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Sarasvati Civilization - Printable Version
Sarasvati Civilization - Printable Version

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Sarasvati Civilization - Guest - 03-27-2007

Thread to discuss Saraswati Civilization

Let's start with some of Dr Kalayanaramanji excellent work:

Some links as starter on the subject:

There could be overlap with topics like AIT and IEL, feel free to cross-post.

Sarasvati Civilization - ramana - 03-30-2007

What does Dr. Kalyanraman think of this post? Does Sumerian and Brahmi lead to such a decipherment?

<!--QuoteBegin-Bharatvarsh+Feb 20 2007, 02:11 AM-->QUOTE(Bharatvarsh @ Feb 20 2007, 02:11 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->German Indologist claims to have decoded Indus scripts

Panaji, Feb 07: Renowned German Indologist and scientist of religion, Egbert Richter Ushanas today claimed that he has unravelled the mystery of Indus Valley scripts by decoding major seals and tablets found during various archaeological excavations.

"Already 1,000-odd seals are decoded and of them, 300-odd are printed in monography -- the message of Indus seals and tablets," stated Richter, who has also decoded tablets from Easter Island in Pacific Ocean and disc of Phaistos on Island of Crete in Meditarrenean Sea.

"All the seals are based on Vedas -- Rig Veda and Atharva Veda," Richter told a news agency here.

He is here to attend the International Indology Conference, beginning from February 7.

Richter, who began decoding the mysteries behind the seals way back in 1988, feels that after decoding 1,000-odd seals, there is no need to decode the rest.

"You need not eat all apples of world to understand the apple. Few apples are enough," he quipped.

The path-breaking decoding by Richter is based on the Sumerian and Brahmi script wherein he has detected the lost meaning of the seals which can be traced to Vedic era.

A Vedic scholar himself, Richter during the course of unravelling the Indus Valley mysteries, has translated all the important Vedic hymns and is a Sanskrit exponent too.

Bureau Report<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> I think Richter will now be labelled as Hindutva fascist too.

Sarasvati Civilization - Guest - 04-02-2007

In 2500bc,Egipt had a 1 milion people population,Sumer 0,5 milion;Saraswati an least 2 milions.

Festive turban

similar whit harappa head wear

Sarasvati Civilization - ramana - 09-22-2007

Indus clip art for children

Dont tell me your kids had no links for this!

Sarasvati Civilization - Guest - 09-24-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Sarasvati project is on, under a new name</b>
Monday, September 24, 2007  04:59 IST
NEW DELHI: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has quietly continued with its controversial search for the mythical river Sarasvati despite strong disapproval from the UPA government.

<b>Though the project has been officially denied funding, parts of it have been relabelled the Ghaggar project to continue with the research.</b>

The Ghaggar is an "intermittent river" that flows westwards during the monsoons from Himachal Pradesh towards Rajasthan.

<b>The Sarasvati heritage project was launched in 2003-04 by Jagmohan, culture and tourism minister in the BJP-led NDA government, to prove that the Sarasvati mentioned in the Rig Veda was the same as the lost river connected to the Harappan civilisation.</b>

The project had strong support from the Sangh Parivar and Hindu historians for obvious reasons. Left and non-Sangh Parivar historians do not deny the existence of a dried up river near old Harappan sites, but say that it would be a stretch to connect this river to the mythical Sarasvati. Not unlike the Adam's Bridge-Ram Setu controversy, this is another project where faith muddies the waters of research.

In November 2003, Parliament's standing committee on tourism, culture and transport, which had begun an inquiry into ASI's functioning, sought details on the project. With a change in government at the centre in May 2004, funds were withdrawn and the project was officially abandoned.

But the ASI funded the project from its own resources. "We wanted to bring the search to a logical conclusion," RS Bisht, former joint director, ASI, who coordinated the project during the NDA regime, told DNA.

Sarasvati Civilization - ramana - 09-24-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Is Ghaggar Sarasvati? It depends whom you ask
Monday, September 24, 2007  09:28 IST

Mayank Tewari

ASI camouflaged the search for Sarasvati to make it palatable to the new political dispensation. <!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo-->

NEW DELHI: <b>Despite strong disapproval from the UPA government, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) decided to go ahead with its controversial search for the mythical river Sarasvati. </b>

Enquiries by DNA based on a detailed perusal of official documents and extensive interviews with a cross-section of ASI officials show that the ASI has effectively camouflaged the search for Sarasvati.

"The project has been kept going by renaming it to make it palatable to the new political dispensation at the centre, and by breaking it into several smaller projects across Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan," said a senior official of the ASI, who declined to be identified. <b>Bisht confirms this. “It was suggested by many people that to counter Leftist propaganda we should call the Sarasvati (project) as Ghaggar in future proposals." </b>

<b>Like Ram Setu, there are deep divisions among historians and archaeologists over the existence of the river Sarasvati. While Left and mainstream historians point out that there is no evidence to show that the river ever existed, right-wing scholars argue that Harappan civilisation's lost river was indeed the Sarasvati. </b>

“Ghaggar is Sarasvati," asserts S Kalyanaraman, director of the privately-funded Sarasvati Research Centre, Chennai. <b>Outside the Sangh Parivar, the consensus is that there is indeed a lost river from the Harappan civilisation, but it has been identified as the original and bigger version of today's Ghaggar.</b> <i>{Psy-ops!}</i>

"The underlying historical assumption made by a section of ASI officials is that the mythical Sarasvati and the real Ghaggar are one and the same. No scientific evidence to prove this has ever been found," says Dr RS Fonia, director, exploration and excavation, ASI.

The ASI admitted before a standing committee of the Parliament that "no academic body or university has recommended the project." <b>The Parliamentary standing committee asked the ASI not to pursue such projects, yet excavations continued.</b> <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Bascially the DNA is against the pursuit of study of Saraswati/Ghaggar links. It will snowball into another Ram Setu fiasco.

Sarasvati Civilization - Guest - 09-24-2007

It must be pointed that it was a meager budget of Rs 4 Crore, <b>I beleive</b>, that ASI wanted sanctioned for continuation of the Saraswati project, and was denied.

Setusamudram which got the immediate nod has a budget of Rs 24,000 Crore.

In last session of parliament - I read on rajya sabha website - that Sitaram Yechuri asked Culture Ministry, as to who was the individual behind the approval to secretly continue the Saraswati project and what was the approval process. I don't recall what was the answer. He wants to go after the guy.

Sarasvati Civilization - Guest - 09-27-2007

x-post from another thread since it's relevant here,
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Bogus lecture by Irfan Habib at the Kolkata Indan History Congress meet was demolished by Prof. Shivaji Singh, President, Akhila Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Yojana (of which Sarasvati Reseach is a part) -- on Nov. 17, 2006 at Kurukshetra adhives'an. Here are the links. Scroll down to read:

Hindi version is at

Sarasvati Civilization - ramana - 09-27-2007

Two pdfs of research by Peter Damerow:

1) Origins of Writing as a problem of Historical Epistmology

2) PreHistory and cognitive development

Peter Damerow posits that Indus script is a precuniform script.

I would like Kalygaru to take a dekko.

Sarasvati Civilization - Guest - 09-27-2007

Saraswathi Civilization:

I read through the thread and most of the links, including Sri.Kalyanaraman's website which is exhaustive. The speech by Sri Shivaji Singh was educational too. Mind you I am quite new to the Saraswathi Civilization discussion and a lot of below may be due to that (in which case just ignore it and I'll catch up). But I'd like crystalize what I am seeing and some questions.

1. What exactly is the controversy? Are there people denying that River Saraswathi existed or that there was a significant civilization that thrived along its course?

If so why wouldn't they believe the overwhelming evidence, viz. a) the satellite images b) the innumerable references and descriptions in the scripts and literature, c) the expedition and associated photographs, d) the periodic element analysis of the Pokharan samples.

2. Who exactly has a vested interest in denying that Saraswathi once so existed? I am getting the impression (please don't go 'that's right Einsten' now) this somehow works against the Aryan invasion theory - is that correct? If so how exactly does it debunk? Just because Vedas refer to Saraswathi how does it debunk AIT? (Or is there a incompatible timeline in which case yes)

3. Finally, is my understanding of the chronology of the knowledge about Saraswathi correct - that is, we only know since the 1980's about the preponderance of evidence? In that case why exactly would any Indian oppose giving up the old theory?

4. If the govt is not pushing deep and urgent research it is unconscionable. But then how come prior govts or private orgs (and universities) haven't done their bit in scale? Seems to me this is just the sort of thing that would rejuvenate even cynical population. And there are so many PhDs to be made, discoveries to be published - just look at the number excavations in Egypt over so many decades!

Sarasvati Civilization - Guest - 09-30-2007

As cleverer people haven't responded yet, I might as well try. I've got a moment.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Are there people denying that River Saraswathi existed or that there was a significant civilization that thrived along its course?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Yes. Psecular-, christo- and islamicommunists (such as the likes of Irfan Habib). And one can drop the word communist from that list to get the other variations. Also, we can include the christo government of India, and the bribable bureaucrats appointed to make decisions at ASI. (See Ramar Sethu thread where Viren's post #43/Mudy's #44 contains the writings from an actual archaeologist at ASI on who is and who isn't in charge at the ASI.)

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->If so why wouldn't they believe the overwhelming evidence, viz. a) the satellite images b) the innumerable references and descriptions in the scripts and literature, c) the expedition and associated photographs, d) the periodic element analysis of the Pokharan samples.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->4. If the govt is not pushing deep and urgent research it is unconscionable.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->You are assuming they are after the truth. That is not the case. The thought of truth is sending shivers of fear up their spine - they are unable to sleep, and are always dreaming up new excuses. For an example of this behaviour, see the travesty related to ASI on Ayodhya compared to ASI on Ramar Sethu (Viren's post 201 in the "Ayodhya continual updates thread" which summarizes the situation perfectly. See also Bodhi's post 202 that follows it.)

The whole point is simple: if the opponents of truth admit to Saraswati (or, at least, were to allow investigating it and then publicising the actual discoveries), then they'll have to give public credence to everything else that the Hindu side has requested research on/provided evidence for: which includes Ayodhya and other stuff. And that's something *else* they cannot do.

There's the other ultra-major reason for stopping investigations on Saraswati or (if research can't be prevented) to rename it to something less indicative/harmful-to-their-intentions like 'Ghaggar' and pretend the two have nothing to do with each other. As you have understood, the matter concerns the AIT. And not just the AIT either, because the AIT is linked by a chain of domino pieces to that fundamental cornerstone of western (pseudo)history: the Oryan fable. No AIT means no super-'white' Oryans who created all civilisation and gave birth to yoga, all epics from Greek to Indian, and the most prized of all IE languages (Samskritam).

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->2. Who exactly has a vested interest in denying that Saraswathi once so existed? I am getting the impression (please don't go 'that's right Einsten' now) this somehow works against the Aryan invasion theory - is that correct? If so how exactly does it debunk? Just because Vedas refer to Saraswathi how does it debunk AIT? (Or is there a incompatible timeline in which case yes)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Well, you're faster in the uptake than I am, for sure.

AIT presupposes a W to E movement into India - anything else is considered unacceptable and outright blasphemy. Saraswati is the river praised as the greatest in the earliest portions of the oldest Vedam (Rg). In later portions of the same, the Indus was taken up as the greatest. Indus lies W of Saraswati: meaning Rg Vedam indicates an E to W movement. Result: major indological air bubble shattered, yet its defenders want to pretend it's still afloat. And hence all the hue and cry over "it can't be an Indian Saraswati mentioned in the Rg; it *must* be some Afghan river ....yes, it must be a Harahvaiti, today identified with <some river name - sorry, not stored in my memory registers at the moment>" And when that wish didn't pan out either (because the Afghan River did not at all match with the situational/geographic description given of the Vedic Saraswati in the Rg, whereas the Vedic river did match with the Indian Saraswati), they've gone back to outright denial of Indian Saraswati and all kinds of other desperations.
But then liars must ever keep lying; whilst our side has always stood by the one claim it ever made.

We cannot be allowed to be right, so their tactic is either: (1) keep the issue hidden; (2) if that fails, toss up next excuse; (3) if next excuse doesn't hold up for long, repeat 2 with new excuse - until people see through the game; (4) Stop Saraswati research in India; (5) If 4 doesn't work, the new plan is to rename the project to 'Ghaggar' and create a whole new story about this river, and in that way disconnect it with Saraswati altogether. A secularised Ghaggar is safe to be reintroduced into Indian academia, you see. Whereas a Rg Vedic Saraswati - that has so many colossal implications if ever admitted to - is in all ways utterly unacceptable.

Sarasvati Civilization - Guest - 10-01-2007

what about the linguistic argument?
All the languages in India have a characteristic set of "retroflex" or "lingual" consonsants, t., t.h, d., d.h, n., and s., corresponding to the ordinary "dentals," t, th, d, dh, n, and s. These do not occur in other Indo-European languages, which is hardly possible if Indo-European languages had originated with those sounds in India. Ockham's Razor requires the simpler theory that, if no Indo-European languages but in India have retroflexes, then Proto-Indo-European did not have retroflexes. By the same token, the contrast between the Indo-European vowels a, e, and o has been lost in all Indo-Aryan languages (which means Iranian as well as Indian languages), which only have a. Linguistically, it is easy enough for the three vowels to simplify to one, but unheard of for one to differentiate into three without being the effect of some phonetic or morphological environment. No theory of such an environment, as far as I know, has been suggested as part of the Indian-origin theory. Instead, e, and o actually did reemerge in Sanskrit from the diphthongs ai, and au, respectively. Much the same process can be seen in modern Arabic, where bêt, "house," develops from Classical Arabic bayt.


Sarasvati Civilization - Guest - 10-01-2007

I no longer presuppose any IEL, so I'm not the person to reply. But am writing in just a minor correction:
<!--QuoteBegin-Honsol+Oct 1 2007, 01:25 PM-->QUOTE(Honsol @ Oct 1 2007, 01:25 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Indo-Aryan languages (which means Iranian as well as Indian languages)[right][snapback]73758[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Indo-Iranian = Iranian + Indo-Aryan.
Indo-Aryan are those Indian languages classed as IE.
(So, Indo-Aryan does not include Iranian languages.) 'Indo-Iranian' is the umbrella-term that you were referring to, I think.

Sarasvati Civilization - Guest - 10-09-2007

came via email
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In the demise of Dr. SP Gupta, the world has lost an energetic, fervent scholar devoted to archaeological studies. On a personal note, I am beholden to him for the guidance provided by him on the historicity of Rama Setu and related archaeological perspectives of Roman trade across the Hindumahaasagar; his monograph on Indus-Sarasvati civilization is what guided me into extensive explorations into the Vedic River Sarasvati and re-christening of the Indus civilization as Sarasvati civilization with over 80% of the civilization sites having been found on the banks of River Sarasvati. His ongoing work on the Atlas of the civilization has to be carried forward; this will be a true tribute to this aatman who has now merged with the paramaatman.
dhanyavaadah. Kalyanaraman
October 14, 2007 Obituary Noted archaeologist Dr S.P. Gupta is no more
Renowned archaeologist and founder of the Indian History and Culture Society, New Delhi, Dr Swaraj Prakash Gupta passed away on October 3 night at a private nursing home. He was unwell for a fortnight, suffering from acute asthma and breathlessness. He was 76.

Swaraj Prakash Gupta (born 1931) is a well-known Indian archaeologist and art historian. He has done extensive studies on the Indus Valley Civilization and in South Asia. He was also the editor of several volumes of the Puratattva, the Bulletin of the Indian Archaeological Society, He is the Chairman of the Indian Archaeological Society in New Delhi. He was awarded the Mortimer Wheeler Prize.

Elements of Indian Art : Including Temple Architecture, Iconography and Iconometry/S.P. Gupta and Shashi Prabha Asthana. New Delhi, D.K. Printworld, 2002, xiv, 146 p., maps, ills., ISBN 81-246-0213-1 and ISBN 81-246-0214-X
1984. Frontiers of the Indus Civilization (B.B. Lal and S.P. Gupta, Eds.). New Delhi: Indian Archaeological Society.
Gupta, S.P. (ed.). 1995. The lost Sarasvati and the Indus Civilization. Kusumanjali Prakashan, Jodhpur.
Disposal of the Dead and Physical Types in Ancient India (1971)
Tourism, Museums and Monuments (1975)
Archaeology of Soviet Central Asia and the Indian Borderlands (2 volumes) (1978)
The Roots of Indian Art (1980) (French edition: 1990)
Cultural Tourism in India (2002)
S.P. Gupta. The dawn of civilization, in G.C. Pande (ed.)(History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization, ed., D.P. Chattophadhyaya, vol I Part 1) (New Delhi:Centre for Studies in Civilizations, 1999)

Sarasvati Civilization - Guest - 10-24-2007

Guys my blood is boiling after hearing the MOFO COMMIES and their actions <!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo-->, is there now ay to properly revive the truth and the project? How about filing a PIL in the Supreme Court?

Sarasvati Civilization - Guest - 11-14-2007

Sarasvati civilization museum in Vadodara

Sarasvati Civilization - ramana - 12-14-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-k.ram+Dec 12 2007, 12:13 AM-->QUOTE(k.ram @ Dec 12 2007, 12:13 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Beyond the Holy Land: Indus Valley</b>

Sarasvati Civilization - Guest - 01-19-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>सरस्वती के उद्गम स्थल में फूटे गर्म जल के स्त्रोत! Jan 19, 11:10 am</b>

<b>यमुनानगर [राकेश भारतीय]। जिला मुख्यालय से लगभग 40 किलोमीटर दूर आदि बद्री क्षेत्र में स्थित सरस्वती नदी के उद्गम स्थल के निकट आदि बद्री व केदार नाथ मंदिर के पीछे एक पहाड़ी गिरने से वहां से गर्म पानी के स्त्रोत फूट पड़े है। यहां से निकल रहा पानी स्वाद में नमकीन व गर्म है। हैरत की बात तो यह है कि इसके पास ही बह रही नदी का पानी जहां एक दम ठंडा व मीठा है वहीं नमकीन व गर्म पानी के स्त्रोत निकलने से लोग तरह-तरह के कयास लगा रहे है। </b>

पहाड़ी गिरने की घटना दो दिन पूर्व की है। गर्म व नमकीन पानी के चर्चे दो दिन में ही जिले भर में फैलने के अलावा साथ लगते हिमाचल, उत्तर प्रदेश व उत्तरांचल में भी पहुंच गए जिससे बड़ी संख्या में श्रद्धालु इस अजूबे को देख रहे है। धार्मिक आस्थाओं में विश्वास रखने वाले लोगों का मानना है कि यह गर्म पानी की धाराएं वासु धारा है तथा द्वापर युग कालीन है। दूसरी ओर आज कई टीमों ने इस स्थान का दौरा किया तथा यहां के सैंपल लेकर चंडीगढ़, दिल्ली व करनाल जांच के लिए भेजे गए है।

बताया जाता है कि यहां यमुनानगर जिला प्रशासन की टीम के साथ-साथ अंबाला व देहरादून से भी कुछ टीमें आई थी। <b>उल्लेखनीय है कि आदि बद्री वह तीर्थ स्थान है जहां इसरो ने भी उपग्रह से प्राप्त चित्रों के आधार पर इसी क्षेत्र में सरस्वती का उद्गम स्थल माना है तथा उसके पश्चात ही वैज्ञानिकों ने गर्भ में छिपी सरस्वती की धारा को सरोवर तक पहुंचाया तथा सरस्वती नदी की खोज की। इसके अतिरिक्त यहां आदि बद्री नारायण का प्राचीन ऐतिहासिक मंदिर है तथा पौराणिक कथाओं के अनुसार महाभारत काल में सबसे पहले भगवान बद्री नारायण आदि बद्री के मंदिर में आए थे तथा ऋषि वेद व्यास ने इसी स्थान पर बैठक कर श्रीमद्भागवत पुराण की रचना की थी। इसके अतिरिक्त आदि शंकराचार्य जी ने संवत 1200 ईस्वी पूर्व इस स्थान की खोज की थी जिसके पश्चात इस मंदिर का निर्माण किया गया था। इसके पूरब में केदार नाथ का मंदिर है तो उत्तर में मंत्रा देवी का मंदिर है। </b>

क्या कहते है जिला उपायुक्त:

-इस विषय में जब जिला उपायुक्त नितिन यादव से संपर्क किया गया तो उन्होंने माना कि आदि बद्री क्षेत्र में गर्म जल के स्त्रोत निकले है। उन्होंने कहा कि गर्म जल के स्त्रोत मिलते ही हमने वहां का दौरा किया तथा उसके सैंपल करवाए। उन्होंने कहा कि हो सकता है कि धरती के गर्भ में ओर भी इस प्रकार के स्त्रोत हों। यादव ने कहा कि हमने दो दिन पूर्व ही इस पर काम शुरू कर दिया था तथा बुधवार को भी हमने पानी की जांच करवाई। उन्होंने कहा कि पानी की दो तरह की जांच करवाई जा रही है। पहली जांच पब्लिक हैल्थ से करवाई गई है जिसमें पानी में कई तरह के साल्ट पाए गए है जो काफी गहरे भी है। द्वापर युगकालीन पानी होने की बात पूछने पर उन्होंने कहा कि यह तो अभी नहीं कहा जा सकता कि स्त्रोतों से निकल रहा गर्म व नमकीन जल कितना पुराना है लेकिन इसके पानी पर कई बिंदुओं से अध्ययन किया जा रहा है। उन्होंने कहा कि जिला प्रशासन ने ओर अधिक विस्तृत जानकारी के लिए पानी के नमूनों को दिल्ली की लैब में भेजा है और वहां से रिपोर्ट आने पर ही इस जल बारे विस्तृत रूप से कुछ बताया जा सकेगा।

Sarasvati Civilization - ramana - 01-21-2008

Interesting comments on dies found at Harappa and a picture of Indian game of snakes and ladders.

Sarasvati Civilization - Guest - 02-12-2008

email forwarded..

Sanghol archaeological discoveries and Sarasvati civilization

Sanghol stupa is comparable to the so-called "circular workers' platforms" of Sarasvati civilization.

For a stunning array of platforms at Harappa see:      Circular working platforms, Harappa

These platforms were inside houses and small courtyards as in a circular platform discovered in Padri, Gujarat.

I suggest that these platforms were used for the same purpose for which the stupa circular formations were used in later historical periods (as in Sanghol stupa to hold relics). The purpose: to hold in the centre, a pot containing precious lapidary manufactures, including alloyed metal artefacts of the metals age of Sarasvati civilization. See Plan of Vat's excavations showing circular platforms. In some cases remnants of the baked brick walls that probably surrounded each platform can be seen on the plan, although earlier and later walls are also shown. From M.S. Vats (1940) Excavations at Harappa. The baked brick walls surrounding each platform may indicate that the platforms were within houses or courtyards. This evidence notes "A large concentration of straw impressions was found in one part of the floor next to the platform, but there is no evidence of chaff from processing grain as was suggested by earlier excavators."  notes: "Greenish clay layers were found in a deep depression in the center of the HARP-excavated platform.."The straw impressions may relate to preparation of packages for exporting the manufactured artefacts.

A circular platform was also discovered at Adbadri on the banks of River Sarasvati.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

A treasure from the past

Significant excavations dating back to the Harappan period have added to the lure of Sanghol, near Chandigarh, says Seema Chopra The remains of the stupa at Sanghol

A raised platform containing the casket with relics of Buddhist scholar Bhadras

HOW many of us are aware that the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation stretched into and beyond Punjab? A drive on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road leads to Khamano tehsil and finally to the tranquil beauty of Sanghol (Uchha Pind) where time stands still. Sanghol was a part of the Harappan civilisation and later a part of the kingdom of the Kushan and Gupta dynasty in the medieval times. The Kushan rulers, primarily Buddhists, built stupas for monks. The digging by the Archaeology Department has yielded objects that go back to the ancient Harappan civilisation as well as Buddhist rulers of the medieval times.

Situated less than an hour's drive from Chandigarh or alternatively an hour's drive from Ludhiana, it is an ideal outing for a day. It could also serve as a tourist attraction for Indians and hundreds of NRIs who visit Punjab every year.

First, a brief background of the remarkable civilisation that once existed in these areas of Punjab. After Mauryan emperor Ashoka, several groups like the Indo-Greeks, Sakas, Parths and Kushans from Central Asia and China found their way into Aryavrat (India). Kanishka was a prominent ruler of the Kushan dynasty and a follower of Mahayana Buddhism. He encouraged construction of several stupas of magnificent architecture. Gandhar, on one end of the empire, and Mathura on the other end were the two main centres of art from which developed the Gandhara School of Art and Mathura School of Art. The influence of both these styles can be seen in various relics discovered at Sanghol.

The excavated remains of the once grand circular stupa made of rows of burnt brick spread over a large area is now within a fence. The Archaeological Survey of India made a significant yet fascinating discovery of a stupa built in the 1st or the 2nd century by the Kushan dynasty. The remains of the stupa indicate that Sanghol was an important centre of Buddhism. There was a raised lime-plastered-platform in the centre of the stupa and stairs that led up to it. The centre of the platform contained ashes of Buddhist scholar Bhadras. The ashes were found in a casket whose lid was inscribed with Kharoshthi script. Now, the small pit at that spot is covered by glass to protect it. The inside of the huge stupa had three concentric walls intersected with spoke-like radial walls that formed a series of chambers created by clever mathematical calculations.

Another site containing the remains of three moats that were used for fortification has also been discovered. According to the Arthashastra, three moats were required to be dug around palaces and forts for safety from the approaching enemy.

Near the main stupa, several items of historical value were recovered from a pit. They were packed in that pit but why did someone do this is a question that is difficult to answer. There were 117 carved sculptures and other items that were perfect examples of the Mathura School of Kushan Art. Most of the excavated items were made of red stone and included 69 pillars, 13 coping stones and 35 cross bars. The stone slabs recovered were engraved with scenes from the Jataka Tales, and had figures of Yakshis. Several ancient gold coins, semi-precious stones, ivory and terracotta figurines and inscribed seals were also found by the ASI.

Nearby, upon digging another mound, remains of a large palace of the Kushan era were found. This discovery possibly speaks of a palace near the stupa. The brick wall remains of the palace enclose 'fire altars'. Cisterns of different sizes have also been found.

After exploring the stupas and the palace, it is worthwhile to visit the museum with the beautiful garden close by. The red and cream-coloured circular Sanghol Museum, established in April 1990, showcases ancient artefacts. The board outside displays information about the excavations at Sanghol. There are 15,000 items in the museum. The master chart at the entrance gives the history of Sanghol. Each item carries a label bearing its name and period, which has been carefully ascertained by the carbon dating method.

The lower floor has an important exhibit of pottery belonging to the period between 2000 BC and 1200 B.C. The rest of the pottery display goes back to the times of Mauryan, Sung, Gupta and Mughal rulers. Also on display are toys, bangles, beads, seals, and coins — made of terracotta, ivory and metal. Inscriptions in Brahmi and Kharoshti script can be seen on a few items.

The coins are interestingly engraved with images of Shiva, Lakshmi, Nandi and monarchs of those times. The museum also displays 'The Head of Buddha' recovered from the Sanghol stupa.

About Sanghol museum, see The Mahaummagga Jataka in Kushan Sculpture from Sanghol  By R. Banerjee

Kushana Sculptures from Sanghol (1st-2nd Century A.D.) A Recent Discovery
by Gupta,S.P.

Publisher Information:
National Museum Janpath New Delhi, India 1985

This is a very good softcover copy in stiff card covers which are faded. Very clean inside and out, but a slight abrasion to the front endpaper. Spine not creased, binding tight. Edited by Gupta. Essays by Yog Raj, G.B.Sharma, M.S.Nagaraja Rao, Shashi Asthana, Gupta, A.S.Bisht, Geetika Kalha, and Man Mohan Singh. The text discusses the recent sculpture discoveries at Sanghol.