Solution: Weekly Problem Practice For History Optional- 2023 [Ancient India: Week 8]

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) A site of ancient cave-painting


  • In Pudukkottai district, Tamilnadu.
  • Meghalithic and Jain Cave site.
  • Burials:
    • Stone circles,
    • Cist burials
    • urn burials,
  • Pottery, glass manufacturing site, iron objects,
  • Sittanavasal Cave is a Jain caves with painting and sculptures.
    • Temple-cave dated to Pallava King Mahendravarman I (580–630 AD).
    • Painting:
      • Mural painting
      • Fresco-secco technique
      • Painting depicts:
        • lotus pond with lotus flowers,
        • people collecting lotuses from the pond,
        • dancing figures,
        • fish, buffaloes, elephants etc.

(ii) Ancient port


  • In Tamluk near the mouth of the Ganges in Midnapur district of West Bengal.
  • Emporium of trade.
  • Connected to Taxila by land and river on one hand and with south-east Asia by sea on the other.
  • Antiquities of Chalcolithic period and NBPW phase found.
  • Discovery of Roulette ware and red polished ware of Roman type indicates the trade contact with Roman.
  • Urban character is proved by discovery of terracotta figurines, coins, beads or semi-precious stones etc.

(iii) Ancient rock cut temple

Masroor Rock Cut Temple

  • Near Kangra, Himachal Pradesh.
  • Famous for remarkable group of rock cut temples.
  • Only example of Nagara style temple built as the rock-cut construction.
  • Masroor temple complex:
    • A group of 15 monolithic rock cut shrines;
    • 14 temples are cut only from the outside, but central temple in this complex is also cut from the inside.
    • Now known as Thakurwada, a term for Vaishnavite temples.
    • Idols of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita are placed inside main sanctum-sanctorum.
    • Sculptural detailing on the doors, lintels, walls, shikharas, and column capitals on the main shrine and other smaller temples consist of figurines of gods and goddesses such as Shiva, Parvati, Laksmi and Saraswati, and floral designs.
  • Presence of the figure of Shiva in the centre of the lintel suggest that the Temple was originally dedicated to Lord Shiva but it was converted into a Vaishnava temple in recent history.

(iv) Palaeolithic site


  • In Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh.
  • Palaeolithic and mesolithic tools found.
    • Used for food processing, hunting, craft work etc.
  • Mother goddess worship:
    • A rock with concentric triangle found in the middle of a circular platform.
    • Tribal communities still follows as a symbol of mother goddesses.
  • Mesolithic phase:
    • The tools are of chert and chalcedony, and geometric microliths occur.
  • The location of many large shelters can be identified by a series of post-holes.

(v) A Harappan site


  • In Rupnagar district, Punjab.
  • IVCPGW and NBPW.
  • No early Harappan level.
  • Transition from village to town in period c. 600–200 BCE, and yielded NBPW and punch-marked and copper coins.
  • A seal with an inscription in Brahmi.
  • Houses made of stone, mud-brick and burnt brick.
  • Iron workshop and agate beads in NBPW.

(vi) Early and mature Harappan site

Kot Diji

  • In Sind, Amri, on bank of Indus.
  • Early and mature Harappan level.
  • Settlement:
    • Fortified with a massive wall made of limestone rubble and mud-brick
    • a citadel complex and a lower residential area
    • House walls of stone and mud-brick.
  • Artefacts:
    • Objects of stone, shell, and bone;
    • terracotta figurines (including a bull figurine),
    • bangles, and beads;
  • Pottery:
    • Wheel-made and decorated.
    • a short-necked ovoid pot, painted with designs such as the ‘horned deity’, pipal leaves and ‘fish scales’.
  • At Kot Diji and Gumla, a burnt deposit between early Harappan and mature Harappan levels suggests a major fire.

(vii) An art centre


  • In Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh.
  • Meghalithic, BRW and NBPW site.
  • Inscription in Maurya Brahmi found.
  • Dhanyakatakacapital of Satavahanas.
  • Buddhist stupa:
    • Buddhist Stupa and Mahachaityas with marble and limestone sculptures.
    • Its carved panels tell the story of Buddha.
  • Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang visited in 7th century.
  • Ancient School of Arts:
    • Flourished for nearly six centuries commencing from 200-100 BC.
    • Patronized first by the Satavahanas and later by the Ikshvakus.
    • Some Buddhist sculptures with Greco-Roman influence.

(viii) Neolithic 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.

(ix) An inscriptional site


  • Girnar Hill near Junagadh in Kathiawar of Gujarat.
  • Major rock edicts of Ashoka:
    • 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:
    • earliest Sanskrit inscription
    • mentions renovation of Sudarshana Lake which was originally built by Pusyagupta the provincial governor of Chandragupta.
  • Another inscription dates from about 450 CE and refers to Skandagupta.
  • Many Jain and Hindu temples are located in Girnar.

(x) Mesolithic site


  • In Burdman district, West Bengal.
  • Mesolithic stone tools made of quartz, some of chert and chalcedony, were found here.
    • Birbhanpur industry dominated with big flakes and blade tools.
    • Main microlith type- Lunate type.
    • Triangle and trapezes absent.
  • Both a habitation and a factory site.
  • Post holes found here.
  • No hearth, bone or human burials found.

(xi) An ancient capital


  • In Kapilvastu ditrict, Nepal (25 km northwest of Lumbini).
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Capital of the Shakya kingdom.
  • King Suddhodana and Queen Mayadevi of Shakya kingdom gave birth to Gautam Buddha.
  • Chinese pilgrims Faxian and Xuanzang made pilgrimages to the site .
  • Ancient trade centre.

(xii) A Mesolithic site

Sarai Nahar Rai:

  • In Pratapgarh district of U.P.
  • It is stratified Mesolithic settlements.
  • Geometric microliths along with shells and animal bones found.
  • Human burials:
    • Within the habitation area.
    • 13 burials of men, women and child with heads westward.
    • One of the buried skeletons had an arrow embedded in its ribs.
    • Microlithic tools, animal bones, and shells were placed as grave goods.
    • An analysis reveals good dental health but some of them suffered from osteo-arthritis.
  • Floor of made of burnt clay and has several fire hearths some with charred bones.
  • Many animals are domesticated type.

(xiii) Site of Meghalithic stone circle


  • In Nagpur district, Maharashtra.
  • Megalithic, early iron site.
  • Around 300 stone circles are found.
  • Iron objects:- ring, chisels, horse bits, flat axes.
  • BRW pottery.
  • Bead making centre.
  • Burial sites characterised by cairns.
  • No cremation, dead were buried.
  • Cup marked stones in circle:- signify astronomical significance.
  • ASI declared it National Important Monument.
  • Grave goods: red potter few with graffiti.

(xiv) An educational centre


  • In Bhagalpur district, Bihar.
  • Founded by King Dharmpal of Pala dynasty.
  • Buddhist university:
    • Around hundred teachers and about one thousand students.
    • Produced eminent scholars like Dipankara, who propagated Buddhism in Tibet.
    • Most important branch of learning:- Tantrism.
    • Other subjects like theology, philosophy, grammar, metaphysics, logic etc. also taught.
    • Main stupa is a brick structure.
    • A rectangular structure identified as library.
  • Antiquities:
    • Terracotta, metal, ivory, bone, shell antiquities.
    • Stone and bronze sculptures of Buddha, Bodhisattva, Avalokiteshwara, Maitreya, Manjusri, etc.

(xv) An important halting place


  • In central Afghanistan.
  • Part of the Kushan Empire.
  • Visited by the Chinese travelers Faxian and Xuanzang.
  • Centre of trade and commerce (on the silk route) and of Buddhism. It was a halting place for travellers.
  • Buddha of size 175 feet high, and another of 120 feet were carved from rock. Also mentioned by Xuanzang The statues were destroyed by the Taliban but restored again.
  • 7th-century mural paintings found in caves (use of oil-based paints).
  • UNESCO World Heritage site.

(xvi) Historical rock cut caves


  • Twin hills Udayagiri and Khandagiri near Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
  • 33 rock cut caves on both the hills.
  • Mostly single storied but some double storied.
  • Dwelling retreats of the Jaina monks.
  • Caves were excavated by king Kharavela and his successors.
  • Ranigumpha caves- double storied and the largest.
  • Hathigumpha inscription (17 line) of king Kharavela (2nd century BCE)-
    • In Prakrit incised in a Brahmi script.
    • Talks about:
      • military conquests of Kharvela, 
      • his orientation towards Janism,
      • his construction works,
      • his liberal religious spirit,
      • his favors to art like music and dance etc.
      • his retrieving an image of a jina.
    • This is the earliest epigraphic reference to image worship in Jainism.

(xvii) Brahmadeya Village


  • In Kanchipuram district, Tamilnadu.
  • Originally existed as a Brahmin settlement. Pallava king Nandivarman II (720–796 CE) established it as a brahamdeya village.
  • Inscription on granite stones of the temple dedicated to Shiva (during rule of Parantaka Chola) throw light on the functioning of Chola’s village administration particularly Sabha, the assembly of Brahmin village and shows autonomy enjoyed by villages during Cholas.

(xviii) A political and cultural centre

Paithan/ Pratisthana

  • In Aurangabad district, Maharashtra.
  • Capital of the Satavahanas (2nd century BC to 2nd century AD).
  • Mentioned in 1st century AD Greek book, Periplus of Erythrian Sea and in Ashokan Rock Edict.
  • Emporium of trade.
  • Home of saint Eknath.
  • Famous today for Paithani silk saris.

(xix) A pre-Harappan site


  • In Sindh, Pakistan on the bank of the Indus.
  • Early Harappan, mature Harappan.
  • Mud-brick, stone structures.
  • Artefacts:
    • chert blades, stone balls,
    • bone tools,
    • fragments of copper and bronze.
  • Cellular compartments used for storing grain.
  • Pottery:
    • Wheel-made wares
    • painted designs, mostly geometric.
    • monochrome or polychrome.

(xx) An ancient capital


  • In Bagalkot district, Karnataka.
  • Capital of the Early Chalukyas.
  • Founded  in  540  AD  by Pulakeshi  I of Chalukyas.
  • Pallavas under Narasimhavarma I destroyed Vatapi and called himself Vatapikonda.
  • Temples:
    • Sandstone cave temples and structural temples.
    • Early styles of the southern Indian architecture.
    • Rock-cut Cave Temples:
      • Siva (with Parvati), Vishnu and Jains
      • Lord Nataraja in dancing poses.
    • Muktheeswara temple
    • Melagutti Sivalaya.
    • Bhutanatha group of temples and Mallikarjuna group of temples.
    • Paintings on the ceiling.
  • Inscriptions:
    • First Sanskrit inscription in old Kannada script dates back to 543 CE, from the period of Pulakeshi I.
    • One inscription near the Bhuthanatha temple
    • Inscriptions of 12th century in Jain rock-cut temple dedicated to Adinatha.


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