Category Archives: INDIA

Cannabis preserved India’s ancient Ellora caves from decay for 1,500 years

Cannabis preserved India’s ancient Ellora caves from decay for 1,500 years

From the sixth century AD to the 11th, in the north-west city of Aurangabad, in Maharashtra, the Rashtrakut dynasty and the Yadavs built a group of 34 Caves.

Each of these caves, made of stone, was dedicated to a religion of three, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

Ellora has over the years been considered a legacy that reflects Indian rock cut architecture. However recent studies by Indian archaeologists have revealed a particularly interesting tradition of the Buddhist monks who prayed in these caves.

They used cannabis mixed in with the plaster that covers the shrines painted walls and ceilings, along with some clay and lime, to preserve the structure to the best of their capabilities. And it turns out that the cannabis present in the earthen mix seems to have played a key role in preventing the UNESCO World Heritage site from decaying over the 1,500 years of its existence.

According to Manager Rajdeo Singh, an archaeological chemist of the Archaeological Survey of India’s science branch (western region), and Milind M. Sardesai, who teaches botany at Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, the mixture prevented the plaster from degrading for over 1,500 years. 

The caves of Ajanta and Ellora.
Ellora Caves

“The caves are breathtaking examples of rock-cut architecture that stands testimony to the imagination and artistry of its creators,” Singh and Sardesai wrote in the journal Current Science.

For the purpose of the study, they analyzed the clay plaster of the Buddhist cave 12 using techniques such as Fourier transform, infrared spectroscopy and stereo-microscopic studies.

They were able to isolate specimens of cannabis from the clay plaster and they were able to further conclude that it was the cannabis Sativa that had helped in preventing insects at Ellora. ”

The cannabis fiber appears to have better quality and durability than other fibers. Moreover, the cannabis’ gum and sticky properties might have helped clay and lime to form a firm binder,” Sardesai said.

According to the researchers, the concrete-like substance that is called hempcrete would have provided the Buddhist monks with a healthy, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing living environment. 

“As the hemp plaster has the ability to store heat, is fire-resistant and absorbs about 90 percent of airborne sound, a peaceful living environment for the monks has been created at Ellora Caves,” they added.

Several studies have estimated that hempcrete can last 600–800 years, which explains why the life span of these caves doubled despite damaging environmental factors, such as a growing humidity inside the caves during rainy seasons.“Ellora has proved that only 10 percent of cannabis mixed with clay or lime in the plaster could last for over 1,500 years,” said Singh. 

As Mr. Sardesai has observed, “In India cannabis has gained a bad name because of its narcotic properties.” However, the artists of the sixth century were able to gauge their properties.

They realized that it had the ability to regulate humidity and that it would have key roles in pest resistance, fire-retardant, non-toxicity, high vapour permeability, along with hygroscopic properties— all of which have kept Ellora intact over the years. In the neighbouring Ajanta, the artists did not use hemp, which explains why rampant insect activity has damaged at least 25 percent of the paintings here.

Considering that in India, the cultivation, transport, possession, and consumption of marijuana is banned under Indian law (though things seem to be changing further up North in Uttarakhand) suffice to say that in modern-day India, it might be a long while before we decide to use cannabis for construction purposes.

Gold Coin Cache Discovered during renovation work at Jambukeswarar Temple in India

Gold Coin Cache Discovered during renovation work at Jambukeswarar Temple in India

A pot full of gold coins found in Tamilnadu’s Jambukeswarara Temple

In Thiruvanaikovil, Tamil Nadu, the Jambukeswarar temple struck gold when 505 gold coins in the sealed vessel were discovered during digging.

The coins, according to officials, were in a sealed jar, which the workers found in the Akhilandeshwari shrine.

When the officials of the temple opened, 505 gold coins were found. To order to grasp their era and history, the coins will still be studied by the archeologists. The pot has been located almost 7 feet tall, according to sources.

The pot was found by workers engaged in renovation work near the Akhilandeswari shrine in the temple complex. The temple is believed to have been constructed in the early Chola period, almost 1800 years ago.

A numismatist from the city who possesses two similar coins said those found in the temple were minted by the East India Company in the late 16th century.

On Wednesday, during clean-up work at the Arulmigu Akilandeswari Samedha Jambukeswarar temple, a closed vessel was found on an empty plot near Thayar Sanathi.

It contained 505 ancient gold coins weighing 1.716 kg. There were 504 similar coins weighing more than 3 gm and a large one weighing over 10 gm.

Following the discovery, all the coins have been kept in the government treasury in the district.

Tamil Nadu: 505 gold coins weighing 1.716 kg found in a vessel during digging at Jambukeswarar Temple in Thiruvanaikaval, Tiruchirappalli district yesterday. Coins were later handed over to the police

A Manoaharan, numismatist and former Railways employee from Tiruchy, told TNIE the coins date back to 1691 and minted by the East India Company.

He said, “The coin was called Pagoda’ (‘Varagan’ in Tamil). In the period, East India Company minted two types of coins, namely the single-deity Pagoda (Oru Swamy Pagoda) and triple-deity Pagoda (Moonu Swamy Pagoda). Though other coins were there for use, the Pagoda coins were specially minted for gifting purposes.”  

Single-deity Pagoda would have Tirupati Balaji on one side and granules (rough surface) on the flip side. Triple-deity Pagoda would have Tirupati Balaji along with  Sridevi and Bhoodevi and granules on the other side.

He added the coins found in Jambukeswarar temple must have been hidden by people back in the 16th century.  He said the single 10-gm coin could be from the Arcot Nawab.

He said these coins are extremely rare and their value would be five times the current gold price for each coin.

He requested the government to preserve the coins by keeping them in a museum considering their history.

Legendary Saraswati River of Harappan Civilization Found

Legendary Saraswati River of Harappan Civilization Found

A recent study has shown that it is the Ghaggar River that was later identified as the legendary Saraswati with the “clear evidence” that the early Harappans built their settlements.

It has been repeated several times since the 19th Century that a modern Ghaggar-Hakra river system, which runs intermittently between Indian and Pakistan, could be the Saraswati river described in the Rig Veda.

However, with no proof of the river’s uninterrupted flow during the zenith of civilization, it has been argued that the Harappans depended on monsoonal rains.

Saraswati, goddess of knowledge, music, art, speech, wisdom, and learning.

In the study, published in the journal ‘Scientific Reports’ on November 20, scientists from the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad and the Department of Earth Sciences, IIT Bombay presented what they called was “unequivocal evidence for the Ghaggar’s perennial past by studying temporal changes of sediment provenance along a 300 km stretch of the river basin”. ‘

They argued that “this revived perennial condition of the Ghaggar, which can be correlated with the Saraswati, likely facilitated the development of the early Harappan settlements along its banks.”

Study area and subsurface stratigraphy along the Ghaggar-Hakra.

The study argues that “Harappans built their early settlements along with a stronger phase of the river Ghaggar”, during a period 9,000 to 4,500 years ago, “which would later be known as the Saraswati”, but “by the time the civilization matured, the river had already lost its glacial connection.”

The study notes that while the eventual “decline” of the “civilization” at the Ghaggar-Saraswati valley postdates “the exceptional changes to the flow of the river”, “a stronger perennial phase appears to have helped the early societies sow the seeds of the earliest known civilization of the Indian subcontinent.”

The presence of a large number of Harappan settlements along the banks of the modern-day Ghaggar Hakra stream, which had remained monsoon-fed for most of its history, has baffled archaeologists since the 1950s.

The ancient Harappan settled along the Saraswati River.

The authors noted that the observation that “Harappans in the Ghaggar valley made little effort to harvest rainwater, unlike their counterparts in the semi-arid Saurashtra and Rann of Kachchh regions” in spite of a weakening monsoon raised “serious doubt about the conclusion that the Ghaggar had a seasonal water supply.”

The researchers noted that two of its largest cities, Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, along with smaller settlements were built along “mighty and frequently flooding Indus and Ravi, respectively.”

In spite of evidence of an increase in localized rainfall for a few centuries, during the urbanization of the period, the study notes, “The important question that needs to be asked is: what made the early settlers build their cities along a supposedly dying river instead of the well-watered plains of neighboring perennial Himalayan rivers.”

The researchers studied the temporal changes in the origin of the sediment along the 300 kilometer stretch of the river basin and established that 80,000 to 20,000 years ago, the river was receiving sediments from the Higher Himalayas and 9,000 to 4,500 years ago, from the Lesser Himalayas.

“The latter phase can be attributed to the reactivation of the river by the distributaries of the Sutlej,” it added.

The study scrutinized the dynamics of the Harappan civilization and found that “timing of the rejuvenated perennial phase of the Ghaggar”, which was between 9,000 to 4,500 years ago, “coincides with that of the flourishing of the Pre-Harappan and Early Harappan cultures along its banks.”

“Towards the end of the Mature Harappan phase (4.6-3.9 ka), there is a clear evidence of human migrations to the lower and upper reaches of the river, leaving the middle part sparsely populated…which could be attributed to the disorganization of the river as established in this work,” it said while adding that the lower reaches of the river “possibly remained perennial, through a connection from the Sutlej, supporting mature and post-urban Harappan settlements.”

The Indian River drains out for the first time revealing incredible ancient secrets

The Indian River drains out for the first time revealing incredible ancient secrets

A mix of excessive water consumption and drought has driven the Shamala River to its brink for the first time in history, in Karnataka, India.

This lead to the discovery of artifacts on the banks of the river that shocked many archeologists around the world.

In short, dry weather has led to a reduction in the level of the Shalmala River in Karnataka, India, revealing numerous carvings (known as Shiva Lingas) in the rock bed of female and male sexual symbols, as well as of Nandi, i.e., the Hindu God Shiva’s bull mount.

The place is also called “Sahasralinga.” So many people visit it to pray to Lord Shivá, and it has become a very important pilgrimage site.

Additionally, Lingam is an illustration of the Hindu god Shiva and is in Hindu temples for worship and prayer. In turn, it is also known as Shiva Lingas.

During Shivratri, many pilgrims visit this site in India and offer pujas, the best time when the water level in the river is low and almost all Lingas are visible with their bases referred to as Yonis.

Every Linga has an individual bull carved facing towards them. Nobody actually knows when and who carved these Lingas.

However, it is believed that the King of Sirsi, Sadashivaraya, might have ordered their building during his reign (1678 – 1718.)

Located in the Indian state of Karnataka, near the place called Sirsi, Sashasralinga is listed among the most incredible places that India can offer.

It is also the manifestation of divine power as well as positive energy.

The large number of Shiva Lingas discovered as a result of the draught is evidence that there are numerous places in the world that still hold secrets of our ancestors, secrets that archaeologists are bringing out to light.

We really hope they will be properly preserved and people will pay respect to their historical value and tradition.