nagardhan-excavations-and-vakataka-dynasty

In News: 

  • Recently, archaeologists excavated 1,500 year-old sealing for the first time  at Nagardhan in Ramtek taluka, near Nagpur
  • A new study in Numismatic Digest has tried to understand the Vakataka rule under Queen Prabhavatigupta.

Importance of excavation 

  • The dynasty is believed to hail from the Vidarbha region, was largely through some literature and copper plates.
  • Excavated site of Nagardhan is the same as Nandhivardhan, the capital city of the eastern branch of the Vakatakas. 
  • It was after archaeological evidence from here that Nagardhan was understood to have served as a capital of the Vakataka kingdom.

Significance of the findings

  • Tells about Prabhavatigupta
    • Excavated Clay sealings belong to the period when Prabhavatigupta was the queen of the Vakataka dynasty. It bears her name in the Brahmi script, along with the depiction of a conch. 
    • The copperplate issued by the Queen starts with a genealogy of the Guptas, mentioning the Queen’s grandfather Samudragupta and her father Chandragupta II. 
    • Indication of Vaishnava signatures on the royal seals of the Vakatakas, reiterating that Queen Prabhavatigupta was indeed a powerful woman ruler.
  • Sealings as Royal permission
    • Vakataka people traded with Iran and beyond through the Mediterranean Sea, Shows that these sealings used as an official royal permission issued from the capital city. 
    • Besides, these were used on documents that sought mandatory royal permissions.

Importance of sign of Vaishnava affiliation

The Vakataka rulers followed the Shaiva sect of Hinduism while the Guptas were staunch Vaishnavites. 

  • Many religious structures indicating affinity to the Vaishnava sect, and found in Ramtek, were built during the reign of Queen Prabhavatigupta. 
  • It is believed that the practice of worshipping Narasimha in Maharashtra emerged from Ramtek, and that Queen Prabhavatigupta propagated Vaishnava practices in Maharashtra.
  • Some of the temples identified as Keval Narasihma, Rudra Narasimha and the one dedicated to Varaha could be traced to Ramtek, and showcase strong affinity to the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. 

About Vakataka Dynasty:

The Vakataka dynasty(successors of the Satavahanas) ruled parts of South-Central India from 250 AD to 500 AD

Origins

  • The Vakatakas were Brahmins.
  • Their origins are not clear with some claiming they are a northern family while others claim they originated in southern India.
  • They had Sanskrit and Prakrit inscriptions which are similar to those belonging to the southern Pallavas.
  • Also, no records of the Vakatakas have been found north of the Narmada. They are also mentioned in the Puranas.

Image source: Wikipedia

Queen Prabhavatigupta

The Vakataka rulers were known to have forged several matrimonial alliances with other dynasties of their times. 

  • One of the key alliances was with Prabhavatigupta of the mighty Gupta dynasty, which was then ruling north India. 
  • After marrying Vakataka king Rudrasena II, Prabhavatigupta enjoyed the position of Chief Queen.She was the only woman to rule the kingdom. 
  • It signifies that sealings were introduced and issued during her period as a ruler, that too from the capital city of Nagardhan.