Home » Subject » History » Study Material » Note On Places And Areas In Ancient India


22. CHIDAMBARAM a town in south Arcot district in Tamilnadu is famous for its great Hindu Siva Temple dedicated to Nataraja, i.e. Siva in his aspects of cosmic dance. The Nataraja sculptures are esteemed as tehgreatest specimens of sculpture in the world. Also, Chidambaram bears evidence to the birth as well as the development of Shaivism to begin with insouthern Indian and its consequential spread to the whole of India.

23. CHEDI OR CHETI one of the 16 Janapadas of 6th century B.C. roughly corresponds to modern Bundelkhand and adjacent tracts. It lay near the Kanuna, its metropolis was suktimati to Sottihivatinagar.

24. CAAMPA the capital city of the Anga Janapada on the border of Bengal was of great commercial importance in ancient times; for it was a river port from which ships would sail down the Ganges and the coast the south India, returning with jewels and spices which were much in demand in the North. By Mauryan times, with the eastward expansion of Aryan culture, Tamralipti replaced in in importance. An interesting feature of this is the fact that a Hindu Kingdom with the same name came into existence in the mainland of South east Asia. Indeed it is difficult to say how exactly this name came to be transplanted in South-east Asia.

25. DASAPURA modern Mandasor in western Malwa, was disputed between the Sakas and the Satavahanas. Its famous Siva temple of the guild of Silk weavers, was built during the reign of kumar Gupta I (414 A.D.-455 A.D.) the institution that is responsible for building the Siva temple indicates the climax of Indian trading and commercial activities in ancient Indian. It also reveals that manufacture of silk was no longer the secret monopoly of China and it had taken roots in India by the 5th century A.D.

26. DEVAKA modern Dokak in Nowgong district in Assam, a frontier country which paid tribute to Samudragupta claiming the payment of tribute by Kamarupa goes along with Devaka. However, it is to be borne in mind that Harisena's Prasasti is of doubtful historical validity. The one significant thing that is known is the fact that no ruler of the northern India could ever conquer the Assam region but instead Burma conquered it and it was wrenched from Burma by the British in 1829 by the Treaty of Yandavoo.

27. DEOGARH in Jhansi district of U.P. is famous for its Dasvatara Vishnu temple belonging to the Gupta period. The temple may be considered as most respresentative and well known example of the early sikhara style of temple architecture in example of the early sikhara style of temple architecture on the panels of its walls. Deogarh is one the temples with which began the temple architecture of India. In particular, the Shikhara is the unique feature of the northerntemples compared to those of southern Indian.

28. DWARAKA Legends associate this place toYadavas after the battle of Kurukshetra. According to mythology Dwaraka was destroyed by the huge tidal wave as per the forewarning of Lord Krishna. In very recent times Dr. S.R.Rao with the cooperation of the Department of Ocenography, did carry out under-sea explorations. Some artifacts including stone anchors have been found dating back to the Harappan period. The exploration is still continuing.

29. ELLORA With three distinct groups of rock-cut architecture associated with Buddhism, Jainism and Brahmanical Hinduism, is famous for its temple of Kailash (Siva) "an entire temple complex completely hewn-out of the live rock in imitation of a distinctive structural form". The temple ws built by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I (758-773 A.D.) and is one of the most magnificent examples of Dravida architecture with its four principal characteristic components, viz. Vimana, Mandapa, nandi mandapa and gopuram. The Ellora sculptures are famous for their liveliness.

30. ERAN Besnagar district (Madhya Pradesh) is famous on account of Eran Inscriptions dated 510 A.D. This inscription mentions the practice of Sati, first of its kind. It is also famous for its colossal board, the zoomorphic incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

31. ELEPHANTA beautiful little island off Bombay, with latest cavetemples in Ellora style was famous for their sculpture, especially the great Trimutti figure of Siva, emblem of the Maharashtar Govt. representing the highest plastic expression of the Hindu concept of divinity.

32. GANDHARA with Taxila and peshwar as two capitals, in earlier and later ancient periods was one of the 16 Janapadas (6th century B.C.) onthenorth-western frontier of India. Under the Kushans it become a popular center of Mahayana Buddhism and Gandhara art- Indian images both secular and religious (the Buddha and Lord Krishna) but in long floating garments, as is the tradition of early Greek sculpture. It was a meeting ground for several civilizations and mercantile communities belonging to different countries.

33. GORATHAGIRA A hill fortress on the modern Barabar hills in the Gaya district of Bihar, was attacked by King Kharavela of Kalinga in the 8th year of his reign. This fact is known from the Hathigumpha Inscription of king Kharavela.

34. GANGAIKOND-CHOLA-PURAM was capital city of the greatest Chola ruler Rajendra Chola I (1012-1044 A.D.) who built it after the successful Chola military camaign upto the bank of the river Ganges in 1021-22. Currently the city lies inruins and its enormous tankshas dried up.

35. GIRNAR hill near Janagarh in Gujarat, where a Mauryan governor is said to have built an artificial lake, known as Sudarsana lake which Rudradaman, the Saka ruler renovated. Rudradaman's Sanskrit Inscription was located here and it is the first Sanskrit inscription It had been a sacred place to the Jainas since remote times because Jain shrines are also located here.

36. HASTINAPURA aim district Meerut in U.P. (known as Asandivant) was the capital of the ancient tribe of the Kurus. Later the floods destroyed it. Recent excavations prove that the people of this region used iron by about 700 B.C. that is the Aryans had learnt the art of making iron which revolutionized the whole socio-economic pattern of Aryan communities. It was this fact that lay at the base of the Economic Revolution that India passed through between 1000 B.C. to 600 A.D. with far too many consequences like the emergence of an empire, various kinds of guilds, brisk trade both with in and with out the country and links with buth South-east Asia and the Roman empire.

37. HATHIGUPHA on Udaigir hill, three miles from Bhuvaneshwar in the puri district of Orissa, is famous for an inscription in post-ashokan character, engraved inside the elephant cave. It depicts the meteoric and dazzling carer of Jaina king Kharavela, the 3rd ruler of the Cate dynasty. It also refers to the building of an equeduct in Kalinga by one of the Nanda rulers of Pataliputra. The importance of this inscription lies in the fact that it is the first important sign-post in fixing the chronology of ancient India.

38. HAILBID is famous for Hoysalesvara temple (Hoysala period) designed and built by Kedoroja, the master-building of Narasimha I. The infinite wealth of sculpture over the exterior of this temple makes it one of the most remarkable monuments of the world. Known as Dwaramudra it was the capital of the Hoysalas.

39. INDRAPRASTHA identified by Jain scholars with the site around the enclosure of the Purana Oila (Delhi) one of the sites of painted Grey Ware (10th century B.C.) finda, was the legendry capital of the Pandava brothers of the epic Mahabharata, which they lost to the Kauravas having been defeated in the gambling match. After the second battle of Tarain (1192) Moh. Gauri appointed Outbuddin Aibak as his deputy at Indraprastha which became a base for Aibak's successful operations against north Indian states.

40. KURA one of the 16 Janapadas of 6th century B.C., was in the neighbourhood of Delhi. Among its towns may be mentioned Indraprastha and Hastinapur. This place clearly brings home the truth to us that Mahabharata was not purely fictional story but some amount of historical evidence is embedded in the story. As a matter of fact, Vasudeve Krishna is now known as a historical personality as borne out by the writings of patanjali and other sources of evidence.

41. KAJANGALA in Raj mahal district in Eastern Bihar, where king Harsha (606-647 A.D.) held his court while campaigning in eastern India.The Chiense pilgrim Huen-Tsang first saw Harsha here.

42. KAPISA It is the region near Kabul, probably Kipin as referred to by Chineses writers. The presiding diety of the city according to Chiense writers was zeus. The Greek god. The gold and silver coins issued by the Greek kings have been discovered from this region in big numbers. The Greeks were the first to issue gold coins in India. These coins testify to the growing trade links between India and Central Asia and China and also with the Roman world. Far more important is the fact that these coins testify to the gowing worship of Vasudeva-krishna or the Bhagavata cult which later repened as Vaishnavism.

43. KIPIN is identified with Kapisa or Kafirstan in Kashmir. It indicated the wide region know in earlier times as the Mahajanapada of Kamboja. It was ruled by the Sakas, the Kushans and the Hunas in succession. The name Kamboja reappears as the name of kamboja, an important of the mainland of South-East Asia.

44. KAMPILYA was the capital of southern Panchalas, one of the tribal communities of the Aryans. This fact proves that the Aryans, to begin with in India, lived as various tribes. The tribes were in constant war with eachother culminating in the emergence of the Magadha Empire.

45. KUSAMDHVALA (Patliputara) Gargi-Samhita alludes that in the 2nd century B.C. the Yavanas (Indo-Bacterians) having reduced Saketa, Panchala, and Mathura reached kusumdhvana. Demetrios, was, most probably, the Yavana leader. He was defeated or he retired withouth fighting.

46. KASI one of the 16 Janapadas of the 6th century B.C. with its capital of the same name. It was also called Varanasi (69). It greatly prospered under the rule of Brahmadatta.

47. KOSAL one of the 16 janapadas of the 6th century B.C. had three different capitals (Saketa, Ayodhya and Sravasti) in three different periods. It region roughly corresponded to modern oudh.

48. KUSINAGAR (Kusinara ?) moder Kasia, in Gorakhpur district in UP was a small town where the Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. It was one of the two capitals of the Mall Janapada in pre-Buddhists times. It was visited by Ashoka and the Chinese pilgrim Fa-hien.

49. KANYAKUBJA (Kanauj) on the bank of river Gangas in UP rose to prominence during the time of Mukhar is, Harsha and Gujara-Pratiharas. Under the pratiharas, Kanauj successfully resisted the Arabs. In the 9th century A.D. It was disputed among the Palas of Bengal, Prathiharas, and the Rashtrakutas. It was situated on a very important trade-route linking north-Western regions of India with Prayaga, Kasi, Vaishali, Pataliputra, Rajagriha, Tamralipti.

50. KAUSAMBI identified with the villagesof Kosam near Allahabad was one of the earliest cities, so prominent that Anand, the Buddhist monk, though it important enough for a Buddha to die in. Recent excavation it here unearthed historically and culturally important terracotta figures. It was built in the shape of a trapezium and was the capital of the vastse Janapada. One of the Ashokan Pillars was located here. It was also an inscription of the Kushan monarch.

60. KARNA-SUVARNA : refers to the region of Bengal and some parts of Bihar and Orrisa, fuled by sasanka in the early 7th century A.D. Harsha conquered the region from him after 619 A.D.

61. KANHERI In Thana district near Bombay, has rock cut Chaitya shrines with elaborately decorated railings belonging to the third century A.D. One inscription of the last great ruler of the Satavahana dynasty. Yajnasri Satakarni is found here. Kanheri Buddhist Tank inscription makes mention of Matiemonial relationship between the Sakas and the Satavahanas. It was the chief center of Buddhism in Rashtrakuta times. Faint traces of the art of paintings may be traced in the caves of Kanheri.

62. KANCHI modern canjeevaram, south-west to Madras is reckoned among the seven sacred cities of the Hindus. It was an important center of Jaina culture in the first half of the first millennium A.D. It was one of the south Indian kingdoms conquered by Samudragupta. It was visited by Huen-Tsang. It rose to prominence in 7th century A.D. Under the Pallava king. It possesses the famous Kailashnath temple (built by Pallava King Narsimhavarman - II) and Vaikuntha perumalla (constructed sometime after the kailashnath). The Kailashnath temple is a landmark in the development of dravida temple style with its characteristic components-vimana, mandapa gopuram and an array of vimanas along the walls of the court, i.e. peristyle cells.

63. KAVERIPATTANAM known as Puhar, was the Chola capital and chief port in Sangam period (200 B.C.- 300 A.D.) with a large colongy of foreigners. It was an important trade center. Ships sailing from here to South-East Asia. A long poem on this Chola capital is the part of the famous Sangam work pattupattu (Ten Idylls).

64. KURUKSHETRA near Thaneswar, to the north of Delhi in Haryana, was the site of the great battle of Mahbharata. This battle fought between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, formed the basis of the story of the greatness of India epics the Mahabharata. It is in this great war that Krishna prached his gospel of the Gita, to the Pandava hero Arjuna who saw his own elders and kishmen arranged himself for the fith and then early decided to renounce and retire. Krishna gave him the message of disinterested perfomance of duty i.e. renunciation in action but no renunciation of action. That a great war ws fought between the cousin brothers - Kauravas and Pandavas is quite possible.

65. MANYAKHET (modern Malkhed in Hyderabad region) was the capital of Rashtrakuta Amoghavarsha I in the 9th century A.D.

66. MAHABALIPURAM is today a tiny coastal village 65 kms. south of Madras. This port-city was founded by Pallava king Narasimhavarman in the 7th century A.D. Pallava kings created an architecture of their own which was to be the basis of all the styles of the south. In fact Mahabilipuram, the Pallava art with its monolithic temples (rathas) and rocks sculptured in the shapes of animals with a wonderfully broad and powerful naturalism, with whole cliffs worked in stone frescoes, immenspictures unparalleled at the time in all Indian in their order movement and lyrical value. The Descent of the Ganges, the unique masterpiece of Pallava art was surely one of the most remarkable compositions of all time (in which is portrayed the Ganges coming down to earth, with gods, animals men and all creation in adoration). The shore temple built by Rajasimha represents one of the earliest examples of structural temples. the Pallvava monuments at Mahabalipuram symbolize not only the transition from rock-architecture to structural stone temples but also significantly the completion of the "Aryanisation" of South India during the Pallava period.

67. MADHYAMIKA is identified with Nagari near Chitor in Rajasthan. Patanjali alludes toYavana (Indo-Bacterian) invasion of Madhyamika.

68. MUSHIKAS on the lower Indus with its capital at Alord. Was the greatest principality at the time of Alexander's invasion. Its king mousikanas submitted to Alexander after brave resistance.

69. MATIPUR modern Mandawar in district Bijnor of UP was a center of Hinayana Buddhist studies in the 6th and 7th centuries A.D. Huen-Tsang stayed here for some time.

70. MADURAI popularly known as the city of festivals, was the seat of the 3rd Sangam and was till the 14th century the capital of the Pandyan kingdom which had sea-borne brade with Rome and Greece. It is famous for the Minakshi temple.

80. MACCHA or Matsaya, was one of the 16 janapads. The Matsyas ruled to the west of the Jamuna and south of the Kurus. Their capital was at Viratnagar (modern Bairrat near Jaipur).

81. MALLA was one of the 16 Janapadas of the16th century B.C. The territory of the Mallas was on the mountain slopes probably to the north of the vijjain confederation. They had to branches with their capitals at Kusinagar and Pawa. But in pre-Buddhist time the Mallas were a monarchy.

82. MUZIRIS modern canganors in Kerala at the mouth of the river Periyar, an important port in Sangam period (20 B.C. - 300 A.D.) abounded in ships with cargoes from Arabia and Roman world. Later literature speaks of Roman settlements and a temple was built here ni honour of Augustus.

83. NAGARJUNAKONDA is Krishna Velley, harboured a Neolithic community with stone-axe-culture and primitive mode of agriculture. With a few classical accidental looking sculptures in proves trade and culture contacts with the Roman world. Survival of a Buddhist stupa proves it to be a Buddhist center in early Christian centuries. The beginning of Hindu temple architecture in south India are best traced in the remains of the early brick temples of the Ikshavakus excavated here anticipating the Nagara, Dravida and Vasars styles.

84. NASIK (also known as Naiskya and Govardhan) is famous for exquisite rock-cut Buddhist temple (of the period 2nd BC - 1st A.D.) with an engraved iscription of Gautami Balsari recording the achievement of the Satavahanas ruler Gautamiputra Satakarni). A large board of silver coins bearing the name, the titles of Nahapana were discovered at Jogalthambi very close to the Nasik suggesting the defeat of the Saka ruler bythe Satavahana knig. It is also famous for the Chaitya and Vihar as pan-du-lonea.

85. PITHUNDA on the Godavari, was the capital of the Avapeople or the Avamukta which was conquered as Samudragupta.

86. PADMAVATI was Nag capital is Gwalior region. Its king Ganapati Naga was defeated by Samudragupta.

87. PRATISHTHANA (Paithan) at the mouth of the river godavri in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, was the capital of Satavahana kings. It was an important commercial mart linked with Sravasti.

88. PURUSHPURA (modern Peshawar) was the capital of Kanishka's vast empire and the center of Gandhara art. It became the chief center of Buiddhist activity and studies with building of number of huge Chaityas and viharas and with one stupa. The Chiense pilgrims refer to a many storied relic-tower in which some relics of Buddha were enshrined. It is here that the icons of Buddha and other Hindu gods were first finely carved. In provided the meeting place of the marchants of India, China, central Asia, Persia, and the Roman world.

89. PATTADAKAL near Aihole Badami is famous for magnificentrock-cult and sculptures temples in Chalukya and Pallava style. The number of such temples is ten - four in the northern style and six in southern. Most famous of these temples is lokesvara temple (now called Virupaksha).

90. PANCHALA was one of the 16 janapadas of the 6th century B.C. Its area correspondent to modern Bundelkhand and the portion of the Central Doab. It had two divisions northern and southern, the Ganges forming the boundary line. Their capitals were Ahicchatra and Kampilya respectively. One of the early Panchalas kings, Durmukha, is credited with conquests in all directions.

91. PUSHKALAVATI i.e. the "city of lotuses' in Afganisthan to the north of the river Kabul (modern Charasadda) in the district of Peshawar was conquered by Alexandar. It was the old capital of western Gandhara. A gold coin (belonging to the 2nd century B.C.) with the city goddess (Lakshmi) holding a lotus in her right hand and an appropriate Kharoshthi legend "Pakhalavati devata" had been discovered here pointing to the popularity of Indian goddess. It remained under the rule of the Indo-Greeks, the sakas and the Kushana. It was an important link in India's trade relations with central Asia and China.

92. RAJAGRIHA moder Rajgir, near Patna in Bihar was and ancient capital of Magadha under Bimbisara and Ajatsatru. It was here that first Buddhist council was held after the death of Buddha. The cyclopean walls of the this old commercial town are among themost remarkable finds in India.

93. SAKALA modern Sialkot, capital of Menander, was the refuge of Buddhist monks. It was here, according to Buddhist tradition, that Pushyamitra Sungha declared to give an award of 199 dinars for the head of a Buddhist monk.

94. SANCHI :near Bhopal famous for a Buddhist stupa and for one of Ashoka's Minor Pillar Edicts. Sanchi sculptures along with Bharhut Godh-Gaya represent the first organized art activity of the Indian People. There are reliefs of the Jatkas on the stone walls around the stupa. Sanchi revealed historically important inscription of the Satavahanas and the Gupta kings. Kakanodbota probably was the ancient name for Sanchi, which was inhabited by the tribal people Kakar, and was conquered by the Samudragupta.

95. SRAVASTI moder Saket-Mahet on the borders of the Gonda and the Bahraich districts of U.P. On the river Rapti - It was a famous center of trade in ancient times, from where three important trade routes emanated linking it with Rajagriha, Pratishthana, and Taxila. It was one of the early capitals of the Janapad of Kosal. Later, it served as the provincial headquarters of the Gupta kings. Fa-hien visited it.

96. SAKETA region around Ayodhya, was invaded by Yavanas (Indo-Bacterin) is attested to by Patanjali.

97. SARNATH near Varanasi, is the place where the Buddha delivered his frist sermon in the Deer park, this event being known as the "Turning of the Wheel of Law". It is the site of the famous Ashokan Pillar of Polished sand-stone whose lion capital was adopted by the people of Free India as the state emblem. It was also the famous seat of Gupta sculpture. Gupta plastic art reached its perfection e.g. the seated Buddha in preaching posture.

98. SRAVANA-BELGOLA in Hasan district of Karnataka, is famous for the monolithic statue of Gometeswara- 85fit. High, erected in 980 A.D. by Chemundya Rai, the chief minister of the Ganga king Rachmal.

99. SOPARA port town known to the Periplus and ptolmey, carried most of the ancient Indian trade with foreign countries; gradually it began to lose its importance to Berygaza and Barharium- Ist century A.D. onwards. It ahs survived as a village 40 miles north of Bombay.

100. TOSALI (Dhauli) near Bhuaneshwar in Puri district of Orissa, was the seat of one of the Mauryan viceroyalties as well as one of the fourteen major rock edicts of Ashoka. The Tosali rock edict refers only to the conquered province.

101. TRIPURI now village near Jabalpur, was the capital of the Kalachuri dynasty. The Kalachuri kings became independent in 10th century A.D. In 1939, Tripuri had the distinction of being the venue of the 54th session of Indian National congress.

102. TAMRALIPTI Tamluk in the Midnapur district of Western Bengal was one of the most important port-towns of ancient India. Outlet to south-east Asia when there was trade boom.

103. TANJORE is famous for Rajarajeswava or Brihadeswara temple of lord Shiva which is the largest and tallest of all India temples with its vimana towering to a height of nearly 200 feet over the Garbhagriha with Pyramidal body in thirteen tiers. It was the seat of Chola government in the 9th century A.D. and later of an independent kingdom after the fall of ther Vijayanagar Empire. Weight of the cap 80 tonnes. Conceived on a gigantic scale. Stone relief as minute as that of jewelers.

104. THANESWAR near Kurukshetra, to the north of Delhi in the province of Haryana, was the capital of the Pushyabhuti dynsty. The kingdom of thanesar emerged into a powerful state under Harsha's (606-647 A.D.) father, Prabhakarvardhan who was in constant warfare against the Huns on the frontier and with the rulers of Malwa. Harsha shifted his capital from Thaneswar to Kannauj. According to Heun-Tsang the people of this city were specially inclined to trade. Thus thanesar was a principal center of trade. It was attacked by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1014 A.D. it is here that ahmad Shah Abdali first defeated the Maratha army in 1759 boding to the Maratha collapse at Panipat in 1761.

Next » Note On Places And Areas In Ancient India