Ancient Temples that contain preserved epigraphs provide interesting historical information during the study of the inscriptions etched in the past in order to perpetuate the celebration of rituals connected with the Temples.
One of such interesting historical tidbit is that Panambur, now the site of New Mangalore harbour was once also known as ‘Nagara’ from Tenth Century upto the beginning of Fourteenth Century CE.
The ancient temple of Nandanesvara located inside the Port area at Panambur was preserved intact during the construction of New Mangalore Port that involved massive displacement of the habitations in the area during the construction of the man-made harbour. The Temple also has been renovated due to dedicated involvement of local people in the recent years.
An inscription in the Temple dated 1305 CE (pre-Vijayanagar period) has described it as Nagaresvara Temple. It means that the area was popularly known as ‘Nagara’ or the city. Between the period of 10th and 14th Century CE, the coastal zone near Panambur must have been well developed as a city judging by the standards of those times. Alupa and Hoysala Kings were ruling the Karavali at that time. Since, Alupa had headquarters around Alupe, Maroli and Kulashekara areas of Mangalore, it can be surmised that Hoysala Kings contributed to the growth of Nagara around Padu Nambur. Murulidhara Upadhya and Narasimhamurthy (2000) suggest that the Panambur Nagara was an important commercial centre during the Hoysala period.
The Nagaresvara Temple may have been renamed as Nandanesvara Temple during the Vijayanagara period. During the Vijayanagara period the and township and the port was shifted southwards to Bokkapatna( Bolur) and Urwa area.
The place has been recorded as Nambur in inscriptions connected with Kadire Manjunatha Temple, Mangalore. The stone inscription in the courtyard of the Kadire temple dated ca.1386 CE corresponding to the period of Chieftain Banki Alupendra,who was ruling under the Vijayanagara King Harihararaya .The inscription mentions place names like Nambur (Panambur), Turithakali (Suratkal), Yedeya (Iddya), Kollia (Kulai) and Chitrapura (Gururaja Bhat, 1974.)
The Nambur village might have been a large village in the past and the western portion of it was designated later as Padu Nambur. The word ‘Padu’ stands for the 'West'. The word Padu Nambur has become Panambur with passage of time.
Gururaja Bhat, P. (1974) “Kadri Shri Manjunatha Devalaya: Kshetra Mahatme mattu Itihasa” (Kannada).Published by: trustees of the Kadri Manjunatha temple.73p.
Murulidhara Upadhya Hiriyadaka & Narasimhamurthy,P.N. (Editors)(2000) ‘Dakshina Kannadada Devalayagalu’.(Kannada). Publication Committee of Shri Janardhana and Mahakaali Temple, Ambalapadi, Udupi, .472+76 p.
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