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History on Stone

The Epigraphy Branch of the Archaeological Survey of India had recently organized in Mysore a photo exhibition of inscriptions of different languages and dynasties collected from various parts of India. It contained photographs of inscriptions ranging from 3rd century B.C. to medieval period and threw light on various aspects covering political, cultural, administrative and economic activities of the past, which were informative and educative to students as well as the general public.

The four earliest inscriptions shown here were of the 3rd century B.C. in Prakrut and Brahmi scripts. They were of the period of Mourya king Ashoka. His inscriptions at Brahmagiri in Karnataka, Girinar in Gujarat, Bhattiprol of Guntur District in Andhra Pradesh, and Goha Goura of Gorakhpur district in Uttar Pradesh were displayed at the exhibition. The last 3rd century B.C. inscription interestingly reveals the construction of a three-storey store-house for keeping four varieties of food grains for distribution at times of need to the people. It also gave a sketch of the store-house.

The other inscriptions of interest included 1st century B.C. Kalinga inscription of Kabodi, 1st century A.D. Shiththanaval Temple inscription in Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu, 3-4th century A.D. inscription of Nagarjunakonda in Andhra Pradesh, 4th century A.D. Gupta period pillar inscription of Mehrauli in Sanskrit-Brahmi scripts, 5th century Asanghat inscription of Orissa stating gifting of endowments by King Shathru Bhanj to temples and institutions, 6th century Brahmi-Sanskrit inscription of Nalanda in Bihar detailing the family tree of Moukhari kings, 628 A.D. copper plate in Sanskrit-Sidhdhamathra languages bearing King Harsha's signature, 919 A.D. Tamil Chela inscription of Tamil Nadu and 17th century Mughal inscription of Akbar of Jaisalmer district in Rajasthan.

Apart from Ashoka's inscription of Brahmagiri Hills, there were several other copies of inscriptions of Karnataka displayed at the exhibition. Some of the important ones were 2nd century B.C. inscription of Sannathi in Gulbarga district, 2nd century A.D. inscription of Shathavahanas, beautiful Banavasi inscription of the same period giving details of the king's daughter Nagashree undertaking Naga Prathishta, 5th century Kadamba inscription of Ravi Varma of Gudnapura in Uttara Kannada district highlighting Kadamaba dynasty, 5th century Chalukya inscription of Badami and of 7th century King Pulikeshi of Aihole, 8th century inscription of Kanchi informing Chalukya King Immadi Vikramaditya's victory over the place and returning the temple treasury back to it, 13th century inscription of Sravanabelagola of Vijayanagar empire hero Bukka stating that he protected the Jain Basadis and temples, and the 1141 A.D. inscription of Halebid of Hoysala Vishnuvardhana.

A similar exhibition has been arranged at the temple town of Nanjangud, near Mysore, from March 7 to 11 for public view.

Established in 1889, the Epigraphy Branch has a valuable collection of copies of over one lakh inscriptions from all over India.

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