History Optional Paper-1 Solution – 2002: Q.1 (Map based question)
Q. 1 Mark any fifteen of the following places on the map supplied to you and write short descriptive notes on the places plotted by you on the map:
(2) Bodh Gaya
(2) 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.
Dwarka is situated on sea coast in Gujarat. It is famous Vaishnava centre. It was selected as one of the four mathas by Shankaracharya. It is one of Chardham (four sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites), and is one of the Sapta Puri (seven most ancient religious cities) in the country.
Dwarka is mentioned in the copper inscription dated 574 AD of Simhaditya, the minister of Vallabhi under Maitraka.
The nearby Bet Dwarka Island is a religious pilgrim site. Recent under sea explorations in Dwarka make us believe that stone structures of the Harappan period are there which shows that it had its links with Harappan civilization. This city was a important trading point. Coastal erosion was probably the cause of the destruction of what was an ancient port.
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.
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.
Kanchipuram is in Tamil Nadu. Kanchipuram had served as an Early Chola capital. Later it became the capital of the Pallava Kingdom between the 4th and 9th centuries and acquired fame as a centre of art and architecture and learning under their rule. It has a number of educational institutions called Ghatikas. It was also a centre of the religious and literary activity of the Vaishnavites and Saivites Bhakti saints, Alvars and Nayanars, who were patronized by the Pallava rulers.
The city’s historical monuments include the Kailasanathar Temple (built by Pallava King Rajasimha in 8th century) and the Vaikuntha Perumal Temple.
The archaeological excavations suggest that Kanchi was an important commercial centre during the Satavahana period. It is attested by the discovery of 15 Satavahana coins, pieces of Rouletted ware associated with the Romans, terracotta coin-mould, copper and iron objects etc.
The city was a religious centre education for Jainism and Buddhism between the 1st and 5th centuries.
The city is well known for its hand woven silk sarees.
(9) 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.
Manyakheta was the modern Malkhed is situated in Gulbarga district in Karnataka on the banks of Kagina River. It was founded by Rashtrakutas (whose founder was Dantidurga) and subsequently became the capital of Rashtrakutas in 9th and 10th century. The capital was moved to Manyakheta by Amoghavarsha.
Later it came under the control of Western Chalukyas.
It was a centre of Saivism and Vaisnavism.
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.
It lies on the left bank of the river Sutlej in Rupnagar district of Punjab. It is a site belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. It lays on chief trade route to the north-west. The discovery of large number of coins (from punch marked coins of Gupta to various iron and copper objects) indicates that Ropar was centre of craft and commerce upto Gupta period.
The remains of a smith’s workshop with a furnace and a heap of agate beads belonging to the NBPW period (6th century BCE) have been found.
Sanchi is situated in Madhya Pradesh. It is famous for one of the earliest surviving Buddhist Stupa and the pillar edict of Ashoka.
The Stupa was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE. It was a hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha. A pillar of finely polished sandstone was also erected. The pillar has an Ashokan inscription and an inscription from the Gupta period.
During the later rule of the Sunga, the stupa was expanded with stone slabs. The dome was crowned by three superimposed parasols within a square railing. The dome was set on a high circular drum meant for circumambulation. Stupa was enclosed by a stone balustrade with four monumental gateways (toranas).
The gateways and the balustrade were improved and colored. An inscription records the gift of one of the top architraves (lintel or beam that rests on the capitals of the columns) of the Southern Gateway by the artisans of the Satavahana king Satakarni named Ananda.
At Sanchi like most other Stupas, the local population donated money for the embellishment of the stupa to attain spiritual merit.
On the stone carvings the Buddha was never depicted as a human figure. Instead the artists chose to represent him by certain attributes, such as the horse on which he left his home, his footprints, or a canopy under the bodhi tree at the point of his enlightenment.
Although made of stone, they were carved and constructed in the manner of wood and the gateways were covered with narrative sculptures. They showed scenes from the life of the Buddha integrated with everyday events.
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.
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.
(18) Tanjore (or Tanjavur)
Thanjavur, formerly Tanjore, is an important center of religion, art, and architecture.
The city first rose to prominence during the reign of Medieval Cholas when it served as the capital of the Chola Empire. After the fall of Cholas, the city was ruled by various dynasties like Pandyas, Vijayanagar Empire, Nayakas and Marathas.
Most of the Chola Temples, which are UNESCO World Heritage Monuments, are located in and around Thanjavur. The foremost among these are the Brihadeeswara Temple. Built in the 11th century by the Chola king Raja Raja Chola I, the temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. An enormous Nandi (second largest in India), carved out of a single block of granite, guards the entrance of the sanctuary. The walls of the sanctum are covered with wall paintings from the Chola and Nayaka periods. It is replicated in the Gangaikonda Cholesvarar Temple constructed by Raja Raja’s son Rajendra Chola I.
Thanjavur is home to Tanjore painting, a painting style unique to the region. Thanjavur painting dates back to early 17th century, the period of Nayakas of Thanjavur, who encouraged art, classical dance, music, literature.The Saraswati Mahal Palace was started by the Nayakas of Madurai around 1500 AD, but was completed by the Maratha ruler of Thanjavur.
Many epigraphs, inscriptions, coins etc belonging to different kings have been discovered from here.
(19) Thaneswar (or Thanesar)
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.
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