Sources of Ancient Indian History (Part-3) for Tripura PSC 2020

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Sources of Ancient Indian History (Part-III): Some important inscriptions (Indian History)

Some Important Inscriptions

  • Junagarh Rock Inscription

    • The Junagarh Rock inscription of Rudradaman is considered as an early example of chaste Sanskrit, written in mid-second century AD.

    • It mentions that one of the Chandragupta Maurya’s governors, Pushyagupta was responsible for building a dam on Sudarshana Lake near Girnar in Kathiawar.

    • From another inscription of Skandagupta, we came to know that this very dam was repaired during his reign, almost 800 years after it was built.

Mehrauli Inscription/Garuda Pillar

  • The Mehrauli Iron Pillar was originally placed on a hill near the Beas and was, later on, brought to Delhi.

  • This pillar credits Chandragupta with the conquest of the Vanga countries by his battling alone against the confederacy of the enemies united against him.

  • It also credits him for the conquest of Vakatkas in a fight.

  • This pillar was established by Chandragupta-II of Gupta dynasty as Vishnupada in the honour of Lord Vishnu.

Image Mehrauli Inscription/Garuda Pillar

Image Mehrauli Inscription/Garuda Pillar

Image Mehrauli Inscription/Garuda Pillar

Image Mehrauli Inscription/Garuda Pillar

Allahabad Pillar Inscription (Prayag Prasati)

  • This was issued by Samudragupta and was composed by Harisena.

  • It is written in very simple and refined Sanskrit in Champu Kavya style.

  • It lists various achievements of Samudragupta.

  • This inscription is a eulogy of Samudragupta and mainly mentions about the conquests of Samudragupta and boundaries of the Gupta Empire.

  • As mentioned in this inscription, Samudragupta defeated nine kings in north, 12 kings in South.

  • He reduced all the Atavika states to vassalage.

  • According to this inscription more than five states in the frontier states surrendered and accepted the suzerainty of Samudragupta.

  • Samudragupta had close contact with the kingdom of Ceylon and South-East Asian colonies.

  • The eulogy of Harisena describes him as a hero of 100 battles. He performed Ashvamedha Yajna; this had been testified by a seal of Samudragupta bearing a Horse.

Image of Allahabad Pillar Inscription

Image of Allahabad Pillar Inscription

Nasik Inscription

  • The achievements of Gautamiputra Satkarni were mentioned in Nasik Inscription that was composed by his mother Gautami Balasri.

  • The Nasik Prasasti describes Gautamiputra as the ruler of the Aparanta, Anupa, Saurashtra, Kukura, Akara and Avanti.

  • It describes, Gautamiputra defeated the Saka king Nahapana and restored the prestige of his dynasty.

Nanaghat Inscription

  • The Nasik and Nanaghat inscriptions are the major sources that give detailed information about the Satavahana Empire.

  • The Nasik inscription was issued by Gautami Balasari.

  • The Nanaghat inscription was issued by Naganika.

Hathigumpha Inscription

  • The Hatigumpha inscription of Kharavela is the notable inscriptions which throw much light on ancient Indian history.

  • The Hathigumpha Inscription ("Elephant Cave" inscription), from Udayagiri, near Bhubaneswar in Odisha, was inscribed by Kharavela, the then Emperor of Kalinga, during 2nd century BCE.

  • The inscription is dated 13th year of Kharavela's reign, which has been dated variously by scholars from the 2nd century BCE to 1st century CE.

  • It is comparable only to the inscriptions of Ashoka and Samudragupta in respect of its historical significance.

  • No other inscription of India presents the details of the year-wise achievements of rulers as does the Hathigumpha Inscription.

Image Hathigumpha Inscription

Image Hathigumpha Inscription

Aihole Inscription

  • This inscription was written by the Ravikirti, court poet of Chalukya king, Pulakeshi II who reigned from 610 to 642 CE.

  • These poetic verses (Shilalekh) of Ravikirti, which are in praise of the king can be seen in the Meguti temple.

  • This inscription was written in Sanskrit.They are in Kannada script.

  • As per this inscription, Harshavardhana was defeated by Pulikeshin II.

  • And it also mentions about the victory of Chalukyas on Pallavas.

  • This inscription mentions about the shifting of the capital from Aihole to Badami by Pulikeshin.

  • There is also a mention about the poet Kalidasa.

Image Aihole Inscription

Image Aihole Inscription

  • Poetry on stone at the Meguti temple Aihole

Gwalior Inscription

  • The Gwalior Inscription of Mihirakula is a Sanskrit inscription recording the construction of a Surya temple from stone.

Bhitari Stone Pillar

  • The Bhitari pillar inscription of Skandagupta was discovered in Bhitari, Uttar Pradesh, and dates to the reign of Gupta ruler Skandagupta (c. 455 – c. 467 CE). It gives a chronology of Gupta rulers. It also mentions the conflict between Skandagupta and the Pushyamitras as well as the Hunas.

Image Bhitari Stone Pillar

Image Bhitari Stone Pillar

Uttaramerur Inscription

  • Cholar Period

    • This temple inscription describes a self-governance system existing around 7th to 9th century CE.

    • Around 25 inscriptions, spanning reigns of around four Pallava kings, have been found at Utharamerur.

    • It mentions about Chola village assemblies. They indicate that Utharamerur had two village assemblies: Sabha and Ur. The Sabha was an exclusively Brahmin (priestly class) assembly, while the Ur was made up of people belonging to all the classes.

    • The earliest surviving inscriptions from Utharamerur date to the reign of the Pallava king Dantivarman (795-846 CE).

Besnagar Inscription

  • It is located near Vidisa (MP).

  • It mentions Heliodorus, the ambassador of king Antialcidas called himself Bhagvata and erected garudadhvaja in his honour.

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