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ASI discovered remains of an ancient temple of Gupta period

  • Category
    History & Culture
  • Published
    22nd Sep, 2021

Context

Recently, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) discovered remains of an ancient temple dating back to the Gupta period (5th century) in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah district.

Key-findings

  • Archeologists have found 'shankhalipi' inscriptions on the stairs on an ancient temple dating back to the Gupta period.
    • The stairs of the temple had ‘shankhalipi’ inscriptions, which were deciphered by the archaeologists, ‘Sri Mahendraditya’, the title of Kumaragupta I of the Gupta dynasty.
  • As per the ASI, the stairs led to a structural temple built during the Gupta period.
  • The team discovered two decorative pillars close to one another, with human figurines.
    • These two pillars were flat rectangular pillars, placed parallel and facing the same direction, and the front faces showed images of the yaksas, ganas, and various geometrical motifs.

What is the Shankhalipi script?

  • Shankhalipi or “shell-script” is a term used by scholars to describe ornate spiral characters assumed to be Brahmi derivatives that look like conch shells or shankhas. 
  • They are found in inscriptions across north-central India and date to between the 4th and 8th centuries. 
  • Both Shankhalipi and Brahmi are stylised scripts used primarily for names and signatures. 
  • The inscriptions consist of a small number of characters, suggesting that the shell inscriptions are names or auspicious symbols or a combination of the two.

Significance of the discovery

  • The discovery becomes significant since only two other structural temples from the Gupta age have been found so far
    • Dashavatara Temple (Deogarh)
    • Bhitargaon Temple (Kanpur Dehat)

Gupta dynasty rulers

  • Chandragupta 1 (320–330CE) -Chandragupta 1 was the founder of the Gupta empire. From being a local chief in Magadha kingdom, he increased his power by marriage alliances and wars.
  • Chandragupta 2 (380–413 CE ) -Chandragupta II The Great also known as Chandragupta Vikram?ditya, son of Samudragupta, was one of the most powerful emperors of the Gupta empire in northern India.
    • Under his rule the Gupta Empire achieved its zenith, art, architecture, and sculpture flourished, and the cultural development of ancient India reached its climax.
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