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Volume: II, Issue II, July-December 2011


IMPORTANT EPIGRAPHIC DISCOVERIES IN U.P. DURING THE LAST 25 YEARS







Abstract

Uttar Pradesh is considerably rich in epigraphic material as compared to other states of North India. The value of inscriptions as a source for reconstructing ancient and medieval Indian history has been widely recognized. But there are very few scholars pursuing this important area of history—as it requires expertise both in Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit  and other languages as well as in various scripts to decipher and edit inscriptions. Therefore, the field of epigraphy has suffered a lot. However, some scholars—though few and far between—have kept this discipline alive and vibrant through their academic contributions. This paper attempts to document and review the important inscriptions from U.P. published during the last twenty-five years.



Keywords Content

Inscriptions are regarded as the most important source for reconstructing ancient and medieval Indian history. D.C. Sircar, the noted historian-epigraphist, has rightly pointed out that ‘this is a wrong notion that all important inscriptions have already been discovered, studied and utilized for the reconstruction of ancient Indian history'1. Noburu Karashima, Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo, who has worked on South Indian history, has very recently made the pointed observation that ‘in general there is deterioration in the quality of historical studies in the universities in India. The study of ancient history will die in this country. If this happens, history will be built only on the basis of ideas and theory, and not on substantial work based on historical sources.’ He further says that ‘unless the knowledge of epigraphy develops, no ancient or medieval history of this country can be studied. Unfortunately, there has not been any encouragement for epigraphists in the universities of India and the epigraphy branch of the Archaeological Survey of India has become a centre of babus and government servants'2. On the reason for the sorry state of affairs in the discipline H.D. Sankalia has long ago remarked that “there are very few scholars who can read the ancient Brāhmī script--- Possibly epigraphy is a difficult subject and so people are not interested in it”3. In spite of the alarming negligent condition the discipline has fallen in, some scholars are contributing their individual endeavours to keep it still alive and vibrant. This paper attempts to document the important epigraphs from U.P. published during the last twenty-five years, with our comments wherever required. There are many more inscriptions discovered but awaiting decipherment and editing from U.P. which is considered rich in epigraphic material as compared to other states of the country.

One hundred and seventeen copper-plate and lithic inscriptions of the Gāhadavālas and their feudatories, published in different journals, are so far known. Seventy-seven out of the eighty-seven copper-plate inscriptions record land grants issued by kings, queens and princes of the Gāhadavāla dynasty which ruled Madhyadeśa from the Firozabad district in U.P. in the west to the Patna-Gaya districts in Bihar in the east during the twelfth century C.E. Of these A.K. Singh edited one of the Kamaulī grants in the Nāgarī script and Sanskrit language of king Govindachandra in 1991-92, discovered in 1892 and deposited in the State Museum, Lucknow4. This inscription in 27 lines records the grant of the Dāmala village in Kharahashepaśeha pattalā to Dīkshita Jāgūśarman of the Bandhula gotra and the Bandhula, Aghamarshana and Viśvāmitra pravaras. The king made the grant after having bathed in the Gaṅgā at Vedeśvara-ghatta in Avimukta-kshetra of Vārānasī on Phālguna vadi 1, Sunday, Vikrama year 1197 corresponding to 23rd February, 1141 C.E. It was the day of the great queen Rālhanadevī, mother of king Govindachandra. The editor has left the mentioned village and pattalā  unidentified. Vedeśvara-ghatta was to the south of Ādikeśava-ghatta on the Varanā-Gaṅgā-saṅgama (Skanda Pura?n?a, IV.73.155, 97.14-15), but it is non-existent in the geography of the city today.

The latest Gāhadavāla copper-plate charter5 in the Nāgarī script and Sanskrit language of king Govindachandra was brought to light by D.P. Dubey in 2003. It was found at the village of Tartī near Holāgarh Development Block in the Allahabad district and bears the date Phālguna vadi 15, bhaumadina, Vikrama year 1173, when the Sun had entered the zodiac sign of Aquarius, corresponding to Tuesday, January 23, 1117 C.E. The king is recorded to have granted, on the said date, the village of Tarambī in the Singaraura pattalā, after bathing in the Venī at Arela, to Pandita Sīdhūśarman of the Sānkritya gotra and the Sānkritya, Āngirasa and Gaurivīta pravaras. The editor has identified beyond doubt all the localities mentioned in the inscription. Tarambī is the Tartī village where the plates were discovered, Venī is the famous confluence of the rivers Gangā, Yamunā and the invisible Sarasvatī at Allahabad. Singaraura is Śringaverapura on the Gangā of the Rāmāyana6 fame. This Prakritised name of the historic place current in the twelfth century C.E. has refuted the notion that the name of Śringaverapura was corrupted into Singror7 during the Muslim rule in North India. We also get the correct form of the name of Arela which is modern Arail at the confluence of the rivers, opposite to the Allahabad fort. This correct form of the name of the place is also found in the Bhu?parikraman?am8 of Vidya?pati of Mithila? who flourished during the fifteenth century C.E.

An important stone inscription of king Govindachandra’s time attracted the attention of many epigraphists. But G.C.Tripathi and D.P. Dubey were the first to publish its text (98%) and notes on it. Later on T.P. Varma and S.P. Gupta, K.V. Ramesh, and Pushpa Prasad published their readings of and comments on it9. This inscription in 20 lines is engraved on a rectangular buff sand stone slab, diagonally broken into two parts causing damage to some letters in each line. It was recovered from the debris of the controversial structure demolished on December 6, 1992 in Ayodhyā. It is an incomplete record and its remaining part seems to have continued on another slab which has unfortunately not yet come to light. It opens with an obeisance to Śiva, followed by a reference to Trivikrama form of Vishnu. Except the salutations to deities at the very beginning, the entire text of the inscription is composed in Sanskrit verses of very high literary excellence. The inscription, incomplete as it is, does not bear the date but may be assigned to the middle of the twelfth century C.E. on the palaeographical ground as well as the internal evidence. It was got written by one Āyushyachandra, the son of Alhana and grandson of Sallakshana. Its verse 3 alludes to the near total decimation of the warrior clans by Bhārgava (Paraśurāma). The verse 4 refers to the emergence of a Kshatriya family, in which the heroes born successfully resurrected the decadent warrior clans. The fifth verse refers to the Janmabhūmi of Rāma, an incarnation of Vishnu. The verses 19-20 mention Anayachandra, the son of Alhana’s brother Megha, and say that he, who got the over-lordship of Sāketa-mandala (Ayodhyā region) through the grace of king Govindachandra (of the Gāhadavāla dynasty), constructed a beautiful lofty temple, with rows of large sculpted stones for the god Vishnu-Hari, adorned with a golden spire at Ayodhyā, which was unparalleled by any other temple built by earlier kings. The next verses inform that his successor Āyushyachandra, who was also a protégé of king Govindachandra, resided in Ayodhyā which had towering abodes and temples, and constructed thousands of wells, reservoirs, alms-houses and tanks in the Sāketa-mandala.

A Chandrāvatī copper-plate inscription of V.S. 1150/ 1093 C.E. describes the pious deeds of Chandradeva, the founder king of the Gāhadavāla dynasty, who set up and adorned with gold and jewels the image of Ādikeśava and also adorned the image of Vishnu-Hari by gold ornaments set with jewels10. Referred to in the seven Gāhadavāla grants, Ādikeśava is an ancient temple site at the Varanā-Gangā confluence and has been mentioned in the Purānic listings of sub-tīrthas in Vārānasī11. But Roma Niyogi has erroneously located the shrine of Vishnu-Hari in Vārānasī. Of the numerous extant Purānic māhātmyas of Kāśī /Vārānasī, none refers to any shrine of Vishnu-Hari there. As the king is shown in  the grant of 1093 C.E. as making the donations after a dip in the river Sarayū-Gharghara at Ayodhyā and the temple of Vishnu-Hari is referred to have been located at Ayodhyā in the Ayodhyā-māhātmya of the Skanda Purāna (II.viii.1.100), the conclusion is inevitable that the liberal gifts to the image of Vishnu-Hari were received by that prominent god of Ayodhyā only. It is, moreover, significant to note that shrines dedicated to god Vishnu with the suffix ‘hari’(Dhrama-Hari, Chakra-Hari, Gupta-Hari, Vishnu-Hari, etc.) are known only in the context of the Ayodhyā and no other sacred place in India12. Anayachandra is credited to have built a grand temple in place of the old  one of that god which was destroyed by Mīr Bāki, a general of the invader Mughal Bābur, in about 1528 C.E.

In the inscriptions of the Gāhadavāla dynasty there is direct evidence of  the existence of at least five lines of feudatories- Rānaka Lavarāpravāha of the Rāhan grant of V.S. 1166/1109 C.E., Rānaka Abhayapāla and Rānaka Amritapāla of the Asai plates of V.S. 1229/1172 C.E. and V.S. 1239/ 1183 C.E. respectively in Etawah region; Singara Mahārāja Vatsarāja of the Kamaulī grant of V.S. 1191/1134 C.E. in Firozabad-Mainpuri region; Mahānāyaka Pratāpadhavala of Jāpila of the Tārāchandī rock inscription of V.S. 1225/1197 C.E.in Rohtas region; Rānaka Vijayakarna of the Belkharā pillar inscription of V.S. 1253/1197 C.E.in Miezapur-Sonbhadra region; and Mandalapati Anayachandra and Āyushyachandra of Sāketa-mandala in the time of king Govindachandra. Thus, four feudatory designations were known in the Gāhadavāla empire- Mahārāja, Rānaka, Mahānāyaka and Mandalapati. The fiefs of Mahārāja, Rānaka and Mahānāyaka were created on the borders of the kingdom and the fief of Mandalapati in Sāketa-mandala in the heart of the kingdom was a creation of king Govindachandra with certain extra rights reserved by the crown13.

Pushpa Prasad discovered a fragmentary stone inscription14 in the hut of a Bābā near the medieval ruined fort mound on the Yamunā in Etawah. It refers to Mahārāja Ajayasimha, the nephew of king Jayachchandra, who performed a Chandī-yajña (sacrifice in honour of the goddess Durgā) for the victory of king Jayachchandra engaged in the deadly battle against the invading Muslim armies of Shihab-ud-din Ghori at Chandawār on the Yamunā, 40 km west of Etawah. Subsequently, the priest took away the image of Durgā installed in the fort and buried it into a pit so that the mlechchhas (Muslims) could not desecrate it in event of their success. The inscription suggests that Etawah was in the possession of king Jayachchandra’s cousin who was there to guard the treasury deposited for ensuring the necessary supply to the fighting army. No information about him is available in any Muslim chronicle or Gāhadavāla inscriptions particularly the Machhalīshahr copper-plate grant of Hariśchandra, the last known Gāhadavāla ruler. The fort of the inscription is obviously the fort of Asnī mentioned in the Muslim chronicles, where king Jayachchandra had deposited his treasures before his fight against the Muslims and which was looted and plundered after the defeat and death of the Gāhadavāla king. It has been identified with the large high mound of Āsaī Kherā on the Yamunā, 10 km east of Etawah15.

After the publication of the Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol.VII by H.V. Trivedi in 1991seven copper-plate inscriptions of Chandellas  have  come to light. Of  the Mau Sahaniyā copper-plate inscription of V.S. 1347/1291 C.E. from the Chhatarpur district of M.P. and the Lalitpur copper-plate grant of V.S. 1352/1295 C.E. of king Hammīravarmmadeva; the Rātha plates of king Madanavarmmadeva of V.S. 1195/1139 C.E. and V.S.1198/1142 C.E.; the Mathurā Museum plate of the Pratīhāra Ajayapāla, a feudatory of the king Vīravarmmadeva, of V.S. 1334/1277 C.E.,  only the Mau Sahaniyā plate has been published16 and others are in different stages of decipherment and editing. A.K. Singh and L.M. Wahal have published a copper-plate inscription of king Sallakshanavarmman dated Monday, Pausha sudi 15, V.S. 1164/1107 C.E. when there was a lunar eclipse17. The two plates, on which the record is engraved were found at the village of Hatholīpur in the Hamirpur district, the third one has not yet been recovered. This is the only known grant of the Chandella king Sallakshanavarmman, the lord of Kālañjara (C.E. 1100-1110). After mentioning the genealogy of the king, the record states that from his camp at Mrinaila the king donated some land in the villages of Pātijādī, Jevadā, Janudahī and Gavahana in the Navaratha pattalā and Patidvamaidamla, Virohāsujaurī, Charimchāvalī Pokharāma, Jādī, Vudāvala and Dhamnanoli in the Vātani pattalā to 158 Brāhmanas of different gotras (pravaras have not been mentioned) of the Simrāvanī village. The geographical names, except the well-known Kālañjara, of this inscription have been left unidentified. However, Navaratha pattalā is also mentioned in the Bharat Kala Bhawan grant18 of  king Madanavarmman, dated V.S. 1192/1136 C.E. It is referred to as Navarāshtra mandala vishaya in the vicinity of the river Yamunā in the Charkhārī plate19 of  king Devavarmman of V.S. 1108/ 1051 C.E. K.L. Agrawal has reasonably identified it with  modern Rātha in the Hamirpur district20.

B.R. Mani and T.S. Ravishankar have brought to light a copper-plate grant of the Chandella king Vidyādhara, the lord of Kālañjara, in 200921. It was in the possession of an antique dealer of Amroha in the J.P. Nagar district. It bears the date in words and figures as Saṁvat 1069 Śrāvana sudi 15 rāhugraste chandramasi, which regularly corresponds to Monday, August 4, 1012 C.E. when there was a lunar eclipse. The object of the grant is to make gift of land to twenty Brāhmanas who belonged to different gotras, pravaras and śākhās and hailed from different localities. This is the first inscription of king Vidyādhara so far known to us; earlier the Kundeśvara copper-plate grant22, dated V.S. 1060/1004 C.E., of his chief queen Satyabhāmā was only known.This record refers to Mahārājaputra Rajja, the son of Mahārājaputra Balirāja, in connection with defeating king Bhuvanapāla who was subsequently made to surrender to the overlord king Vidyādhara. The editors think that Bhuvanapāla was a Gurjara-Pratīhāra king of Kanauj. But no such king is known in the history of the Gurjara-Pratīhāras. Moreover, king Rājyapāla was on the Gurjara-Pratīhāra throne of Kanauj from 990 C.E. to 1019 C.E., he was admonished for running away from the armies of Mahmud and killed by king Vidyādhara in 1019 C.E. Bhuvanapāla, also called Mūladeva, seems to be the Kachchhapaghāta ruler of Gwalior whose father Kīrtirāja (c.1005-1030 C.E.) was a protégé of king Vidyādhara23. It seems that  Bhuvanapāla (c.1031-1055 C.E.) under his father Kīrtirāja had raised the banner of revolt against the Chandellas when king Vidyādhara, himself a feudatory of the Gurjara-Pratīhāras, was trying to establish his supremacy in Central India, but the former was subsequently brought to submission by Mahārājaputra Rajja. On the basis of available epigraphic sources R. K. Dikshit24 assigned the reigning period from 1015 C.E. to 1036 C.E. and H.V. Trivedi25 from 1018 C.E. to 1030 C.E. for king Vidyādhara. But the combined testimony of the present charter and Kundeśvara grant suggests an earlier date for the beginning of his reign; Vidyādhara was already on the Chandella throne 1004 C.E. Hence, the reigning periods of king Vidyādhara and his predecessors/successors need revision. Vekāsikā, the issuance place, and other geographical names found in the inscription are yet to be identified.

The Gurjara-Pratīhāras, who not only resisted Muslim invaders for a long period but also successfully fought against indigenous rival dynasties, emerged as a strong political power in North India during the ninth-tenth centuries. They commanded an empire which in size, wealth and power may be compared to that of king Harshavardhana. Eight very important inscriptions of this dynasty, mostly from U.P., have come to light in the recent past. These are the Nonhā Narsingha stone slab inscription of the time of Bhojadeva26, the Jhijhautā stone slab inscription of Bhojadeva I27, the Sanicharā fragmentary stone inscription of Bhojadeva I28, the Jīrāgaur copper-plate grant of Bhojadeva I29,  the Badhāla (Jaipur district) copper-plate grant of Bhojadeva I of Samvat 898/841 C.E.30, the Sambhal copper-plate grant of Nāgabhata II of Samvat 885/828 C.E.31, the Surāpur copper-plate grant of Nāgabhata II of Samvat 884/828 C.E.32, and the Badhāla copper-plate grant of Nāgabhata II of Samvat 882/825 C.E.33. Before the discovery of his mentioned inscriptions, king Nāgabhata II, the son of king Vatsarāja from Sundarīdevī and grandfather of king Bhojadeva I, was known from the Buchkalā stone inscription34 of his time from Jodhpur, dated Samvat 872/815 C.E. The discovery of his inscriptions from Sambhal, Surāpur, Badhāla and Buchkalā has given firm footing to the view that after having defeated Chakrāyudha, a protégé of the Pālas, sometime before 815 C.E. Nāgabhata II annexed his kingdom and transferred his seat of government from Ujjain to Kanauj which henceforth continued to be the capital of his dynasty. The testimony of his inscriptions shows that he wielded authority over a large portion of North India extending from Jodhpur in Rajasthan in the west to Vārānasī in U.P. in the east.

It is hard to agree with Thaplyal and Makhan Lal that Bhojadeva of the Nonhā Narsingha inscription is the Gurjara-Pratīhāra king Bhojadeva II( C.E. 910-914) who was a grandson of king Bhojadeva I(C.E. 836-885). The palaeography as well as the internal evidence of this record shows that he was none other than king Bhojadeva I. Equally untenable is their identification of Bālāditya mentioned in the Nonhā Narsingh, Jhijhautā, Barāh35 and Gwalior36 inscriptions with Bālāditya of the Chātsu inscription37. In the Barāh plate of Bhojadeva I Bālāditya is referred to as a dūtaka and as the son of Rājyabhattārikādevī. In the Gwalior stone inscription of Bhojadeva I he is mentioned as a kavi (poet) and the son of Bhatta Dhannuka. In the Jhijhautā stone inscription he is described as the son of Dhānyapāla. Thus, he was the son of Dhannuka/ Dhānyapāla from Rājyabhattārikādevī. But in the Chātsu( Jaipur district) stone inscription Bālāditya/ Bālārka/ Bālabhānu is mentioned as the son of Bhatta from Purāsā, the daughter of one Vīruka. His grandfather was Guhila II whose wife was a Paramāra princess named Rajjhā. Had the learned scholars taken into consideration the difference in parentage, especially mother’s name of Bālāditya of the above inscriptions, they would not have suggested the wrong identification.

The Jīrāgaura copper-plate inscription of Bhojadeva I, dated Māgha sudi 6, Samvat 919 corresponding to Saturday, January 10, 862 C.E., refers to  Dudā-grāma in Śaṅkharikā-āhāra-bhoga and Lāta-mandala. These geographical places have been left unidentified. We dare to suggest that the village of Dudā may be identified with the modern village of Dundwā Buzurg, Lāta with Lādpur, close to Gurusahāiganj, 3 km south of Dundwā Buzurg and 14 km east of Chhibrāmau, and Śankharikā with the modern Saurikh Qasba, 14 km west-south of Lādpur and 8 km south of Chhibrāmau, in the Farrukhabad district. All these villages are located within a distance of 20 km from Kamālganj, the find-spot of the inscription under scrutiny.

D.P. Dubey and A.K. Dubey have edited a copper-plate grant of Rāmapāla38, dated Samvat 1215/1158 C.E. Found from a village in the Gorakhpur district, this inscription has thrown valuable light on the identity of king Kīrtipāla already known from the Lucknow Museum plate39 of Samvat1167/1111 C.E. Kīrtipāla, an ornament of the family of Malayaketu, is described in this record as father of king Rāmapāla, the jewel of the family of Malayaketu. The combined testimony of the two grants has made it clear that these two rulers of the Malayaketu dynasty maintained low profile but independently ruled over the north-eastern districts of U.P. and north-western districts of Bihar on the banks of the river Gandaka even during the heyday of the Gāhadavāla king Govindachandra(C.E. 1114-1154)40.

Some inscriptions from U.P., discovered and published during the period under review, supply valuable information about kings who are not known from other sources. The Chandikādevī stone inscription41 from Dhātā (Fatehpur district) is one such record. This fragmentary inscription of 14 lines, assigned to the closing years of the eighth and beginning years of the ninth century palaeographically, informs about king Vishnuśakti of the family of king Hastirāja. It is well-known that North India was parcelled out among petty rulers during the period between the death of king Harshavardhana and the rise of the Gurjara-Pratīhāras. The Gwalior praśasti of Bhojadeva I refers that the Gurjara-Pratīhāra king Nāgabhata II captured the strongholds of Ānartta, Mālava, Kirāta, Turushka, Vatsa and Matsya countries42. This he did after establishing himself at Kanauj which he had conquered from Chakrāyudha, a vassal of the Pālas, sometime before 815 C.E. It appears from the Dhātā inscription that he snatched the Vatsa country from king Vishnuśakti; Dhātā being 20 km west of Kauśāmbī, the capital of the Vatsa country.

Three inscriptions43 of the later Kalachuris of Tripurī- the Kauśāmbī plates of Yaśahkarna and his wife Vīkkaladevī, and the Karwi plates of Lakshmīkarna- have recently come light from U.P. King Yaśahkarna is stated to have granted the village of Sirisā in the Brihadgrihe Khauchama pattalā to the Brāhmana Hariśarman, a student of the Vājasaneya-śākhā, of the Bhāradvāja gotra and Bhāradvāja, Āngirasa and Vārhaspatya pravaras after having bathed in the Venī at Prayāga on the Mārgga-māsi śuklapaksha pūrnimā somagrahana ravidina in [Kalachuri] Samvat 823. On calculation the date appears irregular and corresponds to Friday, December 9, 1071 C.E. The granted village Sirisā may be identified with the modern village of Sirsā on the right bank of the Gangā, 9 km north of Mejā and the headquarters of the pattalā has been identified by us with the dilapidated big fort of Khairāgarh on the left bank of the river Tons, 4 km away from Mejā in the Allahabad district. Queen Vīkkaladevī granted the village of Andhilagavahāna and 1/4th of the village of Sevāla to twenty-one Brāhmanas of different gotras and pravaras in the Brihadgrihe Khauchama pattalā after bathing in the river Yamunā near the temple of Deva Śrī-Kapāleśvara at Paradamaka on Sunday, the 6th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Śrāvana in [Kalachuri] Samvat 827. The date corresponds to Friday, June 24, 1076 C.E., the day being irregular. The villages Andhilagavahāna and Sevāla may either be identified with the twin villages of Andhī and Garethā, 7 km east of Mejā, and Saibāsā, 2 km away from Garethā respectively in the Mejā tehsil or the village of Gauhaniā and adjoining Semrā Kālabana on the Allahabad-Rewa road, 25 km south of Allahabad city, in the Karchhanā tehsil of the Allahabad district. The temple of Deva Śrī-Kapāleśvara is to be identified with the old dilapidated Śaiva temple of Barhā Kotrā, referred as a temple of Karkotaka Nāga by Major Kittoe and Bar Dewal by Cunningham44, and Paradamaka with Pardawān, an adjacent village to the east of Barhā Kotrā, on the Yamunā, 50 km west-south-west of Allahabad, in the Mau Chhibo tehsil of the Chitrakut district. The Karwi copper-plate grant of Lakshmīkarna, bearing the date dvitīya-samvatsare jyeshthe-māsi amāvasyāyām somedine satāraka-sūrya-grahane corresponding to Tuesday, May 10, 1054 C.E. (Monday on May 9 ended at 7.30 A.M. and Tuesday on May 10 ended at 6.15 A.M. according to the Ephemeris, there is no discrepancy in tithi if udayā tithi is taken into consideration in accordance with the lunar calendar), issued from the military camp (skandhāvāra) of Kālañjara, is being edited by us. The king is said to have granted the village of Sapedha in Ayāvala pattalā in Madhyadeśa to ten Brāhmanas of different gotras and pravaras after bathing in the Ganga-Yamunā-sangama at Prayāga. The inscription is dated in his regnal year which he seems to have started with his second coronation ceremony after defeating the Chadellas and occupying their strong fort of Kālañjara in about 1052 C.E. For the first time here we have epigraphic corroboration to the literary45 testimony that Lakshmīkarna had inflicted a crushing defeat on the Chandellas and snatched away Kālañjara from them. The pattalā of Ayāvala seems to be identical to Ayavāla pattalā mentioned in one of the Gadhwā temple pillar inscriptions46 of V.S. 1199/1142 C.E. We have identified it with the present village of Biyāval on the right bank of the Yamunā, opposite to Kauśāmbī, and the village of Sapedha may have survived in the modern village of Suraudhā, 6 km from Biyāval, on the Mau-Karwi road in the Chitrakut district.

Other noteworthy inscriptions are the Mau Jain stone image inscription of the time of Nāgendravarman47, assigned to the ninth century C.E. and the Semariā copper-plate grant of Pānduvarman48, dated in the seventh century C.E., both from the Sonbhadra district. No information is forthcoming regarding king Pānduvarman and his father Lakshamanavarman, who are endowed with the feudal title of pañcha-mahāśabda, and Rājaputra Balavarman of the Semariā plate, and king Nāgendravarman of the Jain image inscription. The varmman ending names suggest that they belonged to the Kshatriya varna; the kings of the Semariā plate in all likelihood were related to the Maukharī family. When Harshavardhana ascended the Maukharī throne of Kanauj, after the murder of his brother-in-law Grahavarman, he would have allowed some Maukharī members as his feudatories to govern the south-eastern U.P. and south-western Bihar. The editors have read the date in the Semariā plate as [Harsha] Samvat 4, Māgha di.9 but the tithi (lunar day) should be corrected as 30. Such discrepancies in reading the dates in inscriptions are not unknown to epigraphists. There is much confusion in reading the date of the third copper-plate grant of king Harshavardhan from a village in the Nābhā district of Punjab (wrongly reported to have been found in Kurukshetra by R.C. Sharma, Shankar Goyal and O.P.L. Srivastava). Ashwini Agrawal has read the date as [Harsha] Samvat 8, (su)di 3; R.C. Sharma and Shankar Goyal as [Harsha] Samvat 23; Virjanand Devkarni, O.P.L. Srivastava and Man Mohan Kumar as [Harsha] Samvat 5349. Any serious scholar acquainted with the ancient numerals will reject the readings of Agrawal, Sharma and Goyal. But a first glance at the plate in the Jñāna-Pravāha, Varanasi, may mislead one to agree with the reading of 53, a date generally believed to belong to the post-Harsha period. However, a careful look at the plate/ photograph would reveal the date as [Harsha] Samvat 33, the first numeral noticed in the Bāvara manuscripts50 of the post-Gupta period stands for 30 and the second one is clearly 3. The sign of the small horizontal  strokes just below the  first numeral is redundant,it seems to have been marked in the plate on a later date. When F. Kielhorn edited the Daulatpurā plate of Bhojadeva I51, he deciphered its date as [Harsha] Samvat 100, which was corrected by D.R. Bhandarkar52 as [Vikrama] Samvat 900 later on.

We will close our discussion with the mention of the recently discovered 18th Minor Rock Edict of king Aśoka from Ratanpurwā in Bihar, near Ghurhūpur village of the Chandauli distrct of U.P. K.K. Thaplyal’s learned monograph entitled A New Aśokan Inscription from Ratanpurwā has been published by the Jñāna Pravāha, Varanasi, in 2008. The controversy related to its discovery, genuineness and location has been successfully put to rest by T.P. Varma in his paper entitled “Discovery of the Ratanpurwā Minor Rock edict of Aśoka” in the Itihās Darpan, 14 (i), 2009, pp.62-68. Another very important inscription is the fragmentary Kālañjara stone inscription53 of the Bundela chief Pratāparudradeva of Samvat 1543/1486 C.E., which has thrown valuable light on the political and cultural history of medieval Bundelkhand. Besides clearing many doubts about the Bundelas, the inscription informs that the Bundelas were Brahma-kshatra and the progenitor of the family was one Somapāyī Atri. For want of space we are skipping the short/ label inscriptions such as Some Recently Noticed Kharoshthī Epigraphs in U.P. by B.N. Mukherjee, Kauśāmbī Sealing of Mahārāja Tila[bhatta] by K.K. Thaplyal, a Mauryan Inscribed plaque from Jājmau by G.C. Srivastava,  Seals and Sealings from Agiābīr by P. Singh and A.K. Singh,etc.54

 

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