In what a small group of historians and inscription hunters proudly call a Maha Shivratri gift, a rare 17th century stone tablet from the Immadi Kempegowda period was discovered in the Somanahalli forest area on Sunday.

The last two lines of the inscription are yet to be correctly deciphered. The tablet in Kannada is known to have the recording of the great ruler himself in 1683 donating a village to a local Shiva mutt.

It was not a normal Sunday for Rajjev Nrupantunga and the team from the heritage Revival Hub, a dedicated group that documents inscription stones in and around Bengaluru city, as they set out into Bannerghatta forest area near Muninagara dam in Kanakapura at the crack of dawn. 

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“One of our key sources, English professor Rajkumar, had spotted the stone tablet with old Kannada inscriptions and sent us a photograph of it a few weeks ago. Thereafter, we gathered our team and decided to track it down,” said Nrupatunga, who along with his team went on a three-hour trek and finally located the tablet in a thick jungle around 9 km from Somanahalli.

The historically significant stone tablet is said to be discovered a decade ago in the same location. It was recorded and abandoned. It lay partially buried in the earth.

With researchers able to read only a portion from the photograph shared, the team was anxious till they reached the tablet. “We were delighted to see the Shivalinga inscription on the tablet and the words Yelahanka Nadaprabhu Immadi Kempegowda, well- known as Kempegowda II, the successor, and son of the chieftain of Bangalore,” he added.

The team excavated the tablet and cleaned it carefully to discover what they described as a rare stone that was found from the Kempegowda II era.

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 The tablet, which starts with a Shivalinga, shows the date as Kannada month equivalent of the English calendar dating July 30, 1638, and records the incident of the Nadaprabu donating a village to a mutt. The mutt still stands in Bannerghatta forest limits and it is a protected zone. But the new thing about this rediscovery is the team managed to decipher the inscriptions in the lower portion of the tablet, which was wrongly recorded a decade ago.