Rudradaman’s Junagarh rock inscription, also known as Rudradaman’s Girnar rock inscription, is a Sanskrit prose inscription engraved on a rock by the Western Satraps emperor Rudradaman I.
The Junagarh inscription has inscriptions of Ashoka (one of fourteen Major Rock Edicts of Ashoka), Rudradaman I, and Skandagupta.
It is in Gujarat, near Girnar Hill, near Junagadh.
The inscription is dated shortly after 150 CE.
It states that Pushyagupta, one of Chandragupta Maurya’s governors, was in charge of constructing a dam on Sudarshana Lake near Girnar in Kathiawar.
It is learned from another Skandgupta inscription that this dam was restored during his reign, about 800 years after it was erected.
The Girnar inscriptions were discovered in 1822 by British military officer and scholar James Todd and were translated in 1837 by scholar and Orientalist James Princep.
Junagadh Rock Inscription – Features
The inscription is made up of twenty lines. The first eight lines provide a historical record of the restoration work of a reservoir known as “Sudarshana Lake”.
This lake was built in the 4th century BC during the rule of great Mauryan ruler Chandragupta Maurya under his provincial Governor Vaishya Pushyagupta.
The Rudradaman I Girnar inscription is intriguing because it provides insight into water management in ancient India.
Although the three rulers whose inscriptions we found at Girnar were unrelated and from different eras, they all had one thing in common: they all worked to keep the Sudarshana Lake in good condition.
Aside from information about dam repairs, the Girnar inscription includes Rudradaman I’s eulogy or prashasti.
The inscription mentions Rudradaman’s territory, which included parts of Malwa, Gujarat, Sindh, and Western Maharashtra.
The ancient names Junagadh and Girnar are also mentioned in the inscription. Junagadh was known as ‘Girinagara,’ and Mount Girnar was known as ‘Urjayat,’ according to the inscription.
It also cites a Yavana ruler named Tushaspha who built conduits during Ashoka’s reign.
The inscription is evidence of historical record-keeping tradition in ancient India because Rudradaman otherwise would not have known the names of people involved in the project in 4th-century BCE, or who later worked on the water reservoir in the following centuries before Rudradaman promoted his Sanskrit inscription in 150 CE.
Skandagupta (455 – 467 CE), son of Kumaragupta I, is credited with the third inscription on the Girnar rock.
The inscription, written in Sanskrit, is divided into two parts: the first deals with Sudarshana Lake repairs, and the second mentions the construction of two temples.
Skandagupta is credited with restoring the Gupta Empire. The inscription begins with Skandagupta defeating his opponents, who are thought to be the Hunas.
Junagarh Rock Inscription – Significance
The inscription is noteworthy as a historical record of public works in ancient India, about 500 years before the creation of the inscription.
It recalls the construction of a nearby water reservoir named Sudarshana by Vaishya Pushyagupta during the time of Maurya Empire founder Chandragupta Maurya.
The inscription demonstrates an ancient Indian tradition of historical record keeping because Rudradaman would not have known the names of people involved in the project in the 4th century BCE, or who later worked on the water reservoir in subsequent centuries, before Rudradaman promoted his Sanskrit inscription in 150 CE.
The Junagadh rock inscription also has a 2nd-century eulogy-style Sanskrit inscription.
It is the earliest extended inscription in pretty standard Sanskrit to have survived to the present day.
The inscription also records that the modern-day town of Junagadh has ancient origins, and that it was known as Girinagar in the 2nd century CE. Girnar Mountain was once known as Urjayat.
Select the correct answer from the code given below:
(a) 1 only (b) 2 and 3 only (c) 1 and 3 only (d) 1,2 and 3
Answer: (d) 1,2 and 3
Inscriptions of Ashoka (one of fourteen Major Rock Edicts of Ashoka), Rudradaman I, and Skandagupta can be seen on the Junagadh rock.
The inscription consists of twenty lines. The first eight lines tell the story of the rehabilitation of a reservoir known as “Sudarshana Lake.”
This lake was constructed in the 4th century BC during the reign of the famous Mauryan king Chandragupta Maurya, under the supervision of his province governor Vaishya Pushyagupta.
The Rudradaman I Girnar inscription is noteworthy because it gives insight into ancient Indian water management.
(a) James Prinsep
(b) Alexander Cunningham
(c) William Wedderbremen
(d) None of the above
Answer: (a)James Prinsep
In April 1838, James Prinsep, a Brahmi script expert, edited and interpreted the Junagarh inscription for the first time.