Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
(Paper presented at the National Conference on The Socio-Cultural Impacts of Buddhism in Kerala, on 24th-26th February 2016 in Pathanamthitta, Kerala, Organized in collaboration with Indian Council of Historical Research and Indian Council of Social Science Research )

ABSTRACT: South India had a major role in the Genesis and Development of Mahayana Buddhism. This paper looks into some of the contributions by the Buddhist scholars of South India in the development of Mahayana movement. It also sheds light into the widespread presence of Mahayana in South India from 2nd-11th century CE by bringing evidences from various Buddhist scriptures and other sources
The purpose of this paper is to give Pointers for further Research and Archeological investigation.!

I Hope you may find this paper useful in your search of the glorious past history of Buddhism in South India before the revival of Hinduism !!

Kind Regards
Yes, but Buddhism and Jainism don't seem to be so widespread in South India as people try to claim. Contrary to North India, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Buddhist sites aren't so widespread in South India. I have seen lot many Jain sites in Karnataka never heard of such Jain sites in other parts of South India. I know many Dravidianist would try to downplay the role of Hinduism in South India by bringing in Buddhism and Jainism.

Beside this Kanchipuram has been a Hindu holy city since a long long time.
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Sep 2015
Sri Lanka
Tamil Buddhists Of Antiquity In Jaffna--Srilanka
Kandarodai, a small hamlet and archaeological site is in a suburb of Jaffna Distrit in Srilanka. Known as Kadiramalai in the Ancient History, the area served as a capital of Tamil kingdoms in the Jaffna peninsula of North Eastern Ceylon from classical antiquity. Located near a world famous port at that time, Kandarodai was the Frst Site the Archaeology Department in Sri Lanka excavated in the Jaffna peninsula.

Black and red ware Kanterodai potsherd Tamil Brahmi scripts from 300 BCE excavated with Roman coins, early Pandyan coins, early Chera Dynasty coins from the emporium Karur punch-marked with images of the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi from 500BC also found, Kandarodai indicate active transoceanic maritime trade between ancient Jaffna Tamils and other continental kingdoms in the prehistoric period. The parallel third century BCE discoveries of Maanthai, Anaikoddai and Vallipuram detail the arrival of a megalithic culture in Jaffna long before the Buddhist-Christian era and the emergence of rudimentary settlements that continued into early historic times marked by urbanisation. The chief Pittan-Korran of Kudiramalai further south, a commander-in-chief of the Chera king, administered the locality under the Chera kingdom from the 1st century BCE – 1st century CE and is described at length in the Purananuru.
The twenty odd Stupas on flat coral stone beds, the largest about 20 feet in diameter, are said to contain the remains of the monks together with ‘treasures.’ A group of Dagobas situated close together at the site served as a monastery for Tamil monks and reflect the rise in popularity of Buddhism amongst Jaffna Tamils and the Tamils of the ancient Tamil country in the first few centuries of the common era before the revivalism of Hinduism amongst the population By the Chola Invasions The domes were reconstructed atop the flat bases of the ruins by the Archaeology Department. The similarities between the finds of ancient Jaffna and Tamil Nadu are indicators of a continuous cultural exchange between the two regions from classical antiquity.These structures built over burials demonstrate the integration of "Buddhism with Megalithism", a hallmark of Tamil Buddhism. Outside Andhra Pradesh in India, Kanterodai is perhaps the only site where such Burials are seen.”
The Tamil chief Korran, a commander-in-chief of the Chera dynasty under King Makkotai, ruled Kudiramalai during the first century BCE. An avid horseman and patron of poets, he was known as Kattuman Korran ("Horseman Korran"). Korran's father was Pittan, another Chera chief. His name is sometimes written Pittan-Korran, following the Tamil naming convention in the Tolkāppiyam.
Korran oversaw trade with Phoenicia, Romans, Serica and Egypt.Inscriptions in Tamil-Brahmi script from the first century BCE to the first century CE bearing his name (Korra-Puman; Korra the Chieftain) were found in an amphora fragment at the Roman port of Berenice Troglodytica in present-day Egypt. Korran's rule is described at length in the Purananuru and he is eulogised in several Sangam poems.He ruled the region with two other chieftains: Elini Athiyamān Nedumān Añci and Kumanan. Chief Elini of Kudiramalai is described at length in the Purananuru and Akanaṉūṟu. Kudiramalai in the NW Coast was known as "Hippuros "[Horse mound] by the Ancient Greek sailors !
From the 1st century BC until the 2nd century AD, Berenice was one of the Trans-Shipping points of trade between India, Sri Lanka, Arabia, and Upper Egypt. Excavations were launched at Berenike by teams from the University of Delaware and the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw, Poland, in the winter of 2007/2008-------- A large number of significant finds have been made providing evidence of the cargo from the Malabar Coast and the presence of Tamil people from South India and Jaffna being at this last outpost of the Roman Empire. "Among the unexpected discoveries at Berenike were a range of ancient Indian goods, including the largest single concentration (7.55 kg) of black peppercorns ever recovered in the classical Mediterranean world (“Imported from southern India” and found inside a large vessel made of Nile silt in a Temple courtyard); substantial quantities of Indian-made fine ware and Kitchen cooking ware and Indian style Pottery; Indian-made Sail cloth, Basketry, Matting, etc. from trash dumps; a large quantity of Teak wood, Black -Pepper, Coconuts, Beads made of Precious and Semi-precious stones, Cameo blanks; “a Tamil Brahmi graffito mentioning Korra, a South Indian chieftain”; also Archaelogical evidences that “inhabitants from Tamil-Buddhist Worshippers of South India were Living in Berenike, at least in the early Roman period” !!
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Sep 2015
Sri Lanka
View attachment 21746[/QUOTE
From the inscriptions , it became evident that the above dilapidated tower was "Pudaveli Gopuram" of the Chudamani Vihara, A famous Mahaya Buddhist Monastry near in Nahgapattinam that was constructed by the Srivijayan king Sri Mara Vijayattungavarman of the Sailendra dynasty during the reign of Rajaraja Chola I in1006 CE!.
The British rulers decided to dismantle it and build a school in its place.When they chopped off an Ancient tree as part of their construction. To the surprise of all, the laborers found a Brick Chamber below the roots of the tree. There were Five exquisitely carved Ancient Buddha statues well preserved inside that chamber!The statues were hidden below a tree, probably to protect them during a raid by some hostile forces. --- This triggered a major Archeological investigation about the history of Buddhism in Nagapattinam by 1930s, around 350 Bronze statues of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas were discovered from various parts of Nagapattinam District.
Out of the 350 bronze pieces, the British authorities kept 80 pieces in the Chennai Museum, These include many rare sculptures such as that of Shadakshari Lokesvara (Four-armed form associated with the mantra Om Mani Padme Hung). and they distributed the rest to many other Museums in India and Abroad !
Ancient statue of Shadakshari Lokesvara from Nagapatttinam, Tamil Nadu .[ Picture Below ]
It is rare to find Avalokitesvara’s Shadakshari form in South India, though it is very popular in Tibet. Shadakshari Lokesvara is the form associated with the popular mantra, ‘Om Mani Padme Hung’. In this statue (4 inches) from Velippalayam in Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, he has Buddha Amitabha at his crown of matted hair (jatamakuta). He has four hands with emblems such as padma (red lotus), mala (rosary) and mani (wishfulfilling jewel). According to the archeologists, this is from the 11th Century CE


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Sep 2015
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By Nakarajan [Excerpts]

“Kallum Mullum Kaalukku Methai, Swamiye Ayyapo
Ayyappo Swamiye, Swami Saranam, Ayyappan Saranam
Swamiye Saranam, Saranam Ayyappa”[ In Tamil ]

The holy lines are delivered by the devotees of Lord Ayyappa as they cross the Pampa river banks on their way to Sabarimala. The lines mean - "The Gravel and Thorns on my Path to Ayyappa feel like some Cushiony Mattress." The devotees go puff and pant with the anticipation and a smile on their faces reciting the chorus---- "Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa" !.
Sabarimala is open to the devotees only during Mandala Pooja which is between November--- January; and on the first day of every malayalam month. Let's deliberate on what makes Sabarimala so famous amongst its devotees all over South India. Is it the meaningful 18 holy steps (Patthinnetu thripadi) leading one to the sanctum sanctorum; or the exceptionality of the temple as compared to other Hindu temples across India? The deity who resides within the Holy shrine of Sabarimala is none other than Lord Ayyappan or the "Hari-Hara Putran"( Son of Lord Vishnu and Shiva).

According to the Hindu Mythological legend, Parama Parusarama, an avatar of Vishnu, reclaimed the land of Kerala and gifted it to the Brahmins which historically indicates the reclam of the Land from outsiders and thereby restoring Hindusism ie Hindu Dharma in Kerala. and Lord Vishnu appeared as Mohini at the time of churning the ocean of milk who enticed the Asuras so that the nectar that was primed could be taken away from the Asuras and be given to the Devas to slain a demoness called Mahishi. Mahishi was given a boon by Lord Brahma that no one could exterminate her except for the offspring of Vishnu and Shiva. When Mahishi started creating troubles in Devaloka, the Devas turned to Vishnu for help. Post the seizure of the Holy Nectar by Mohini and its deliverance to the Devas, Shiva became captivated by the charms of Mohini; Ayyappan was conceived by their Holy union. Gradually, the Gods decided to place Ayyappan under the care of Shiva’s childess devotee, The king of Pandalam, who adopted Ayyappan as his own son. After Ayyappan grew up and realized the purpose of his life he decided to leave the palace but he asked his father to construct a temple in his name. He aimed for a place using his arrow which fell at a place called Sabari.:)

Buddhism and Jainism in Kerala According to some historical facts, during the 10th Century AD, more than three quarters of the inhabitants of Kerala were either Buddhists or Jains; Hindusism established itself in Kerala between the 10th and 12th century . .
Pathanamthitta, where Sabarimala is currently situated was vastly a Buddhist place. There have been information of Buddhists idols being recovered from various parts of Pathanamthitta. There are historical facts that suggest Sabarimala was long time ago called " Churulimala", at a time long before Lord Ayyappa was born; it was known to be the abode of "Aavalokitheswara Bodhisatwa" who postponed his Buddhahood until he assisted every conscious being during their time of difficulties , to Nirvana.!

Let’s pay attention to the following verse and its meaning:
Buddham Saranam Gacchami (To Buddha I go for Refugee)
Dharmam Saranam Gachami ( To Dharma(teachings) I go for Refugee)
Sangham Saranam Gacchami (To Sangha (Monks) I go for Refugee!)

And now to this:
Swamiye Saranam Ayyapa (Lord Ayyappa, I seek refuge in you !)

History suggests various facts and evidences that connect Lord Ayyapan to Buddhism; in fact some references directly and indirectly refer to Lord Ayyappan as an incarnation of Lord Buddha. The word “Saranam” refers to Buddhist teachings and is not used in any other Hindu verse connected to any Hindu God. Ayyappan is also known as "Dharma Sastha". If we break the two words we get:

Dharma: A word of supreme importance to the Buddhists
Sastha: Known as the synonym for Lord Buddha

Now on a deliberation about Hindu temples, most of us would have noticed that Hindu temples are situated in areas that are populated by inhabitants of a particular place; however Sabarimala stays secluded and is situated on a plateau which is over 40 feet high and connects the devotees to the Shrine of Ayyappan by the 18 holy Steps ( Patthinetu Thripadi). Even many Buddhist monasteries that are located on an altitude are lead by series of steps.

Another distinction about Sabarimala is that it’s the only temple in India where the Women who are in their child bearing age are not allowed within the temple. The men go to Sabarimala after observing 41 days of fast and Celibacy. In another instance, we know Siddhartha left his family and renounced his kingdom in search of eternal bliss and enlightenment.
So is Ayyappan really Gautam Buddha or are the facts mere coincidences that can’t be compared to reality? I don’t know and can’t be very sure about the comparison but these facts sure startle me; for me it is an incredible revelation. However, when we closely observe both the religions of Buddhism and Hinduism, we will comprehend that it teaches the same principles and values. The idealogy of Nirvana, Karma, Moksha, the Oneness of all beings etc are present in Vedas, Upanishads, Gita and also in the Buddhist teachings. The assertion of the vedas that the truth is One,(Ekam Eva Adwitheeyam) is also taught in Buddhist teachings.
With the above limited facts I cannot possibly conclude if Ayyappan is actually Buddha but I would like to draw your mind to the potential world of amazing possibilities. Some of us don’t believe in religion and for some the very thought could be a sheer waste of time; but for the others this piece of news is to contemplate with wonder on the world of mythology, that is still clandestine. While many of us believe we know enough about an epoch that existed million years before our birth, we have some who believe in Illumination by Science. If we connect the dots, we might realize that we are all looking at the same meal with different diet habits. However, do we really know the truth; because some facts state that even Buddha never believed in God; he believed in Humanity and Moral Government but never in the creator of Universe. So, do we really know the truth?
In Sabarimala when we cross the 18 meaningful holy steps, we come across a message in the sanni dhanam- "Thathwam asi"- It means "Thou Art That "- You are Truth, The supreme realization lies within you. Every year Sabarimala draws millions of pilgrims, all looking for Moksha, making it one of the largest annual congregations in the world!.

The pilgrims chant:
"Kettum Ketti, Sabari Malayku, Aare Kaanan? Ayyane Kaanan,
Ayyane Kandal? Moksham Kittum
Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa"

"Clutching the Irumudi Kettu, I am on my way to Sabarimala.
To see whom? To see Ayyappan
What afer seeing him? I shall attain Moksha
Lord Ayyappa, I seek refuge in you
Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa" !

Do Buddhist believe in god?
Chapter 4 - Tirupati Balaji was a Buddhist Shrine - By Dr. K. Jamanadas
Rediff On The NeT: Rajeev Srinivasan looks at the Hindu and Buddhist past of Sabarimala, the shrine in the hills


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Sep 2015
Sri Lanka
BY A Jaysekher Kerala

Buddha Sculpture at Mavelikara
The Buddha idols of Mavelikara and Karumadi in south Kerala are now well known all over the world. Today we see plenty of Relics and Ravages related to Buddhism and the Sramana tradition in Kerala scattered all over the Kerala state. Architectural and sculptural Reminiscences are numerous apart from the vital Linguistic and Cultural Imprints like the abundance of Pali (the ancient Buddhist Bahujan language) words in the present south Indian Regional languages.

Karumady Kuttan:-- Half destroyed Buddha Idol in Karumady near Ambalapuzha

Kerala state is also known for the Educational and Health care achievements apart from its Universal Literacy. All these "Human development Indicators" are not just the product of 20th century evangelical Christian missionary activities and State Welfare Schemes but the lasting Legacy of Buddhism! The democratic, Egalitarian and Inclusive way of living that shaped the Cultural Contours of Kerala from 3rd century BC to 13th century.AD !

Nilamperur Pally Temple: Converted to Hindu after Pallybana Perumal
Kerala is also known for its Progressive Left and Democratic Politics. This grass root level Democracy and Collective struggles of subaltern people are also a reminiscence of Buddhism that was the first missionary yet peaceful religion that welcomed women and outcastes to the mainstream community. The people or Bahujans who were defiant to Hindu Brahmanism after the destruction and devastation of Sramana traditions were condemned as untouchable Chandals as outside the Hindu Chatur Varnaya. These masses of Sramama religions were and still are the agents of Kerala social revolution or Renaissance under the Aegis of various radical social rebellions like the "Narayana Guru movement", "Ayyankali movement", "Sahodara Movement" and various other progressive left and Democratic processes in Kerala.

Buddhist Pagoda Shrine housing Karumady Kuttan, built by Dalai Lama
According to researchers, historians and thinkers like P C Alexander, P K Gopalakrishnan, Pavanan, Puthussery Ramachandran, Aju Narayanan etc. Buddhism was introduced in Kerala in the B C third century itself by the missionaries of Emperor Asoka on their way down south to Sri Lanka which still is a Buddhist country.Jainism and Ajivaka philosophy also co-existed with Buddhism creating the"Great Sramana Civilization" of the South that has given birth to cultural classics like Silapatikaram, Manimekhala and the some canons of Sangam writing. The Buddhist, Jain and Ajivaka seers introduced Rock Architecture and carving Sculptures. All the early Cave inscriptions now available are written in Brahmi scripts were by Tamil Jains ascetics. The ancient Tamilakam or Tamil country was a treasure house of Sramana Heritage!.

10th century" Granite Buddha" at Pallykal Bharanikavu, Kayamkulam. Recovered from the pond of a present Savarna Hindu temple and placed near the gate now with the intervention of local people
Almost all the current Savarna Hindu temples in Kerala are modified Buddhist or Jain temples by coverted Brahmanism and its Padaja (Sudra or subservient Varna) forces. The brutal persecution of Buddhist Monks/Nuns and conversion of Temples happened in 8th and 9th centuries under the leadership of Sankara the furious advocate of Brahmanical propaganda . He argued with other religious scholars , he defeated them verbally and annihilated their religion forever. His brutal followers and henchmen like Vramila Bhatta converted the temples of the defeated to that of Hindu Brahmanical temples with extended support from ruling classes. He was also known "Cryptic Buddhist" as he modified and disguised "Buddha’s Sunya vada" and indroduced into, his so called " Advaita ‘Philosophy’ and also enforced caste division with cunning shroud of Hindu unity and cheated the uneducated masses!.
Thirumulla Varam, Thottappally, Podiyil Mala, Sabarimala, Kodungallur, Thrissur, Kottakkal, Madappally and Bekal were world renowned Buddhist shrines of worship, Learning, Health care and Nature conservation. In places like Mathilakam and Kiliroor there were even Buddhist and Jain Universities and Research Centres in Kerala in the early centuries of the First millennium that attracted Intellectuals and students from all over the World.!!

10th century granite Buddha recovered from Maruthurkulangara, Karunagapally and now placed in Krishnapuram palce near Kayamkulam. Face and Features badly Mutilated Buddhism guided the culture and society in the south for more than a millennium. It was erased from Kerala through the barbaric and coveted Brahmanic invasion that happened from the 5th to 8th centuries under cruel and reckless royal patronage and usurpation with power.

Karunagapally Buddha is claimed to be much older than Archeology Dept. says. Aju Narayanan argues that it is made out of a monolith in 8th century
Images and records of Buddhist persecution by the Brahmanic barbarians are still available in Kerala in the form of stone carved images, local subaltern orature and secret lore (Valath). The Hindu Brahmanic colonists burned the Pali canon and the sacred texts and knowledge systems of Buddhism in Kerala. Poets like Sahodaran Ayyappan has extensively written about the internal imperialism of Hindu Brahmanism in Kerala.

The Brahmans created the notorious sexual colonies among the Sudra women and used their male counterparts as foot soldiers who ensured the caste and Varna system, the practice of untoucahbility and pollution. The Sudras in return were given land and titles (as Nayar, Panikar, Thampy, , Kaimal, Kurup, Menon etc.)with which they suppressed the local defiant untoucahable people having Buddhist lineage with bloody hands and weapons. These foot soldiers and menial hands of Brahmansim were absorbed to the Chatur Varnyam (fourfold Varna stratification) . The vast majority of people, the "Dalit Bahujans" were outside the " Cultural geography" of Brahmanism , as they are the former Buddhist and Jain population.

Perinjanam Pallyil Bhagavati temple north of Kodungallur. The first installation by Pallyvanar in early 16th century. Goddess became prominent here as well.
The NaIr dominance in Kerala history began in the middle ages with large scale Brahman settlements and militarization and still holds sway though they also want to be declared as a "Backward Community" now, as they still relish absolute power!

"Sastha idol" recovered from Cherthala.--------- "Dharma Sastha" is a synonym for the Buddha and is clearly related to Pre Brahmanic traditions, Krishnapuram palace museum-, Kayamkulam

These henchmen of Brahmanism who cheated and killed their Buddhist, Ajivaka and Jain brethren to enforce Brahmanic caste System and did the work of fetching their Own Women for the Brahmanic high priests with the shameless pride of getting an Alliance!
This "Brahman----Sudra alliance" or the infamous "Sambandham" gave birth to the "Manipravalam literature", the New Malayam-Tamil and later Malayalam and the Savarna elite culture of Kerala in the dark and dubious middle ages that Sanskritized and Hinduized Kerala elites and a lot of people. The Brahmans came to Kerala only in the 5th century or later.
The power of Brahmanism and Hindu hegemonic discourse is that much tangible and an everyday reality in Kerala and India. This hidden Savarna Elitism is the real culprit behind all the fascist pogroms in the post Independent India with Jains and Buddhists in the South !.

Damaged statue of Smiling Buddha
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