NEW DELHI: Explorations conducted by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) in the last nine years have resulted in discovery of major haul of remains of significant antiquities including ruins of temples and mosques, burials and inscription including fossils and inscriptions dating to Chola, Panday, and Pallava dynasties. The explorations were carried out at over 3,100 sites in 20 states. The exercise was undertaken as part of a ‘village to village’ survey initiated to search and document the archeological remains.
According to the culture ministry, maximum sites were explored under Raipur Circle and Shimla Circle in Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh.
The states and union territories (UTs) are divided in 34 circles and three sub-circles (sub-offices) for administrative purposes.
Under Raipur circle, 679 sites were surveyed. Sculptures, Shivlinga, microliths-- small stone tool usually made of flint or chert, Sati Pillars, ancient gateway along with fragmented statuettes of Hindu deities, mud fortification, and Megalithic menhirs –stone arrangement used at burial sites are among several significant findings.
In Shimla circle, exploration was undertaken at 670 sites where the agency located sculpture and remains of temples and mosques. The epigraphy branch at Mysuru found inscriptions at 23 sites belonging to dynasties originating from southern India such as Kongu-Chola, Chola, Pandya, and Pallava.
Chennai Circle discovered a natural cave with paintings, Tamil inscription, temple, cist burials, and cairn circles, where prehistoric stone were used to construct a structure during archaeological investigation at 358 sites. Tombs, rock cut caves and coins were found by the Jaipur circle team, which did exploration at 327 locations.
The scheme of village to village survey was revived in April 2014. The data collected through the survey is maintained by the respective circle offices as well as the Director General’s Office in the national capital.
The ASI publishes the early historical inscriptions, numismatics and other important archeological discoveries annually in departmental publications.
During the exercise conducted under Bengaluru Circle, inscribed stones or pillars, memorial stones, inscribed burials and pillared mandapa were recorded as 323 heritage sites were explored.
In Jabalpur, Nagpur, and Trichy Circles, exploration at only one site each was carried out. In Jabalpur, temple remains, rock cut caves, stupas and coins were important findings and in Nagpur, a Megalithic stone circle was found while rock painting was found in Trichy.