The team of Archaeological Survey of India have discovered another gem from India’s ground. In a remarkable finding, 26 temples, 26 caves, 2 monasteries, 2 votive stupas, 24 inscriptions, 46 sculptures, other scattered remains and 19 water structure have been recorded from Bandhavgarh Forest Reserve, Madhya Pradesh.
The time period of the findings covered the reigns of the kings – Bhimsena, Maharaja Pothasiri, Maharaja Bhattadeva. According to ASI, the places deciphered in the inscriptions are Kaushami, Mathura, Pavata (Parvata), Vejabharada and Sapatanaairikaa.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has covered nearly 170 square km of area falling in the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve over months-long exploration of the region, a feat which was undertaken for the first time since 1938. The whole exploration drive was calculated by the Jabalpur Circle of ASI, The exercise was held from May 20-June 27. In the exploration, over 26 temples, 26 caves, 2 monasteries, 2 votive stupas, 24 inscriptions, 46 sculptures, other scattered remains and 19 water structures were recorded. Many rare chaitya-shaped doors, coins, etc. were also found, especially, the exercise also reported Gupta period remains such as door jambs, besides 26 ancient temples/remains of Kalachuri period, i.e. 9th-11th century AD. Addition, The team reported finding several ancient sculptures, including large monolithic sculptures of various avatars of Lord Vishnu like ‘Varaha’ and ‘Matsya’, and ‘board games made in natural caves’.
Minister For Culture, Tourism And Development Of North Eastern Region, G Kishan Reddy took to Twitter and shared images of the structures explored by the ASI team. “In Bandhavgarh Forest Reserve, remarkable archaeological remains are unravelled by @ASIGoI. 26 temples, 26 caves, 2 monasteries, 2 votive stupas, 24 inscriptions, 46 sculptures, other scattered remains & 19 water structures are recorded. The Varah here is one of the largest,” he wrote.
According to S K Bajpai, who led the exploration, many structures were documented, and reported including ancient caves, temples, Buddhist remains, maths, sculptures, water bodies, mural inscriptions in old scripts like Brahmi and Nagari.
Significance of the finding
The the remains of the Buddhist structures in the region are significant development in its own. It has been found in a place where a Hindu dynasty ruled. This suggests religious harmony. However, who built these Buddhist structures remains an unanswered questioned and further raises related questions and scope of exploration.
Further, the names of old cities like Mathura and Kaushambi, located in Uttar Pradesh, have been found in the ancient inscriptions. These places are far off from Madhya Pradesh. Thus, the exploration puts light on trade and other ties between the people in the region. Mathura’s name was mentioned in Brahmi script, in addition to inscriptions in Nagari and Shankhalipi.
More info about Bandhavgarh Forest Reserve, Madhya Pradesh
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh is home to magnificent big cats. It is located about 500 km from state capital Bhopal. It is located in the eastern Satpura hill range of Umaria and Katni districts. Mythologically the name “ Bandhavgarh” means Bandhav or brother and garh meaning fort.
The Tiger Reserve is known for the healthy population of tigers and variety of herbivores. This area is unique from the point of biodiversity, as it comprises hills, valley, rivers, marshes and meadows to give rise to diverse vegetation. Apart from tiger, as many as 34 species of mammals have been listed and nearly 260 species of birds and 70 species of butterfly.