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Indian Heritage & Culture

Earliest Sanskrit Inscriptions in South India found in A.P.

  • 27 Dec 2019
  • 3 min read

Why in News

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered the earliest Sanskrit inscription in South India which is also an earliest epigraphic evidence (Epigraphy is the study of ancient inscriptions) for the Saptamatrika cult.

  • Saptamatrikas are a group of seven female deities worshipped in Hinduism as personifying the energy of their respective consorts.
  • Another inscription in Prakrit language and of Brahmi characters belonging to the 1st century A.D. was also found.

Key Points

  • Inscriptions related to Saptamatrika: The found inscription records the construction of a Prasada (temple), a mandapa and consecration of images by a person named Kartika at the temple of Goddess Saptamatrika at Tambrape.
  • Location: Tambrape is the ancient name of Chebrolou, Andhra Pradesh.
  • Earlier References to Saptamatrika: Earlier references to Saptamatrika worship have been found in the early Kadamba copper plates and the early Chalukyas and Eastern Chalukya copper plates dated around 600 A.D.
  • Language and Characters: All the available records proved that the found inscription (also known as Chebrolu inscription) is in Sanskrit and in Brahmi characters.
  • Issued by: Satavahana king Vijaya in 207 A.D.
    • So far the Nagarjunakonda inscription of Ikshavaku king Ehavala Chantamula issued in the 4th century A.D. was considered the earliest Sanskrit inscription in South India.

Satavahanas

  • In the Deccan, the Satavahanas established their independent rule after the decline of the Mauryas. Their rule lasted for about 450 years.
  • They were also known as the Andhras.
  • The Puranas and the Nasik and Nanaghad inscriptions remain important sources for the history of Satavahanas.
  • The founder of the Satavahana dynasty was Simuka. The greatest ruler of the Satavahana dynasty was Gautamiputra Satakarni.
  • There was remarkable progress in the fields of trade and industry during the Satavahana rule. The greatest port of the Satavahanas was Kalyani on the western Deccan and Gandakasela, Ganjam on the east coast were the other important seaports.
  • The Satavahanas patronized Buddhism and Brahmanism. Brahmanism was revived by the Satavahanas along with the performance of asvamedha and rajasuya sacrifices.
  • They also patronized the Prakrit language and literature.

Source: TH

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