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4-foot Mahavira Jain idol found in Tamil Nadu's Tiruvallur
The sculpture was discovered by a Jain priest, who has so far found over 20 such Jain idols in the region of Tiruvallur in Tamil Nadu. Once Jainism had flourished in Tamil Nadu.

CHENNAI, Feb 19: A four-foot tall idol of Mahavira Jain dating to 12th century AD has been found abandoned in Meyyur, a village in Tiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu, by a Jain priest, Jeevakumar. He has so far found over 20 sculptures of Jain Tirthankaras across the State.

The sculptureā€™s features such as the three umbrellas, Ashoka creepers and a halo around the head point to the idol as Mahavira's. Mahavira is the last Tirthankara of Jainism.

The Tiruvallur region is said to have been inhabited by Tamil Jains and therefore ancient Jain artifacts and statues are found scattered across.

In ancient times, Jainism flourished in Tamil Nadu, having entered the region from Karnataka during the 9th-12th centuries AD, where it had become a part of the culture. During the Pandya and the Chola rule Buddhism and Jainism had entrenched in Tamil culture. There is evidence in the form of architecture, temples and monasteries.

Chandragupta Maurya spent his last days as a Jain monk in south Karnataka, some historians believe. Jainism has been more of a school of philosophical thoughts than a separate religion, it is believed.

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