Rewriting Kannada History: Earliest Inscription Of The Language Found At Talagunda

Excavated remains of mahamandapa at Talagunda (Archaeological Survey of India)

The history of the Kannada language now stretches back to nearly a hundred years on the timeline. The report ‘Indian Archaeology 2013-14 - A Review’, published by the director general of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), states the discovery of a new set of inscriptions containing Kannada words in Talagunda, Shivamogga district.

The excavation, which was carried out at Pranaveswara temple complex, “brought to light an interesting and hitherto unknown fact of early history of Karnataka,” said the report. It said the temple was “constructed during the time of Satavahanas” and “restored and expanded by the Kadambas”. It is now learnt that one side of the lion balustrade steps to the mahamandapa built during Kadamba restoration, contains inscription dating back to 370-450 CE.

Before this, the oldest-known Kannada language inscription was believed to be in Halmidi, Hassan district. It was dated to about 450-500 CE. The new revelation now dates the origin of Kannada back to an earlier time, a significant development in the language’s history.

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