1,000-year-old Shivling, Nandi among Kushan period sculptures unearthed in Karnal
The chance discovery of sculptures of Lord Shiva and Nandi and other artifacts dating back to the Kushan period that were unearthed in Faridapur village could give new insights into the history of the region, said heritage experts on Wednesday. The sculptures were discovered by miners while digging sand on the banks of Yamuna river in Karnal’s Faridapur village on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday.
“We will call it a chance discovery since the materials were found 25-30 feet below the surface level and the area is covered with only sand. The process of extracting the remains will also be risky,” said Banani Bhattacharyya, deputy director, Department of Archaeology and Museums.
Expected to be thousands of years old, the sculptures, besides two stone pillars and some bricks, could give new insights about the Kushan period, she said. “We will first trace out the spread of the area where the idols were discovered since many evidences of artifacts dating back from the Kushan period to the Bhoj period have been found, almost from 1st century AD to 10th century AD, which means 1,000 years of history,” said Bhattacharyya.
She said that officials from the department had visited the site on Tuesday and taken an undertaking from locals, who had taken possession of the discovered materials.
Locals had installed the sculptures of Shiv and Nandi at a place in the village and have been worshipping them. Hundreds of devotees from nearby villages have been coming here to see the sculptures, which were spotted by mining contractors about 30 feet below the ground level.
“Locals have placed the shivling and the nandi sculpture in a temple. If we try and take the idols at this point, a law and order problem might arise. The sub-divisional magistrate had deputed a block development and panchayat officer at the site and we have taken an undertaking from the people that if any of the sculptures is removed or changed in any way, action will be taken against everyone,” Bhattacharyya said.
She added that the department had written a letter to the deputy commissioner asking him to stop mining in the area. The department will be conducting site surveys, which would be followed by scientific clearances.
More sculptures at site?
Shubham Malik from the department of archaeology and museums, who inspected the site on Tuesday, said the possibility of discovering more such sculptures cannot be ruled out. “The size of the sculptures and bricks indicate that these are about 1,000 to 2,000 years old and belong to the Kushan period, but the details can be verified only after inspection,” said Malik.
Gharaunda sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Gaurav Kumar confirmed that a team of officials from the archaeological department of Haryana visited the spot to inspect the sculptures.
“They say the sculptures are about 1,000 to 2,000 years old but they have not given anything in written yet and will visit again,” he added. Officials from the department are expected to visit the site next week for area mapping.
(With inputs from Karnal)