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Senake Bandaranayake

[Anurādhapura]

Ancient city and religious centre in north-central Sri Lanka on the Malvatu Oya River. The site (see fig.) extends over an area of about 64 sq. km. At its centre are the vestiges of a fortified inner city, surrounded by several ancient Buddhist monastery complexes and four large, man-made lakes. The founding of Anuradhapura as a major urban complex is traditionally ascribed to the semi-historical figure of the pre-Buddhist period, King Pandukabhaya, in the 4th century bc. Recent excavations indicate the existence of settlement, import ceramics and early writing from a horizon of the 5th century bc or earlier, indicating the possibility of urbanization taking place from c. mid-1st millennium bc. The earliest rock shelter monasteries at the site date from the last few centuries bc.

Anuradhapura was the country’s principal political and religious centre for nearly a millennium and a half, until the closing decades of the 10th century ...

Article

Ayodhya  

B. B. Lal

[Ayodhyā]

City in Faizabad District, Uttar Pradesh, India. Located on the right bank of the River Sarayu, it was the capital of the ancient Kosala kingdom, one of whose kings, Rama, is regarded by Hindus as an incarnation of Vishnu.

Excavations in 17 different parts of the ancient mounds have revealed that the first occupation at Ayodhya commenced c. 700 bc, as is indicated by the occurrence of the earliest variety of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW) and a few sherds assignable to a late stage in the production of Painted Grey Ware (PGW). The NBPW is very well fired, thin-sectioned, with a shining surface and showing a variety of colours: steel grey, coal black, indigo, silver, even gold. In the earliest levels the houses were of wattle and daub, but later they began to be constructed of kiln-fired bricks. Terracotta ringwells were used for disposing of sullage water. Concomitantly, systems of coinage (punch-marked and uninscribed cast coins) and weights (cylindrical pieces of jasper, chert etc) also came into being, laying the foundation of urbanization in the Ganga Valley around the middle of the 1st millennium ...

Article

Bajaura  

Kirit Mankodi

Village and temple site in India, some 15 km south of Kulu town, Himachal Pradesh, which flourished in the 9th century ad. It is located on the old trade route from Punjab to Lahaul-Spiti and Leh. When the region was ruled by the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty in the 9th century, a Shiva temple, the Vishveshvara, was built there. Facing east, the building is square in plan, with prominent niches on three sides containing sculptures of Ganesha, Vishnu and Durga slaying the buffalo-demon (Mahiṣāsuramardini). The walls are articulated with high mouldings (Skt vedībandha), subsidiary niches and corner pilasters. A prominent arched antefix (śukanāsā) is placed over the entrance and each of the door-like niches. The arches each contain busts of Shiva in his four-faced form. The sanctum contains a linga. The curvilinear spire and serrated crowning element (āmalasāraka) are similar to other buildings of the period and may be considered an extension into the Himalayas of the prevalent temple style of northern India. For example, a similar plan and elevation are seen in the Jaina temple outside Banpur (District Lalitpur, Uttar Pradesh). The sculpture at Bajaura, however, has a distinctly local cast and shows some relation to the art of Chamba and Kashmir....

Article

Balkh  

City in northern Afghanistan, believed to be the site of Bactra, capital of ancient Bactria, and a major city in the province of Khurasan during the Islamic period. Located on a fertile plain, Balkh commanded trade routes between India, China, Turkestan and Iran. It was already a wealthy city under the Achaemenid dynasty (538–331 bc) and a centre of Zoroastrianism. Following the conquests of Alexander the Great, it became important under the Bactrian monarchies (323–87 bc) and then under the Kushana and Hephthalites, and it was a Buddhist centre. The most substantial remains from the early periods are the mud ramparts, which stand more than 20 m at several places. The circular plan around the citadel (modern Bala-Hisar) may date back as far as the Achaemenid period. The only other monuments to survive from the pre-Islamic period are four Buddhist stupas. That excavated at Tepe Rustam in the south of the city is the most monumental found north of the Hindu Kush (platform 54 m on a side; cylindrical dome 47 m in diameter; total height ...

Article

Belur  

Gary Michael Tartakov

[Belūr]

Indian town and temple site in southern Karnataka that flourished c. 1100–1800. The most important temple at the site is the Chhennakeshava (or Vijayanarayana) temple, the earliest example of the uniquely ornate style developed under the Hoysala dynasty. The temple was dedicated to Vishnu in 1117 by Bittiga (Vishnuvardhana) (reg c. 1106–56) in celebration of his victory over the Cholas and attainment of undisputed Hoysala independence in southern Karnataka. Within the same compound stand the Kappechhennigaraya temple, constructed by Vishnuvardhana’s queen, and many later structures, including a Vijayanagara-period gopura (towered gateway) built in 1397.

The Chhennakeshava temple stands on a wide platform opposite the gopura. The complex, star-shaped plan of the sanctum contrasts with the square, faceted plan of the multi-pillared hall (Skt navaraṅga) that precedes it. An exceptionally elaborate, nine-course moulded socle is mainly geometric above an initial frieze of elephants. The low-roofed navaraṅga, originally open on the front and sides, was closed in with the standard, richly embellished screens and doorways of the later Hoysala style (...

Article

Kirit Mankodi

[Vidisha; Vidiśā; Vidiśānagarī; Vedisā; Vessanagara]

City and temple site in Vidisha District, Madhya Pradesh, India, near the modern town of Vidisha. It flourished c. 3rd century bc to the 13th century ad and was the principal city of the Dasarna region in ancient times. Besnagar was established at the confluence of the rivers Betwa (Vetravati) and Bes (Vidisha). The River Bes has given the town its various names through history. Few monuments survive, but vestiges of a substantial rampart remain on the west side of the city, where it is not skirted by rivers, and numerous mounds mark the sites of abandoned habitations and prominent religious structures. Just north of the ruined city is a free-standing pillar (c. 100 bc) known as Kham Baba. The pillar bears a Brahmi inscription stating that it was set up as a Garuda pillar in honour of Vasudeva (Vishnu) by one Heliodoros, a Greek from Taxila. Foundations of an elliptical temple have been excavated near by (...

Article

R. N. Mehta

Ruined fortified city 125 km south-east of Ahmadabad in Gujarat, India. The site was occupied by the Solanki kings during the 10th–13th centuries ad. On the summit of Pavagadh Hill, the site of the later fortress, are the remains of Jaina temples and a Shiva temple (late 10th century to early 11th) containing several sculptures of Lakulisha, founder of the Pashupata sect. A local Rajput clan, the Chahamana, took over the site in 1297 and remained there until 1485, when it was captured by the Sultan of Gujarat, Mahmud Bigara (reg 1458–1511), who made the town his new capital. The town prospered only until 1535, when it was sacked by the Mughal emperor Humayun (reg 1530–40, 1555–6); in the following year the capital was moved back to Ahmadabad. From the beginning of the 17th century the city was essentially in ruins.

The site as a whole has two parts, the hill fortress and the city below, the latter extending over an area of several sq. km. All that remains of the city is a scattering of small mosques and tombs. One of the more elaborate examples is the Nagina Masjid (...

Article

E. Errington

[Chārsada; anc. Pushkalavati]

Town at the confluence of the Kabul and Swat rivers, some 27 km north-east of Peshawar, Pakistan. Pushkalavati, a capital of the ancient region of Gandhara, is mentioned in the Rāmāyaṇa epic as having been founded at the same time as Taxila. In 327 bc the city surrendered after a short siege to part of Alexander the Great’s army under Hephaistion and was garrisoned by Macedonian troops. The site associated with these events is Bala Hisar, a large settlement mound (about 241×201×17.5 m) of the 6th–1st century bc, to the north-west of Charsadda. The Indo-Greek city at Shaikhan Dheri, north of Bala Hisar, flourished c. 150 bcad 150. Flooding forced a move eastwards across the Swat River to Shahr-i-napursan. This extensive, largely unexcavated site is the probable location of the city visited by the Chinese pilgrims Songyun (ad 519–20) and Xuanzang (632), for superficial investigations suggest that occupation continued until the 10th century....

Article

Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty

Village and temple site on the Rajpur–Shankargarh–Kusmi road on a plateau close to the confluence of the rivers Kanhar, Galphulla and Surya in Madhya Pradesh, India. It flourished between the 7th century ad and the 10th. The temple ruins fall into three groups. One group, in the Oraontola area of the village, consists of a ruined Shiva temple with remains of a sanctum (Skt garbhag ṛha) and hall (ma ṇḍapa) and remnants of pillars and foundations of a few other temples. The largest of these temples yielded a damaged 17-line inscription (in two fragments; c. 9th century). A second group, known as Samatsarna, is near the rivers and consists of a large Shiva temple, a five-shrined (pañcāyatana) temple with Devi and Chamunda images, a double Shiva temple with three sanctums, a double row of small Shiva temples, a stepwell and the remains and foundations of other shrines. The third group of remains is scattered in the vast area between Samatsarna and Oraontola. It includes a five-shrined Vishnu temple near Samatsarna, four ruined Shiva temples close to an ancient tank with stone embankments known as Ranipokhra (Queen’s Tank) near Oraontola and two monastic residences. The temples are mostly in stone, while brick is used in the flooring of the monastic residences. They are generally built on a square or rectangular plan, but two temples are made on the stellate plan popular in South Kosala (...

Article

Eran  

Michael D. Willis

[anc. Airikiṇa.]

Site of a ruined city and temple complex in Sagar District, Madhya Pradesh, India, 80 km north-west of Vidisha. The site first drew the attention of archaeologists in the mid-19th century but was excavated only in the 1960s, by a team from the University of Sagar that set the origin of the settlement to c. 1750 bc. Eran was an important religious centre in the eastern Malwa region in the 4th and 5th centuries ad; as with many ancient cities, the sacred complex was set apart from the town proper. By the 8th century Eran had been largely superseded by Badoh.

The monumental remains at Eran, clustered together on a gentle curve of the Bina River, consist of a row of four ruined shrines, two standing pillars and numerous sculptural and architectural fragments. The oldest stone sculpture at the site is a broken image of a yakṣī (female nature spirit) that dates to the second half of the 4th century ...

Article

R. Nagaswamy

[Gaṅgaikoṇḍacoḷapuram]

Town and temple site in Tamil Nadu, India. It was founded by Rajendra Chola I (reg ad 1012–44) to commemorate his conquests up to the River Ganga in northern India. Displacing the earlier centre at Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram remained the capital of the Chola dynasty until the 13th century.

Excavations have revealed that the royal enclave at Gangaikondacholapuram was laid out according to canonical prescription. The palace was in the centre and shrines to various gods were placed in the appropriate quarters (Shiva to the north-east, Vishnu to the west, etc). Two broad brick walls, with the intervening space filled with sand, formed the base for the fort walls and a multi-storey palace. Only the base and parts of the lime-plaster flooring have been exposed. Inscriptions in contemporary temples refer to outer and inner fortifications, named the Rajendra Chola madil (Tamil: ‘enclosure of Rajendra Chola’) and uṭpaḍaivīttu madil (‘inner garrisoned enclosure’). Also mentioned are such multi-storey palace structures as the Gangaikondacholan Maligai and such features as the ...

Article

Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty

Village and temple site 3 km from Keskal on the Raipur–Jagdalpur road, Bastar District, Madhya Pradesh, India. Sixteen mounds, cleared by the Department of Archaeology and Museums, Madhya Pradesh, and a number of significant images in the surrounding area, are the most notable features of the site. Twelve mounds yielded temples, which follow designs established at Bhongapal (also in Bastar District), namely a sanctum (Skt garbhagṛha) with a constricted vestibule (antarāla) demarcated by brick pilasters, the sanctum being occasionally provided externally with a central projection (bhadra) and sometimes with this and a subsidiary offset (prati) and corner offset (karṇa). The preference is for a sequence of tall, flat mouldings like the base (vedībandha) at the Deorani Temple, Tala. Three of the mounds are large and were built in terrace formation, in a sequence of successive squares or rectangles, of diminishing size and rising height. The square or rectangular plan, with an occasional apsidal sanctum, the plinth (...

Article

Gaur  

Perween Hasan

[Lakṣmaṇāvatī; Lakhnautī]

Ruined city situated on the international border between Bangladesh and India. The southern suburb, with the most important monument in the area, the Chota Sona Masjid, is in Nawabganj District, Bangladesh. The walled city and the inner citadel to the north, still called Gaur, are in Malda District, West Bengal, India.

Before the 12th century Gauda was the name of a kingdom comprising the city and surrounding area. In the 12th century it became the capital of the Sena dynasty of Bengal and was known as Lakṣmaṇāvatī after King Lakshmanasena (reg c. 1178–1206). In the 13th century, when the sultans of Delhi conquered parts of Bengal, they made Gaur their capital. It was known as Lakhnautī to Muslim historians. Difficulties in controlling Bengal from Delhi led Sultan Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq (reg 1320–25) to divide the region into three administrative units, Lakhnautī, Satgaon and Sonargaon. By the middle of the 14th century Bengal was ruled by independent sultans. Gaur served as a capital for these kings until the 16th century, except for the period from ...

Article

Walter Smith

[anc. Tiruvippirambedu]

Village and temple site in south-eastern Andhra Pradesh, India. The oldest and most important feature of the site is a li ṅga (h. 0.8 m;) in the form of a naturalistically rendered phallus with a figure of Shiva carved on one side. Shiva holds a spear, a water pot and an antelope skin and stands on a dwarfish earth spirit (yakṣa) symbolizing fertility and abundance. Stylistically, the figure represents a stage between the sculptures of Bharhut and Bodhgaya and is therefore the earliest extant li ṅga erected for worship in a temple. Recent excavations have shown that the li ṅga was originally surrounded by a stone railing similar to that shown in a relief of li ṅga worship from Mathura (c. 2nd century ad; Mathura, Govt Mus., see Chandra, 1975, pls 2, 3). It has been restored to this original format. The li ṅga was originally housed in an apsidal brick temple; the present temple, also apsidal, is of late Chola date (...

Article

Halebid  

Gary Michael Tartakov

[Haḷebiḍ; anc. Dōrasamudra, Dvārasamudra]

Indian town and temple site in southern Karnataka that flourished c. 1100–1350. It was the capital of the Hoysala dynasty; remains include four major temples and several irrigation tanks. Two temples were built in the reign of Vishnuvardhana (reg c. 1108–42), who consolidated the dynasty’s power—the Jaina Parshvanatha (1133) and Shaiva Hoysaleshvara (c. 1121–60)—and two in the reign of his grandson Ballala II (reg c. 1173–1220)—the Jaina Shantinatha (1196) and Shaiva Kedareshvara (1219). The site was pillaged by Malik Kafur in 1311.

The Hoysaleshvara is the most extensive and mature example of the dynasty’s characteristic, ornate style. Built for Ketamalla, an officer of Vishnuvardhana, by the architect Kedaroja, it is a two-shrined (dvikū ṭa) Shiva temple, resembling a double version of the Chhennakeshava temple at Belur. The two halves are linked by a complex system of subshrines on the interior, with corresponding projecting offsets on the outside wall. The temple stands on a high platform that serves as an exterior circumambulatory passage (...

Article

Hampi  

George Michell

Site of the ruined city of Vijayanagara in Bellary District, Karnataka, India. The city was founded in the 14th century at the sacred centre of Hampi. The modern village of the same name occupies part of the site.

Vijayanagara (‘City of victory’) emerged as the capital of an empire comprising much of peninsular India by the end of the 14th century, a position it maintained throughout the 15th and 16th centuries. While its rulers were Hindu, its society included an influential Muslim minority. Foreign travellers were welcomed; descriptions of the city’s grandeur survive in accounts of Persian, Portuguese and Italian visitors; Arab horse-traders also visited the city at this time. Celebrated kings include Deva Raya I (reg 1406–22) of the Sangama dynasty and Krishnadeva Raya (reg 1510–29) and Achyutadeva Raya (reg 1529–42) of the third or Tuluva dynasty. Vijayanagara’s rivals for supremacy in the Deccan were the Muslim kingdoms to the north. In ...

Article

Gary Michael Tartakov

[Hanamkoṇḍa; Anmakoṇḍa and Warangal; Orguṅgallu; anc. Ānumakoṇḍa and Orukallu]

Cities, some 6 km apart, in Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh, India, that flourished c. ad 1100–1325. Both are temple sites and former capital cities of the Kakatiya dynasty. Hanamkonda became the Kakatiya capital in the 11th century, when the rulers were given title to the Telingana region by the Chalukyas of Kalyana (see Chalukya §2). The site rose to special prominence after the Kakatiyas asserted independence under Parola II (reg c. 1115–58) and Rudradeva (reg c. 1158–95).

The most important monument at Hanamkonda is the ‘Thousand-pillared’ temple dedicated by Rudradeva in 1163, according to an inscription. Set within a walled compound entered by a gateway on its east, the temple is of the triple-sanctum (Skt trikū ṭa) type. It has a somewhat ambivalent orientation. As a whole it faces south, unusually, and its elevated platform (upapī ṭha) extends into the vast, 300-pillared hall after which it is named. This hall is connected to the temple by a narrow platform, on which is an impressive image of the recumbent Nandi, the bull vehicle of Shiva, facing directly into the central sanctum, although this, surprisingly, is not the Shiva sanctum. The sanctums, dedicated to the gods Surya (on the east), Shiva (west) and Vishnu (central), are arranged on three sides of a hall of nine bays (...

Article

Harappa  

Gregory L. Possehl

[Harappā]

Ancient city on the southern bank of the Ravi River, western Punjab, Pakistan, and the type site for the Indus civilization that flourished c. 2500–2000 bc (see also Mohenjo-daro). Harappa is the name of the modern village adjacent to the mounds and is not thought to be of ancient derivation, although the place-name Hariyupiya does occur in the Ṛg veda and has been associated with the site by some scholars (see Wheeler, pp. 78–82). The archaeological site was first recognized in 1826 by Charles Masson, an early traveller in the region. The city as a whole was robbed for bricks in the mid-19th century and is not well preserved. Alexander Cunningham, the first Director–General of the Archaeological Survey of India, excavated part of the site in 1871–2 and published the first of a series of important stamp seals associated with the Harappan civilization. The results of excavations undertaken in ...

Article

Gregory L. Possehl

City and mountain site in Gujarat, India. The city of Junagadh has numerous monuments of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Their architecture exhibits a rich mixture of European and Indian forms. However, the oldest and most significant monuments are those of the Uparkot, or Upper Fort, which dates from the Maurya and Gupta periods (4th century bc–7th century ad). The earliest of these monuments is a Jaina cave site known as the Bawa Pyara Math and datable to the 2nd century ad. Cut from the rock on the south side of the citadel hill, its cells form a horseshoe shape around a large apsidal hall in the centre. The Kapra Kodia caves (3rd–4th century ad) to the north of the Uparkot are best known for their cisterns and descending staircases. Near the highest point of the citadel is a Buddhist monastery of the same period. The square-cut cells of this complex are arranged on two levels linked by a winding staircase; a central court is open to the sky. Approximately 100 m north of the Buddhist caves is a large and splendid 15th-century ...

Article

Kalna  

Walter Smith

Town and temple site in West Bengal, India, about 80 km north of Calcutta. Located on the banks of the Bhagirathi River, it was once an important port and commercial centre, but by the late 19th century its importance had declined owing to the silting up of the river and the opening of the East Indian Railway. It is now best known for several temples built during the 18th and 19th centuries by wealthy landowners, merchants and officers of local governors. Many are dated by inscription. Built of brick, they are decorated with dense arrangements of terracotta reliefs depicting scenes from the Rāmāya ṇa, the Krishna legend and scenes of everyday life, including figures in European dress. A variety of temple types are seen; the most common have squat, curvilinear superstructures, sometimes double-storey, or upper levels consisting of several towers (see Indian subcontinent §III 7., (ii), (d)). The Lalji Temple (...