What Is India News Service
Tuesday, August 2, 2011


North Indian Inscriptions



NO. 1

THIS inscription was discovered by Sir Alexander Cunningham’s Assistant, Mr. Garrick, apparently in 1882¹ at Piāwan, 25 miles north-north-east of Rewa in Vindhya Pradesh.¹ Cunningham visited the place in 1883-84 and published a lithograph of the record together with an indifferent transcript in his Archæological Survey of India Reports, Vol. XXI, pp. 112 ff. and plate xxviii. As the inscription is very much weather-worn and the place is difficult of access, none has attempted to edit it since then, though it has been referred to several times in connection with the history of the Kalachuris of Tripuri². In 1936, the Superintendent of Archæology, Central Circle, Patna, kindly sent his mechanic to copy the record for me. But when he reached the place, he found the inscription completely destroyed. As no fresh facsimile of it is now possible, I edit it here from the small-scale lithograph mentioned above.

Cunningham has given the following description of the record:- “Piāwan, or Payāwan, means simply the ‘drinking place’. The spot is a small valley, about 800 feet wide and half a mile in length, with precipitous rocks on both sides, about 200 feet high. At the western end a small stream falls over the cliff, and the rock below, on which the water falls, has been formed into an Argha for the reception of a liṅgam or phallic symbol of Śiva. A view of this Argha has been given by my assistant, Mr. Garrick, who first discovered the place. He has described it under the name of Jhirnā, or ‘the waterfall’. The name given to me was received from the people, who grazed their herds in the neighbouring hills, and who knew it only as the piāwan, or ‘watering place’. The Argha is 14 inches in diameter. On the upper face of the Argha there is an inscription of six lines in boldly carved letters, which are unfortunately much weather-worn.

The record consists of six lines. The characters are Nāgarī. The language is Sanskrit, and the inscription is in prose throughout. In its present form, its orthography does not call for any special notice

The record mentions the illustrious Gāṅgēyadēva with the imperial titles Paramabhaṭṭāraka,3 Rājādhirāja4 and Paramēśvara. He is also described as paramamāhēśvara or a devout worshipper of Mahēśvara (Śiva). The object of the inscription probably was to record the king’s obeisance to the Śiva-liṅga on the rock where the inscription is incised. The name of the liṅga which occurred in line 4 is not quite clear, but may have been Alaṅgbyēśvara.

The last line contains a date which Cunningham read as 789. The reading of the first and third figures is probably correct and that of the second figure also may be so, as

1 In the preface to his Report (Vol. XXI) for the years 1883-84 and 1884-85, Cunningham wrote that his assistant Mr. Garrick had discovered the present inscription ‘in the previous year’.
2 See, e.g., H.T.M., p. 14.
3 The reading of this title is uncertain.
4 The usual title is Mahārājādhirāja, which occurs in the inscriptions of Gāṅgēya’s son Karṇa. See No. 48, 1.34; No. 50, 1.34 etc., but judging from the indifferent lithograph, the aksharas preceding Rājādhirāja do not appear to be Maha.


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