500 AD

The earliest inscription of Kodagu belongs to the Ganga dynasty which ruled from Talakad. It is a copper plate inscription and is famous as Mercara copper plate of Ganga King Avinita who ruled from 466 to 529 AD. Actually it is a set of three copper plates secured by a ring and an elephant seal. This inscription is now exhibited in Lutheran Museum at the town of Basle in Switzerland. Next time when you go to Switzerland, try to see this copper plate of Mercara, now a proud antiquity at that museum. This inscription has also drawn international attention from epigraphists for another reason. The date of the record is 466 AD. It is in old Kannada script, with Sanskrit and Kannada languages for the contents. But the script exhibits the characters of ninth century AD. That means the record was engraved atleast 300 years after the gift was made. Hence many scholars under the leadership of J.F. Fleet considered this as a spurious or counterfeit inscription, engraved by somebody later to gain advantage of the gifted land as mentioned in the record. However, Lewis Rice with good arguments proved that the inscription is genuine and not spurious. Thus Mercara copper plate has become famous in Karnataka epigraphy.

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