Sources of Ancient Indian History (Part-3) for Competitive Exams 2019

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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

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

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

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

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

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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