The Hero-stone Memorials

by Dr. Jyotsna Kamat


First Online: August 01, 2000
Page Last Updated On: April 04, 2014

Hero-stones (a.k.a. Mahasati stones or Veeragals) are carved stones erected in the honor of a brave man or woman who perished while defending the interests of the village (such as while fighting bandits who attempted to steal cattle, or invaders who abused women).

K. L. Kamat
A Herostone from Karnataka
A Hero-stone from Karnataka


Notice in the hero stone at the bottom the narration of the heroics. In the bottom row of the stone is fire, arson and war, while in the third row, death and sati are depicted. As presented in the top-most row, the glorification of the dead person's bravery and sacrifice continue as long as the sun and moon prevail.

Sati-stones (also sometimes called Mahasati-stones) are stones erected in the honor of wives who committed suicide after their husband's untimely death. The glorification of the Sati practice is typically found on these stones.

Nishidhi-stones are pillars or stones erected in the memory of those who died in the course of Sallekhana. Sallekhana, or the "death-inviting" practice, was performed by devout Jains who meditated and starved until death.

Pictures of Hero-stone Memorials

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See Pictures
A Hero-stone from KarnatakaTilaks Release Certificate, 1898Presidents Message for Haripura Congress ConventionVetra Memorials of South GujaratPortuguese Surrender Goa, 1961Address Written in Kannada
A grand four-storied hero-stone of the Vijayanagar periodHero-stone Depicting Men Fighting Battle To Defend Cows and WomenStamps of Portuguese IndiaAn Ancient Kannada InscriptionGold Coin of Hijera Kings (1353 A.D.)King Trivikram and The Betal
Yudhajitu and Sage Bharadhwaj ArgueWhen it Pours in BombayQueen Shantalas mother MachikabbeThe Hero of Nelavagilu -- hero-stone, NelavagiluLoga -- a very brave dogA Temple Sculpture Depicts Two Saints Accosting a Courtesan
Traditional  Indian Footwear with Studded Precious StonesThe Snake LoverHero Fighting a TigerAn Example of Nishidhi StoneDilapidated Kadata  Document (Paper Document)Brass Artifacts
The Pakhawaz Percussion InstrumentJawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964)Brassware of a Village Temple