Hero stone (Virgal in Kannada language, நடுகல் naṭukal in Tamil) is a memorial commemorating the honorable death of a hero in battle and are found all over India. Hero stones often carry inscriptions displaying a variety of adornments, including bas relief panels, statues, and figures of carved stone. Usually they are in the form of a stone monument and may have an inscription at the bottom with a narrative of the battle. According to the historian Upindra Singh, the largest concentration of such memorial stones are found in the Indian state of Karnataka. About two thousand six hundred and fifty hero stones, the earliest dated to the 5th century, have been discovered in Karnataka.
The Tamil Nadu Department of Archeology found several hundred hero stones that had been erected in the memory of warriors who sacrificed their lives defending their community or region. Those that are carved with inscriptions detail the acts of the hero, the battle involved, and the name of king in whose name the battle was fought. The stones are found alone or in groups, usually near an irrigation tank or lake outside a village.  A hero stone has been unearthed, dating from 9th century of the Pallava king Dantivarman, in which the hero is riding a galloping horse, beautifully dressed and carrying a spear. Another was recovered at Pappapatti in Usilampatti taluk and probably dates from the 18th century. The ancient stone shows a warrior posed heroically, accompanied by his wife who holds a flower. Many of these statues have been recovered over southern India depicting heroic warriors in battles. Creating hero stones had been prevalent since the Sangam period, dating back 2,300 years, and continuing until the Nayak and post-Nayak period around 200 years ago. Hero stones were not always made in honor of a person(s). The Atakur inscription (also spelt Athakur), a hero stone dated to 939 A.D. and which includes classical Kannada poetic inscription commemorating the death of the favorite hound of Ganga King Butuga II (the hound died fighting a wild boar) has been found.
Hero stone from Later Chalukya period at Siddhesvara temple at Haveri in Haveri district, Karnataka state
Hero stone with 11th-12th century Old Kannada inscription in Kalleshvara temple in Bagali in Davangere district, Karnataka state
Hero stone with old Kannada inscription dated 1235 A.D. from the rule of Yadava King Singhana II in Kaitabeshvara temple at Kubatur in Shimoga district, Karnataka state
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- Chapter "Memorializing death in stone", Singh (2009), p48
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