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Which state discovered the oldest Sanskrit inscription in South India in December 2019?
1. Andhra Pradesh
2. Tamil Nadu
3. Karnataka
4. Maharashtra

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Correct Answer - Option 1 : Andhra Pradesh

The Correct answer is Andhra Pradesh.

  • Epigraphy Branch of the Archaeological Survey of India has discovered the earliest epigraphic evidence so far for the Saptamatrika cult. 
  • It is also the earliest Sanskrit inscription to have been discovered near Guntur in Andhra Pradesh as on date. 
  • Saptamatrikas are a group of seven female deities worshipped in Hinduism as personifying the energy of their respective consorts.
  • The inscription is in Sanskrit and in Brahmi characters and was issued by Satavahana king Vijaya in 207 A.D.
  • The inscription came to light when some local villagers informed the authorities of the presence of a pillar with some engravings when they were restoring and repairing the local Bheemeshwara temple.

  • Findings on Inscriptions:
    • The inscription was first copied and studied and it transpired that it records the construction of a Prasada (temple), a mandapa and consecration of images on the southern side of the temple by a person named Kartika for the merit of the king at the temple of Bhagavathi (Goddess) Saktimatruka (Saptamatrika) at Tambrape.
    • Tambrape being the ancient name of Chebrolou.
    • As per the references, Saptamatrika worship in the early Kadamba copper plates and the early Chalukyas and Eastern Chalukya copper plates. But the new discovery predates them by almost 200 years.
    • So far the Nagarjunakonda inscription of Ikshavaku king Ehavala Chantamula issued in his 11th regnal year corresponding to the 4th century A.D. was considered as the oldest inscription till now.
    • The place also yielded another inscription which is in Prakrit language and of Brahmi characters and belongs to the 1st century A.D.
    • This is the earliest epigraphic reference to Mutts and records the gift of a cloister mandapa and chaitya to the bhavatho (Lord) of the Gadasa Mutt by a person hailing from Tabaava.

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