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Post at: Oct 09 2021

Gupta period Temple found in Etah, Uttar Pradesh

Why in News?

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI),informed on 8th September, 2021 that it has found the stairs and platform of what was probably a temple, dating back to the Gupta period, during excavation near Aliganj town of Etah district, Uttar Pradesh.

Key Findings

  • It is a protected site in Bilsarh village near Aliganj area of Etah district in Uttar Pradesh.
  • It is believed to be the site of a temple built during the rule of the Gupta dynasty.
  • Here ASI excavated two pillars on which there is an inscription about Kumargupta-I, the powerful ruler of Gupta dynasty, in ‘sankh lipi’ (conch script or shell script) typical of the fifth century AD.
  • The inscription was deciphered as ‘Sri Mahendraditya’ which was the title of king Kumargupta-I who had even conducted ‘ashwamedh yagya’ during his rule.

  • The discovery becomes significant since only two other structural temples from the Gupta age have been found so far — Dashavatara Temple (Deogarh) and Bhitargaon Temple (Kanpur Dehat).

What is the Shankhalipi script?

  • Shankhalipi or “shell-script” is a term used by scholars to describe ornate spiral characters assumed to be Brahmi derivatives that look like conch shells or shankhas.

  • They are found in inscriptions across north-central India and date to between the 4th and 8th centuries.
  • A similar inscription was found on the back of a stone horse sculpture from that period that is at present in the State Museum at Lucknow.
  • Both Shankhalipi and Brahmi are stylised scripts used primarily for names and signatures.
  • The inscriptions consist of a small number of characters, suggesting that the shell inscriptions are names or auspicious symbols or a combination of the two.

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