Excavations Throw Light on Capital of Vakataka Kingdom

Archaeologists said the village, located around 850 kms from Mumbai, was the site of continuous settled human population from the late-iron age till todayThrowing more light on a little-known era in history, archaeologists have established that Nagardhan village in Nagpur was the capital of the Vakataka kingdom, and had well-planned urban infrastructure like drainage systems and trade with countries as far as West Asia.Archaeologists said the village, located around 850 kms from Mumbai, was the site of continuous settled human population from the late-iron age till today.The state directorate of archaeology has been conducting excavations at Nagardhan for three years with experts from Deccan College, Pune.

These excavations ended on Friday. The Vakatakas, who ruled from the mid-third to fifth Century AD, had four branches, of which two are known. Nandivardhan was the capital of the original branch, with the later Vatsagulma branch ruling from today's Washim.

The team was led by Virag Sontakke, assistant director, Archaeology, Maharashtra government; Shrikant Ganvir, assistant professor, Deccan College; and Shantanu Vaidya, research assistant, Deccan College. Nagardhan, called Nandivardhan in the Vakataka era, is located around 5 kms from Ramtek, where Kalidasa is believed to have written his epic 'Meghadoot'."Archaeological excavations of the Vakataka period largely centred around religious monuments like at Mulchera (Gadchiroli) and Mandhal (Nagpur).

There is little information on their socio-cultural and economic life," Ganvir told DNA, adding the excavation largely fulfilled the motive."The site was populated even before the Vakataka era to the late iron age dating back to 1,000 to 600 century BC," explained Sontakke. This meant Nandivardhan had continuous human habitations from around 800 BC to the Mauryan pre-Satavahana, Satavahanas- Kshatrapas, Vakatakas and post-Vakataka, Gond kings, Bhosales and till today and evidences suggested it was populated even during the Kalachuri and Yadava periods, he added.

"There is little study of the period between 300 AD to the 10th century," said Vaidya , adding the excavation would help examine the second century to 500 AD. While there was a postulation that the ancient urban economy, including cities in the Gangetic plains had gradually declined, Nagardhan showed urban culture existed even till 500- 600 AD."Vakataka era remains show public investments and public works.

irrigation structures like bricked canals and ponds, terracota pipelines used to take sewage away and public places. This reveals a proper administrative system existed," said Vaidya.The discovery of pottery like torpedo jars from countries like today's Turkey and Iraq and West Asia dating to the Sassanian era shows the extent of foreign trade under the Vakatakas.

The team found seals from the times of Prabhavatigupta, (daughter of Gupta emperor Chandragupta II Vikramaditya), who ruled the Vakataka kingdom between 395 to 410 AD after the death of husband Rudrasen II.Stone and mud beads, bangles made of shells and glass, ivory objects, dice, play objects modeled on lines of animals and birds and coins were recovered. Houses of people who seemed to be well-off had coloured tiles, while some had stone tiles and mud roof tiles.

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2021 06 10
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