Solution: Weekly Problem Practice for 2024 History Optional [Ancient India: Week 1]

Q. Identify the following places marked on the map supplied to you and write a short note of about 30 words on each of them in your Question-cum-Answer Booklet. Locational hints for each of the places marked on the map are given below seriatim. [20×2.5= 50 Marks]

(i) World Heritage site

Dholavira: A Harappan City

  • In Kutch district, Gujarat.
  • City scape consisted ‘citadel’, a ‘middle town’ and a ‘lower town’,
  • Water conservation system of channels and reservoirs built of stone.
  • Seven Hemispherical constructions found.
  • A coastal route existed linking Lothal and Dholavira to Sutkagan Dor on the Makran coast.
  • Findings:
    • Painted BRW
    • square stamp seals,
    • seals without Indus script,
    • Dholavira signboard: containing ten letters of Indus script. The inscription is the longest in the Indus script.

(ii) Petroglyph site


  • In Bellary district of Karnataka.
  • Thousands of petroglyphs have been found at Kupgal on granitic hills, which date to the Neolithic or even the old stone age.
  • The motifs were made by bruising the rocks, presumably with a stone implement.
  • Many of the motifs on the rocks are of cattle, in particular the long-horned humped-back type.
    • Some are of human-like figures, either on their own or accompanied by cattle. Some of these are in chains or with bows and arrows.
    • The masculine nature of the engravings suggest that the people who made the images were men and were probably involved in herding cattle.
  •  Some of the rock formations are called as the ‘musical’ rocks.
    • They consist of peculiar depressions in the rocks, which when struck with boulders produce loud, gong-like musical tones.

(iii) Jain site


  • Shravanabelagola is located near Channarayapatna of Hassan district in Karnataka.
  • It has been a prominent centre for Jain art, architecture, religion and culture for over two millennia.
  • Shravanabelagola has two hills, Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri. About two thousand years ago, Acharya Bhadrabahu (one of the earliest great Jain Acharyas) and his pupil Chandragupta Maurya are believed to have meditated there.
    • Chandragupta Maurya, the great emperor who ruled a large part of India, settled in this region. He is said to have died here in 298 BCE after he became a Jain monk and assumed an ascetic life style.
  • Just opposite is the smaller Chandragiri hill where some Jain temples and tomb of Chandragupta Mourya, famous patron of Jainism can be seen.
  • The smaller Chandragiri has some Jain temples and tomb of Chandragupta Maurya and memorials to numerous monks and Sravakas who have meditated there since the fifth century AD, including the last king of the Rashtrakuta dynasty of Manyakheta.
  • Monolith of Lord Gomateshwara:
    • The 58-feet (18 m) tall monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwara, (a Jain saint and the son of Rishabhanatha, the first tirthankara of Jainism) is located  nestled by the Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri Hills.
    • Carved of a single block of granite.
    • It is considered to be the one of the world’s largest monolithic statue. 
    • It was built around 983 CE during the Western Ganga dynasty by the minister and commander Chavundaraya.
    • The Mahamastakabisheka festival, an elaborate ritual (Gommateshwara statue is anointed with milk, saffron, ghee, sugarcane juice, etc. from the top of the statue), held here once every 12 years, attracts devotees from all over the world. when the
  • Inscriptions:
    • More than 800 inscriptions have been found at Shravanabelagola, dating to various times from 600 AD to 1830 AD.
    • A large number of these are found in the Chandragiri and the rest can be seen in the Vindhyagiri Hill and the town.
    • These inscriptions include texts in the Kannada, Prakrit.
    • Some of these inscriptions mention the rise and growth in power of the Western Ganga Dynasty, the Rashtrakutas, the Hoysala Empire, the Vijayanagara Empire and the Wodeyar dynasty.
  • Gommateshwara statue, Akkana Basadi, Chandragupta basadi, Chamundaraya Basadi, Parshvanath Basadi and inscriptions of Shravanabelagola group of monuments are listed as Adarsh Smarak Monument by Archaeological Survey of India.

(iv) Ancient Church site

St. Thomas Church, Palayur:

  • Located at Palayur in Thrissur district, Kerala.
  • The Syrian church was established in 52 AD by St Thomas.
    • In 52 A.D. , the disciple of Jesus Christ, St. Thomas came to India in Muziris (Cranganore) who built seven and a half Churches.
      • He built 7 Churches in Kodungalur, Kollam, Niranam, Nilakkal (Chayal), Kokkamangalam, Kottaikavu, Palayur which are all situated in Kerala.
      • In 63A.D., he built a half Church (Arappally) for St. Mary at Manikramam in Thiruvithancodu.
  •  It is one of the oldest church in India and one of the seven founded by St. Thomas the Apostle.
  • Church was built incorporating the old Hindu temple thus it was a fusion of Hindu architectural style in respect of ornamentation with a Persian church plan.
    • The roof of the church rises like a tower above the nave.
    • The approach or entrance is like a Hindu style mandapa.
  • The old structure was of wooden structure of teak.
  • During the 17th century substantial improvements were carried out and the old wooden structure was demolished, which resulted in the Church looking elegant.
    • The original altar consecrated by St. Thomas is still retained.
  • St. Thomas Church, Maliankara (Kodungallur) is nearby in the same district.

(v) Paleolithic site


  • In Munger in Bihar.
  • Paleolithic and Mesolithic site.
  • A stone working site containing finished and semi-finished tools found.
  • The evidence for the construction of huts and temporary shelters found.
  • Apart from microliths, there are traces of numerous fire places found.
  • The raw material for making tools, i.e. stone, was probably heated before flaking.
  • The thin layer of Mesolithic habitation suggests that people did not live at this place for a long time.
  • No organic remains have been reported.

(vi) Mesolithic site


  • In Bhilwara district of Rajasthan.
  • One of the best documented mesolithic sites.
  • Three occupational levels: mesolithic, chalcolithic and evidence of iron.
  • Microliths:
    • Microliths made of locally available chert and quartz, were found.
    • A large number of geometric microliths such as triangles and trapezes.
  • House:
    • House floors paved with stone slabs were found.
    • Circular arrangements of stone.
    • Stone-paved areas with a large number of animal bones were butchering areas.
  • Burial:
    • Only one burial was uneartherd and there was no evidence of grave goods.
  • Bones of wild and domesticated animals.
  • Other discoveries:
    • Ring stones (used as hammer stones to make microliths), and rubbing stones (for grinding food).
  • Small bits of pottery of microlith phase found.

(vii) Late Harappan site


  • In Saharanpur district, UP.
  • Easternmost Harappan site
  • Mature and Late Harappan site.
  • No early Harappan level.
  • Burnt bricks, copper objects found in late Harappan period.
  • PGW preceded by a late Harappan level.
  • Break in occupation between Late Harappan and PGW.

(viii) Neolithic site

Utnur/ Utnoor

  • In Adilabad district, Telngana.
  • Evidences of Ash-mounds, agriculture and cattle herding.
  • Bone tools,
  • Celts, microlithic blades, stone axes, handmade coarse pottery found.

(ix) Proto-historic site


  • In Punjab, Pakistan on bank of Ravi River.
  • Early, mature and late Harappan phase found.
  • First site of IVC to be discovered.
  • Urban culture sustained by surplus agricultural production and commerce.
  • Trade with Sumer in southern Mesopotamia.
  • Differentiated living quarters, flat-roofed brick houses, and fortified administrative or religious centers.
  • City followed grid planning.
  • Row of six granaries found.
  • Burials:
    • Only place having evidenced of coffin burial.
    • Evidenced of fractional burial and coffin burial.
    • Grave goods
    • Cemetery-H of alien people.
  • Citadel and fortified city.
  • Seal, stone figurines (torso of naked male and female figure in dancing pose)
  • Bronze smelting

(x) Buddhist monument


  • In Raisen district, MP.
  • Aa group of Buddhist monuments mainly dated between 200 BC and 100 BC.
  • It has a plethora of monolithic pillars, palaces, temples and monasteries.
  • Buddhist Stupa:
    • Originally commissioned by Ashoka in 3rd century BC.
      • A hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha.
      • Pillar edict (polished sandstone) of Ashoka erected.
    • Sunga period:
      • Expanded with stone slabs.
      • Enclosed by a stone balustrade with four toranas.
    • Satavahana period:
      • The gateways and the balustrade were improved and colored.
      • An inscription records the gift by the artisans of the Satavahana king Satakarni.
  • Stone carving:
    • Buddha not depicted as a human figure but by attributes, such as the horse, his footprints, or a canopy under the bodhi tree.
    • Carved in the manner of wood.
    • The gateways were covered with narrative sculptures with scenes from the life of the Buddha integrated with everyday events.

(xi) Megalithic site


  • In northeast of Srinagar, J&K.
  • First Neolithic site of Kashmir.
  • Megalithic culture followed Neolithic culture.
  • Certain features differentiate it from other Neolithic cultures:
    • For example: people were not acquainted with agriculture and followed hunting and fishing economy.
  • Other important feature:
    • Use of a large number of well-polished bone and stone tools.
    • Large number of bone tools in form of harpoons, needles, arrowheads etc. is found.
    • Human and animal burials found.
      • Humans were buried both primarily and secondarily in pits, mostly dug into the house floors. In secondary burials skulls and long bones were preferred.=
      • Pet animals (e.g. dog) were buried along their masters.
    • Dwelling pits and storage pits are found.
    • Pottery:
      • The early pottery:- crude and handmade.
      • Later pottery:- wheel-made.

(xii) Painted Grey Ware site


  • In Bareilly district, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Capital of Northern Panchala, Mahajanapada.
  • A brick fortification excavated.
  • PGW was first identified at Ahichchhatra.
  • PGW was followed by NBPW Period.
  • Panchala and Kushana coins have been found here.

(xiii) Ancient capital site


  • In Tirunelveli district, near the mouth of the Vaigai,.
  • Early capital of Early Pandya.
  • Pandya port, celebrated for its pearls in Sangam poems and Greek accounts.
  • Important pearl fishing centre- excavation evidence and mentioned in The Arthashastra
  • BRW and locally made rouletted ware with Brahmi letters belonging to c. 200 BCE–200 CE.

(xiv) Neolithic site


  • In Vellore district, Tamilnadu.
  • Neolithic & Megalithic settlements.
  • The habitation — cum burial site.
  • Absence of bone tools.
  • Huts with floors levelled with stone chips and plastered.
  • Agriculture:
    • Cereals and pulses.
    • Charred grains of horse gram and green gram found.
  • The megalithic pottery:
    • Thin, coarse red ware painted.
    • BRW, all black ware and the red ware found.
  • Metallurgy:
    • Smelted iron
    • Produced tools and weapons locally.

(xv) Lost port

Puhar/ Pumpuhar/ Kaveripattinam

  • In Nagapattinam district, Tamilnadu.
  • Sea port of Cholas during the Sangam age.
  • Centre of trade- foreign trade.
  • Capital of the early Chola kings.
  • Near Kaveri River.
  • Mentioned in the Periplus of Ereythrean Sea and Silapathikaram.
  • Medieval Chola coins found:- continued to be an important port in later times as well.
  • Ancient Pottery found.

(xvi) Ancient political and religious centre


  • In Anuradhapura District, North Central province, Sri Lanka.
  • Sacred city for Buddhism
  • ancient capital of Sri Lanka.
  • This city was established around a cutting from the ‘tree of enlightenment’, the Buddha’s fig tree, brought there in the 3rd century B.C. by Sanghamitta, the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns.
  • According to Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa,
    • Ashoka had sent his son Mahinda, to Srilanka.
    • He met king Devanampiya Tissa and preached the doctrine.
    • In later period, the royal family and nobility of Sri Lanka strongly supported Buddhism.
  • Art works featuring depictions of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Mercy and Compassion, became popular.
  • Ancient monuments like Buddhist temples, stupas etc. found.

(xvii) Art centre


  • In Mathura district, UP.
  • Centre of craft and trade.
    • Textile
    • Junction of trade route: Uttarpatha and dakshinapatha.
  • Religious centre:
    • Buddhism,
    • Jainism, and
    • early Hinduism.
  • Southern capital of the Kushana/
  • Mathura School of Arts under the patronage of the Kushanas.
  • At Sonkh, near Mathura, PGW, BRW and grey ware found.
  • Post-holes and a double ditch.
  • Beginnings of urbanization during Kushana period.
  • NBPW: Coins came and specialized crafts such as the manufacture of terracotta figurines, copper and iron working, and bead making.

(xviii) Ancient capital city


  • Modern Peshawar in NWF province of Pakistan.
  • Capital of Kushana ruler Kanishka (2nd century AD).
  • Kushana period:
    • Sculptures,
    • Buddhist stupa,
    • Buddhist Chaitya.
  • Trade centre as it lied on old silk route..
  • Centre of Buddhist learning.
  • Mentioned by Chinese pilgrim Faxian and Xuanzang.

(xix) Temple site


  • Present capital of Odisha.
  • In 7th century, Somavamshi or Keshari dynasty established their kingdom in the area, and constructed a number of temples.
  • After the Kesharis, the Eastern Gangas ruled Kalinga area until 14th century CE.
  • Called ‘Temple City‘ or ‘Ekamra Kshetra’ with many 6th-13th century CE Hindu temples.
  • Temples in the Kalinga style.
  • Famous temples (mainly of Lord Shiva):
    • Lingaraj Temple,
    • Muktesvara Temple,
    • Rajarani Temple (pancharatha style),
    • Ananta Vasudeva Temple- only temple of Lord Vishnu.
  • Famous for Classical Odissi dance.
  • The twin hills of Khandagiri & Udayagiri – site of an ancient Jain monastery.
  • Dhauli hills has major edicts of Ashoka.

(xx) Ancient Cave site

Ajanta Caves

  • In Aurangabad district, Maharashtra.
  • Buddhist Caves (2nd century BC to 7th century AD).
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The 7th century Chinese Pilgrim, Huen Tsang mentioned it.
  • Built in two phases-
    • Satavahana- Hinayana
    • Vakațaka- Mahayana
  • Elaborate caves.
  • Architecture:
    • Chaityas and viharas.
    • Early viharas – simpler, and lack shrines.
    • Later Viharas also had shrine at the rear centres, statue of  Buddha.
    • This change reflects the movement from Hinayana to Mahayana Buddhism.
  • Paintings:
    • Mural paintings.
    • Buddhist themes like Jataka stories.
    • Paintings use many colors.


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