Preliminary work on shifting Tipu’s Armoury begins

Preliminary work on shifting the 18th century armoury belonging to Tipu Sultan’s period at Srirangapatna has begun. The project will cost about Rs. 13.66 crore.

Why is it being shifted?

  • The 900-tonne historical armoury, made of lime mortar and bricks, has been hampering the work on track-doubling between Bengaluru and Mysuru, as it bisects the alignment of the second track.
  • The track doubling was necessitated by increase in number of commuters between the two cities. As many as 19 trains, including 13 expresses, run between the two cities every day .

The monument will be shifted to a new site with technical support from the National Design and Research Forum, and the consent/supervision of the Archaeological Survey of India and the National Monuments Authority. The Department of State Archaeology, Heritage and Museums had identified a new place about 100 metres away from the existing location for the monument.

Sources: The Hindu, BS.

Statuettes open a window to ancient Peru

Researchers in Peru have discovered a trio of statuettes they believe were created by the ancient Caral civilisation some 3,800 years ago.

Details:

  • The mud statuettes were found inside a reed basket in a building in the ancient city of Vichama in northern Peru. Researchers say they were probably used in religious rituals performed before breaking ground on a new building.
  • Two of the figures, a naked man and woman painted in white, black and red, are believed to represent political authorities.
  • The third, a woman with 28 fingers and red dots on her white face, is believed to represent a priestess.
  • The research team also unearthed two mud figurines of women’s faces wrapped in cloth.

Caral is one of the most ancient cities of the Americas, and a well-studied site of the Caral or Norte Chico civilization. It was a large settlement in the Supe Valley, near Supe, Barranca province, Peru, some 200 km north of Lima. It was inhabited between roughly 2600 BCE and 2000 BCE.

Peru lies on the Pacific coast of South America just south of the Equator.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

Chennai temple yields more history

An inscription of the Chola emperor Rajendra I was recently discovered at the famous Sri Parthasarathy Swamy temple at Triplicane, Tamil Nadu.

  • The inscription offers a “prasasthi”, or eulogy, of Rajendra I, speaking of the fame of the emperor, who ruled between AD 1012 and 1044, and his conquests of many lands including in Vanavasi (Banavasi) and the present-day Kalaburgi region, both in Karnataka, and so on.
  • A mural depicting the Kurukshetra war, a row of horse-drawn chariots and fiercely moustachioed charioteers, all battle-ready, was also discovered. The mural runs to many metres, but had been inexplicably covered with plaster.
  • These findings came to light while conservation work was taken up ahead of the Maha Samprokshanam at the temple.

About Parthasarathy Swamy temple:

It is an 8th-century Hindu Vaishnavite temple dedicated to the god Krishna, located at Triplicane, Chennai, India. It was originally built by the Pallavas in the 8th century by king Narasimhavarman I.

  • The temple has five of the incarnations or avatars of Vishnu: Narasimhar, Ramar, Varadaraja, Ranganathar and Krishna.
  • The temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil literature canon of the Alvar saints from the 6th–9th centuries CE and is classified as among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Vishnu.
  • The name ‘Parthasarathy’, in Sanskrit, means the ‘charioteer of Arjuna’, referring to Krishna’s role as a charioteer to Arjuna in the epic Mahabaratha.
  • The temple is replete with inscriptions of the Pallavas, the Cholas, the Pandyas and the Vijayanagara kings.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, sriparthasarathytemple.tnhrce.in.

Exhibition takes a journey to the roots of Jamini Roy’s art

Jamini Roy, the eminent Bengali artist, counted among the early modernists of twentieth century Indian art, is being featured in a new exhibition in Mumbai at the National Gallery of Modern Art.

  • Titled ‘Jamini Roy (1887 – 1972): Journey to the Roots’, the exhibition is curated by art historian and comprises 200 artworks that chart the development of the artist’s unique aesthetic and visual language.

About Jamini Roy:

  • He was born in 1887 in Beliatore village in Bankura, West Bengal.
  • He was among the significant Indian artists to forge a visual style that was both modern in its sensibilities and resolutely Indian.

  • He was trained in European naturalism.
  • Roy adopted the simplification of the forms, the bold, flat colours and the medium, material and themes of local folk paintings.
  • He discarded expensive canvas and oil paint and opted for the more inexpensive material and medium of the folk artist.
  • He rendered images from Ramayana and Krishna Lila. He painted ordinary men and women from the village, reinventing popular images from the patua’s repertoire.
  • Jamini Roy restricted his palette to seven colours- Indian red, yellow ochre, cadmium green, vermillion, grey, blue and white. These were mostly earthy or mineral colours.

  • The Santhals, tribal people who live in the rural districts of Bengal, were an important subject for Roy.
  • A series of works done a decade before World War II is a prime example of how he captured the qualities that are a part of native folk painting and combined them with those of his own.
  • He fused the minimal brush strokes of the Kalighat style with elements of tribal art from Bengal (like that of the terracotta work found in the Bishnupur temple, where terracotta was often composed into elaborate, decorative units over portals and across exterior walls of the temples).

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, ngmaindia.gov.in.

Cultivation of paddy, sugarcane threat to Hampi monuments

UNESCO, in its “State of Conservation” report on the World Heritage Site, has said that cultivation of paddy and sugarcane pose a threat to the conservation of the historical Hampi group of monuments.

  • UNESCO has flagged irrigation for water-intensive agriculture, traffic close to the site and seasonal flooding of the Tungabhadra as challenges.

How cultivation of these crops affect the site?

The threat of agriculture is water-logging that weakens the foundation of minor monuments situated on farm land. There have been incidents of monuments sinking or damage caused due to dampness and wetness.

Hampi:

  • Hampi is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India located near Hospet town in the Karnataka state.
  • It is located within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire.
  • The emperor Ashoka’s minor rock edicts in Nittur & Udegolan (both in Bellary district, Karnataka) lead one to believe that this region was within the Ashokan kingdom during the 3rd century BCE.
  • A Brahmi inscription & a terracotta seal dating to the 2nd century CE were also discovered from the excavation site.
  • The first historical settlements in Hampi date back to 1 CE.
  • It is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River.
  • Hampi has various notable Hindu temples with some vedanta mythology inside the temples, some of which are still active places of worship.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

The puzzle of Pattanam’s tubular jars

Excavation being conducted by the Kerala Council of Historical Research (KCHR) at Pattanam, 25 km from Kochi, has continued.

Recent findings:

  • During the ninth season of excavation this year, a row of eight tubular jars without bottom portions was found. The potter had deliberately left them open at both ends.
  • Altogether, 12 such tubular jars were found, eight in a vertical position, three that have fallen down and one with the portion broken.
  • The jars are 40-cm tall, and the diameter of their rim is about 13 cm. They were found in the 61st trench, the latest to be excavated.
  • The neck and rim of these jars resembled the torpedo jars found in the Mesopotamian and south Arabian regions with which Pattanam, or the ancient Muciri Pattinam, had trade links. But unlike the torpedo jars, the bottom of all these jars is open.
  • Researchers estimated that these jars, stratigraphically, belonged to the Early Historic period (fourth century CE) when the Indian Ocean transformed into a trade lake with links to the Red Sea and the Mediterranean littoral.
  • On the context in which these jars were found, scientists say the initial guess was that they were meant for rituals or storage. But it could not be proved. There was intense burning activity around the place where they were found.

Pattanam:

Pattanam is a village located in the Periyar delta in Eranakulam district in the southern Indian state of Kerala. It is located 2 km north of North Paravur, 9 km south of Kodungallur (Cranganore) and 25 km north of Kochi (Cochin). A branch of the Periyar river, called the Periyar Thodu (Periyar canal), runs close to Pattanam.

  • Pattanam is identified as the legendary port Muziris mentioned in the Greeco-Roman classical sources.
  • Many poems in the Tamil Sangam literature (third century BCE to third century CE) celebrate it as Muciri. The poet Tayankannanar describes the port on the banks of the Culliyam Periyar thus: “In Cheran’s prosperous Muciri town, the huge and beautiful Culli river flows, muddied with white foam. The Yavanas come with their fine ships, bearing gold, and leave with pepper.”

Archaeological investigations conducted recently have also unearthed a Chera coin, Amphora and semi-finished beads from the area. Foundation of a brick structure possibly used by artisans as their workshop is also found there. Oxford archaeologists have confirmed that Pattanam was an Indian port frequented by Romans and have put to rest doubts about the antiquity of the site.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

Kannagi temple renovation possible, says archaeologist

Department of Archaeology, Kerala, has said that Mangala Devi Kannagi Temple can be renovated but a sketch or portrait of the original temple is required to restore it to its original shape.

The Mangala Devi Kannagi temple is located on the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

  • The temple was constructed 1,800 years ago and the structure was now in a dilapidated condition.
  • The only evidence for the temple available in Tamil literature is in Silappathikaram.

  • Since the temple is within the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR), prior permission from the Supreme Court, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and National Board for Wild Life is essential before undertaking renovation work.

About Kannagi:

kannagi ancient siteKannagi is a legendary Tamil woman who forms the central character of the Tamil epic Silapathikaram (100-300 CE).

  • The story relates how Kannagi took revenge on Pandyan King of Madurai, for a mistaken death penalty imposed on her husband Kovalan, by cursing the city.
  • One of Stree Shakti Puraskar (Women Power Award) awards is named after her.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.