Bhopal: Naogaon and the West Asia connection

BHOPAL: The remains of a 1,300-year-old civilization that burgeoned in the womb of Naogaon, a small village in Singrauli district have brought to fore the West Asia connection. A brick excavated at the site by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) woke up this sleepy village surrounded by lovely deep woods and a chain of hillocks to links which it might have had with West Asia in the days of yore.

Superintending archeologist in ASI Madhulika Samanta told Free Press that an icon clad in West Asian attire with a skull cap on its head is engraved on the brick which was found near the Garbhgrih (sanctum sanctorum) of a Vishnu temple of 700 AD and belongs to the Kalchuri era. The brick was installed in the ardhmandaop of the temple, she added. The engraving indicates that the village as well as the Indian temple had a close association with West Asia at the time, the official said.

The excavation has also unearthed an idol of lord Vishnu from the garbhgrih of the same temple. The idol has some unique features – the deity holds Beejapuraka in one hand and is beating drum with another, unlike traditional deities. The drum is tied to its waist. In the other two hands the deity holds the traditional instruments. Two other archeological sites have also been found in the area. Around 800 meters from the same spot, some caves have also been found having inscriptions of 7th century AD.

Similarly, some 400 meters away from the temple two buried houses were also found by the team and what further surprised them was inscriptions in Brahmi on a brick. The team has so far managed to say about ‘RaLa’ writen in Brahmi and the ASI is yet to decipher what it actually means.

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