Mehrauli Pillar Inscription

  • Mehrauli Iron Pillar was originally located on a hill near the Beas River.
  • Erected by Chandragupta Vikramaditya originally at Vishnupada (Udayagiri),M.P. but was transported to Delhi later.
  • Iron pillar reflects the high level of metallurgical skill as it is rust free.
  • Iron pillar with an idol of Garuda at the top.
  • Dedicated to Vishnu in 3rd to 4th century CE by king Chandra (probably Chandragupta II).
  • Mehrauli inscription suggests that Chandragupta fought against a confederacy of enemies in Bengal and also led a campaign into the Punjab.
  • Pillar had astrological significance during Gupta age.
  • Iron Pillar, which rises magnificently at a height of 24 feet, is located within the Qutub Complex, which also houses the famed Qutub Minar. It is located in the Qutb Complex, in front of the Quwwatul Mosque.
  • It contains verses composed in the Sanskrit language, in shardulvikridita metre.

Banskhera Inscription

  • In Shahjahanpur district, Uttar Pradesh.
  • An inscription dated AD 628 gives information:
    • Harsha had granted village to two brahmans.
    • Victory of Rajyavardhana over the Malwa king Devagupta
    • Murder of Devagupta by Sasanka.
  • Banskhera copper plate gives the ancestry of Harsha and bears the signature the great king of kings, Harshavardhana, the famous king of the Harsha Dynasty.
    • Signature has the following meaning: “This is the signature of me, the great king of kings, Shri Harsha”.
  • This inscription describes Harsha as the worshipper of Shiva.

Allahabad Pillar Inscription (Prayag Prashasti)

  • In Allahabad, Uttarpradesh.
  • Pillar is an Ashoka Stambha.
  • Contains Ashokan inscription in Brahmi containing the same six edicts that can be seen on the other pillars.
  • Also has later inscriptions of Samudragupta.
    • It is in Sanskrit, written in Gupta script (later version of Brahmi) by the poet and minister, Harishena.
    • Praising Samudragupta and lists the political and military achievements.
  • Also engraved on the stone are inscriptions by the Mughal emperor, Jahangir.
  • Mentions the conquest of Samudragupta both in North & South and described the boundaries of Gupta Empire and his diplomatic relations.
  • The title of Kaviraja was mentioned, it thus testifies Samudragupta as a patron of poetic art and a poet himself.

Bhitari Pillar Inscription

  • In Ghazipur district, Uttar Pradesh
  • Bhitari pillar inscription of Skandagupta.
    • Important in understanding the chronology of the various Gupta rulers.
    • Mentions the conflict between Skandagupta and the Pushyamitras as well as the Hunas.

Mandsaur Inscription

  • In the Malwa region, in Mandsaur district, Madhya Pradesh.
  • Mandasor Pillar Inscriptions of Yashodharman:
    • In Sanskrit from early 6th-century.
    • Record victory of Malwa king Yasodharman over the Hun king Mihirakula.
  • Mandsaur Inscription of Kumar Gupta:
    • Dated to 5th century.
    • Records that many silk weavers migrated from Lata (Gujarat) to Dasapura.
    • Some adopted other occupations while those who adhered to their original craft organised themselves into a guild.
    • Guild of silk weavers built a sun temple in 437 AD.

Eran Inscription

  • Sagar district, M.P. on the bank of Bina river.
  • Gupta inscriptions:
    • Epigraphic inscription of Samudra Gupta which mentions that a part of western Malwa was annexed by Chandra Gupta.
    • Inscription at Eran dated 510 AD gives the first concrete evidence of Sati.
  • Vishnu shrines of Gupta period found (famous varah temple).
  • Early phase: Malwa culture, Later: BRW and iron.
  • Mud fortification wall and a moat found.
  • Famous for collossal bear, the zoomorphic incarnation of Vishnu.
  • Punchmarked coins and coin of Ramagupta found.
  • Punch marked coins and coins of Ramagupta, the Nagas have been found.
  • A seal bearing the figure of Gaja Lakshmi of Gupta period is an interesting find.

Besnagar Incription (Vidisha/ Bhilsa)

  • Vidisha is an ancient city, situated near Bhopal Madhyapradesh.
  • The city, originally called Besnagar and Bhilsa, was renamed Vidisha in 1956.
  • Besnagar figures significantly in Buddhist, Jain and Brahmanical literature.
  • Heliodorus pillar/ Besnagar pillar/ Garuda pillar:
    • Monolithic free standing stone column.
    • Erected around 113 BCE by Heliodorus, a Greek ambassador of the Indo-Greek king to the court of the Shunga king.
    • Surmounted by a sculpture of Garuda.
    • Inscription states that it was raised in honour of god Vasudeva by Heliodorous.
  • The Udayagiri Caves are situated nearby, just south of Vidisha, is the ancient Buddhist complex of Sanchi.
  • Remains of large temple of the late Paramara period known as Bijamamandal found here.

Junagarh Inscription

  • Junagarh district, Gujarat. Located at the foot of Girnar hills.
  • Major rock edicts of Ashoka on black granite in Brahmi script.
  • On the same rock there are inscriptions in Sanskrit added around 150 CE by Rudradaman I, the Saka ruler of Malwa, a member of the Western Kshatrapas dynasty:
    • earliest Sanskrit inscription mentions renovation of Sudarshana Lake which was originally built by Pusyagupta the provincial governor of Chandragupta.
  • Another inscription dates from about 450 CE and refers to Skandagupta.
  • Many Jain and Hindu temples are located in Girnar.

Nasik Inscription

  • In Nasik, Maharashtra.
  • Has Chalcolithic and Neolithic cultures.
  • Mentions the achievement of Gautamiputra Satkarni.
  • Composed by his mother Gautami Balasri.
  • Mentions the boundaries of his kingdom and his victory over Saka King Nahapana and thus restoring the prestige of Satavahanas.
  • Presence of NBPW.
  • Located on the ancient trade route connecting the ports of western India and north and south Indian cities.
  • Important settlement in the Saka-Satavahana period during 200 BC – 200 AD.
  • Buddhist rock cut caves which follow a wooden style of construction.
    • Chaitya halls and viharas of Hinayana Buddhism.
    • The façade of Chaityagriha is richly carved.
    • The reliefs of Buddha and Bodhisattvas, female deities, etc found.
    • Patronized by local kings, merchants, artisans and kings of the Satavahanas.

Nanaghat Inscription

  • Nanaghat is a mountain pass in the Western Ghats, Maharashtra.
  • Part of an ancient trading route, and famous for a major cave with Sanskrit inscriptions in Brahmi script.
  • Mentions Satakarni-I as ‘Dhakhinapatha-pathi’thus implying control over Deccan.
  • Nanaghat inscriptions:
    • Gives information about the Satavahana empire.
    • Attributed to a queen of the Satavahana dynasty, Naganika, wife of king Satakarni.
    • Suggest that she the queen mother, who sponsored this cave after the death of her husband.
    • Notable for linking the Vedic and Vaishnavism deities.
    • The mention of Samkarsan a (Balarama) and Vasudeva (Krishna) indicate the prevalence of Bhagavata tradition in the Satavahana dynasty.

Hathigumpha Inscription (Elephant Cave inscription)

  • From Udayagiri, near Bhubaneswar in Odisha.
  • Inscription:
    • Inscribed by Jain king Kharavela of the Kalinga kingdom during 2nd century BCE.
    • Faces towards the Rock Edicts of Ashoka at Dhauli, situated nearby.
    • Consists of seventeen lines in Prakrit incised in a Brahmi script on a natural cavern Hathigumpha of Udayagiri hill.
    • Talks about:
      • military conquests of Kharvela,
      • his orientation towards Janism,
      • his construction works,
      • his liberal religious spirit,
      • his favors to art like music and dance etc.
      • his retrieving an image of a jina.
  • Mentions the military expeditions carried by Kharavela and also shows his Jaina belief as the inscription starts with Jain Namokar Mantra.

Aihole Inscription

  • In Bijapur district, Karnataka.
  • It is east of Pattadakal, while Badami is to the west of both.
  • First capital of western Chalukyas (later moved to Badami).
  • Chalukyan architecture, with many stone temples dating from 5th century CE.
    • Earliest structural temples.
    • Among the seventy temples found at Aihole, four are important.
      • Ladh Khan temple is flat-roofed structure consisting of a pillared hall.
      • Durga temple resembles a Buddha Chaitya.
      • Huchimalligudi temple.
      • The Jain temple at Meguti.
  • Caves:
    • Ravana Phadi cave- rocks cut temples.
    • Jain cave temple
    • A Buddhist Chaitya Cave- partly rockcut structure.
  • Aihole inscription:
    • Aihole Prasasti in Meguti Temple
    • Composed by Ravikirti, the court poet of Pulakesin Satyasraya (Pulakeshin II) of the Badami Chalukya dynasty in 634 A.D.
    • In Sanskrit language and old Karnataka script
    • Detailed account of Pulakesin II’s exploit against his neighbouring kingdoms like the Pallavas.
    • Describes the victory of Pulakesin II against Harshavardhana.

Kudumiyanmalai Inscription

  • Pudukottai district, Tamil Nadu.
  • The Pallava inscription at Kudumiyan Malai refers to a great musician Rudracharya.
  • Inscription written on rocks of cave temple.
  • Is a celebrated musical inscription as it gives the musical notes in seven classical ragas.
  • 7th century, most probably by Mahendra Pallava.

Uttaramerur Inscription

  • In Kanchipuram district, Tamilnadu.
  • Originally existed as a Brahmin settlement. Pallava king Nandivarman II (720–796 CE) established it as a brahamdeya village.
  • The famous inscription from Parantaka I’s reign is found on the walls of the Vaikunda Perumal Temple.
  • Inscription on granite stones of the temple dedicated to Shiva (during rule of Parantaka Chola) throw light on the functioning of Chola’s village administration particularly Sabha, the assembly of Brahmin village and shows autonomy enjoyed by villages during Cholas.
  • It also mentions the qualifications, mode of election, disqualification criteria and constitution of committee for local governance.
  • Required qualifications:
    • It includes ownership of a certain amount of land, having a house, being between the age of 35 and 70 and “knowing mantras and Brahmanas” (from the Vedic corpus).
    • An exception can be made on land ownership if the person has learnt at least “one Veda and four Bhashyas”. One must also be “well-versed in business” and “virtuous”.
  • Selection procedure for the Sabha
    • It says there were 30 wards. Everyone living in these 30 wards would assemble and select one representative for the village assembly.
    • All those eligible and willing would write their names on palm leaf tickets following which, the representative would be chosen based on an elaborate draw of lots, conducted by priests in the inner hall of the building where the assembly meets.
    • Disqualification: The inscription then lists several factors which disqualify someone and their family like:
      • Not having submitted accounts while previously serving on a committee.
      • Committing any of the first four of the five ‘great sins’ (killing a Brahman, drinking alcohol, theft and adultery)
      • Being associated with outcastes, and eating ‘forbidden’ dishes.

Lumbini Pillar Inscription

  • also called the Paderia inscription
  • Situated in Nepal
  • ancient Brahmi script
  • Is a royal commemorative inscription recording Ashoka’s visit to Buddha’s birth place.

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