Category Archives: INDIA

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.

2400-Year-Old Ancient Bunkers and Nuclear War Shelters Found in India

2400-Year-Old Ancient Bunkers and Nuclear War Shelters Found in India

In recent times, India has strengthened its reputation through some phenomenal finds made in a number of caves in the Bihar region. India is one of the oldest cultures in the world.

India is the country where you discover every day a lot of temples and artifacts that are so advanced for the era in which they were built that scientists cannot explain.

Remember the Padmanabhaswami temple or the Weerahhadra temple where a 2000-year-old image of a bicyclist can be seen carved on one of the walls? Two artificial bunkers were recently discovered in Barabar and Nagarjuna, both located in the Bihar area.

According to the researchers, these bunkers were made 2600 years ago.

According to the inscriptions found inside these bunkers, it appears that some sort of ascetic Buddhist or Hindu would have been sheltered there.

The details regarding the construction of these bunkers are extremely interesting. The finishes are perfect. Perfect cuts and angles in stone.

Considering the huge age of these bunkers, they were almost impossible to build with the technology of that time. These details, I’m thinking of technology unknown to the people of that time.

Maybe even assuming that these bunkers could be built with extraterrestrial technology.

Researchers argue on the purpose of these bunkers, but my question is who built them?

Luckiest man in India? Lottery winner unearths pot of 2,500 antique coins

Luckiest man in India? Lottery winner unearths pot of 2,500 antique coins

A fortunate man has made an amazing discovery in India. He recently won large sums of money in a local lottery, and decided to buy property from his windfall – and discovered buried treasure on this plot

The lucky person found a hoard of coins over a century on the surface.

Mr. B Rathnakaran Pillai (66), is a former saw-mill worker and was an active member of his ward in the town of Kilanoor, in Kerala in south-west India. Last Christmas he had a stroke of great luck when he won Rs 6 crore ($842,000) in a local lottery.

According to The News Minute, Mr. Pillai ‘had always prided himself on his green thumb and decided to use a part of his lottery wins to buy land to grow vegetables’. He bought a small plot of land a few miles from his home.

This land is near an old temple dedicated to the Hindu god Krishna. One day while Mr. Pillai was digging in the soil in order to plant some tapioca, his spade struck something hard.

He removed some topsoil and unearthed a pot. The News Minute quotes Pillai as stating that “I pulled out an earthen pot. Inside this were thousands of copper coins .”

The gardener examined the hoard he had found and discovered he had an amazing amount of coins. In total, the hoard weighed over 40 pounds (18.14 kg).

Mr. Pillai knew he had found something very important and immediately alerted the relevant authorities, which is required by law. The local authorities now have possession of the coins.

Upon his discovery of the buried treasure, Mr. Pilla immediately alerted the relevant authorities.

Over 2500 coins were found and they were identified as coming from ‘the defunct kingdom of Travancore, which ruled Kerala for hundreds of years,’ according to BBC News.

The coins date from the reign of two Maharajahs of Travancore. One was Sree Mulam Thirunal, (1885 and 1924) and the other Sree Chithira Thirunal Bala Rama Varma (1924-1949), who was the last ruler of Travancore. These Maharajahs ruled their territory as quasi-independent rulers but were under the influence of the British prior to Indian independence.

Before the first independent Indian government introduced the modern currency system, the rulers of Travancore had a monetary system known as Fanam, which had been in use for centuries. In the local Malayalam language, this word means ‘wealth’ or ‘money.’

The rulers of Travancore had a monetary system known as Fanam.

The copper coins are known as chuckrams and four types of them were identified. Further examination showed that some silver and gold coins in both low and high denominations were also in the pot.

The container that held the coins had the traditional symbol of Travancore, a conch shell on one side and the image of the last Maharajah on the other side.

Some coins show the traditional symbol of Travancore, a conch shell, on one side and the image of the last Maharajah on the other side.

It is believed that the coins date to the late 19th century. This naturally led to the question as to why so many valuable coins were buried in the earth and left there for over a century. It is possible that they were owned by a local healer whose house once stood in the area where the coins were found.

The healer could have buried the treasure in his home. Mr. Pillai told The News Minute that “we unearthed the pot from the room which is the Kanni Moola (southwest corner) of the healer’s house.”

The south-west corner of a dwelling is considered sacred in Hindu architecture. The healer may have placed his wealth in the sacred area of his home to keep it safe.

At present, the coins are at the Conservation Laboratory in Thiruvananthapuram. Many of the “the coins have oxidized and the copper oxide which looks green is stuck to the surface” and needs to be removed, according to Rajesh Kumar R, of the local Archaeology Department. Once cleaned the coins are going to be valued by a committee of experts.

Many of the coins in the treasure hoard have oxidized.

Mr. Pillai is not entitled to the coins and he is simply happy to have found the buried treasure. However, it is expected that the lucky man will be rewarded for his find by the local government and will most likely receive a portion of the total value of the coins.

UK family finds Indian treasure worth millions looted under British rule lying in the attic

UK family finds Indian treasure worth millions looted under British rule lying in the attic

An auction for around 107000 pounds was made of a collection of rare objects found by a couple of years later in the English county of Berkshire and identified as artefacts from Tipu Sultan’s weapons.

The most impressive item was a silver-mounted 20-bore flintlock gun and bayonet from the personal arms of Mysore’s last ruler. Proved hugely popular as it attracted 14 bids before going under the hammer for 60,000 pounds.

“Unlike other Tipu Sultan guns, this one exhibits clear signs of having been badly damaged in its past…rather than being taken directly from the rack after the fall of Seringapatam it appears to have been collected from the battlefield,” the lot description notes.

Tipu’s battle-damaged flintlock musket
The war booty was brought back to Britain by Major Thomas Hart of the British East India Company

The other highlight lot, a gold-encrusted sword and suspension belt ensemble believed to be one of Tipu Sultan’s personal swords, attracted as many as 58 bids before being sold to the winning bidder for 18,500 pounds.

The two centrepieces formed part of a collection of eight items brought back by Major Thomas Hart of the East India Company after the Tiger of Mysore’s defeat at Seringapatam in 1799.

This golden snack box was home to some 220-year-old betel nuts
Major Thomas Hart’s solid gold seal ring

Alongside the arms, an intricately designed Betel Nut Casket (17,500 pounds) and a Gold East India Company Seal ring (2,800 pounds) belonging to Major Hart, believed to have passed down generations before landing in the hands of the current owners, were among the other big sellers for sale.

Berkshire-based Antony Cribb Ltd auctioneers, who specialise in arms and armoury related sales, had announced the auction following the “exciting discovery” earlier this year and said that majority of the buyer interest had come from Indian based.

The Indian High Commission in London was made aware of the artefacts by the India Pride Project, a worldwide volunteer network set up to track “India’s stolen heritage”, and attempted to convince the auction house to consider voluntarily restoring the items to India.

The India Pride Project, which was instrumental in the restitution of a 12th century Buddha statue stolen from Nalanda in Bihar last year via the Indian High Commission in London, said it would continue lobbying for such artefacts to find their way back to India.

“You haven’t really decolonised a nation unless you’ve given back what’s theirs,” said Anuraag Saxena, founder of the India Pride Project.

However, the auction house insisted that no laws were being broken and also confirmed that the beneficiary family had decided to make a sizeable donation to a school in India from the money generated from the auction.

“The family is not motivated by money and sincerely hope these items find their way back to India, maybe to a museum, for future generations to have access to it,” said Antony Cribb of the auction house.

An Indian miniature painting of Tipu Sultan, the famous Indian freedom fighter

The latest cache of Tipu Sultan related artefacts, which included three further swords from the ruler’s armoury and a lacquered leather shield, was described as special because of its rare discovery under one roof after nearly 220 years.

The items bore the trademark tiger and tiger stripes associated with the Tiger of Mysore as proof of their provenance.

The lots came to light in this year when the couple who made the discovery of this innocuous family heirloom contacted Antony Cribb Ltd about a sword they had in their attic.

After an evaluation, a gold “Haider” symbol found on the sword confirmed that the sword belonged Haider Ali Khan Tipu Sultan’s father. The three other swords bearing similar gold markings were found soon after, along with the other items.

The World’s Second Longest Wall, Kumbhalgarh Fort, is Right Here in India

The World’s Second Longest Wall, Kumbhalgarh Fort, is Right Here in India

We are all familiar with China’s Great Wall, the biggest wall ever constructed. It is a wall with a multitude of tales, including different historical and mythological assessments. In the past, Chinese inmates have been sent to serve their sentence.

It is likely that fewer individuals have heard about the Kumbhalgarh Fort and its adjacent wall, commonly agreed to be the world’s second-largest wall.

Kumbhalgarh is a place nestled in the western portion of India between 13 towering mountain peaks. More specifically, it can be found in Rajasthan State, approximately 50 miles from Udaipur City.

Found among the mountaintops, the Kumbhalgarh Fort is a 15th-century masterpiece built by Rana Kumbha. The site also counts as the birthplace of one of the greatest Mewar rulers and warriors are known as Maharana Pratap. However, this area was considered to be of high strategic importance long before the Kumbha dynasty came to prominence.

The very first fort to occupy the spot at Kumbhalgarh was there as early as the 6th century. Back then, it was King Samprati of the Maura Age who constructed it.

A majority of historians consider him a peace-loving ruler, and a very courageous king. He had managed to establish several Jain centers across different Arab countries, as well as Iran.

Kumbhalgarh is one of the many forts built by Maharana Kumbha (or just Rana Kumbha), under who Mewar had its greatest development
The massive gate of Kumbhalgarh fort called the Ram Pol (Ram Gate).
Many fondly call it “The Great Wall of India.” 

It is not very clear though what happened in the region or with the site of the fort until the beginning of the 14th century. At that point, it was Alauddin Khiljii who occupied the area. He was one of the greatest Muslim rulers by far, running successful campaigns on the Indian subcontinent and acquiring territories that reached the most southern parts of it.

Kumbhalgarh, as it is today, was built and ruled by the Kumbha dynasty, which eventually brought prosperity and progress to the region. Unlike the Great Wall of China, which took more than 1,800 years to complete, the Great Wall of India, as the Kumbhalgarh is often referred to, took just a little less than a century to finish.

The wall extends over roughly 22 miles, while its width varies between 15 and 25 feet, which is still enough to accommodate up to eight horses across it positioned side by side. Moreover, Kumbhalgarh Fort also makes for the second most important fort in the area, coming after the Chittorgarh Fort.

Occupying its spot in the wilderness atop a hill, Kumbhalgarh sits at around 3,280 feet above sea level. The building activities had commenced in 1443 AD and the story goes that at first, it was very difficult for Kumbha to make the wall stand strong and tall.

Kumbhalgarh is also the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, a great king, and warrior of Mewar. 
Aerial view of Kumbhalgarh

Legend has it that a couple of attempts were made to build the wall, but nothing really worked out. That is, until the moment a spiritual teacher supposedly came to give advice, saying that someone had to sacrifice their life in order for the wall to be successfully accomplished.

Several versions of the legend exist, and all of them tell of a different character who happened to sacrifice his life for the fort; either it was a pilgrim or a soldier, or the spiritual teacher and the pilgrim were one and the same person.

A person was chosen and beheaded in ritual practice, and the temple was constructed supposedly at the same spot where his head fell.

Distant view of the Kumbhalgarh Fort walls. 

In remembrance of this significant sacrifice, there is a shrine and a temple named as “Hanuman Pol” today, standing at the main gate of the fortress, which is one of seven gates in total that guard the locality.

The complex incorporates at least 360 temples in its boundaries, including Jain and Hindu ones, as well as a prominent watchtower. The Badal Mahal Palace is certainly one of the most remarkable edifices of all within the complex, standing out with its beautiful green, white, and turquoise colors.

Jain Temples in the fort
Shiva temple inside Kumbhalgarh Fort.

Throughout its long history, Kumbhalgarh parted the kingdoms of Mewar and Marwar for a great period of time, serving as the ultimate refuge of several Mewar rulers.

Over the course of five centuries or more, Kumbhalgarh has been occupied only once, and it took the combined effort of several armies to occupy the locality. The occupation lasted for a mere two days, and apparently, it all happened because all the water resources had allegedly run out back at the fort.

Significant renovation on Kumbhalgarh took its course during the 19th century. At present, the site is opened for visitors to explore, whether that means reaching the most remote parts of the wall, or by just taking a look at the most mesmerizing view that opens from its most accessible point.

Stolen 12th century Indian Buddha statue found in London

Stolen 12th century Indian Buddha statue found in London

In what was held up as an example of India-UK collaboration across all sectors, Britain’s Metropolitan Police recently marked India’s Independence Day by handing back a rare Buddha sculpture stolen from India in 1961.

A bronze Buddha statue of the 12th century stolen from an Indian museum 57 years ago has surfaced in London and is now returning to the country.

The bronze statue with silver inlay is one of 14 statues stolen in 1961 from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) site museum in Nalanda and changed several hands over the years before surfacing at a London auction.

Once the dealer and the owner were made aware the sculpture was the same one that had been stolen from India, the Metropolitan Police said they cooperated fully with the Met’s Art and Antiques Unit and agreed for the piece to be returned to India.

“I am delighted to return this piece of history. This is an excellent example of the results that can come with close cooperation between law enforcement, trade and scholars,” said Met Police Detective Chief Inspector Sheila Stewart, who was accompanied by officials from the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the handover ceremony.

“Although this was stolen over 50 years ago, this did not prevent the piece being recognised and the credit must go to the eagle eye informants who made us aware that the missing piece had been located after so many years,” she said.

The statue was identified at a trade fair in March this year by Lynda Albertson of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art (ARCA) and Vijay Kumar from the India Pride Project, who then alerted the police. Sinha described the return of the “priceless Buddha” as a “wonderful gesture” and a particular honour given his own roots in Bihar.

“I hope it will now go back to where it originally belongs… On our Independence Day, it [return of the statue] highlights the multi-faceted cooperation between our two countries,” he said, after a Tricolour-hoisting ceremony to mark India’s 72nd Independence Day at the Indian High Commission in London.

Detective Constable Sophie Hayes, of the Met’s Art and Antique Unit, said it had been established that there was no criminality by the current owner or the dealer who had been offering the stolen statue for sale.

“Indeed, from the outset, they have cooperated fully with the police to resolve this matter and they have made the decision to return the sculpture via the police,” Hayes said. “We are delighted to be able to facilitate the return of this important piece of cultural heritage to India,” she added.

The Art and antique Unit was founded 50 years ago and are one of the oldest specialist units in the Metropolitan Police Service. The unit prides itself on a “long history of reuniting owners with their stolen property”.

Michael Ellis, UK Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said: “As we celebrate India’s Independence Day, I am proud to highlight the latest example of the UK’s cultural diplomacy in action.

Thanks to the work of the Metropolitan Police’s Arts and Antiques Unit, we are one of the first countries to recover one of the 14 elusive Buddha statues stolen from Nalanda nearly 60 years ago.

“This underlines how law enforcement and the London art market are working hand in hand to deliver positive cultural diplomacy to the world.”

Valuable artefacts have been stolen from India over the centuries by colonial plunderers. However, the latest case involved a notorious smuggling ring. The model of a seated Indian God Vishnu was one of 14 statues taken from an archaeological museum in Nalanda, eastern India.

It is believed to have changed hands several times before it was unsuspectingly offered for sale and both the owner and the dealer agreed for it to be returned to India, for it to return to the place it was snatched from.

The recovered relic is a delicate artwork that depicts Buddha in the Bhumisparsha mudra —seated, with his right hand resting over his right knee, reaching toward the ground and touching his lotus throne.

The gesture symbolises the moment that Buddha summoned the earth as a witness to his enlightenment, and it is commonly represented in Buddhist iconography.

It was created using the specialist “lost wax” technique, which involves a wax model being made which can be used only once, as the wax melts away when the molten bronze is poured into the mould. This makes the statue an extremely unique piece of art and part of India’s ancient tradition.

The identity of the dealer and fair have been kept under wraps.

Ancient temple found inside a pond in Odisha

1,200 Year Old Temple Found Buried In Odisha Sand

During the refurbishment job of the Bateswar temple close Rushikulya rookery in Ganjam District of Odisha, on the east shore of India, buried artifacts of the 8th century are emerging.

The temple is located on the coastal sand dunes around eight km from the Kolkata-Chennai Highway near Humma.

According to Odisha State Archaeology department superintendent Sanghamitra Satpathy, with the financial support of the World Bank, Rs.1.64-crore renovation work was taken up at the Bateswar temple under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP).

During the renovation, remnants of a Parvati temple were discovered from under the sand on the periphery of the Bateswar temple.

According to the priest of the Bateswar temple, some idols were also discovered from this newly-discovered small temple.

Steps to preserve the temple

Meanwhile, the State Archaeology department has decided to take necessary steps to preserve the newly-discovered temple.

Senior historian and retired head of history department of Berhampur University, Ashok Kumar Rath, who has researched on the archaeological remains of this region said the Bateswar temple as well as the newly-discovered temple on its premises belonged to the 8th Century.

“The two-chambered Bateswar temple has archaeological resemblance with Laxmaneswar, Bharateswar and Shatrughneswar temples of Bhubaneswar, which were also built in the 7th or 8th Century AD,” said Prof. Rath.

1,200 Year Old Temple Found Buried In Odisha Sand
The recently-discovered 8th-century temple in Ganjam district of Odisha

According to him, this ancient temple was built during the Shilodvhav period of the Odisha history and was linked with the maritime history of this region.

The Bateswar temple also has some stone inscriptions in ‘Devanagari’ and ‘Kutila’ scripts that have become dull with time.

But as per the historians, these inscriptions are of later period, may be of 10th Century during the reign of Ganga dynasty.

During ancient times, ports existed at Palur and Ganjam near the Rushikulya rookery.

It is felt that based on the maritime activity in the region, an urban civilization may have existed in the area and Bateswar temple was part of it.

“More excavation around the Bateswar temple can reveal more information,” said Prof. Rath.

Ancient Indian Temple Finally Uncovered After Decades of Being Submerged in Reservoir

Ancient Indian Temple Finally Uncovered After Decades of Being Submerged in Reservoir

A decade ago, the waters of the Udyasamudram reservoir at Panagal in India’s Nalgonda district engulfed the Sri Shambulingeshwara Swamy temple.

Today, this stunningly beautiful temple, built in the 11th or 12th century AD and dedicated to Lord Shiva, re-emerges as the waters of the reservoir slowly subside.

Archaeologists were pleased to see that the temple is still in one piece, with its magnificent and detailed carvings as beautiful as when last seen. 

The intricate carvings show details as minuscule as the jewelry worn by the dancers and their facial expressions, sure to delight thousands of future visitors.

Sadly, the 23 shrines in the temple have all been stripped of the gems that adorned them, an example of the looting of ancient tombs and shrines that is so prevalent.

The ceilings and walls of the temple show a Perini Dance.  Though the carvings show female dancers, the Perini Dance was traditionally undertaken by warriors before Lord Shiva as they set off for battle. 

The ceremony originated during the Kakatiya dynasty in the area of the Telangana, which corresponds to the age of this temple.  The beautiful carvings inspired the resurrection of this form of dance.

Sambhu Lingeswara-Swami Temple-in-Mellacheruvu.
Sambhu Lingeswara-Swami Temple-in-Mellacheruvu. 

The director of Archaeology and Museums for the Government of Telangana has decided that the entire temple will be dismantled and moved to a safe location at the Panagal Museum before the waters rise again in the reservoir. 

In addition to dismantling and moving the temple, they will also move 12 columns and several loose sculptures found in the same area. 

The sculptures found relate to a Nandi (the bull that served as a mount for Lord Shiva), Lord Vinayaka (depicted with the head of an elephant), and other Hindu deities.

Lord Shiva, to whom this temple is dedicated, is one of the Hindu trinity of Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu.  Lord Shiva is the destroyer and transformer and is most often depicted with the symbols that identify him. 

These icons include a snake around his neck, a third eye on his forehead, matted hair with the River Ganges flowing from it, a crescent moon upon his head, a trishula or trident, and a damaru (an instrument with two beads on leather cords that make a sound against a small hourglass shaped drum when it is swung from side to side).

The temple has a very romantic legend associated with it.  The legend states that before the temple was built, a cow herder saw one of his cows empty her udder over a rock. 

He was very angry and broke the rock into eleven pieces and threw them away.  The next day he found that the rock had been reassembled, so he took his story to the local ruler, who recognized that this was a Shiva Linga, and ordered a temple to be built around it. 

Swamy temple that had submerged under Udyasamudram reservoir a decade ago at Panagal in Nalgonda district.
Swamy temple that had submerged under Udyasamudram reservoir a decade ago at Panagal in Nalgonda district. 

The temple contains a circular hole of around 2 inches across which has water running through it all year round.  This feature denotes this as a Swayam Abhisheka Linga, or self-purifying linga.

The Hindu festival of Maha Shivaratri is celebrated annually in late winter–February or March–in honor of Lord Shiva. This “Great Night of Shiva” is celebrated by keeping an all-night vigil at a temple dedicated to Shiva, accompanied by meditation.

Relocating this beautiful temple will save it from being submerged in the waters of the reservoir when they rise again.  It will also bring attention to an important Hindu temple and a stunning example of the work undertaken by Katatiyan artists.