What are Grantham Inscriptions?

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A team of archaeologists recently discovered two stone inscriptions of ‘Grantham’ and Tamil dating 11th and 16th centuries respectively at Pazhnchervazhi village near Kangayam.

About Grantham Inscriptions

  • Grantha is an important historical script that was once used to write Sanskrit throughout South East Asia and greater Tamil Nadu.
  • The word Grantha denotes in Sanskrit ‘a literary work’. Evidently, the script used for writing the Sanskrit works obtained the same name.
  • At one time, it was prevalent throughout South India.
  • When the Malayalam language began to freely borrow words as well as the rules of grammar from Sanskrit, this script was adopted for writing that language and was known as Arya Ezhuthu.
  • Both Grantha and Tamil scripts appear alike in modern forms. The evolution of both scripts from Brahmi was also more or less similar.
    • The development of the Grantha script in Tamil Nadu may be divided into four periods. The archaic and ornamental, the transitional, the medieval, and the modern.
    • Archaic and ornamental variety is commonly known as Pallava Grantha. Mahendravarman's Tiruchirappalli rock cut cave and other cave temple inscriptions, Narasimhan's Mamallapuram, Kanchi Kailasanatha, and Saluvankuppam temple inscriptions, Mutharaiyar's Senthalai inscriptions are examples of this variety.
    • The transitional variety of Grantha inscriptions roughly belong to three centuries between 650 CE and 950 CE. Later Pallava's (Nandivarman's Kasakudi, Udayendram plates, etc.) and Pandyan Nedunjadaiyan's Anaimalai inscriptions are samples of this.
    • The medieval variety dates from about 950 CE to 1250 CE. Inscriptions of the imperial Cholas of Thanjavur are examples of this.
    • The modern variety belongs to the later Pandya's and Vijayanagarar periods. 
  • It was popular in Tamil Nadu until the early 20th century.
  • After the introduction of printing machines, many Sanskrit books transcribed from palm leaves were printed in Grantha script.
  • After Independence, the popularity of Hindi in Deva Nagari script influenced all printing works, and Grantha script went out of vogue.

Q1) Who were Pallavas? 

The Pallavas (575- 897 AD) were one of the greatest dynasties of South India. Simhavishnu (575-590 AD) was the founder of the Pallava dynasty.The Pallavas rose to power during the reign of Mahendravarman and Narasimhavarman-I. The Pallavas established their authority over south Andhra Pradesh and north Tamil Nadu, with the capital at Kanchi.Pallavas are noted for their patronage of Hindu temple architecture.Kanchi became an important temple town and a centre of trade and commerce under pallavas.

Source: Stones with 11th century ‘Grantham’, 16th century Tamil inscriptions discovered near Kangayam in Tamil Nadu