Mauryan Period: Ancient History of Rajasthan: Rajasthan, state of northwestern India, located in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. It is bounded to the north and northeast by the states of Punjab and Haryana, to the east and southeast by the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, to the southwest by the state of Gujarat, and to the west and northwest by the provinces of Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan.
The capital city is Jaipur, in the east-central part of the state. Rajasthan has deep historical roots with sites of ancient Indus Valley Civilization (Kalibangan), Vedic Civilization being located in the state.
During medieval times, the province reached its glory being witness to many decisive wars and tales of bravery and sacrifice available from every corner of the state. Prithvi Raj Chouhan, Maharana Pratap from the place are not just local heroes but heroes revered in every part of India and famous world-wide. Rajasthan is the largest state by area in India. It is located on the western side of the country, located between 23 30’ and 30 11’ North latitude and 69 29’ and 78 17’ East longitude.
It shares international border with Pakistan and with 5 other states of India including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The Aravalli (Aravali) Range forms a line across the state running roughly from Guru Peak on Mount Abu (5,650 feet [1,722 meters]), near the town of Abu in the southwest, to the town of Khetri in the northeast. About three-fifths of the state lies northwest of that line, leaving the remaining two-fifths in the southeast. Those are the two natural divisions of Rajasthan.
The northwestern tract is generally arid and unproductive, although its character shifts gradually from desert in the far west and northwest to comparatively fertile and habitable land toward the east. The region includes the Thar (Great Indian) Desert.
The modern state was formed on 30 March 1949 when Rajputana was merged into the Dominion of India. Its capital and largest city is Jaipur, which is also known as Pink City. Other important cities are Jodhpur, Kota, Udaipur, Bikaner and Ajmer.
Geographically, the state is dominated by stretches of Thar Desert and the Aravalli Range. While, the Thar Desert occupies the most of the northwestern portion of state, the Aravalli’s serve as climate divide running from southwest to northeast, almost from one end to the other restricting the growth and dominance of desert.
It is is also home to three national tiger reserves, the Ranthambore National Park in Sawai Madhopur, Mukundra Hill Tiger Reserve in Kota and Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar.
The southeastern area lies at a somewhat higher elevation (330 to 1,150 feet [100 to 350 meters]) than its northwestern counterpart; it also is more fertile and has a more-diverse topography. The hilly tract of Mewar lies in the southern region, while a broad plateau stretches across the southeast. In the northeast a rugged badlands region follows the line of the Chambal River. Farther north, the landscape levels out into flat plains that are part of the alluvial basin of the Yamuna River.
The Aravallis form Rajasthan’s most-important watershed. To the east of the range, the Chambal River—the only large and perennial stream in the state—and other waterways generally drain toward the northeast. The principal tributary of the Chambal, the Banas River, rises in the Aravallis near the great Kumbhalgarh hill fort and collects all the drainage of the Mewar plateau. Farther north, the Banganga, after rising near Jaipur, flows east toward the Yamuna before disappearing. The Luni is the only significant river west of the Aravallis.
It rises near the city of Ajmer in central Rajasthan and flows some 200 miles (320 km) west-southwest into the Rann of Kachchh in Gujarat state. Northeast of the Luni basin is an area of internal drainage characterized by salt lakes, the largest of which is Sambhar Salt Lake. Farther to the west lies the true Marusthali (“Land of the Dead”), the barren wastelands and areas of sand dunes that form the heart of the Thar Desert.
Hindi is the official language of the state, and to some degree it has overshadowed the local languages of Rajasthan. Much of the state’s population, however, continues to speak Rajasthani languages, which comprise a group of Indo-Aryan languages and dialects derived from Dingal, a tongue in which bards once sang of the glories of their masters. The four main Rajasthani language groups are Marwari in western Rajasthan, Jaipuri or Dhundhari in the east and southeast, Malvi in the southeast, and in the northeast Mewati, which shades off into Braj Bhasa (a Hindi dialect) toward the border with Uttar Pradesh.
Mauryan Period – Rajasthan
The Mauryan Empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, 2,000 years back when he overthrew the Nanda King. His assistant was Chanakya, a shrewd advisor and strategic thinker. He has written a book called Arthashastra that comprises his thoughts on politics, economics, foreign affairs, administration, military arts, war and religion.
Chandragupta was succeeded by Bindusara, his son who extended the Mauryan Empire till Mysore. Bindusara was succeeded by his son Ashoka, who is regarded as the greatest ruler of the empire by many historians. He extended the Mauryan Empire till the modern-day Afghanistan, with Patliputra as capital.
The Mauryan Emperors appointed the family members to control the large empire. Only the capital Patliputra was controlled by the emperor while states like Ujjain and Taxila were governed by royal princes. The Emperors also appointed officials for collecting taxes, maintaining law and order and keeping a check on the activities of the subjects.
- Bairat (Viratnagar)
Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni, Director of Archaeology and Historical Research of former Jaipur state, conducted excavations at Bairat sometime in the thirties of the last century. we know that the so called Bhabru Rock Edict found by Captain Burt in 1840 must have come from Bijak ki Pahari because this place alone has provided evidence of Mauryan period and also another Ashokan edict. This edict is the only known edict of Ashoka, which is inscribed on a stone slab (Shila phalaka) as distinguished from stone pillar (Shila Stambha) or rock. It also provides definite proofs of Ashoka’s faith in Buddhist religion and his consequent exhortation to monks and nuns and to laymen and laywomen to listen to and to study seven select passage from the Buddhist scriptures.
The principle monuments brought to light are numerous remnants of two Ashoka pillars, a temple of an entirely new type and a monastery both of which latter monuments must have been erected by Ashoka himself. It was capital of Matsya Mahajanapada.
- It was a part of Mauryan Empire.
- In 1837, Ashoka’s Rock Edict was discovered by Capt. Burj from Bijak-ki-Pahadi.
- Evidence of the Buddhist stupa sites was found here.
- In 634 A.D Huang Tsang visited Bairat.
- Sculptures, coins, pottery, seals and metal objects were found from the excavation.
- It was excavated by Daya Ram Sahni in 1936.
- According to Maan Sarovar inscription of 713 A.D., Maan Maurya was the ruler of Bairat. This inscription also mentions the name of 4 rulers. Maheshwar, Bhoj, Bhim and Maan.
Post Mauryan Period
Post-Mauryan coinage refers to the period of coinage production in India, following the breakup of the Maurya Empire. The centralized Mauryan power ended during a Coup d’état in 185 BCE leading to the foundation of the Shunga Empire. King Ashoka ruled for 50 years and after the war of Kalinga, he led the path of peace and Buddhism. Since the successor of king Ashoka wasn’t capable of ruling the kingdom.
- Greek ruler Menander attacked Rajasthan in 150 B.C.
- 16 Greek coins were found from Bairat.
- Coins were found from the Rang Mahal of Hanumangarh belonging to kushan period.
- The first Saka king in India was Maues who ruled in Gandhar and extended his power in northwest India.