Archaeologists unearth 4,000-year-old chariots in India
According to Indian archaeologists, they have discovered the remains of 4,000-year-old horse-drawn chariots, which they say provides the first evidence of a “warrior class” on par with other ancient civilisations.
Although eight burial sites and artefacts, including swords and daggers, were found, the remains were discovered during an excavation undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at the village of Sinauli, located about 70 kilometres north of New Delhi.
The researchers said they unearthed three chariots in burial chambers which date to between 2000 and 1800 BC in the Bronze Age, leading to a suggestion of “royal burials”, according to the Times of India.
The area around Sinauli is considered to be a rich archaeological site, with the chariots found 120 metres from a site where graves and artefacts belonging to the Indus Valley civilisation were excavated after a farmer accidentally unearthed ruins in 2005.
The co-director of excavations and ASI’s Institute of Archaeology in Delhi, SK Manjul, claimed the find showed evidence that a warrior class existed that was as technologically advanced as their contemporaries in Mesopotamia and Greece.
“The discovery of a chariot puts us on a par with other ancient civilizations, like Mesopotamia, Greece et-cetera where chariots were extensively used,” Mr Manjul told the Times of India.
“It seems a warrior class thrived in this region in the past.”
The site where the chariots were found is part of a three-month excavation that started in March.
As well as warrior implements like swords, daggers and a helmet, Mr Manjul told the Times of India they had also discovered copper pots, beads and a copper mirror which pointed to sophisticated craftsmanship and lifestyle.
“The swords have copper-covered hilts and a medial ridge making it strong enough for warfare. We have also found shields, a torch and daggers,” he said.
In what he described as a first “in the entire continent”, Mr Manjul said the coffins found at the site were adorned with copper decorations.
Mr Manjul said they were yet to work out which society the chariots and coffins belonged to, but said they did not belong to the Indus Valley civilisation.
Lost Civilization? 172000 Year Old River Discovered in Thar Desert India
Researchers have found evidence of a “lost” river that ran through the central Thar Desert, near Bikaner, as early as 172 thousand years ago, and may have been a life-line to human populations enabling them to inhabit the region. The findings, published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, represent the oldest directly dated phase of river activity at Nal Quarry in the central Thar Desert.
The study by researchers from The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, Anna University in Tamil Nadu, and IISER Kolkata indicates that Stone Age populations lived in a distinctly different Thar Desert landscape than we encounter today.
This evidence indicates a river that flowed with phases of activity dating to approximately up to 172 thousand years ago, nearby to Bikaner, Rajasthan, which is over 200 kilometers away from the nearest modern river.
These findings predate evidence for activity in modern river courses across the Thar Desert as well as dried up course of the Ghaggar-Hakra River, the researchers said. The presence of a river running through the central Thar Desert would have offered a life-line to Paleolithic populations, and potentially an important corridor for migrations, they said.
The researchers noted that the potential importance of ‘lost’ rivers for earlier inhabitants of the Thar Desert has been overlooked.
“The Thar Desert has a rich prehistory, and we’ve been uncovering a wide range of evidence showing how Stone Age populations not only survived but thrived in these semi-arid landscapes,” said Jimbob Blinkhorn from The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
“We know how important rivers can be to living in this region, but we have little detail on what river systems were like during key periods of prehistory,” Blinkhorn said.
Studies of satellite imagery have shown a dense network of river channels crossing the Thar Desert, according to the researchers.
“These studies can indicate where rivers and streams have flowed in the past, but they can’t tell us when,” explained Professor Hema Achyuthan of Anna University.
“To demonstrate how old such channels are, we had to find evidence on the ground for river activity in the middle of the desert,” Achyuthan said.
The team studied a deep deposit of river sands and gravels, which had been exposed by quarrying activity near the village of Nal. The researchers were able to document different phases of river activity by studying the different deposits.
“We immediately saw evidence for a substantial and very active river system from the bottom of the fluvial deposits, which gradually decreased in power through time,” Achyuthan said.
The researchers used a method called luminescence dating to understand when quartz grains in the river sands were buried. The results indicated that the strongest river activity at Nal occurred at approximately 172 and 140 thousand years ago, at a time when the monsoon was much weaker than today in the region.
River activity continued at the site between 95 to 78 thousand years ago, after which only limited evidence for the presence of a river at the site, with evidence for a brief reactivation of the channel 26 thousand years ago, the study found.
The river was flowing at its strongest during a phase of weak monsoonal activity in the region, and may have been a life-line to human populations enabling them to inhabit the Thar Desert, the researchers said.
The timeframe over which this river was active also overlaps with significant changes in human behaviour in the region, which have been linked with the earliest expansions of Homo sapiens from Africa into India, they said.
“This river flowed at a critical timeframe for understanding human evolution in the Thar Desert, across South Asia and beyond,” said Blinkhorn.
“This suggests a landscape in which the earliest members of our own species, Homo sapiens, first encountered the monsoons and crossed the Thar Desert may have been very different to the landscape we can see today,” he added.
Traces of Tenth-Century Temple Unearthed in Eastern India
The Hindustan Times reports that researchers led by Arun Malik of the Archaeological Survey of India uncovered traces of a building thought to be a tenth-century temple while excavating an area next to the eleventh-century Suka-Sari temple complex, which is located near eastern India’s city of Bhubaneswar.
ASI officials said while carrying out scientific cleaning of the two-acre land adjacent to the 11th-century Suka-Sari temple complex, they found the floor of the temple as well as a portion of wall containing beautifully engraved statues of danseuses of the temple that was earlier buried under the campus of a demolished Sanskrit college in Bhubaneswar.
“We think the temple was built on the Panchayatana model like the Brahmeshwara and Chitrakarini temples which are of the 10th-century origin.
Another side of the wall is being dug out and it will require 10 more days to completely bring out the structures,” said Arun Mallick, superintendent of ASI’s Bhubaneswar circle.
Mallick said many ancient structures around the vicinity of Lingaraj temple are believed to have been damaged during the demolition drive carried out by the Odisha government for renovation of the old town area under Ekamra Kshetra Project.
“Bhubaneswar is said to be the city of more than 1000 temples. We believe many structures have been demolished during the current demolition exercise.
We tried to reason with them about not carrying out indiscriminate demolition. But the state government did not take note of our protests,” he said.
Among the heritage structures demolished around the Lingaraj temple is the 11th century Ganesh temple called Budha Ganesh on the northern side of Lingaraj complex.
It has been listed as a protected monument years ago and is one of the smallest Ganesh temples of Bhubaneswar.
10,000 Year Old Rock Paintings Depicting Aliens And UFOs Found in India
Even before the great tectonic plate shift, the former central province of India, now Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, was the site of pre-agrarian human settlement. That is why a number of prehistoric cave paintings have been discovered in the region. Some of them are known to us like Bhimbetka where we mainly find cave paintings made by a hunter-gatherer population.
Recently in the Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh, just 43 miles from the local administrative centre of Raisen, ancient 10,000-year-old rock paintings depicting UFOs and extra-terrestrials have been discovered in the caves. The caves are hidden deep within the dense jungle in Charama region in Kanker district in tribal Bastar region. Located about 130km from Raipur, the caves come under village Chandeli and Gotitola.
A group of anthropologists working with hill tribes in a remote area have made a startling discovery of intricate prehistoric cave paintings depicting aliens and UFO type craft next to a look-alike ‘wormhole’ formation in the sky.
A few years back, a three-and-a-half- million-years- the old prehistoric human skull was discovered in the Ahthnor village of Madhya Pradesh by geologist Dr Arun Sonakia. Possibilities that the above image was drawn by those ancient humans can’t be ruled out, said Dr Sonakia.
The state of Chhattisgarh has an abundance of ancient rock paintings. Many sites have paintings of humans and animals in everyday scenes. However, some researchers have referred to some rather unusual paintings, such as those depicting what appear to be kangaroos and giraffes (mainly in Kabra hills of Raigarh area of the state of Chhattisgarh) which are not native to the country, as well as human-fish hybrid creatures. Now, it is claimed that aliens and UFOs can be added to this collection.
The paintings are done in natural colours that have barely faded despite the passing of years. The strangely carved figures are seen holding weapon-like objects and do not have clear features. Especially, the nose and mouth are missing. In a few pictures, they are even shown wearing spacesuits. The newly-discovered depictions date back some 10,000 years.
The images may be depicting extra-terrestrials and UFOs as the paintings include large, humanoid beings descending from the sky, some wearing what looks like a helmet or antennae, as well as a disc-shaped craft with three rays (or legs) from its base. There are several beliefs among locals from the area.
While few worship the paintings, others narrate stories they have heard from ancestors about ‘rohela people’, which translates to “the small sized ones”. According to legend, the ‘rohela people’ used to land from the sky in a round shaped flying object and take away one or two persons of village who never returned.
According to one archaeologist, the art reflects the belief among ancient humans that we are not alone in the universe. The findings suggest that humans in prehistoric times may have seen or imagined beings from other planets which still arouse curiosity among people and researchers.
Archaeologists typically identify them as ‘shamanic’ images of humans, or human-animal hybrids, and geometric forms. Images of figures with antlers, antennae, or spiritual rays are familiar, and in fact quite common, in shamanic art.
A clear image of what might be an alien or ET in a spacesuit can be seen in above a cave painting along with a classical flying saucer-shaped UFO that appears to be either beaming something down or beaming something up, in what might be an ancient UFO abduction scenario.
A force-field or trail of some sort is seen at the rear of the UFO. Also visible is another object that might depict a wormhole, explaining how aliens were able to reach Earth. Down below is the wormhole. The concept was discussed by physicist Stephen Hawking but in a skeptical manner. But isn’t it fascinating that ancient Indian possibly witnessed wormholes, UFO and alien visitations while Stephen Hawking remained skeptic about them?
Local archaeologist, Mr Wassim Khan, has personally seen the images. He claims that the objects and creatures seen in them are totally anomalous and out of character when compared to other, already discovered, examples of prehistoric cave art depicting ancient life in the area. As such, he believes that they might suggest beings from other planets have been interacting with humans since prehistoric times.
It may be better explained that encounters like this helped ancient Indian civilization to understand how those alien spaceship worked and later documented in ‘Vimana shastra’. This explanation, in turn, establishes the ‘ancient astronaut theory’ which postulates that human civilization was established with the assistance of benevolent space-travelling aliens.
On enlargement, two objects that look like hats floating in mid-air can be noticed, as also one of them appears to have portholes on it. Indian Vedic texts are full of descriptions of Vimanas. The Ramayana describes Vimanas as a double-decked, circular or cylindrical aircraft with portholes and a dome. It flew with “the speed of the wind” and made a “melodious sound”.
It is not uncommon in Madhya Pradesh that commoners claiming sight of UFO in nearby areas till this date. The latest entrant to the list of people in Madhya Pradesh that have claimed to have seen Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO), states Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Ramkrishna Kusmaria in July 2014.
Kusmaria said while he was on an official tour he spotted a UFO in Sukha village in Damoh district, about 135 miles from ancient cave painting site. Kusmaria said he clearly saw the object in the sky, and it was emitting sharp sparks. “The object caused damage to the standing crops in the area. I saw papaya fruits fall off the tree as the UFO passed by,” the minister said.
The State Department of Archaeology and Culture in Chhattisgarh is seeking assistance from the Indian Space Research Organisation to research a set of ancient rock paintings found inside caves near the town of Charama in Kanker district, in the tribal Bastar region.
Hilltop Buddhist Monastery Uncovered in Eastern India
The first hilltop Buddhist monastery of the Gangetic Valley has been found at Lal Pahari in Lakhisarai district of the state, said its excavation team director Anil Kumar. Excavated during a joint collaboration of the Bihar Heritage Development Society, a part of the department of art, culture and youth affairs and the Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, West Bengal, this finding is believed to be a great centre of Mahayana Buddhism.
The 11th-12th century common era (CE) monastery has some unique features rarely found elsewhere in the country and certainly not in Bihar. Besides wooden votive tablets found, it is the first Buddhist monastery which had a woman monk named Vijayashree Bhadra as its chief. She used to receive donations from Pala queen Mallika Devi.
A large number of metal bangles have been found and all its cells had doors, something unusual for the Buddhist monasteries excavated so far, suggesting that either it was exclusively for woman monks or a mixed one.
The two burnt clay seals recovered from the site record the name Srīmaddharmahāvihārik āryabhikṣusaṅghasya (the council of monks of Śrīmaddhama vihāra). The language used is Sanskrit and the script is Siddhamātṛkā of about 8th-9th century CE.
The name is equally significant as it indicates how much prestige the Mahāyāna Buddhism enjoyed in early medieval Magadha.
The wooden votive tablets of 5.3×2.3cm each have the figure of a person, probably Buddha, sitting in Padmasana in Bhumisparsha mudra. The lintel at the entrance of the main sanctum sanctorum represents the two Bodhisattvas — Manjushri and Avalokiteshvara.
Anil, who is the head of the ancient history and archaeology department at Visva-Bharati in Santiniketan, said it’s the first ‘vihara’ in the state, which probably gave Bihar its name, like those found at Nalanda, Vikramshila and Telhara were ‘mahaviharas’.
Also, after Nalanda and Telhara in Bihar, any monastic sealing has mentioned the monastery name. While a number of mahāvihāras and in one instance a vihārikā is known from epigraphic and archaeological records of eastern India, no evidence of a ‘vihara’-level monastic architecture has been so far discovered from any part of Bihar.
The only parallel evidence is found in a monastery excavated at Jagjivanpur in northern Bengal, he said.
These findings will be significant in the understanding of the history of monastic Buddhism in early medieval Magadha in general and the history of the historically identified Kṛmilā region in Lakhisarai in particular. This evidence clearly proves that the monastery atop Lal Pahari at Jaynagar was a ‘vihāra’, he explained.
He said the interconnected cells, wooden door frames, three huge bastions on each side of the monastery, the discovery of dozens of wooden inscribed seals/sealings and the evidence of application of red, green, yellow, white and black colours on lime-plastered floors make the architecture of this monastery the first of its kind among the eastern Indian Buddhist establishments.
Anil said this was the first excavation project completed within 3 years in Bihar after getting a licence from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bihar government in 2017. CM Nitish Kumar had inaugurated the Lal Pahari excavation site on November 25, 2017.
“We have documented 500 sculptures lying all around the site and brought 200 of them to Lakhisarai. The state government should urgently preserve these sculptures as Lal Pahari is one of the five protected monuments of Bihar government in Lakhisarai.
The other four are Satsanda, Bichhwe, Ghosi Kundi and Lai. The 6th site at Nongarh is also being considered for inclusion in the list,” Anil told TOI.
800-Year-Old Inscription Discovered in Southern India
Archeologists have stumbled on a Chola period stone inscription at a lake bund in Mookanur village near Sankarapuram in Kallakurichi district in Tamil Nadu, India.
According to experts, King Vanenja Perumalana Vanakovarayan created the inscription about a canal and connecting lakes during Rajendra Cholan III regime in the Sagarai year 1182 (1260 AD).
“During his rule, a canal was built at the south side of Arni lake, and the canal was linked to a lake in Moorkanur.
Another canal, dug up at the south side of the lake in Moorkanur, was linked with a lake in Kaduvanur,” Villupuram Government Arts College History department professor T Ramesh says while explaining the inscription.
Moorkanur is now known as Mookanur, says S Rajagopal, another expert. The archeology team which found the inscription consisted of professor Ramesh, his student Kumaraguru, Jothiprakash of Mundiyampakkam, and Mubarak of Villupuram.
The Chola dynasty was a Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world’s history. The earliest datable references to the Chola are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BCE left by Ashoka, of the Maurya Empire.
As one of the Three Crowned Kings of Tamilakam, along with the Chera and Pandya, the dynasty continued to govern over varying territory until the 13th century CE. Despite these ancient origins, the period when it is appropriate to speak of a “Chola Empire” only begins with the medieval Cholas in the mid-9th century CE.
The heartland of the Cholas was the fertile valley of the Kaveri River, but they ruled a significantly larger area at the height of their power from the later half of the 9th century till the beginning of the 13th century.
The whole country south of the Tungabhadra was united and held as one state for a period of three centuries and more between 907 and 1215 AD. Under Rajaraja Chola I and his successors Rajendra Chola I, Rajadhiraja Chola, Virarajendra Chola, and Kulothunga Chola I, the dynasty became a military, economic and cultural power in South Asia and South-East Asia.
The power of the new empire was proclaimed to the eastern world by the expedition to the Ganges which Rajendra Chola I undertook and by naval raids on cities of the city-state of Srivijaya, as well as by the repeated embassies to China. The Chola fleet represented the zenith of ancient Indian sea power.
During the period 1010–1153, the Chola territories stretched from the islands of the Maldives in the south to as far north as the banks of the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh.
Rajaraja Chola conquered peninsular South India, annexed parts of which is now Sri Lanka, and occupied the islands of the Maldives. Rajendra Chola sent a victorious expedition to North India that touched the river Ganges and defeated the Pala ruler of Pataliputra, Mahipala.
He also successfully invaded the cities of Srivijaya of Malaysia and Indonesia. The Chola dynasty went into decline at the beginning of the 13th century with the rise of the Pandyan Dynasty, which ultimately caused their downfall.
The Cholas left a lasting legacy. Their patronage of Tamil literature and their zeal in the building of temples has resulted in some great works of Tamil literature and architecture.
The Chola kings were avid builders and envisioned the temples in their kingdoms not only as places of worship but also as centers of economic activity.
They were also well known for their art, specifically temple sculptures and ‘Chola bronzes’, exquisite bronze sculptures of Hindu deities built in a lost-wax process they pioneered; that continues (to a certain extent) to this day.
They established a centralized form of government and a disciplined bureaucracy. The Chola school of art spread to Southeast Asia and influenced the architecture and art of Southeast Asia.
The medieval Cholas are best known for the construction of the magnificent Brihadisvara temple at Thanjavur, commissioned by the most famous Chola king, Rajaraja Chola in 1010 CE.
This bright metallic meteorite crashed in India, and it looks pretty cool
A meteorite-like object weighing about 2.8 kilograms fell from the sky in Sanchore town of Rajasthan’s Jalore district. The mysterious object, which is believed to be worth crores of rupees, created a one-foot-deep crater in the ground.
The locals informed the police and local administration about the incident. The local police said that several villagers heard an explosive sound when the object fell from the sky and they rushed to the field to see the meteorite-like object. It is learned that the explosion was heard as far as two kilometers.
It was only after a while that we were able to find an object lying in a 30-centimeter crater. It fell only 100 meters from my house. We immediately notified the authorities,” said Ajmal Devasi, one of the many people who were left stumped by the object.
The meteorite, which stands out for its shiny metallic appearance, weighs around 2.78 kilograms.
According to local reports, it continued to emit heat even three hours after its fall, leading many residents of the area to think it could explode at any time.
After it had cooled down, the authorities collected the meteorite and put it in a jar for transport. The police have stated that it has been made available to experts for study and that more details about its origin and composition will soon be known.
Images of the meteorite were shared on Twitter, generating great amazement and a number of responses.
This event occurred a few days after a spectacular green fireball crossed the skies of Australia, taking skywatchers by surprise.
The object appeared shortly before 1:00 a.m. (local time) last Monday, according to witness reports from the Pilbara region of Western Australia, Northern Territory, and South Australia.
According to rough estimates, around 500 meteorites survive the entry through Earth’s atmosphere, reaching the surface of the planet each year. Despite this, no more than ten are recovered each year.
This is because many of these meteorites crash into the ocean or land in remote areas on Earth, crashing in places that are not easy to access.
Furthermore, some meteorites crash into the surface during the daytime, which means that they go undetected.
Astronomers can’t generally predict meteorite impacts because most meteoroids traveling in outer space are simply too small to detect.
According to NASA, it is estimated that around 48.5 tons (44,000 kilograms) of meteoritic material falls on Earth each day.
When a meteoroid survives its trip through the atmosphere and hits the ground, it’s called a meteorite.
1,200-Year-Old Sculpture Unearthed in Southern India
The Hindu reports that an eighth-century A.D. sculpture of Lord Vishnu, one of the principal Hindu deities.
M. Maruthu Pandiyan of the Madurai Government Museum said the style of the sculpture corresponds to the Pandya dynasty, a Tamil-speaking group that ruled in South India and Sri Lanka as early as the fourth century B.C.
An eight century Common Era (CE) sculpture of Lord Vishnu, belonging to the Pandya period, was found at the western bank of the Gundaru river at Ulagani village of Kallikudi block in southern India by a team of researchers from Madurai Kamaraj University.
Madurai Government Museum Curator M. Maruthu Pandiyan and Udhayakumar, a researcher, checked the sculpture based on the information provided by Kannan, a Tamil student of a college affiliated to Madurai Kamaraj University, and Sangaiah, a professor from the college.
Mr. Maruthu Pandiyan said the features of the sculpture indicated that it belongs to the Pandya period. “Mainly, the sacred thread of the sculpture goes above the right forearm and a broad ‘kanthi’ (necklet) studded with big gems adorns the neck.
Similar sculptures of the Pandya period have been found in various places such as Thirumalapuram, Tirupparankundram, and Sevalpatti,” he said.
The sculpture has four hands. Among them, two arms are held up vertically. The right arm has a broken chakra and in the left arm a conch. “The chakra and conch are the main features of the Pandya period,” said Mr. Maruthu Pandiyan.
The village has also been mentioned in a book about the inscriptions of the Madurai district, which was released by the State Archaeology Department.
The book mentions that this village had an old name, ‘Kulasegara chathurvethimangalam or Ulagunimangalam.”
Also, a 13th-century Pandya inscription mentioned that the local village administrators had levied a special tax called ‘pasipaattam’ tax (a tax on fishing) for the renovation of the tank.