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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 2, p. 323.


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Ix] HIINDU PERIOD OF SOUTHERN INDIA 323
desses, with propitiation of demons; praying to the former for
temporal blessings, and averting the anger of the latter by sacri-
fices and offerings. Trees are supposed to be inhabited by
demons, and serpent-worship is prevalent. The worship of Siva
and Vishnu is practically confined to the upper classes. This
has probably always been the case. There was a period, however,
when Buddhism exercised a strong influence, and this lasted for
about ten centuries, namely from the second century B.c. to
the eighth or ninth century A.D. During the earlier portion of
this period a large number of stiljpas and monasteries were con-
structed, some of the latter being cut in the solid rock; while some
of the structural s(@as (e.g. that at Amaravati on the Krishna)
were of extraordinary magnificence. Jainism also at one time
largely prevailed, and a few Jain communities still exist, while
Buddhism has completely died out.
In such strongholds of religious thought as Conjeeveram and
Madura the Vaishnava Brahmans are divided into two bitterly
opposed sects: Vadagalais, or northerners, who cling to the
Sanskrit version of the Vedas; and Tengalais, or southerners,
who use a Tamil translation. The Lingayat form of Siva
worship is largely prevalent in the Kanarese country.
Turning to the question of caste, the Brahmans are, as they The
have always been since the Aryan conquest, the dominant race; Dravidian
race.
but the educated Sfdras are now pressing them hard. The
warrior caste of Kshattriyas is conspicuous by its absence.
Among merchants a few leading families claim to be Vaisyas,
but on very slender grounds. The population therefore is either
Brahman, Sedra, or Pariah (Paraiyan). The Pariahs represent
the old Dravidian stock. There is a sprinkling of Muhamma-
dans everywhere, and in some parts they are numerous; but
they never established themselves in the Peninsula with such
authority as in the Deccan, their wave of conquest having
been checked on the line of the Tungabhadra and Krishna
rivers by the Vijayanagar kings in the fourteenth century. When
at last these were crushed in the sixteenth century the
Muhammadans were disunited, and they were again checked
by the MarAthls a little later; so that at the present day the
country south of the Tungabhadra remains the most purely
Hindu portion of all India. The Dravidian temple, with its
elaborate sculpture, heavy roofing, and towering gopuram, is
the result of indigenous growth; and its development can
be traced in all its stages, more especially from the seventh
century A.D. Numismatic study leads to the same result.
The standard in Southern India from an early time was gold,
Y2



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