ciṙinaṉṉi. The last named village is now known as Ceraṇai.


          When Sri. T.A.Gopinatha Rao edited the inscription during 1916, he couldn’t find the first plate of the inscription. So only based on the astronomical data found in the inscription he assigned the date as 9th July 1291 CE. The data from the record says that the grant was made on the cyclic year Khara, Karkaṭaka Māsa, śuklapakṣa Daśami, Anurādha Nakṣatra and Monday. Accordingly he made the claim. Prof. S. Venkateswara, who published again the plate in Epigraphia Indica Vol XIII, he identified the king as Vijayagaṇḍa Gopāla deva of Telugu-Pallava dynasty who ascended the throne during 1250 CE. But he questioned the date that was fixed by Sri.Rao since the astronomical details were not tallying. He even considered 1351 CE which is again a cyclic year Khara. Then he analyzed the Gaṇḍa Gopāla kings of Telugu-Coḹa dynasty and left without any conclusion.

          Years later, the first part of the copper plate was found in the Mutt. The first part clearly mentions that the king belongs to the Coḹa race (Coḹa-nareśvara) and the grant is made in his 16th regnal year. Hence the option of Vijayagaṇḍa Gopāla Deva was ruled out by Sri. N.Ramesan, former director of Andhra Pradesh State archeology, who edited the first plate. He made the table of Khara cyclic year with Karkaṭaka māsa and other details.

A.D year corresponding to the cyclic year Khara The English month and dare corresponding to śukla Pakṣa Daśamī of Karkaṭaka masa The week day Nakṣatra
1051 CE July 27th Monday Viśākha
1111 CE July 17th Monday Anurādhā
1171 CE July 14th Wednesday Anurādhā
1231 CE July 13th Thursday Anurādhā
1291 CE July 17th Saturday Viśākhā
1351 CE July 14th Monday Viśākhā
1411 CE July 21st Wednesday Viśākhā
1471 CE July 26th Friday Anurādhā

          Then he took the date July 17th, 1111 CE since all the astronomical details are matching. I wonder this claim which cannot be supported by the paleography and political situation of the period. During this period, Kāñcīpuram was like the second capital for Coḹas of Vijayālaya line. Here the king refers his own regnal year and not any super-ruler, which clearly states that the king was the independent ruler of the Kāñcī region. Hence though a fool, I cannot digest this earlier date and want to revise the date.

          According to Sri. K.A.N.Sastri, (The Colas, pp 389-90), Kāñcī, from the hands of Kulottuṅga III (1178 – 1218 CE) was lost to Telugu Coḹas between 1204 to 1213 CE. The Telugu Coḍa chief Tirukkāḷatti Deva alias Gaṇḍa Gopāla Deva who is identified by some scholars as Coḹa Tikka refers his 15th regnal year as 1230-31 and announces himself as an independent ruler of Kāñcī. His grants for the Varadarāja temple, Kāñcīpuam, are recorded till his 22nd regnal year (1238 CE) (Nos 415 and 434 of ARE 1919). Hence his 16th year is 1231 CE which is a Khara cyclic year. The first verse of this plate clearly mentions that the king made grants for Varadarāja Temple. Hence I hereby make a claim that the king mentioned in this charter is Tikka I alias Gaṇḍa Gopāla or Tirukkāḷatti Deva and revise the date as July 13th, 1231 CE. The one and only problem with this date is the day which is Thursday and not Monday. But this error is very common in many of the inscription and can be ignored.


First Plate


Line 1. स्वस्तिश्री करिराजशैलशिखरालंकारचिन्तामणेः वि
Line 2. ष्णोरुन्नतगोपुरप्रविततप्राकारसन्मण्डपैः। नानान
Line 3. व्यमहोत्सवादिकरणैः श्रीगण्डगोपाल(कः)भूसुत्रामा क
Line 4. लयन्मुदं विजयते प्रत्यर्थिविद्रावणः।। (1) यत्कीर्तिस्तुहिनां
Line 5. शुशेखरमणेरावासभूमीधरो यस्योदग्रतरः प्रताप
Line 6. वलयो मेरुस्सुरावासभूः। यस्सर्वामवनीं विजित्य विजय
Line 7. श्रीगण्डगोपाल(क) इत्याख्यावान्भुवने धनञ्जय इव प्र
Line 8. ख्यातशौर्यो नृपः।। (2) यः कन्या पृथ्वी घनाचलमहादा
Line 9. नाम्बुधारापरीवाहैः पूरितमातनोति जल
Line 10. धॆ नित्यं विशुद्धात्मनाम्। यः कन्यामणिमेव देवकृप
Line 11. या पुत्रं कुलाङ्कूरकं लेभे चोळनरेश्वरो
Line 12. विजयते श्रीगण्डगोपालकः।।(3) यस्योदग्रध्वजिवि
Line 13. लसितः फल्गुनस्येव तादृक् तेजोराशेः पवनत
Line 14. नयः पावनी यस्य कीर्तिः। धर्मेणास्यात्सुचिरमवनेः
Line 15. पालनादस्य लोके विख्यातासीत्विजयपदवत्
Line 16. गण्डगोपालसंज्ञा।।(4) स्वस्ति श्रीमत् त्रिभुवन..क..चक्रवर्ती महाबलः
Line 17. ल्पकश्चोळपार्थिवः अर्थिनामाश्रितानाञ्च विदुषां कल्प
Line 18. पादपः।। (5) अशेषशास्त्रजलधिपारगैः परिवा
Line 19. रितः। शास्त्रेषु कुशलश्शूरः क्ष्मामूर्तः परन्तपः।।
Line 20. सोयं श्रीगण्डगोपालचोळक्ष्मापति
Line 21. रात्मनः पट्टाभिषेचनादूर्ध्वे वर्षे च सति षो
Line 22. डशे।। तपोधनाय मुनये शिवध्यानपर
Line 23. तात्मने। स्वात्मारामाय विदुषे पॊप्पि

Second Plate


Line 24. प्रथितात्मने। श्रीहस्तिशैलनाथस्य निलयात्
Line 25. पश्चिमे मठे। निगमान्तरहस्यार्थं शिष्येभ्यस्सुविवृण्व
Line 26. ते।। नित्यान्नदानविधिसन्तर्प्पितात्मद्विजन्मने(।) श्रीशङ्क
Line 27. रार्य्यगुरवे वत्सरे खरसंज्ञिते।। प्राप्ते कर्क्क
Line 28. टकं पुण्यराशीं कमलबान्धवे। मित्रदैवतन
Line 29. क्षत्रयुक्तायां शुक्लपक्षके।। इन्दोर्व्वारेण यु
Line 30. क्तायां दशम्यां सुमुहूर्त्तके। पृथग्विधरसोपे
Line 31. तैरन्नैरमृतसम्मितैः।। नित्यमष्टाशतानाञ्च
Line 32. तोषणाय द्विजन्मनाम्। प्राञ्चं गृध्रपुरात् काञ्चीपुरात्
Line 33. प्रत्यञ्चमुत्तरम्।। कैदडुप्पूरुतो ग्रामात् शिरुनन्ने
Line 34. श्च दक्षिणम्। वेगवत्युत्तरतटीसीमारामैकमण्डन
Line 35. म्।। नालिकेराम्रपनसतालहिन्तालशोभितम्। ना
Line 36. नाभूरुहवाटिनां पुष्पसौरभवासितम्।। यैरकोष्ठिय
Line 37. मजस्रेन्दुमौलिकारुण्यरक्षितम्। अंबिकापुरनामानं ग्रा
Line 38. मचिन्तामणिन्ददौ।। भूमेरस्याः प्रदानेन यावच्चन्द्रार्क्क
Line 39. योर्ग्गतिः। श्रीहस्तिशैलनिलयः प्रीयतां परमेश्वरः।। इत्थ
Line 40. मुत्तुङ्गया भक्त्या निधाय मनसि चिरम्। देवः श्रीगण्डगो
Line 41. पालचोळश्शंकरयोगिने। भूदानशासनं स्वस्य हस्त
Line 42. संलिखिताक्षरम्। अदादुन्नतधर्म्मस्य लाभाय शुभचेतसा।।
Line 43. दानपालनयोर्मध्ये दानात् श्रेयोनुपा
Line 44. लनम्। दानात् स्वर्गमवाप्नोति। पालनादच्युतं प
Line 45. दम्।
Line 46. ஸ்ரீவிஜயகண்டகோபாலதேவன்




करिराजशैलशिखरालंकारचिन्तामणेः विष्णोरुन्नतगोपुरप्रविततप्राकारसन्मण्डपैः।

नानानव्यमहोत्सवादिकरणैः श्रीगण्डगोपाल(कः)भूसुत्रामा कलयन्मुदं विजयते प्रत्यर्थिविद्रावणः।। (1)

          Śri Gaṇḍa Gopāla, the destroyer of enemies, Indra on the earth, is victorious with pleasure, by building tall Gopuras, extended compounds and pavilions for Viṣṇu who is the crest jewel of the Hastigiri and made grants for new festivals.

यत्कीर्तिस्तुहिनांशुशेखरमणेरावासभूमीधरो यस्योदग्रतरः प्रतापवलयो मेरुस्सुरावासभूः।

यस्सर्वामवनीं विजित्य विजयश्रीगण्डगोपाल(क) इत्याख्यावान्भुवने धनञ्जय इव प्रख्यातशौर्यो नृपः।।

          The king, Śrī Gaṇḍa Gopāla, who got the surname “Vijaya” by winning the whole world, a well known person of valor and equal to Arjuna, whose fame is the mountain Kailāsa, seat of Lord Śiva, whose crest jewel is moon, whose circle of valour is the highest Meru mountain the abode of gods.

यः कन्यापृथ्वीघनाचलमहादानाम्बुधारापरीवाहैः पूरितमातनोति जलधिं नित्यं विशुद्धात्मनाम्।

यः कन्यामणिमेव देवकृपया पुत्रं कुलाङ्कूरकं लेभे चोळनरेश्वरोविजयते श्रीगण्डगोपालकः।।(3)

          Śri Gaṇḍa Gopāla, the Coḹa king is victorious, who filled the ocean by the waters that are sprinkled during the donation of the daughter like earth to pure persons and who got a female child as his successor.

यस्योदग्रध्वजविलसितः फल्गुनस्येव तादृक् तेजोराशेः पवनतनयः पावनी यस्य कीर्तिः।

धर्मेणास्यात्सुचिरमवनेः पालनादस्य लोके विख्यातासीत्विजयपदवत्गण्डगोपालसंज्ञा।।(4)

          His highest flag was decorated by Hanumān, son of the air-god like that of Arjuna and whose fame is very pure. Since he protected the world with Dharma he got the name Gaṇḍa gopala and Vijaya.

स्वस्ति श्रीमत् त्रिभुवन..क..चक्रवर्ती महाबलः

          Hail. The wealthy emperor of three world and of great strength.


अर्थिनामाश्रितानाञ्च विदुषां कल्पपादपः।। (5)

          The Coḹa king is the Kalpaka tree for the scholars and those take shelter on him and those who request him.

अशेषशास्त्रजलधिपारगैः परिवारितः।

शास्त्रेषु कुशलश्शूरः क्ष्मामूर्तः परन्तपः।।

          He was surrounded by the persons who crossed the ocean of all scriptures. He was expert in scriptures and valorous. He was a holy person and an embodiment of the earth.

सोयं श्रीगण्डगोपालचोळक्ष्मापतिरात्मनः

पट्टाभिषेचनादूर्ध्वे वर्षे च सति षोडशे

          Śrī Gaṇḍa Gopāla, The king, in his sixteenth year after his coronation ….

तपोधनाय मुनये शिवध्यानरतात्मने।

स्वात्मारामाय विदुषे पॊप्पिप्रथितात्मने।

श्रीहस्तिशैलनाथस्य निलयात्पश्चिमे मठे।

निगमान्तरहस्यार्थं शिष्येभ्यस्सुविवृण्वते।।


श्रीशङ्करार्य्यगुरवे वत्सरे खरसंज्ञिते।।

          To the preceptor, Śaṅkarācārya, who is very ascetic, a sage and indulged in meditating Lord Śiva, a great scholar, seer of inner bliss, well known with the name “Boppili”, who explain the secret meaning of Vedānta to his disciples at the mutt at the western direction of Śri Hastiśaila Nātha (Varada Rāja), who pleased the Brahmins by feeding them daily. In the cyclic year named Khara….

प्राप्ते कर्क्कटकं पुण्यराशीं कमलबान्धवे।

मित्रदैवतनक्षत्रयुक्तायां शुक्लपक्षके।।

          When the Sun god entered in the holy Karkaṭaka Rāśi and in the Nakṣatra of which the presiding deity is Mitra (Anurādhā) and in śukla pakṣa.

इन्दोर्व्वारेण युक्तायां दशम्यां सुमुहूर्त्तके।


नित्यमष्टाशतानाञ्चतोषणाय द्विजन्मनाम्।

          In the Daśamī tithi assembled with Monday and in auspicious time, with special taste, the food which is equal to the nector…      To please one hundred and eight Brahmins

प्राञ्चं गृध्रपुरात् काञ्चीपुरात्प्रत्यञ्चमुत्तरम्।।

कैदडुप्पूरुतो ग्रामात् शिरुनन्नेश्च दक्षिणम्।


          In the east of Gṛdhrapura, and in the west of Kāñcīpuram, in the north of Kaidaḍuppūr and in the south of śirunanni. Situated on the northern bank of Vegavatī and decorated with gardens.


नानाभूरुहवाटिनां पुष्पसौरभवासितम्।।

          Fragranced with the flowers of so many trees and decorated with Coconut, Mango, jack, Palmyra and Hintāla.


अंबिकापुरनामानं ग्रामचिन्तामणिन्ददौ।।

          He gave Ambikāpura, the crest jewel of villages in the Eyirkoṣṭha (Eyil koṭṭam) and was protected by the grace of Lord śiva.

भूमेरस्याः प्रदानेन यावच्चन्द्रार्क्कयोर्ग्गतिः।

श्रीहस्तिशैलनिलयः प्रीयतां परमेश्वरः।।

          By the gift of this land, for as long as Sun and the Moon run on their course may the Supreme God whose abode is śrī Hasti śaila, be pleased.

इत्थमुत्तुङ्गया भक्त्या निधाय मनसि चिरम्।

देवः श्रीगण्डगोपालचोळश्शंकरयोगिने।

भूदानशासनं स्वस्य हस्तसंलिखिताक्षरम्।

अदादुन्नतधर्म्मस्य लाभाय शुभचेतसा।।

          Thus, with towering devotion resting his mind in God, the glorious chief Gaṇḍa Gopāla Coḹa gave the charter a gift of land written in his own hand to śaṅkara Yogi with a pure mind aspiring for the highest good.

दानपालनयोर्मध्ये दानात् श्रेयोनुपालनम्।

दानात् स्वर्गमवाप्नोति पालनादच्युतं पदम्।

Of gift, and its maintenance, maintenance is more meritorious than gift. By gift heaven is attained, by maintenance the place of Acyuta.


          The glorious Vijaya Gaṇḍa Gopāla Deva.

          It may be noted that the mutt referred here to the west of Varadarāja temple might be a branch mutt of the present one or the original place of the mutt.

          This grant is supported by another stone epigraph from the village Ambi. The inscription is found on the northern wall of Ambikāpatīśvara temple of the village. The inscription is dated as 1514 CE since it refers the śaka year 1436. The inscription belongs to the reign of Kṛṣṇa Devarāya.


         ஸ்வஸ்திஸ்ரீமன் மஹாமண்டலேஶ்வர ஸ்ரீவீரப்ரதாப க்ருஷ்ணதேவமஹாராயர் ப்ருத்வீராஜ்யம் பண்ணி அருளாநின்ற சகம் 1436க்கு மேல் செல்லா நின்ற பவஸம்வத்ஸரத்து ஆடிமாதம் 13-ஆம் தேதி நம்முடைய மடப்புறம் தூளி அம்பி அம்பிகாவனமுடைய தம்பிரானார் பூசைத்திருப்பணி மார்கழித்திருநாளுக்கு க்ருஷ்ணராயர் தர்ம்மமாக சந்த்ராதித்யர் வரையும் இந்த தர்மம் தூளி நடத்தக்கடவதாகவும் இவை சந்திர சேகர ஸரஸ்வதி எழுத்து.

     “When Mahāmaṇḍaleśvara Vīrapratāpa Kṛṣṇadevarāya was ruling the earth, in the śaka year 1436, corresponding to yhe cyclic year Bhava, on the 13th day of the month āḍi, a special worship in honour of Kṛṣṇa Devarāya, should be performed to the God of Ambikāvanam in our Maḍappuṙam ambi, in the month of Mārgaḹi, This worship should be conducted as long as the Moon and Sun exist. Candraśekhara Sarasvatī (signature).

          The signatory Svāmiji is identified as Śrī Candraśekharendra Sarasvatī, the 55th ācārya of the mutt according to the Mutt’s Guru Paramparā. Here the word “Nam Maḍappuṙam ambi” – Ambi, donated land to our mutt is the phrase which confirms the above grant. Adhiṣṭhānas of some ācāryas are also there in the village. The another point is the signatory of this stone epigraph is the donee in the Copper plate inscription of Kṛṣṇa Devarāya.

Hereby I make a claim that this can be considered to be the earliest copper plate inscription of the mutts that are attributed to Ādi śaṅkara Bhagavatpāda.

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