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Epigraphy, or the study of inscriptions, has played a very important role in reconstructing the history of India. Tamil Nadu in particular has a very large number of epigraphs, which have been of immense help to historians in writing about the history of the Tamil country. The majority of these inscriptions are written in Tamil. However, beginning from the sixth century ad, a large number of inscriptions, both lithic and copper-plate grants came to be composed in Sanskrit as well. Some of these epigraphs are wholly in Sanskrit while some, especially the copper-plate inscriptions, are bi-lingual, with the first or prashasti portion in chaste Sanskrit and the second or operative part of the record being in Tamil.