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Medieval era Saraswathi idol found in Basara has roots in Jainism

HYDERABAD: A medieval period idol, said to be from the Rashtrakuta or Kalyani Chalukyan era, whom the local devotees have been worshipping as Goddess Parvathi all these years has been identified as an idol of Goddess Saraswathi by B Ram Mohan, a native of Basara town in Nirmal district.

This idol, which is located inside the sanctum sanctorum of Papahareshwara Temple in Basara, has four hands, with a japamala in her front right hand, a book in her front left hand, an ankusham in her upper right hand, a pasham in her upper left hand.

According to S Haragopal, Convener of Kotha Telangana Charithra Brundam, Jainism used to flourish in this region during the Rashtrakutas and that some of the Kalyani Chalukyans had also adopted Jainism, which could be seen the way Jain sculptures and inscriptions were found in several temples in Telangana and elsewhere.

He said that this idol was quite similar to the Saraswathi’s idol which was discovered in Kolanupaka village near Alair in Yadadri-Bhuvanagiri district in the past. Both the temples had remnants of Jainism which had flourished in that period.

He told Express that in Jainism, Saraswathi was referred to as ‘Suthadevi’ or ‘Vidyadevi,’ the goddess of knowledge by ‘Saraswathigaccha,’ a sect of Jainism. Renowned historian BN Shastri also explored and identified the Saraswathi idol installed inside the sanctum sanctorum of the famous Saraswathi temple in Basara.