237-Year-Old Copper Plate Recovered From Scrap Trader In Odisha’s Rayagada

Berhampur: A 237-year-old copper plate of the ancestors of Vikram Deb, the Maharaja of Jeypore in Odisha, has been recovered from a metal scrap trader in Rayagada district.


Antiquary enthusiast Prof Lalit Kumar Deb, who found the copper plate, gave the copper plate to Bishnu Mohan Adhikari, a researcher of heritage and culture and member Kalinga Epigraphical Research Group (KERG), to decode the inscriptions on both sides of the plate.

The copper plate, measuring 18 cm by 5.8 cm, is a gift deed having 10 lines of text in Odia and a Sanskrit sloka. While the front portion of the plate has 4 lines of text in Odia and Sanskrit sloka, the back portion consists of 6 lines. The deed was issued by king Ramachandra Deva II of Nandapur Samasthana (present day southern Odisha) and has his signature.

“The plate, which is dated May 31, 1787, shed new light on the gift of village ‘Sana Tadama’, situated in south-west direction of Rayagada city, to ‘God Radhakanta’ for conducting Avadhana (Guru) Varana in the temple by the king on the occasion of Jyestha Purnima,” said Adhikari.

Incidentally, this is the first copper plate found in Rayagada district. Earlier, a copper plate issued by Raghunath Krushna Deva (1686-1708) of the same dynasty was recovered from Ketchala village in Koraput district with text in Odia and the same Sanskrit sloka.

According to Adhikari, inscriptions on copper plates play an important role in reconstructing history. Prior to their discovery, historians were forced to rely on archaeological findings such as religious texts of uncertain origin.

“These plates usually record grants or lists of royal lineages carrying the royal seal,” said Adhikari, who is also doing research and more studies on preservation of palm leaf, paper manuscript and stone inscription.

Prof Deb is former Dean of Birla School of Law, Bhubaneswar. He resigned from the post recently.

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