Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala

Thirunanthikarai inscription

The Thirunanthikarai inscription is found on the wall of the Thirunanthikarai cave temple, situated about 18 km away from Kuzhithurai in Kanyakumari.

The Thirunanthikarai Lord Siva temple was a Jain temple in the past. The inscription dating back to AD 906 was carved in the eighth year of the rule of Ay king Vikramaditya Varaguna. It is also known as "Hajjur office cheppedu". It is a proof for the existence of Devadasi system in Kerala. It also refers to the Moozhikkulam Kacham.

The inscription says that a paddy field where 32 kalam seeds could be sowed was given for the "thiruvadi charthal" of Aykula Mahadevi Murugan Chenthi.

Some scholars say that "thiruvadi charthal" means marriage, while some others claim it means "to offer to the God". The latter claim that the inscription means that she was offered as a devadasi. It may be assumed from the inscription that the Ay dynasty followed the makkathayam system in which the descent and succession of property were through the males.

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