15th-century relic discovered in Haveri (India)

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A rare 15th-century relic — a combination of veeragallu and mastigallu — was discovered at Kalkeri village in Hangal taluk of Haveri district recently.

In an official release, deputy director of archaeology and museums, S K Potnis, said that the stone was rare as it was a memorial to a brave soldier and his wife who laid down her life after a `Sati' (bride burning) ritual. The stone was erected during the reign of king Veera Harihara Rama of the Vijayanagara kingdom.
Labourers digging a pit for cremating a monkey found the stone and informed the ZP officials, who in turn contacted the archeology officials. They studied the stone and deciphered its significance.

The 1.85-metre-long and 55-cm-wide stone has sculptures in four levels. At the lowest level, a soldier is injured in a war. He and his wife, who had committed `Sati', are carried in a palanquin in the second level. This is the depiction of death, according to experts. At the third level, the couple is seen looking at each intimately, while sitting in the palanquin. This time, the carriers are women guards `approaching the gates of heaven'. At the final level, the brave couple is sitting before a Shiva Linga. They are joined by a priest, Nandi, the Sun and the Moon. This is seen as the depiction of heaven.

While veeragallus are erected in memory of brave soldiers, mastigallus represent women who sacrificed their life on the pyre of their husbands. However, this stone is unique as it is a single structure erected in the memory of a brave soldier and his wife, a `Maha Sati'.

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