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Nagardhan excavations- findings on Vakataka dynasty

Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Nagardhan excavations- findings on Vakataka dynasty

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Recent excavations and revelations on vakataka dynasty and queen Prabhavatigupta.

Context: Archaeological excavations at Nagardhan, near Nagpur, have provided concrete evidence on the life, religious affiliations and trade practices of the Vakataka dynasty and also about the Vakataka rule under Queen Prabhavatigupta.


About findings and their significance:

  1. An oval-shaped sealing has been traced. It belongs to the period when Prabhavatigupta was the queen of the Vakataka dynasty.
  2. It bears her name in the Brahmi script, along with the depiction of a conch.
  3. The presence of the conch, scholars say, is a sign of the Vaishnava affiliation that the Guptas held.
  4. A copper plate issued by Queen Prabhavatigupta has also been found. It starts with a genealogy of the Guptas, mentioning the Queen’s grandfather Samudragupta and her father Chandragupta II.
  5. Since the Vakataka people traded with Iran and beyond through the Mediterranean Sea, scholars suggest that these sealings could have been used as an official royal permission issued from the capital city. Besides, these were used on documents that sought mandatory royal permissions.

Who was 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.
  • Scholars say Queen Prabhavatigupta was among a handful of women rulers in India to have reigned over any kingdom during ancient times. Also, there had been no evidence so far of any successor female ruler within the Vakataka dynasty, the researchers suggest.
  • She ruled for about 10 years until her son Pravarasena II
  • She had a pivotal role in propagation of Vaishnava practices in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.

About Vakataka dynasty:

  1. Ruled parts of Central and South India between the third and fifth centuries.
  2. Rule extended from the southern edges of Malwa and Gujarat in the north to the Tungabhadra River in the south as well as from the Arabian Sea in the west to the edges of Chhattisgarh in the east.
  3. They were the most important successors of the Satavahanas in the Deccan and contemporaneous with the Guptas in northern India.
  4. They were Shaivite rulers.
  5. Nagardhan served as a capital of the Vakataka kingdom.
  6. The elephant god was a commonly worshipped deity in those times.
  7. Animal rearing was one of the main occupations. Remains of seven species of domestic animals — cattle, goat, sheep, pig, cat, horse and fowl — have been traced.
  8. The rock-cut Buddhist viharas and chaityas of Ajanta Caves (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) were built under the patronage of Vakataka emperor, Harishena.

Sources: Indian Express.