History Optional Paper-1 Solution – 1981: Q.1 (Map based question)

History Optional Paper-1 Solution – 1981: Q.1 (Map based question)

Q.1 Mark any fifteen of the following on the map supplied to you and give descriptive notes on them:

(1) Ahichchatra

(2) Aihole

(3) Bamiyan

(4) Bharukachcha

(5) Bokhgaya

(6) Chanhudaro

(7) Ellora

(8) Girnar

(9) Hastinapura

(10) Kalibangan

(11) Kausambi

(12) Madurai

(13) Mahishmati

(14) Muziris

(15) Nagarjunakonda

(16) Poompuhar

(17) Purushapura

(18) Rajgir

(19) Shabazgarhi

(20) Sopara

(21) Sravanabelgola

(22) Sravasti

(23) Tamralipti

(24) Thanesar

(25) Tosali

(26) Ujjain

(27) Vaisali  

(28) Vijayanti

(29) Vatapi

(30) Vidisa


(1) Ahichchatra

(2) Aihole

Aihole is in Bijapur district of Karnataka. It was the first capital of western Chalukyas which was later moved to Badami. It is known for Chalukyan architecture, with many stone temples dating from 5th century CE. It lies to the east of Pattadakal, while Badami is to the west of both.

Aihole has been described as one of the cradles of temple architecture and contains the earliest structural temples known in India. The Chalukyan architectural styles inherited largely from their neighbors to the north and south of their kingdom.

Important temples at Aihole:

Durga temple, Meguti temple, Jain temple, Rock-cut Jain Basadi, Huchimalli (gudi) temple.

Ravana Phadi cave is one of the oldest rocks cut temples in Aihole. Jain cave temple is on the banks of Malaprabha River. A Buddhist Chaitya Cave temple is found which is partly rockcut structure.

Galaganatha group temples are one of nearly thirty temples on the bank of the Malaprabha River. The main shrine of the Galaganatha temple is enshrining Shiva.

A group of three temples is referred to as the Kontigudi group of temples.  One of these is the Lad Khan temple which is the oldest temple at Aihole and has Shiva Lingam.

Aihole inscription:

The Aihole Prasasti in Meguti Temple at Aihole was composed by Ravikirti, the court poet of Pulakesin II in 634 A.D. It is written in Sanskrit language and old Karnataka script and gives a dtailed account of Pulakesin II’s exploit against his neighbouring kingdoms like the Pallavas. It describes the victory of Pulakesin II against King Harshavardhana.

(3) Bamiyan

(4) Bharukachcha

(5) Bodh Gaya

It is situated In Gaya district of Bihar. In Budhist text, Bodh Gaya is called Uruvela situated on the ban of river Niranjana where Lord Buddhia attained (Bodhimandala) under the Bodhi Tree.

Mahabodhi Temple Complex is situated here which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple was described by the Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang calling it Mahabodhi Vihara.

This place was visited by Magadh Empeor Ashoka.

For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath.  

Accounts of the Chinese pilgrims Faxian in the 5th century and Hiuen Tsang in the 7th century describe Bodh Gaya.

In the Gupta period, as per the Chinese traditions, the king Meghavarman of Sri Lanka sent, with the permission of Samudra Gupta, a monk to establish at Bodh Gaya a monastery for the use of Sri Lankan monks.

(6) Chanhudaro

(7) Ellora

(8) Girnar

Girnar  Hill  is  a  collection  of  mountains  situated  near  Junagadh  in  Kathiawar of Gujarat.

One of the major rock edicts of Ashoka is found here. The edict is on black granite in Brahmi script. On the same rock there are inscriptions in Sanskrit added around 150 CE by Rudradaman I, the Saka ruler of Malwa, a member of the Western Kshatrapas dynasty. Another inscription dates from about 450 CE and refers to Skandagupta.

Inscription of Rudradaman is the earliest Sanskrit inscription. It mentions renovation of the famous Sudarshana Lake which was originally built by Pusyagupta the provincial governor of Chandragupta.

Many Jain and Hindu temples are located in Girnar.

(9) Hastinapura

The first reference to Hastinapur in Puranas comes as the capital of Bharata. It is an important site of later Vedic times.It was capital of Kurus.

Excavation at Hastinapur was carried out in the early 1950s to find out the stratigraphic position of Painted Grey Ware.

The Painted Grey Ware culture is an Iron Age culture of the Gangetic plain and the Ghaggar-Hakra valley, lasting from roughly 1200 BCE to 600 BCE. It was succeeded by Northern Black Polished Ware.

(10) Kalibangan

It is situated on left bank of the river Ghaggar in Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan. The site contains both pre-Harappan and Harappan remains, and therein can be seen the transition between the two cultures.

Although the pre-Harappan culture used copper and produced pottery, it had no writing system, and its ruins lack the orderly layout. Houses were made in mostly sun dried bricks.

The Harappan remains include a cemetery and a fortified citadel. The lower town was also a fortified. The fort was made of mud bricks. Due to grid-pattern of town planning, all houses opened out to at least two or three lanes. Houses were built of mostly mud bricks. Burnt bricks were used in drains, wells, bathing platforms, besides fire-altar.

Other important feature and findings:

Functionally, pottery can be classified into household pots, religious and burial purposes. Mostly wheel made red pottery are found.

Kalibangan is distinguished by its unique fire altars and earliest attested ploughed field. Fire  altars  suggest fire worship

Rectangular as well as cylindrical seals are found.

Terracotta banges, bull etc are found.

Pit burial and urn burial has been found.

(11) Kausambi

(12) Madurai (or Madura)

Madurai is located on the bank of river Vaigai in Tamil Nadu. It was the capital of the Pandyas during the Sangam Age in early centuries of Christian era.

Sangam literature in Tamil was compiled in Madurai during three congregations of Tamil scholars in Madurai.

The city has been ruled, at different times, by the Early Pandyas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Later Pandyas, Madurai Sultanate, Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Chanda Sahib, Carnatic kingdom, and the British.

The city has a number of historical monuments, with the Meenakshi Amman Temple and Tirumalai Nayak Palace being the most prominent.

Meenakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to Parvati (Meenakshi) and her consort Shiva (Sundareswara) was rebuilt by Madurai Nayakas. The temple is in Dravida Stye and is surrounded by gopurams (gateway tower). Each gopuram is a multi-storeyed structure, covered with thousands of stone figures of animals, gods and demons. The temple was sacked by Malik Kafur in 1310 and later rebuilt by Nayakas in 16th century. Few 17th and 18th century paintings of Nayaka period survives.  

Madurai was an important trading centre mainly of cotton fabrics in the ancient times.

(13) Mahishmati (or Maheshwar)

It is situated on the bank of river Narmadain Madhya Pradesh. It was the southern capital of Avanti, a Mahajanapada of 6th century BC.

It was an important trading centre and famous for the cotton goods in ancient times. It was well connected with Rajgir and Paithan.

(14) Muziris

It is in modern Cranganore on the western coast of Kerala. It was a flourishing ancient port in the early Christian centories (Sangam Age).

It carried trade with Arabia, Rome, Greece etc.

Samgam literature, Greek&Roman writers like Pliny mention Muziris.

Commodities exported from Muziris were spices, semi-precious stones, pearls, diamonds, sapphires, ivory, tortoise shells etc. The Romans brought money (in gold coins), figured linens, sulfide of antimony, copper, tin, lead, coral, raw glass, wine etc.

Though the Roman trade declined from the 5th century AD, the former Muziris attracted the attention of other nationalities, particularly the Chinese and the Arabs.

(15) Nagarjunakonda

(16) Poompuhar (or Puhar or Kaveripattinam)

Puhar is in Nagapattinam district of Tamilnadu. It was an important sea port during the Sangam age and a great centre of trade. It also city served as the capital of the early Chola kings.

Puhar is located near the end point north bank of the Kaveri River, aside the sea coast. Evidence of foreign trade through the port is found here.

Puhar is mentioned in the Periplus of Ereythrean Sea. Puhar is also mentioned in Silapathikaram, a literature book of Sangam Age. It also menions general plan of Puhar.

The ancient city of Puhar was destroyed by the sea around 300 BC. This could have been the effects of sediment erosion and periodic tsunamis.

Ancient Pottery dating back to the 4th century BCE have been discovered from Puhar.

(17) Purushapura (or Peshawar)

Purushapura is modern Peshawar in NWF province of Pakistan. It was the capital pf the Kushana ruler Kanishka in ancient time (2nd century AD). Here, Buddhist Chaitya was constructed by Kushanas. Many sculptures of the Kushana period is found here. It was also a great trade centre in ancient times linking China, Central Asia, India and West Aian countries. It lied on the old silk route.

Purushapura was a great centre of Buddhist learning. Kanishka built a giant stupa, to house the Buddhist relics. The earliest account of the famous building was documented by Faxian, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, who visited the structure in 4th century AD. It was still in existence at the time of another Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang’s visit in 634 AD.

(18) Rajgir (or Rajagriha or Girivraja)

It is located in the Nalanda district of Bihar. It was the ancient capital of the Magadha Empire until the 5th century BC when Ajatashatru (and finally Udayin) moved the capital to Pataliputra. Rajagriha was surrounded by five hills which made it impregnable.

It is also mentioned in Buddhist and Jain scriptures and related to the life of both Buddha and Mahavir. Gautama Buddha spent several months meditating, and preaching in Rajagriha.

Chinese Buddhist pilgrims, particularly Faxian and Xuanzang mention Rajagriha.

Rajagriha was the venue of the first Buddhist council.

(19) Shabazgarhi

(20) Sopara

It is situated in north of Bombay in Thane district. It was known as Soupara to Polemy and the author of the Periplus and as Subara to the Arabs. It was an important seaport and a centre of international trade.

In the Arab sources Sopara is mentioned as an important centre of artisanal activity which manufactured swords, shoes and other lather goods that were in great demand in the western world.

A major rock edict of Ashoka has been found here. The relics of stupa are also fund here.

(21) Sravanabelgola

Shravanabelagola is in Hassan district of Karnataka. Shravanabelagola has two hills, Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri. It is famous for Jaina monuments and antiquities.

According to the Jaina legends, Jaina guru Bhadrabahu and his pupil Chandragupta Maurya are believed to have meditated in Sravana Belgola and died of starvation (called Salekhana vrata) as per Jaina rules.

Sravana belagola has two important Jaina monuments, both created by Chamundaraya, the minister and general of the western Ganga king Rajamalla. One of them is the Chamundaraya basadi (a Jaina temple) on the Chandragiri hill. The other monument is the monolithic image of Gomateshvara also called Bahubali, the son of the first tirthankara Rishabhdeva.

The 58-feet tall monolithic statue of Gommateshvara is carved out of a single block of granite. It is considered to be the world’s largest monolithic stone statue. The statue was created around 983 AD by Chamundaraya. Every twelve years, devotees congregate here to perform the Mahamastakabhisheka, a ceremony in which the statue is covered with milk, curds, ghee, saffron etc.

A large number of inscriptions in different languages have been found at Shravanabelagola, dating from 7th century to 19th century. Some of these inscriptions mention the rise and growth in power of the Western Ganga Dynasty, the Rashtrakutas, the Hoysala Empire, the Vijayanagar Empire and the Wodeyar dynasty.

(22) Sravasti

The ancient city of Shravasti, venerated by Buddhists and Jainas alike, is identified with Sahet-Mahet. It is located near the West Rapti River. Shravasti was the capital of the Kosala Kingdom during 6th century BC.  

This prosperous trading center was well known for its religious associations. During excavation in ‘Sahet-Mahet’ near Shravasti City, many ancient idols and inscriptions were found. Age-old stupas, majestic viharas and several temples near establish Buddha’s association with Shravasti. The Buddha passed the great part of his monastic life in Shravasti.

It is believed to be the birthplace of the Tirthankara Sambhavanath in Jainism, making Shravasti an important center for Jains as well.

The Chinese Pilgrim Xuanzang found the city in ruins.

(23) Tamralipti

It is identified with the modern Tamluk near the mouth of the Ganges in Midnapur district of West Bengal.

It was an important seaport and the emporium of trade in eastern India. It was connected to Taxila, rajagriha, Shwavasti, Pataliputra, Varanasi, Kaushambi, Champa by land on one hand and with south-east Asia by sea on the other.

Tamralipti was the exit point of the Mauryan trade route for the south and south-east.

Here, antiquities of Chalcolithic period have been found. It became important during NBPW phase. Discovery of Rouletted ware and red polished ware of Roman type indicates the trade contact with Roman world during first and second century AD.

Urban character is proved by discovery of teracotta figurines, coins, neads or semiprecious stines etc.

(24) Thanesar (or Thaneshwar)

Thanesar is located near Kurukshetra in Haryana. Vardhanas had their capital at Thanesar in 7th century. Later Harshavardhana made Kannauj his capital. His biography ‘Harshcharita’ written by court poet Banabhatta, describes city of Thanesar and Harshavardhaa’s association with Thanesar. According toforeign accounts, the city was an important centre of education, music and trade. There were numerous mathas and temples here.

The Chinese pilgrim, Hsuan-Tsang has visited Thanesar, and has described it as a prosperous city. The tomb of Sheikh Chilhi Jalal, Chini Masjid, and Pathar Masjid are some important monuments of this place, which indicate that the place developed as a centre of Sufism.  

The town was sacked by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1014 AD.

(25) Tosali

Tosali is situated near Bhubaneshwar in Orissa. It is mentioned in the Ashokan edict at Dhauli. It was mentioned by ancient geographer Ptolemy as a metropolis.

Major Edicts of Ashoka engraved on a mass of rock. The Rock Edicts found here include Nos. I-X, XIV and two separate Kalinga Edicts. In Kalinga Edict VI, Ashoka expresses his concern for the welfare of the whole world”.  The rock-cut elephant above the Edicts is the earliest Buddhist sculpture of Odisha.

It seems to have been the capital of Kalinga. It has generally been identified with Sisupalgarh situated in north-east of Dhauli and many identify Dhauli as Tosali.

The discovery of antiquities include glass bangles, clay bullae Roman coins, coins of Satvahana, terracotta ear ornaments etc.

(26) Ujjain

(27) Vaisali  

Vaishali is in Bihar. It the capital city of the Licchavi, considered one of the first example of a republic, in the Vrijji Confederacy Mahajanapada, around the 6th century BCE.

It was here in 599 BCE the 24th Jain Tirthankara, Mahavira was born and brought up in Kundagrama in Vaisali republic.

During Bimbisara, Gautama Buddha preached his last sermon before his death in 483 BCE, then in 383 BCE the Second Buddhist council was convened here by King Kalasoka, making it an important place in both Jain and Buddhist religions.

An Ashokan Pillar is found here which is topped by a single lion.

Vaisali finds mention in the travel accounts of Chinese explorers, Faxian (4th century CE) and Xuanzang (7th century CE).

Vaishali is also renowned as the land of Amrapali, the great Indian courtesan, who appears in many folktales, as well as in Buddhist literature who was said to become a disciple of Buddha.

(28) Vijayanti

(29) Vatapi (or Badami)

Vatapi is in Bagalkot district of Karnataka. It was the capital of the Early Chalukyas, who ruled between the 6th and 8th centuries. It was founded  in  540  AD  by Pulakeshi  I,  an  early  ruler  of  the  Chalukyas.  

The Pallavas under the king Narasimhavarma I seized it in 642 AD & destroyed the Vatapi and called himself Vatapikonda. Vikramaditya I of Chalukyas drove back Pallavas in 654 AD.


Badami is famous for its sandstone cave temples and other structural temples. They provide evidence of the early styles and stages of the southern Indian architecture.

The rock-cut Badami Cave Temples of mainly Siva, Vishnu and Jains are from 6th to 8th centuries. Shiva is found with his consort Parvathi and the 18 armed lord Nataraja in 81 dancing poses. The Bhutanatha group of temples and Mallikarjuna group of temples is found in Badami. There are also paintings on the ceiling.

Badami fort lies east of the Bhuthnatha temple, atop a cliff right opposite the Badami cave temples.


Badami has many inscriptions. The first Sanskrit inscription in old Kannada script dates back to 543 CE, from the period of Pulakeshi I.

One inscription near the Bhuthanatha temple also has inscriptions dating back to the 12th century in Jain rock-cut temple dedicated to the Tirtankara Adinatha.

(30) Vidisa

Vidisha is an ancint city, situated just east of Betwa River near Bhopal. The city, originally called Besnagar and later dubbed Bhilsa, was renamed Vidisha in 1956. Besnagar figures significantly in Buddhist, Jain and Brahmanical literature in various forms like Vaisyanagar, Vessanagar, etc.

Vidisha is rich in ancient monuments and historic places.

The Heliodorus pillar as a monolithic free standing stone column was erected around 113 BCE in central India in Besnagar, by Heliodorus, a Greek ambassador of the Indo-Greek king Antialcidas to the court of the Shunga king. The pillar was surmounted by a sculpture of Garuda and was apparently dedicated by Heliodorus to the god Vasudeva. It is also called Garuda pillar.

The Heliodorus pillar bears an inscription which states that it was raised in honour of Vasudeva by Heliodorous, a resident of Taxila, who had been sent to the court of Bhagabhadra as an envoy of Indo-Greek king. This inscription is a valuable historical record, revealing both the relations that existed between the region and the Greek kingdoms of the Punjab, and the fact that the Greek ambassador had become a follower of Hindu god Vishnu.

The Udayagiri Caves are also situated nearby. Just south of Vidisha is the ancient Buddhist complex of Sanchi. It was sometimes termed Vedisagiri, because of its closeness to Vidisha.

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