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Archaeology Of Nepal
 

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Archaeology Of Nepal

Tilaurakot
Over the past few decades archaeological work has been conducted in the Terai region of the country where Nepal's first settlements were probably located. Tilaurakot, for example, used to be the capital of the shakya dynast. It is situated in KAPILBASTU DISTRICT IN WESTERN Nepal. The present archaeological site extends over the area of more that five square kilometers. The central portion, measuring approximately five thousand meters by four thousand meters, is surrounded by a citadel built at three different periods. The first and second ancient citadel walls are made of mud ad date from 600 to 200 B.C. While the third wall appears to have been constructed with kilnburnt bricks around 150 B.C. The eastern gate, the eastern stupa, the Ashita Apsidal Stupa and a defence wall were first discovered at the site. More recent excavations have brought to light the majestic western gateway complex including the watchman's room, six meter wide roads of different periods (With cart-track impressions), the moat on the east and west, three periods of defence walls and northern twin stupas made and enlarged between the fourth and second centuries B.C. The central portion of The site has also been excavated and various brick structures from the third century B.C to the second century A.D have been unearthed. Water storage tanks, big jars, brick and terra-cotta ring wells and a fire-alter have also been found. Other antiquities discovered at the site are human and animal terra-cotta figurines (dated 400 B.C to A.D 200), silver punch-marked coins, early cast coins with symbols, Mitra coins with different symbols, Kushan coins, and pieces of Sunga and Kushan pottery. Apart from these antiquities, practical items such as terra-cotta cart wheels, iron implements, nails, arrowheads, bone and copper rods, dice and fishing hooks have also been found.

Gotihawa
Gotihawa - rich in possession of ancient ruins is situated eleven kilometers south of Tilaurakot and six kilometers south west of Taulihawa, the present district headquaters. To the north of Gotihawa village, there is an ancient brick stupa and an Ashokan Pillar. The lower portion, with its square granite base stone, is still intact but the crowning features and inscriptional portions are missing. The site can be safely identified as the Nirvan Stupa of Kakuchhanda Buddha (one of the previous Buddha), whose hometown lies within one kilometer of this stupa-pillar complex .

Sagarahawa
This site is located tow kilometers north of Tilaurakot of the bank of the Banganga river. It was excavated in 1896 and seventeen miniature Stupas were found there. In the same general region, sites of ancient civilization have been identified at Lumbini, Banjarhi, Nipaniya and Kadyatawa, to Mention just a few. Several important sites have also been excavated in the eastern region of the country, the most important of which are Bhediari, Varahakshetra, Janakpur and Simaraongad.

Bhediari
Located nearly ten kilometers south of Biratnagar, the ancient ruins at this site include many important brick temples. There is a two-meter high rectangular platform supported from inside by cross walls. So far no image either of stone or terra cotta has been found during the excavations; however, a number of silver punch-marked coins have been found.

Varahakshetra
This is another important temple site located at the confluence of the Koka and Koshi rivers. The site is known to belong to the period of later Guptas, who had issued a copper grant for the two Varaha images found there. There are also many miniature Gupta period temple replicas, which suggest that many such temples and idols were made during the sixth and seventh centuries A.D.

Narsingha Tappu
Some years ago, while cultivating at Narasingha Tappu, close to the present town of Itahari, an idol of Vishnu was discovered the image belongs to the fifth or sixth century A.D and is of the Gupta tradition. It is now kept inside a local Shiva temple. The site, according to local people, also contains pottery items, indicating that it belonged to the ancient Gupta dynasty (fourth-fifth century A.D)

Janakpur
At Ram - Janaki temple complex near Jankpur there is an important image depicting Uma lying on a bed and feeding a baby. Ganesh and Kumar are also depicted in the panel while on the top of the scene is a Shiva Linga. The piece dates back to twelfth or thirteenth century A.D and Belongs To the Karnatakas of simaraongad.

Simaraongad
This was an old capital city of the Karnastakas of Mithila and was built by King Nanyadeva in A.D 1097-90. The ruins of the city extend over an area of 16 Kilometers which is still surrounded by a high wall of Kiln-burnt bricks. There are more than one hundred images and sculptures scattered throughout the area. Most are made of black schist stone and are nicely polished; a few are made of sandstone. The images at the site are of Vishnu, Narayan, Laxmi Narayan, Shankersana, Garudopari Vishnu, Uma-Maheshwara, Durga, Shiva and Surya. In different parts of Simaraongad, there are remains of temples and gateways of the old city.

Other sites bearing Karnataka images and sculptures are Kanchanpur (Near Rajbiraj), Murtiya ( West of Janakpur) and Valmiki Nagar (near the Gandaki barrage), as well as several other places between the Gandaki and Sapta Koshi rivers.

 
 

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