Sripura (Archaeological Survey)

by Bikash Chandra Pradhan | 2011 | 37,938 words

This study examines the Archaeological remains of Sripura from the period A.D. 650-800, revealing all varieties of archaeological materials, viz., art and architecture, coins, copper plate and stone epigraphic records and seals etc. highlighting the history and cultural heritage of Shripura. This ancient city was the capital of South Koshala under ...

Not a single lithic record of the Sarabhapuriyas has been discovered till date whereas we have as many as fifteen of these of the Panduvamsis till the latest excavation of the preceding decade. Two of them, viz, Lakshman temple and the one discovered from Surang Tila are very long. The others are short ones. Among the short ones mention may be made of three containing the names of Tikam Gang, Vithal, Sri Dhruva Bale on pilasters and pillars in Brahmi characters in the Surang Tila Complex. Another fragmentary inscription in Kutila script and Sankrit language–a part of a long one–in seven lines also found there. It does not convey any meaning as it is badly damaged, a few words of which survive only. Teekam Gang and Vitthal are said to be pilgrim-donors whereas Dhruva Bale, whose name also occurs on one pillar of the mandapa of Surang Tila may be a donor or architect. Interestingly, a few letters are found to have been incised in Brahmi characters, in the so called Sasai Mahavihara, which are Ka, Kha, Va, a, pa, ta etc.

Four fragments of inscriptions have been retrieved from the newly excavated monastery called Tivara Vihara–one of which reads Tivaradeva, another Harsagupta in Brahmi script. A baked clay seal contains the name of Taradatta with his emblem. He was probably the architect. A clay seal containing the Buddhist Vija mantra is the fourth inscription. A clay seal with the legend Sivaguptarajas in the Brahmi characters of 7th-8th century A.D. has been found during excavation of the palace complex.

The largest of the lithic inscriptions discovered so far is the one in fifty-five lines on a piece of stone measuring 1 m in height and 0.92 m in width. The characters are in Kutla (proto-Nagari) script and the language is Sanskrit. Although the letters are fairly legible, the incompleteness as well as lack of mention of objective does not convey the purport of the inscription. It is composed by Sri Krsnanandin, written by Sutradhar Vasugana and incised by an artisan named Narayana. It may be pointed out that Krsnanandi’s son Devandin a composed another inscription at Sripura. vasugana has also engraved the Senkapat stone inscription of the time of Balarjuna. It may be further pointed out that the spot wherefrom this inscription has been found was also the find spot of nine sets of copper plates of Balarjuna, which were discovered in 1987 at Sirpur.

The inscriptions are engraved on usually square or rectangular stone slabs fixed on the walls or some other parts of the religious shrines. Three of them contain the names of the personages concerned with construction or donations for the concerned structure of the Surang Tila Complex. Certain parts of the stones are broken or rubbed as a result of the vagaries of weather. So it becomes difficult to get a complete reading in many cases. In spite of all this, these are a valuable source not only for historical and cultural studies but also for the study of the evolution of the script of the Nagari variety as well as of language i.e. Sanskrit literature. The patronage of the rulers and the progress of the different religious sects, the construction of the sacred shrines, installation of various deities and donation to various religious teachers (acaryas) and for the upkeep of many shrines, monasteries (mathikas) and sattra (free-feeding houses) would not have come to limelight without these inscriptions.

Of all the lithic records that of Vasata is a rare piece. It not only gives a glimpse of the height attained by Vaisnavism but also provides us with an outline of the salient aspects of the social organization, viz., Varna, Varnasrama, Dharma and its ideals, definition of Kaliyuga and Krta-yuga, the norms of charity in addition to the avataravada (theory of incarnations of Lord Visnu). But most importantly, it fulfills the hiatus in the line of genealogy of the dynasty by providing the names of two kingsCandragupta and Harsagupta who were not known from copper plate inscriptions.

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