Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Legacy of Sarasvati writing system

Mirror sites for download/view of pdf file:



Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sanghol archaeological discoveries and Sarasvati civilization

Sanghol archaeological discoveries and Sarasvati civilization

Sanghol stupa is comparable to the so-called “circular workers’ platforms” of Sarasvati civilization.

For a stunning array of platforms at Harappa see: http://www.harappa.com/indus4/353.html

http://www.harappa.com/indus4/336.html Circular working platforms, Harappa

These platforms were inside houses and small courtyards as in a circular platform discovered in Padri, Gujarat.

I suggest that these platforms were used for the same purpose for which the stupa circular formations were used in later historical periods (as in Sanghol stupa to hold relics). The purpose: to hold in the centre, a pot containing precious lapidary manufactures, including alloyed metal artefacts of the metals age of Sarasvati civilization. See Plan of Vat's excavations showing circular platforms. In some cases remnants of the baked brick walls that probably surrounded each platform can be seen on the plan, although earlier and later walls are also shown. From M.S. Vats (1940) Excavations at Harappa. http://www.harappa.com/indus4/354.html The baked brick walls surrounding each platform may indicate that the platforms were within houses or courtyards.

http://www.harappa.com/indus4/357.html This evidence notes “A large concentration of straw impressions was found in one part of the floor next to the platform, but there is no evidence of chaff from processing grain as was suggested by earlier excavators.” http://www.harappa.com/indus4/359.html notes: “Greenish clay layers were found in a deep depression in the center of the HARP-excavated platform..”The straw impressions may relate to preparation of packages for exporting the manufactured artefacts.

A circular platform was also discovered at Adbadri on the banks of River Sarasvati.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

A treasure from the past

Significant excavations dating back to the Harappan period have added to the lure of Sanghol, near Chandigarh, says Seema Chopra

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2008/20080210/spectrum/treas1.jpg The remains of the stupa at Sanghol

A raised platform containing the casket with relics of Buddhist scholar Bhadras

HOW many of us are aware that the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation stretched into and beyond Punjab? A drive on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road leads to Khamano tehsil and finally to the tranquil beauty of Sanghol (Uchha Pind) where time stands still. Sanghol was a part of the Harappan civilisation and later a part of the kingdom of the Kushan and Gupta dynasty in the medieval times. The Kushan rulers, primarily Buddhists, built stupas for monks. The digging by the Archaeology Department has yielded objects that go back to the ancient Harappan civilisation as well as Buddhist rulers of the medieval times.

Situated less than an hour’s drive from Chandigarh or alternatively an hour’s drive from Ludhiana, it is an ideal outing for a day. It could also serve as a tourist attraction for Indians and hundreds of NRIs who visit Punjab every year.

First, a brief background of the remarkable civilisation that once existed in these areas of Punjab. After Mauryan emperor Ashoka, several groups like the Indo-Greeks, Sakas, Parths and Kushans from Central Asia and China found their way into Aryavrat (India). Kanishka was a prominent ruler of the Kushan dynasty and a follower of Mahayana Buddhism. He encouraged construction of several stupas of magnificent architecture. Gandhar, on one end of the empire, and Mathura on the other end were the two main centres of art from which developed the Gandhara School of Art and Mathura School of Art. The influence of both these styles can be seen in various relics discovered at Sanghol.

The excavated remains of the once grand circular stupa made of rows of burnt brick spread over a large area is now within a fence. The Archaeological Survey of India made a significant yet fascinating discovery of a stupa built in the 1st or the 2nd century by the Kushan dynasty. The remains of the stupa indicate that Sanghol was an important centre of Buddhism. There was a raised lime-plastered-platform in the centre of the stupa and stairs that led up to it. The centre of the platform contained ashes of Buddhist scholar Bhadras. The ashes were found in a casket whose lid was inscribed with Kharoshthi script. Now, the small pit at that spot is covered by glass to protect it. The inside of the huge stupa had three concentric walls intersected with spoke-like radial walls that formed a series of chambers created by clever mathematical calculations.

Another site containing the remains of three moats that were used for fortification has also been discovered. According to the Arthashastra, three moats were required to be dug around palaces and forts for safety from the approaching enemy.

Near the main stupa, several items of historical value were recovered from a pit. They were packed in that pit but why did someone do this is a question that is difficult to answer. There were 117 carved sculptures and other items that were perfect examples of the Mathura School of Kushan Art. Most of the excavated items were made of red stone and included 69 pillars, 13 coping stones and 35 cross bars. The stone slabs recovered were engraved with scenes from the Jataka Tales, and had figures of Yakshis. Several ancient gold coins, semi-precious stones, ivory and terracotta figurines and inscribed seals were also found by the ASI.

Nearby, upon digging another mound, remains of a large palace of the Kushan era were found. This discovery possibly speaks of a palace near the stupa. The brick wall remains of the palace enclose ‘fire altars’. Cisterns of different sizes have also been found.
After exploring the stupas and the palace, it is worthwhile to visit the museum with the beautiful garden close by. The red and cream-coloured circular Sanghol Museum, established in April 1990, showcases ancient artefacts. The board outside displays information about the excavations at Sanghol. There are 15,000 items in the museum. The master chart at the entrance gives the history of Sanghol. Each item carries a label bearing its name and period, which has been carefully ascertained by the carbon dating method.

The lower floor has an important exhibit of pottery belonging to the period between 2000 BC and 1200 B.C. The rest of the pottery display goes back to the times of Mauryan, Sung, Gupta and Mughal rulers. Also on display are toys, bangles, beads, seals, and coins — made of terracotta, ivory and metal. Inscriptions in Brahmi and Kharoshti script can be seen on a few items.

The coins are interestingly engraved with images of Shiva, Lakshmi, Nandi and monarchs of those times. The museum also displays ‘The Head of Buddha’ recovered from the Sanghol stupa.


About Sanghol museum, see http://fatehgarhsahib.nic.in/places.htm

http://www.ibiblio.org/radha/rpub002.htm The Mahaummagga Jataka in Kushan Sculpture from Sanghol By R. Banerjee

Kushana Sculptures from Sanghol (1st-2nd Century A.D.) A Recent Discovery
by Gupta,S.P.
Publisher Information:
National Museum Janpath New Delhi, India 1985
This is a very good softcover copy in stiff card covers which are faded. Very clean inside and out, but a slight abrasion to the front endpaper. Spine not creased, binding tight. Edited by Gupta. Essays by Yog Raj, G.B.Sharma, M.S.Nagaraja Rao, Shashi Asthana, Gupta, A.S.Bisht, Geetika Kalha, and Man Mohan Singh. The text discusses the recent sculpture discoveries at Sanghol.

Brahmaputra River

Brahmaputra River Initial Resources Inventory


Last Updated:2005-7-19 10:37:22

The AIRC has been asked by the Tibetan Bureau of Water Resources to develop a paper on the Brahmaputra River. The report will cover current ecological conditions, water resources, and planned activities for the area. It will also explore Indian perceptions towards Chinese management of its portion of the river.


Regional Summary, Land Use, Politics and Culture, Hydropower and Infrastructure Development, Trade and Economics, Hydrology, Habitat and Ecosystems

Regional Summary

The Brahmaputra River flows 2,900 km from its source in the Kailas range of the Himilayas to its massive delta and the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh. It flows through China, India, and Bangladesh, but its watershed includes Nepal, Bhutan, and Burma as well.The river drops steeply from high on the Tibetan Plateau through the world"s deepest valley (5,075m) into northeast India where the river eventually merges with the Ganges and Meghna rivers to form the largest river delta in the world (60,000km2).The Brahmaputra basin covers 651,334 km2 (WRI), 58% of which lies in India and 20% in China.

The river is defined by its diverse terrain subject to regular earthquakes, natural disasters, and other changing conditions.

Land Use (WRI)

29% of the basin is actively used as cropland, almost half of which is irrigated. Only 3% of the basin is developed as urban land and 2% is considered barren. 19% is covered by forest, 16% by shrub, 29% by grassland, 21% by wetland, and 11% is considered eroded land.

Politics and Culture

The river"s three names, the Brahmaputra (India), Yarlung Zangbo (Tibet), and Jamuna (Bangladesh), reflect the complicited fabric of ethnic groups and international communities living along its banks. The Brahmaputra flows through some of the most heavily disputed and unstable areas in South Asia. China and India currently dispute 83,000 km2 within the basin. Much of the boundary between the two countries is based on administrative units that do not shift with the rivers as they change course or level over time. Alluvial or "char" land that is exposed as a river shifts often leads to dispute, as the land is highly valued for agriculture(CIA World Factbook, 1998; IBRU, 1999). (Click here for more on India-China relations).

In northeast India, more than 6 seperatist and rebel groups are active.(Click here for map of rebel activity). Recent riots contributed to the deaths of hundreds of Burmese and other immigrants and led to demonstrations. The northeast is one of the poorest regions in India. Currently population density, on average, is 174 people per square mile, but this population is concentrated in 14 large cities in the region. Urban areas are growing at 5% a year (WRI). The Brahmaputra basin has seen a surge in millions of people immigrating to the area from Bangladesh and West Bengal. Increasing densities have led to competition for jobs and land. In 1999, 500 people died from ethnic violence in Northeast India (US Commission on Refugees). In the mid 1960s the Indian government relocated 3,000 ethnic Chakmas to Arunachal Pradesh from what is now Bangladesh after construction of a large dam. The influx has caused conflict in this state.

In the ancient Indian tradition, two rivers are known to originate from Manasarovar Lake, in Mt. Kailas; one flowing to the east is called Brahmaputra and the other flowing to the west was called Shatadru, a tributary of the Sarasvati (joining the latter at Shatrana, Punjab) in Rigvedic times. Both these major rivers, Brahmaputra and Sarasvati are related to the God of creation, Brahma. The lower portion of the river is sacred to Hindus.

Hydropower and Infrastructure Development

In 1980, the Indian government established the Brahmaputra Board as a statutory body under the Ministry of Water Resources to plan for and implement projects to harness the river for hydropower, flood control, and economic development.The Board has identified 34 "Drainage Development schemes" that include hydropower dams, embankment reinforcement, and other multipurpose projects. These projects are included in the Board"s Master Plan, approved by the Indian government in 1997.Currently there are no large dams on the Brahmaputra. (Click here for project descriptions).

It is estimated that the Brahmaputra"s power potential could provide about 48000 MW. This constitutes as much as 30 per cent of the total hydropower reserves of India, but less than even 3 per cent of this has yet to be harnessed.

Trade and Economics

The river is navigable for large crafts 1,290 km upstream from the Bay of Bengal to Dibrugarh, India.The lower portions of the river are used heavily to transport agricultural products. A major earthquake in 1950 (magnitude 8.7 on the Richter scale) and disputes over water rights impeded further access upstream. The Brahmaputra Valley in Assam has marshy jungle, teak forest, and commercial fisheries; rice, jute, tea, and sugarcane are grown there as well. In Tibet, the river forms and important east-west transportation route.

There currently exisits a rapidly growing trade relationship between India and China. Both Indian exports and imports through China have grown tremendously since 1999.


The Brahmaputra"s flows fluctuate drastically between high and low flows. High flows, peaking in mid June, can run at 72,460 m3/s (1962 flood). The mean annual flood discharge of the river is 48,160 m3/sec at Pandu (India). Its minimum recorded dry-season flow was only 3,280 m3/s in 1960.

The average annual rainfall in the basin is 230 cm with a marked variability in distribution over the watershed. Rainfall in the lower Himalayan region amounts to more than 500cm per year with higher elevations getting progressively lesser amounts. The rainfall intensity occassionally records exceedingly high rates causing flash floods, landslides, debris flow and erosion.

The rains begin in May or early June, and the wet season lasts to October. From June to September, the rains occur nearly daily. A period of fluctuating high flow follows, usually with peaks in July and September. The last peak is followed by a long recession into December and January.

During the rainy season there, the river often floods to 8 km wide, rising 9-12 m and depositing sediment carried down from the mountains.

Habitat and Ecosystems

Over 73% of the Brahmaputra River watershed"s originial forest is gone. The remaining forests are disappearing at 10% per year. Currently only 4% of the land is in protected areas. The area supports 4 endemic bird habitats and one RAMSAR-listed wetland.126 fish species also call the Brahmaputra basin home (WRI).

(The following is excerted from http://www.worldwildlife.org/wildworld/profiles/terrestrial/im/indo_ref.html) - World Wildlife Fund)

The ecoregion covering the Brahmaputra River in northeast India harbors India"s largest elephant population (Rodgers and Panwar 1988), the world"s largest population of the greater one-horned rhinoceros, tigers (Panthera tigris), and wild water buffalo (Bubalus arnee) (WII 1997). The ecoregion overlaps with a high-priority (Level I) ecosystem that extends north to include the subtropical and temperate forests of the Himalayan midhills (Wikramanayake et al. 1999).

The known mammal fauna consists of 122 species, including 2 near-endemic species. Of these, the pygmy hog and the hispid hare are confined to the grassland habitats.

At present, twelve protected areas cover about 2,500 km2 of intact habitat, or 5 percent of the ecoregion. Of these, Manas, Dibru-Saikowa, Kaziranga, and Mehao are the larger and more important reserves. Mehao extends over two other ecoregions and is only partially within this ecoregion. Kaziranga has the world"s largest population of the greater one-horned rhinoceros, estimated at 1,100 individuals (Foose and van Strien 1997). Because of the large number of wide-ranging large vertebrates in this ecoregion, additional protection is urgently needed. Specifically, habitat connectivity should be provided within the Buxa-Manas complex and the Barail-Intanki-Kaziranga complex to allow elephants to disperse and migrate (Rodgers and Panwar 1988).

The ecoregion represents the swath of semi-evergreen forests along the upper Brahmaputra River plains. Most of the ecoregion lies within the eastern Indian state of Assam, but small sections extend into the neighboring states of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland and also into the southern lowlands of Bhutan.

The wide Brahmaputra River is also a biogeographic barrier for several species. For instance, the golden langur (Semnopithecus geei), hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus), and pygmy hog (Sus salvanius) are limited to the north bank of the river, whereas the hoolock gibbon (Hylobates hoolock) and stump-tailed macaque (Macaca arctoides) are limited to the south bank (Rodgers and Panwar 1988).

The June to September southwest monsoon is funneled through the Gangetic River plains, flanked by the Himalayas to the north and the Mizo Hills to the south, deluging the ecoregion with 1,500-3,000 mm of rainfall, depending on the topographic variation. The substrate consists of deep alluvial deposits, washed down over the centuries by the Brahmaputra and other rivers such as the Manas and Subansiri, which drain southern slopes of the Eastern Himalaya. The ecoregion"s vegetation therefore is thus influenced by the rich alluvial soils and the monsoon rains.

Champion and Seth (1968) recognize the following forest types in this ecoregion: Assam Valley semi-evergreen forest, Assam alluvial plains semi-evergreen forest, eastern submontane semi-evergreen forest, sub-Himalayan light alluvial semi-evergreen forest, eastern alluvial secondary semi-evergreen forest, sub-Himalayan secondary wet mixed forest, and Cachar semi-evergreen forest. But most of the ecoregion"s original semi-evergreen forests have been converted to grasslands by centuries of fire and other human influences. Only small patches of forests now remain, scattered along the Indo-Bhutan border and along the border of Assam and Meghalaya. Many of these forest patches are confined to protected areas.

According to Champion and Seth (1968), the typical evergreen tree species in these forests are Syzygium, Cinnamomum, Artocarpus, and Magnoliacea, and the common deciduous species include Terminalia myriocarpa, Terminalia citrina, Terminalia tomentosa, Tetrameles spp., and Stereospermum spp. Shorea robusta is present in disturbed habitats, especially in areas that have been subjected to fire, and represents a sub-climax community. Other Dipterocarpus species are considered to be indicative of a forest in retrogression from the tropical evergreen or as a preclimax stage. Typically, the canopy trees are 20-30 m high.

The understory is of Lauraceae (mostly Phoebe spp., Machilus spp., and Actinodaphne spp.), Anonaceae (Polyalthia spp.), Meliaceae (Aphanamixis spp.), Mesua ferrea, Tetrameles spp., Stereospermum spp., and species of Meliaceae, Anacardiaceae, Myristicaceae, Lauraceae, and Magnoliaceae, with several bamboos such as Bambusa arundinaria, Dendrocalamus hamilitonii, and Melocanna bambusoides (Champion and Seth 1968; Puri et al. 1989).

The riparian areas along the Brahmaputra River that have been cleared are characterized by wet grasslands with similar communities and dynamics as described under the Terai-Duar Savanna and Grasslands [IM0701] description. Species such as the hispid hare and pygmy hog are found in these grasslands, especially in the soft soils and muddy areas along the river courses.


Sarasvati Nadi, Haryana from village revenue records -- Khera Kalan to Bahri

Sarasvati Nadi, Haryana from village revenue records -- Khera Kalan to Bahri

The revenue records have been painstakingly compiled thanks to the brilliant initiative of Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Sansthan, Haryana under the Presidentship of Shri Darshan Lal Jain. These records obtained from village patwaris are conclusive evidence for the River Sarasvati which is also shown in Survey of India toposheets.