An inscription at the Sangameshwar temple near Solapur has sparked a dispute between local historians and the state archaeology department. While historians at Solapur University claim that the inscription is 1,000 years old, the archaeology department insists that it belongs to the Yadava period around the 13-14th century, making it only about 400 years old.
Written in Marathi, the inscription in question measures 94 cm in length and 16 cm in width. Dr Maya Patil, head of Solapur University’s archaeology department, said, “There are two temples around 35 km from Solapur — Harihareshwar and Sangameshwar. The inscription dates back to around 940 Saka (based on the Marathi calendar). If we add 78 years to this, (one Saka is completed every 78 years) the inscription should be of around 1018 AD, making it the oldest inscription in Maharashtra. It is definitely older than the Shravanabelagola and Diveagar temples which have inscriptions on copper. The inscription states that anyone who reads it will become invincible.”
Patil added, “There is a dispute over how old the inscription is. The state archaeology department feels it is around 400 years old and we feel that it is much older. According to our readings, the inscription will complete 1,000 years in 2018.”
To prove their theory right and gather further evidence, the varsity department is planning to conduct a seminar in November during which researchers, scholars and historians from around the state will be invited to put forth their findings and readings about the inscription.
Local historians have also demanded that since the inscription is a thousand years old, developmental measures should be taken for the temple and its nearby area. A better road should be built to improve connectivity from Solapur, a budget sanctioned for maintenance of the temple and more promotion on the tourism front, too. Also, according to the claims, since the temple will complete a 1,000 years in 2018, a year-long festival should be held to commemorate the event, they feel.
However, the state archaeology department feels otherwise, Assistant director of the department, Vilas Pundlikrao Wahane, said, “Based on the readings by our archaeologists and the epigraphy branch of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the inscriptions are not older than the 13th-14th century. In fact, we are certain that the temple itself did not exist in 1018 AD. The construction and architecture of the temple is of the Yadava Period, which is another prominent reason that the inscription cannot be this old. The ASI had declared in 1960 that the inscriptions are of the Yadava Period. We can prove it again through a new study.”
To sort out the dispute, the archaeology department has decided to hold a conference in Solapur in the month of January where local historians and archaeologists will be invited, along with the epigraphers and archaeologists from ASI and the department itself. Discussions will be held based on findings of both parties.