Category Archives: Archaeology

What is the importance of ancient Indian history to contemporary India?

For many reasons, the study of ancient Indian history is important. It tells us how, when and where the earliest cultures in our country were formed by people. It shows how they started agriculture, which made life healthy and settled.

It explains how natural resources were found and used by the ancient Indians, and how they provided the means for their livelihood. We come to know how they were involved in farming, spinning, weaving, metal-working, and so on; how forests were cleared; and how villages, cities, and, finally, major kingdoms were created.

Until they understand writing, people are not considered civilized. The various forms of writing that are prevalent in India today are all derived from ancient scripts. This is true of the languages we speak today, as well. The languages we use have their origins in ancient times, and have grown through the centuries.

Unity in Diversity

It is interesting to have ancient Indian history because India proved to be a crucible of ethnic groups. India was the home of the Indo-Aryans, the Greeks,pre-Aryans, the Scythians, the Hunas, the Turks, etc. The growth of the Indian social system, art and architecture, and literature all led to each ethnic group. All these communities and their cultural features mixed with one another so inextricably that none of them can be clearly defined in their original form at present.

The combining of cultural elements from the north and south, and from the east and west, was a remarkable characteristic of ancient Indian society. The Aryan elements are related to the northern Vedic and Sanskritic culture, and the pre-Aryan to the southern Dravidian and Tamil culture. But in the Vedic texts ascribed to 1500-500 B.c., many Dravidian and non-Sanskritic terms occur.

Ideas, structures, goods and settlements linked to peninsular and non-Vedic India are described. Similarly, in the early Tamil texts called the Sangam literature, which is nearly used for the period 300 B.C.-600 A.D., many Pali and Sanskrit terms indicating ideas and institutions developed in the Gangetic plains.

Its own contribution was created by the eastern region inhabited by pre-Aryan tribals. The people of the area spoke the languages of Munda or Kolari. In IndoAryan languages are traced by linguists to the Munda languages, several terms that imply the use of cotton, navigation, digging stick, etc.. The traces of the Munda culture are not as strong as those of the Dravidian culture. While the Chhotanagpur plateau contains many Munda pockets.

In the Indo-Aryan languages most Dravidian words are also used. It is held that on the basis of the Dravidian influence, shifts in the phonetics and vocabulary of the Vedic language can be clarified as well as that of the Munda influence. India has been the land of many religions since ancient times.

The birth of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism was witnessed in ancient India; but all these religions and cultures intermingled and acted and responded to each other in such a way that while people speak different languages, practice different religions, and observe different social customs, they follow certain common lifestyles throughout the country.

Because of great diversity, our nation displays a deep underlying unity. The ancients strove to achieve unity. They saw this vast subcontinent as one single land. After the name of an ancient tribe called the Bharatas, the name Bharatavarsha, or the land of Bharata, was given to the entire country, and the people were called Bharatasantati or the descendants of Bharata.

The nation was regarded as an integral entity by our ancient poets, philosophers and authors. They spoke of the land extending from the Himalayas to the sea as a single universal monarch’s proper domain.

The Kings who tried to build their authority from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin and from the Brahmaputra valley in the east to the land beyond the Indus in the west were universally lauded. They have been called Chakravartins.

In ancient times, this type of political unity was achieved at least twice. In the Third Century B.C. With the exception of the extreme south, Ashoka extended his empire over the entire country. Once more, in the fourth century A.D. From the Ganga to the borders of the Tamil land, Samudragupta carried his victorious arms. A Chalukya king in the seventh century. Harshavardhana, who was called the lord of all of northern India, was defeated by Pulakeshin.

King Ashoka ( Image source )

Despite the lack of political unity, the political formations in the country took more or less the same shape. The concept that India was a single regional unit existed in the minds of the conquerors and cultural leaders. The unity of India has also been re-established by foreigners.

They came into contact first with the people living on the Sindhu or the Indus, and so they named this river for the whole country. The word Hind comes from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, and over the time country came to be known as India , which is very close to the Greek word for it. In the Persian and Arabic languages, it came to be called Hind.’

In the third century, B.C, Prakrit acted as the country’s lingua franca. Ashoka’s inscriptions were written in the Prakrit language and Brahmi script in the major portion of India.

Sanskrit later acquired the same place and acted in the most remote parts of the country as the language of the country. In the fourth century A.D., the method became prevalent in the Gupta period.

While the country experienced various small states politically in the post-Gupta period, the official documents were written in Sanskrit. Another interesting aspect is that in the land of the Tamils, the ancient epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, were studied with the same passion and dedication as in the scholarly circles of the Banaras and Taxila.

These epics, originally written in Sanskrit, came to be presented in numerous local languages. But whatever the manner in which Indian cultural values and ideas were articulated, across the country, the content remained the same.

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Because of a peculiar form of social structure established in this region, Indian history deserves our attention. The varna/caste system originated in north India, which came to prevail almost all over the country. The caste system affected Christians and Muslims as well. The converts belonged to a certain caste, and they continued to retain some of their old caste traditions even though they left Hinduism to join the new religion.

The bewildering 15th century AD fort of Kumbhalgarh

The bewildering 15th century AD fort of Kumbhalgarh

DESCRIPTION

Kumbhalgarh is one of the most splendid fortresses in Rajasthan and the second most crucial fort after Chittorgarh in the Mewar region.

The boundary walls of Kumbhalgarh fort. ( Image source )

This unquenchable fortress is guarded under the protection of the Aravali mountains.

It was constructed in the Aravali Ranges during 1443-1458 AD, (15th century AD) by Rana Kumbha and hence takes its name from the same.

The fort has also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the Rajasthan Hill Forts group.

The fort is also considered to be Maharana Pratap’s birthplace.

HISTORY

Curled up on the western hills of Aravali Ranges, the fort was established by Rana Kumbha in the 15th century A. Kumbhalgarh in its present structure was constructed by Rana Kumbha who was the Rana of Mewar from the Sisodia Rajput family.

Kumbhalgarh Fort , Rajasthan. ( Image source )

Rana Kumbha took the guide of the celebrated architect of the period, “Madan”. Rana Kumbha’s realm of Mewar extended from Ranthambore to Gwalior and occupied huge expanses of what is currently Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Rana Kumbha is also said to have established 32 out of the 84 forts in his jurisdiction, of which Kumbhalgarh is the greatest and most intricate.

In 1457, Ahmed Shah I of Gujarat attacked the fortress but found the attempt unsuccessful. There was even a popular belief that is was guarded by the Banmata deity in the fort and thus he demolished the temple.

Shiva temple inside Kumbhalgarh Fort. ( Image source )

Further attempts were made by Mahmud Khalji in 1458-59 and 1467, and they also ultimately failed. In 1576, Akbar’s general, Shahbaz Khan, was thought to have taken charge of the fort. But Maharana Pratap recaptured it in 1585.

An armed group of Sannyasins assembled a battalion in 1818 to safeguard the fort, but Tod persuaded them all, and indeed the fort was seized over by the British and later restored back to the state of Udaipur.

There were improvements made regarding designs of the fort, by the Maharanas of Mewar, but the original structure designed by Maharana Kumbha remained the same.

The aloof geographical location of the fort provided the fort with a sense of unconquerability. In times of turmoil, it served the leaders of Mewar as a shelter.

The place being the birthplace of Maharana Pratap is of extreme significant value for the residents.

In times of turmoil, it served the leaders of Mewar as a refuge.
It also acted as a shelter for King Udai of Mewar as Banbir killed Vikramaditya and overtook the throne. To survive a prolonged invasion, the fort is self-contained in all aspects.

The combined strength of the Mughal and Amber could invade their defences just once, mainly due to the extreme scarcity of drinking water.

Jain temple at kumbhalgarh fort. ( Image source )

There is a splendid collection of Mauryas-built temples, the most breathtakingly beautiful of which is the Badal Mahal or the Cloud Palace. The fort also gives the surroundings a beautiful panoramic view. The giant wall of the fort extends about 36 kilometres. In the 19th century, Maharana Fateh Singh renovated the fort.

The wide compound of the fort has ruins that are very fascinating and a stroll around it can be very informative.

LOCATION & ARCHITECTURE

Established on the Aravalli range on the top of a hill and protected by thirteen elevated mountain ranges is constructed about 1,914 meters above the sea level on the uppermost craters.

The Kumbhalgarh Fort has a palisade wall that stretches 36 km (22 mi), making it one of the world’s longest walls. The mighty fort that surrounds the Udaipur city is 3600 feet tall and 38km long. The front walls are 15 feet high. Kumbhalgarh has seven gateways that are reinforced. Inside the fort, there are over 360 temples, 300 ancient Jain and the rest Hindu.

The fort’s fortresses stretch up to a length of 36 kilometres, and this fact has rendered the fort feature in global charts.

It is claimed to be the world’s second-longest wall, the first one being ” the Great Wall of China “. There have been numerous palaces, temples, and gardens in the vast compound of the Fort, making it more magnificent.

Walls of Kumbhalgarh ( Image source )

From the top of the palace, it is possible to see the Aravalli Range for miles. You can see the sand dunes of the Thar Desert from the walls of the fort.

A few kilometres before your journey to Kumbhalgarh Fort, you will find yourself on a spiral road passing through rugged cliffs and lush forests. This will take you to Ariat Pol, where the watchtower can be found.

There are seven huge gates in the invincible Fort, seven fortifications folded along with crafted walls hardened by curved pinnacles and massive watchtowers. To date, the solid structure and stable foundation of the Fort have rendered it unsurpassable.

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The bulky walls of the fort are wide enough to stand eight horses next to each other. Inside the complex of the Fort, there are no less than 360 temples. Among all of them, the Shiva Temple, containing a colossal Shivalinga, is worth visiting.

The History Of The Konark Sun Temple

The History Of The Konark Sun Temple

  • Konark Sun temple is a beautiful illustration of ancient architecture and the versatility of concepts.
  • Devoted to the deity of the sun, ‘Surya’, the very first ray of the sun falls at the temple entrance. Most of the temple has collapsed into storage and ruin, but there is still enough beauty to excite what exists.

DESCRIPTION

Konark’s Sun Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of India’s most known tourist temples today.

It is quite unique to build an entire temple in the form of a beautiful, adorned chariot. But in Odisha, the Sun Temple at Konark is far from ordinary.

The Konark Sun Temple is situated in 35 kilometres, north-east of the coastal region of Puri, representing the pinnacle of Kalinga architectural style and
and one of the remarkable works of traditional design anywhere on the planet.

The Sun Temple, as its name indicates is dedicated to the Hindu Sun God, Surya, in the form of his glorious chariot, and was built in the 13th Century CE by King Narasimha Deva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple has 12 pairs of finely carved, giant wheels made from Khondalite stone, and is pulled by seven galloping horses.

The temple is about 100 feet in height and it is only half its initial size, as beautiful and majestic as it looks. The most remarkable aspect of the shrine, however, is its exquisite reliefs that occupy every empty spot, which includes illustrations of men and women, mythical characters, and animal carvings, and portray hunting, royal ceremonies, and military activities. The endless engravings, combined, add an atmosphere of euphoria to the temple.

HISTORY

The orders for the construction of the Sun Temple at Konark in 1244 was issued by Narasimha Deva I of the Eastern Ganga dynasty, who ruled from 1236 to 1287 CE.
While Samantaraya Mahapatra was the one responsible for its construction, the temple was commissioned by the king. ‘Konark’ means the four corners and the sun.

Since ancient times, Konark has been recognized as the domicile of the Sun God. Konark is referred to as names such as Surya Kshetra in the Shiva Purana.

It is widely believed that ‘Konark’ is a combination of two different terms, ‘Kona’ (corner or angle) and ‘arka’ (sun), possibly because of its geographical location as the location where the ‘sun rises at an angle.’ A tale that says that Lord Shiva himself idolized the sun here in an attempt to atone for his sins is what makes this place much more holy.

Although several other texts mention Konark as being an important sun worshipped site in India, there is one on this site that contains a tale about the ‘first Sun Temple.’ In the Samba Purana, an ancient text dedicated to the Sun God, Surya, this temple is mentioned, and in its initial chapters, it tells the tale of Lord Krishna’s son Samba.

The temple was dubbed the Black Pagoda, which the Europeans used it for navigation for their ships accredited to its eerie exterior.
It is said that because of its magnetic powers, the temple could draw ships to the shore.

Samba established a Sun Temple in Konark in the 19th century BCE, according to this tale, after his 12-year-long sun worship at Maitreyavana (former name of Konark) healed him of the curse of leprosy. The tale is said to be the origin of the tradition of sun worship in Konark.

Between the 7th and 13th centuries CE, temple-building in Odisha reached its pinnacle. The practice of worshipping the sun yet again flourished during the reign of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty (5th to 15th Century CE), especially at Konark.

ARCHITECTURE

The temple is famous for its remarkable Kalinga architecture, which includes a depiction of horses and wheels carved out of a single stone pulling a 100 foot high chariot. The statue shows the magnificent chariot of the God of the Sun.

The original temple, constructed of Khondalite rocks, had a 230 ft. high sanctum that no longer stands, a 128 ft. high assembly hall, dance hall, and dining hall which still remains. There are 24 exquisitely designed wheels, 12 ft. in diameter, pulled by horses.

Those 7 horses signify a week, the wheels represent the 12 months, while the eight spokes in the wheels symbolize the day-cycle. And then this entire representation reveals how the sun governs time, just being the example of the Surya in the Hindu mythology in his chariot accompanied by his charioteer, Aruna, moving from the east.

The entrance leads to the temple made of chlorite stone of the Deity of Surya. Elegant carvings of various characters, including Hindu deities, portraits of everyday mortal life, birds, animals, and much more, embellish the walls of the temple with statues.

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In its shikhara, the temple also has erotic statues belonging to the tradition of tantra. The temple’s wheels can be used as sundials and can estimate the time very well.

The magnificent ruins of Jaisalmer Fort

The magnificent ruins of Jaisalmer Fort

DESCRIPTION

In the far northwest region of Rajasthan, India’s desert nation, Jaisalmer Fort preserves a quiet watch. Although the local airport is shut to commercial traffic, almost half a million tourists miraculously find their way each year to the fortress, although it sits dangerously close to the disputed border with Pakistan, India’s long-time adversary.

From Jaipur, the pilgrims follow a 400-mile-long path. They travel through the violent winds of the desert swirling towards Delhi. They encounter 105-degree temperatures in summer. They travel to an area where water has been in low supply for the past 2,000 years. They travel because there is no other place like Jaisalmer on land.

Jaisalmer Fort is also known as Sonar Quilla or Sone ka Quilla (golden fort) and is one of the largest forts in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, in the world.

During the day, the vast yellow sandstone walls are light yellow and fade to honey-gold as the sun sets, and it is also called the Golden Fort because of the same. This desert beauty has seen many wars while standing in the sandy stretches of the great Thar Desert on Trikuta hill.

Jaisalmer is known as the golden city itself and offers the cultural convergence of the nomadic desert and royalty that will allow you to experience something new.

Jaisalmer Fort’s architectural excellence and other attractions in the golden city are absolutely breathtaking. This UNESCO World Heritage site, built by the Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal in 1156 AD, is the pride of the Thar desert and a sign of power. In the glorious past until the present, Jaisalmer Fort played a crucial role. It was part of the many fascinating civilizations of the various ruling dynasties.

By preserving the masterpieces and visions, it has maintained the values of the past secure. With its breathtaking elegance, this place will never fail to surprise you and will give you a new vision of the nation’s history, tradition, and culture.

HISTORY

Jaisalmer Fort is said to have established the Golden Fort in around 1156 AD by Raja Rawal Jaisal, who was a Bhatti Rajput king.

In order to point and symbolize the strength and supremacy of the royal Rajputs, he chose the Trikuta hills situated in the great Thar Desert for his fort.

Sonar Quila is recognized as the second oldest fort in Rajasthan and has seen and been part of many historic wars, but even today, when you witness this great building, it has the same beauty and optimistic vibes that will leave you aw-struck. It was also part of the silk trading route from the 16th to the 18th century.

So, the convergence between Islamic and Rajput architecture can be witnessed.

Sonar Quila is a mythical structure and has significant meaning in the history of greatness. The fort has four wide entrances, named Suraj pol, named Ganesh Pol, Akshaya Pol, Suraj Pol, and Hawa Pol, which have their importance, since the first sun rays over the city used to reach this very gate, other gates also have fascinating stories connected to them and are very beautifully carved and built in a way that it is a mix of strength and elegance.

ARCHITECTURE

Jaisalmer Fort is also known for its architectural excellence. It is situated on a hill that rises above 250 feet in height with an incredible measurement of 1,500 feet (460 m) long and 750 feet (230 m) high (76 m).

With exquisite compositions and patterns, you would be pleased to see the essence of the Rajasthani architectural touch. The entire fort, constructed of stunning yellow sandstone, has an incredible look and shines like gold as the sun-rays hit on the walls.

This structure moves colour from tawny lion yellow to honey-gold with the glorious sunrise and beautiful sunset. You’ll have fun showing all four of the entrances to the fort. Histories such as Akhai Vilas, the Rang Mahal, Sarvottam Vilas, Gaj Mahal, and the Moti Mahal contribute to their meaning in many other areas.

The Moti Mahal is also referred to as Salam Singh Ki Haweli and is extremely breathtaking with its incredible architecture. It was designed in 1815 with a peacock-shaped roof and numerous balconies that will offer a jaw-dropping view of this location.

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By keeping the crafts, patterns, and texture at the priority, these places too have been produced and have been taken utmost care that they stand to display Rajput’s monarchy and energy and take Rajasthani style on another level.

The Harappan civilization of Dholavira

The Harappan civilization of Dholavira

Head north from Ahmedabad for seven hours, deeper into the barren region of Kutch, and you’ll come across an island in the middle of the salt deposits, the location of the Harappan mega-city. Dholavira was one of the biggest cities of its day, more than 4000 years ago. It was also one of the oldest, with more than 1200 years of continuous occupation.

Remains of a house at Dholavira ( Image source )

Excavations at Dholavira began just 35 years later, in 1990, under RS Bisht of the Archaeological Survey of India, first discovered by archaeologist JP Joshi in 1956. The site of Dholavira reveals a rapid development, distributed over an area of 100 hectares, and studies here have brought out some interesting aspects of the Harappan Civilization.

From the 3rd millennium BCE to the middle of the 2nd millennium BCE, which is from around 2650 BCE to 1450 BCE, Dholavira was occupied and has seven distinct phases that record the rise and demise of the Harappan Civilization.

Between 2650 BCE and 2500 BCE, the earliest stage of Dholavira shows evidence of a pre-Harappan culture of dispersed settlements with a very rudimentary pottery style. By 2500 BCE, Dholavira appears to have evolved into a sophisticated planned town, a trademark of the mature Harappan period, and it remained a large urban centre until 1900 BCE.

Dholavira also had massive structures, elaborate sewerage and gateways, like many of the other cities of the time, Mohenjo-Daro, Rakhigarhi and Harappa. It was a well-planned settlement and its architecture offered great insight to archaeologists into the life and legacy of the people of Harappan.

The town was lined by massive walls measuring 15-18 meters in thickness at the height of its residence. A one-of-its-kind city space lay within the rectangular fortification with the citadel separated into two parts together with a middle city and a lower city.

Water reservoir with steps ( Image source )

There is a large empty space to the north next to the citadel, perhaps used for various reasons such as as a place for a public meeting on festive or ceremonial occasions, a stadium or a marketplace during trade seasons for trading commodities. Four rooms, a spacious courtyard, a bathroom and even a kitchen were part of the daily house at Dholavira.

What appears more like signboard made up of ten large-sized letters from the Harappan script was one stand-out discovery here at Dholavira. Below the northern gateway, a 3-meter-long inscription was discovered and archaeologists believe that the letters would have been installed on a wooden signboard right above the gate door in order to be visible from distance.

The water management system is another significant aspect of Dholavira. In the middle of a drought-prone area today, during the Harappan era, Dholavira was, at best, an island in the Brackish sea. The two seasonal water streams outside the city and some groundwater were the primary sources of water. What is impressive here is how the freshwater was harnessed by the city administration, developing a dynamic and efficient system of water management that enabled Dholavira to prosper.

However for centuries, Dholavira flourished, explorations have indeed provided us insights about its demise. Subsequent archaeological discoveries have shone a great amount of light on what happened, one of the most discussed questions.

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Most archaeologists apparently believe that, while there are other hypotheses, it was climate change, possibly caused by a tectonic shift that led to the destruction of these great Harappan cities. Interestingly, at that period, this was seen in the Bronze Age civilizations.

Israel discovers a “piggy bank” 1,200 years old with gold coins

Israel discovers a “piggy bank” 1,200 years old with gold coins

A small treasure trove of gold coins in an ancient ‘piggy bank’ has been found by Israeli archaeologists, assumed to be the personal savings of a potter who worked in a kiln around 1200 years ago.

They date from the time when the area was ruled by the mighty Abbasid Caliphate and a medieval industrial site was unearthed. The discovery was made when Jews exchanged and shared gifts during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

The gold coins were discovered by archaeologists in Yavne in central Israel. An area that would eventually be the site of a new residential community was excavated by a team led by Liat Nadav-Ziv and Dr. Elie Haddad.

On behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, they were conducting the examination. A large number of items were found by the team, but nothing unusual, until they discovered a small jug.

Nadav-Ziv said she was “cataloging a large number of artifacts discovered during the excavations when all of a sudden I heard shouts of joy”.

They came from Marc Molkondov, a veteran archaeologist, and he led them to a spot in the dig. A small cracked jug full of a number of coins had been unearthed. Clearly, this was a significant discovery.

The coins were examined by Dr Robert Kool, a coin specialist from the Israel Antiquities Authority. The coin  existed from the 7th-9th centuries AD and and date to the early Abbasid era.

As the arts, industry, and science flourished, the Abbasid Caliphate is known as an Islamic golden age.

A Gold Dinar from the reign of Caliph Harun A-Rashid (786-809 AD) was one of the most valuable coins was found in the dig.

According to The Jerusalem Post, he ruled the Abbasid Caliphate at the zenith of its strength and prosperity and is a “key figure in the classic collection of stories known as the Arabian Nights, also known as One Thousand and One Nights.”

During the major Jewish holiday, Chanukah, better known as Hanukkah, the coins were discovered.

Gifts of coins are given during this eight-day festival, and chocolate gold coins are exchanged occasionally. Kool is quoted by The Times of Israel reports that, “Without a doubt, this is a wonderful Chanukah present for us.”

Yavne’s excavation is not far from Tel or the mound, and a significant number of kilns have been found. The kilns were used to make pottery from the late Byzantine period to the early Abbasid period (600 to 900 AD).

It appears that the site was once an industrial center and pots, jars, and bowls were made.

Near one of the entrances of the kiln, the jug with the treasure trove was uncovered. The Jerusalem Post notes that “it may have been the ‘piggy-bank’ of the potter where he had stored his personal savings.” At some point, it is probable that the potter hid the coins and was unable to recover them.

The place in Yavne has a long history. During the Achaemenid Persian era (5th and 4th centuries BC), evidence was found that the region was the site of wine production. The wine was manufactured on a significant scale there. 

An significant discovery in itself is the jug filled with coins. The discovery allows us to understand more about an important industrial center in the Middle Ages and the role of the region in the Abbasid-flourished international trade network.

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It is expected that further excavations at the site would reveal more about the ancient and medieval history of Yavneh.

Greek Farmer Stumbles Upon Ancient Minoan Tomb Revealing Concealed Chamber

Greek Farmer Stumbles Upon Ancient Minoan Tomb Revealing Concealed Chamber

Sometimes you stumble upon remarkable pieces of long-forgotten history when you live in an area that was home to ancient civilizations. According to Smithsonianmag, that is what happened to one Greek farmer living in Crete, not far from the town of Ierapetra.

The farmer was parking his truck on his property under some olive trees when the ground underneath him began to give way.

He saw that a four-foot-wide hole had opened up in the ground after the farmer moved his vehicle to a safer location. He realised this was no ordinary hole when he peered inside.

The farmer informed Archaeologists from the local heritage ministry to investigate the site, and they started to excavate what turned out to be an ancient Minoan tomb, cut into the soft limestone that had been concealed for about 1,000 years.

Two adult Minoan men were positioned in highly embossed clay coffins called “larnakes,” popular in the Minoan culture of the Bronze Age.

These, in turn, were surrounded by funeral vases which shows that the men were of high status.

The length of the tomb was about 13 feet and 8 feet deep. the tomb was divided into three chambers that were accessible by a vertical tunnel that was sealed with clay after the tomb’s occupants were laid to rest.

In the northernmost chamber, one larnax was found, with a collection of burial vessels scattered around it.

The chamber at the southern end of the tomb contained the other larnax coffin, along with 14 amphorae and a bowl.

The tomb was believed to be about 3,400 years old and was preserved in almost perfect condition, making it a valuable discovery.

Bioarchaeologist Kristina Killgrove ( Image source )

Bioarchaeologist, Kristina Killgrove said in a statement that the ornamentation on the artefacts found in the tomb suggests that its occupants seemed to be wealthy men.

The fanciest tombs of the same era, however, had huge beehive-style domed walls that this tomb doesn’t have, so they probably weren’t among the wealthiest.

According to Killgrove, the discovery dates from the Late Minoan Period, also called the Late Palace Period.

Minoan civilization was very rich in the earlier part of that era, with amazing ceramics and art, but by the later part of the period, there is an apparent decline in wealth and prestige.

A combination of natural disasters, including a tsunami caused by an earthquake and the eruption of a nearby volcano, is believed to have weakened civilization.

For foreigners, this made it easier to come in and destroy the palaces.
Locals do not expect any more tombs of this type to be discovered, but the area is known to be the origin of a number of antiques, and as with this discovery, a great deal of them have been found by mistake.

Agrarian and tourism of Ierapetra, the Deputy Mayor of Local Councils, pointed out that the tomb had never been found by thieves, and went on to say that it possibly would have stayed uncovered forever, except for the broken irrigation pipe that was responsible for the softened and deteriorated soil in the olive grove of the farmer.

He went on to say how excited they were to have the tomb to further enrich their understanding of their ancient culture and history, and that the tomb was confirmation for those historians who did not believe that in that part of Crete there were Minoans.

It was previously believed that the Minoans only settled in the plains of the island and lowlands, not in the mountains surrounding Ierapetra, although there was an excavation in 2012 in the same area that uncovered a Minoan mansion.

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To see what more data can be gleaned from them, Killgrove will examine the skeletons. As a Bioarchaeology, she said, “I routinely pore over the skeletons of ancient populations so that I can learn about their diet, health, and lifestyles.” It is also hoped that investigation on Minoan and Mycenaean origins, would provide more information into the research.

Chennakeshava Temple, a 900-year-old centrepiece in Belur

Chennakeshava Temple, a 900-year-old centrepiece in Belur

Belur, a town of Karnataka, India, situated in the Hassan district is famous for one of the best examples of Hoysala architecture, the 900 years old Chennakeshava Temple also being the center of the Hoysala kingdom’s capital

It was established by the Hoysala Emperor, Vishnuvardhana, in the early 12th century, when the town of Belur was the capital city of Hoysala.

Chennakeshava Temple
The Courtyard of Chennakesava Temple ( Image source )

For more than three centuries, the Hoysalas administered the city and to this day, people from all around the country travel to the Chennakesava Temple, Belur to savor the exquisite artworks and sculptures and enjoy the spiritual beauty of the place from the ancient time.

HISTORY

The South Indian history of the Hoysala period started around 1000 CE and lasted until 1346 CE. They established about 1,500 temples in 958 centres during this era. In old inscriptions and medieval documents, Belur is called Beluhur, Velur or Velapura. It was the early capital of the Kings of Hoysala.

Chennakeshava Temple at Belur ( Image source )

Vishnuvardhana, who assumed power in 1110 CE, was among the Hoyasala rulers. After a huge military success in 1116 CE, he authorized the Chennakeshava temple dedicated to Vishnu in 1117 CE. Sri Vishnuvardhana built this temple to mark his conversion to Sri Vaishnavism after slipping under the influence of Ramanujaja, a great devotee of Lord Vishnu, who also was a virtuous king who’s had the name of Lord Vishnu in his.

It took 103 years to construct the Chennakeshava temple at Belur. Vishnuvardhana shifted his capital to Dvarasamudra, where the building of Shiva’s sacred Hoysaleswara Temple began. It continued to still be built until he died in 1140 CE.

His legacy was maintained by his heirs, who finished the Temple of Hoysaleswara in 1150 CE, and the Temple of Chennakesava, Somanathapura in 1258 CE. The Hoysalas appointed many renowned architects and craftsmen who created a new heritage of architecture.

THE ARCHITECTURAL PLAN

The Chennakesava temple, built along the river Yagachi, has perplexing structures that have become a significant piece of the historical backdrop of Karnataka.

Domical bay ceiling in the mantapa of Chennakeshava temple ( Image source )

This temple started by Vishnuvardhana in the twelfth century was accomplished by Bhallala and it wound up taking a time of 103 years to build.

The temple, crafted with soapstone, showcases a very intricate design developed on a classic Hoysala architecture layout. The size of the temple is what distinguishes it from several other Hoysala era temples and it is believed to become one of the dynasty’s earliest creations.

It was constructed after the finest architects and engineers were appointed from the region, who came up with designs that would be the complex’s centerpiece.

Vesara style vimana and stellate shrine in Chennakeshava temple at Somanathapura ( Image source )

Hand-chiseled by skilled craftsmen, the four central pillars highlight Madanikas or heavenly damsels. The Madanikas are in various postures, and the lady with a parrot and the warlock are among the notable attractions that lure visitors and art enthusiasts.

The temple was built 37 meters high at its tallest point. With beautifully crafted artwork, with dancing girls in different postures, the exterior walls are adorned.

Out of an aggregate of 48 columns, all exceptionally designed and crafted, one of the most outstanding attractions at the temple is the Narasimha pillar.

There will be many mentions and depictions of key events from both the Mahabharata as well as the Ramayana for tourists who are eager to study the specifics of the wall sculptures at the Temple.

In the midst of the thorough depictions, close examination will reveal subtle pieces of concealed erotica. Horses, elephants and lions are animals that commonly appear in the wall sculptures.

The entrances of the mandapa of the temple display a king of Hoysala killing what researchers believe is either a tiger or a lion. It is regularly accepted that the deficiency of the Cholas, whose imperial insignia is a tiger, might be an emblematic impression of this.

In the Temple’s vast complex, there are several other significant sculptures. The Gajasurasamhara (sculpture of Lord Shiva), a sculpture of Ravana, the killing of Mahishasura by Durga and several others are some of them.

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At the entrance gate, there are several small temples, too. The signatures left by the artists of the time are another interesting aspect of all of these sculptures, giving us further glimpse into the experiences and society during the period of Hoysala.

The Engrossing tale of Hampi, a city of incredible wealth

The Engrossing tale of Hampi, a city of incredible wealth

The original capital of the Vijayanagara Empire in India was Hampi. A site of incredible wealth. The apparently invincible palace with seven gates, surrounded by streets filled with gold, rubies, pearls, emeralds, Chinese porcelain and Arabian perfumes.

One of the most culturally prosperous place is Hampi, a village and temple town in Karnataka. Listed as a group of monuments in Hampi under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this city had been at some time one of the wealthiest cities in the world when it was at its best.

Virupaksha Temple in Hampi Built by Sri Krishna Devaraya Dedicated to Lord Shiva ( image source )

HAMPI- a tourist destination

Hampi, situated within the town of Vijayanagar, was among the most popular tourist destinations. Tourists visit Hampi from all around the world for its magnificent temples and heritage.

Vitthala Temple, Hampi ( Image source )

Hampi has a popular mythological tales associated with that as well. And if there is anything to go along with these beliefs, the Kishkinda Vanara Kingdom is said to be where Ram and Lakshman stayed when they headed out to search after Sita, who was abducted by Ravana. You can also find some spectacular mountains where Ram, Hanuman, Sugreeva, and Vali stayed.

Hampi was once the most searched places on the internet in Karnataka, as per stats from the year 2014. People visiting Hampi are mainly people who enjoy architecture and history. No wonder Hampi is such a popular destination for visitors from all around the world to explore. At any period of the year, one can Hampi and you can see the place crowding with people.

HISTORY

Hampi has traditionally been referred to as Pampa-kshetra and many other names in different regions.

Hampi has traditionally been referred to as Pampa-kshetra and many other names in different regions.
The term derives from Pampa, in Hindu mythology, another name of the goddess Parvati. Her parents hear and prevent her from her desire, however, she continues to pursue her desire. Shiva eventually marries Parvati after so many hardships. On Hemakuta Hill, Parvati later pursued her austere, yogini lifestyle to win and revert ascetic Shiva to householder living. Shiva was hereafter named as Pampapati.

Stone Chariot View ( Image source )

You will get a peek of the magnificent architectural style of those times as you pass through the ruins of Hampi’s elegant forts, palaces, and gateways. The temples reveal stories about the history of Hampi, which in the 14th century was a wealthy and prosperous kingdom, eventually ruined by the attacks of the Moghuls.

Hampi’s history goes back to the Neolithic and the Chalcolithic period of the 2nd as well as the 3rd century. This reality has been identified from the ceramic potteries from all those decades which have been discovered around.

At one time, Hampi had been one of the world’s largest commercial centers. Vijayanagar provided Hampi a huge amount of wealth, prestige, and grandeur. In those days, the majority of Hampi markets were still crowded and rampaging with customers and traders as well.

Not just Indians, but also people from different regions of the world, were these traders. The market grew enormously in no time and goods were exchanged for spices and cotton. The currencies were silver and gold in ancient times.

In architectural style, Hampi was indeed rich. The kings who ruled the country were great lovers of religion and architecture, and so most of the Kings put so much effort into establishing magnificent kingdoms and use one of the finest architectural designs that you can see now. During the reign of Krishna Deva Raya, who ruled this town between 1509 and 1529, Hampi had reached his pinnacle.

NARASIMHA VIGRAHA LOCATED IN HAMPI ( Image source )

It was the same time when, under the fair trade policies and many international agreements that were carried out, international trade had expanded and reached new heights. The Vijayanagara Empire nearly took up much of South India and even beyond during this era. Hampi, however, succumbed to the attacks of the Deccan Sultans in 1565 and was looted for a long period of about 6 months.

Hampi’s temples were destroyed and most of the markets were looted. It was one of Hampi’s biggest attacks, and with this, their golden era came to an abrupt end. The empire was ruled by several kings after the attacks; however, nobody could really bring recover the lost glory.

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The city worked fine, but it had lacked its strategic value. Even till date, in several parts of the city, the loss and deterioration of the 1565 attacks can be seen. Hampi had sparked some interest in the minds of archaeologists from abroad during the colonial era.

Chronicles of Ajanta Caves from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 CE in Maharashtra

Chronicles of Ajanta Caves from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 CE in Maharashtra.

A horseshoe-shaped group of rock-cut ancient temples, the Ajanta Caves, lies across the Wangorah River in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district.

The Ajanta Caves, found by accident in 1819 by a British soldier, have been in the country’s archaeological and historical forefront ever since.

Ajanta Caves ( image source )

DISCRETION

This marvelous piece of craft, architecture, and solitude, unidentified for more than 1,000 years other than wild animals, bugs, flash floods, phenomenal flora, and maybe the local Bhil people, was forgotten by those who built it as long ago as AD 500.

It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

The caves have been explored and examined by many researchers. Buddhist ideologies and traditions are filled with exquisite sculptures, carefully positioned designs, and paintings.

An integral part of the Ajanta Caves is the lifestyle of the monks and the specifics of the lives of Buddha and Buddhist tales.

Cave No. 26, Ajanta Caves ( image source )

A total of 30 caves are found, and each one has been numbered. However the numbering is not chronological, and a suffix has been applied to some caves that were later found, such as 15A.

HISTORY

There is a rather fascinating story of the caves. In a series of two stages, the caves were built centuries apart from each other. The first collection belongs to the 1st century CE in the 2nd century BCE, while the second set of caves was constructed in the 5th century.

The apsidal hall with plain hemispherical stupa at apse’s center, Cave 10 ( image source )

FIRST PERIOD CAVES:

The earliest built caves were numbered and few with a number succeeded by an alphabet, for example, Cave No. 9, and 15A. Many researchers and scholars believe that the caves of the Hinayana or Theravada group of Buddhism show a strong influence. There is still a debate as to know the exact construction time.

The construction time is estimated to be about 100 BCE to 100 CE by a team of researchers, including Walter Spink. This group of researchers believes that the caves were constructed under the Satavahana Dynasty’s jurisdiction. However, others claim the building era as back as the Mauryan Empire.

Entrance and inside hall, Cave 26 ( image source )

The main characteristic of the caves of the previous times is their emphasis on the design of the pagoda rather than on sculptures. Both caves 9 and 10 are stupa-based with the worship hall, and caves 12, 13, and 15A are based on the building style of the vihara (in which monks inhabit). Even in Buddhism, the Hinayana period did not serve Buddha as a Hindu Deity.

Buddha himself banned the painting and sculpting of his pictures, according to several records. In the later years, however, this changed as the Mahayana period of Buddhism began. The Hindu style of worship and monks strongly influenced the community to spread the message and teachings of Buddhism, succumbing to visual images of Buddha, his life, and stories.

SECOND PERIOD CAVES:

A large number of caves numbered 1-8, 11, and 14-29, were constructed between 400 CE and 500 CE during the Vakataka era under the supervision of Emperor Harishena.

It was accepted that the caves were constructed between the fourth and seventh hundreds of years more than quite a long while.

By then, Buddhism’s Mahayana sect, which loved and admired Buddha as a Deity, had emerged into portraiture. Therefore the caves of this century have Buddha’s life and tales sculpted and painted on the walls for the purpose of worship.

This period also began to accept women as missionaries, unlike the Hinayana tradition that excluded gratification, the form of Mahayana was open to the wishes of a man and a woman. These ideas were replicated by the paintings, sculptures, and works of art.

It is interesting to remember that not all caves are complete. The unfinished caves were abandoned after Harishena’s death, as per the study. Even though there is proof that perhaps the caves have been in usage, most likely by the monks who resided there, their numbers may have reduced with time.

According to Spink, for more than three centuries before the rule of Harishena, the caves of the first era were abandoned. The king commissioned the excavation of the new caves along with his Minister Varahadeva and Sub-King Upendragupta.

DISCOVERY

A British Born military officer, John Smith, was on a tiger search when he discovered the entrance of a cave high above the river Waghora (Tiger) which could just have been man-made.

Fumbling uphill with his team, Smith reached the cave and stumbled upon an incredible vaulted and sequences of column spaces, its walls canvassed in fading away art works. A eternal praying Buddha was facing a mound-like temple, or stupa, under a dome.

Smith engraved his name on a sculpture of a Bodhisattva, a figure speaking to one of the previous existences of the Buddha before he accomplished Nirvana. From that point forward, a large number of individuals have added their names as the Ajanta caves – a display of the most established and the absolute best of all Buddhist craftsmanship – has picked up popularity and became a convincing tourist spot.

Ajanta Caves entrance reliefs and artwork ( image source )

Headlines of Smith’s discovery quickly spread. In 1844, the Royal Asiatic Society appointed Major Robert Gill to develop recreations of wall paintings on canvas.

This was the beginning of measures to uncover and capture the religious halls (chaityagrihas) and shrines (viharas) that have been, after all, sculpted in 2 stages from solid rock, the first-five prayer halls-between the 1st and 2nd centuries BC, and the second-25 monasteries, or the lodgings of monks-in the 5th century AD.

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Gill was working amid truly daunting circumstances. It was not only sometimes blisteringly hot, however, but it was also a tiger land, and the furious Bhil people, whether Hindu or Mogul emperors or British military men of the 19th century, had never come to peace with intruders.