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Excavations – 2000-2005 – Orissa


Various Udaygiri-2, dt. Jajpur
Udaygiri (Lat.200 38′ 45″ N and Long 860 16′ 25″ E) situated 102 km north-east from Bhubaneswar. The northern half of the valley had been excavated from 1985-86 to 1989-90. which had brought to light remains of a huge Buddhist Monastic complex protected by a large enclosure wall , a seven metre high stupa having four dhyani Buddhas in all four cardinal direction of the stupa. The site was identified as “Madhavapura Mahavihara” on the basis of epigraphical findings. After gap of 08 years excavations at the medieval Buddhist was resumed in 1997-98 in the southern half of the valley named as Udayagiri-2. The excavation had partially revealed a double storied monastic complex datable to 8th Cent. A.D. and important antiquities images of Buddha, Tara, Manjusri, Avalokitesvara, Jatamukuta Lokesvara and terracotta sealings.

In the recent years excavations were conducted at the site during the field seasons 2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2003-04. The excavations has exposed a stone paved floor in front of the excavated monastery, the main drain of the monastery extending towards north¸ a large stone platform measuring 14.05 m x 13.35 made of seven courses in ashlar masonry approached through a flight of steps devised with a chandrasila on the north. Over the stone platform was discovered an apsidal chaitya-griha made of stones and bricks enshrining a stupa made of finely dressed stones which was originally plastered. Over the apsidal platform after the disuse of the chaityagriha, another brick-built chaitya-griha was found erected retaining the same stupa, facing the same east direction. The shrine was provided with gavakshas suggested by discovery of pieces of decorated stone jali worked with three-hooked snake motif.

To the west, south and north of the chaitya-griha were exposed three major group of stone built stupas now preserved upto the anda portion or plain plinths only. Another notable stupa was discovered alongwith four images of Avalokiteswar, Tathagata, Bhikruti-Tara and Chunda in its niches located in four cardinal directions. Altogether 14 stupas built of different sizes of bricks with mud mortar were discovered which are datble from the beginning of the 1st century A.D. to c 12th cent. A.D. A good number of stone inscriptions datable from 5th -13th cent A.D are also recovered.

A long stone paved pathway, votives stupa made of stone and a brick built residential complex comprising of six rooms and a courtyard was also discovered to the east of the chaitya-griha along with household appliances.

Barabati Fort Cuttack, dt. Cuttack
Barabati fort (Lat.200 0′ 57″ N and Long 850 52′ 1″ E), district- Cuttack, Orissa on the right bank of river Mahanadi is one of the important medieval forts of eastern India. According to the Madalapanji, the construction of this fort was attributed to King Nripa Kesari in 989 A.D. But as a matter of fact, king Anangabhima III C 1211-1238 A.D) of the Ganga dynasty was mainly responsible for the construction of such huge square fort covering an area of 102 acres with laterite lined moat all around. The entire area of the fort was declared centrally protected by a notification in the year 1915.

In the past excavation was conducted at the site commencing from 1989-90 and continued up to 1996- 97. The main objective of the excavations was to establish the cultural chronology of the fortified site. The excavations had revealed structural remains viz. temple, citadel, numerous architectural fragments of pillars, columns and other antiquities dating from thirteenth century to eighteenth century. Further, natural soil could not be reached due to the high water level.

In repose to order of the Hon’ble High Court, Orissa, following a Public Interest litigation the department excavated at the site in 2003-04.

The Period I witnessed two structural phases assignable to c.fifteenth-sixteenth century A.D. The structures were constructed of laterite stones. Earlier architectural members were also found used in the construction.

The deposit of period II is dated from c. seventeenth to eighteenth century. From this period remains of a male elephant (3mx1.15m) placed in west-east orientation was discovered. The remnants of the tusks were found articulated with jaws. The large burial pit also showed the fire activities. An altogether 18 massive pillar-bases raised over the fillings and aligned in four rows at regular intervals were exposed in the southern area. Mostly made of laterite, they also display occasional use of earlier architectural pieces worked in sandstone. The average size of square pillar-bases vary from 1.80 x 1.80m to 1.33 x1.30m, the maximum available height being 1.15m.

Some of the pillar-bases are out of plumb but the tallest one has retained six courses. It appears they supported a large edifice. This pillared-complex is engirdled by a 2.40 m wide wall of laterite running in a perimeter of 58 m on the east (23m), north (16.40m) and west (18.50m) the southern side being unexposed. From this level were also recorded terracotta ringwells composed of seven to ten rings and inscribed with Oriya numerals in the characters of circa eighteenth century and subsequently followed by later accretions.

The antiquities in sandstone include a bearded male dancer a male head adorned with a bejeweled low crown and circular beaded earrings, a standing couple, a lamp carved in black schist stone etc. Besides this three terracotta animal figurines were also recovered. The wheel-thrown pottery comprise red, black, black and red and grey wares. The shapes include jars, vase, basin and trough, bowl, dish, lamp, handi, surahi etc. varying from medium to coarse fabric.

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