Leiden plates

Mystery of a royal grant

Print edition : May 30, 2014

The royal Chola insignia mounted on the copper ring that holds the plates together. Photo: A. Rangarajan/Leiden University Library (special collections)

The first plate with Sanskrit lines in the Grantha script. Photo: A. Rangarajan/Leiden University Library (special collections)

A Tamil plate. Photo: A. Rangarajan/Leiden University Library (special collections)

The copper plates, held in place by a large ring. While the Tamil section dwells on the practical, the Sanskrit section deals with the ethereal. Photo: A. Rangarajan/Leiden University Library (special collections)

Seated Buddha with two Naga attendants, 11th century. This bronze was found in Nagapattinam. Photo: The Hindu Archives

The Leiden plates provide a glimpse of the story of how a great Buddhist centre of learning and spirituality flourished in Nagapattinam thanks to the benevolence of a Chola emperor.
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