‘Archaeological Heritage of Rohtak’

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The concept of bathroom, washbasin, kitchen and courtyard was first introduced by the Harappans in the region around 4500 years ago. Such remains prove that the people in Haryana, knew the concept of town planning 4500 years ago.

Vivek Dangi, Ass. Professor, Jat College, Rohtak

Archaeology is one of the very important tools to understand the evolution of human civilization. It deals with the study of ancient cultures through the examination of their physical remains recovered during excavations and exploration.

Farmana site: Indus Project: Courtesy.

The region is very rich in archaeological heritage as it is attested by discovery of 220 archaeological sites in the district of various cultural periods viz. Ghaggar-Hakra (5000-3000 B.C.), Early Harappan (3000-2500 B.C.), Mature Harappan (2500-1900 B.C. ), Late Harappan (1900-1600 BC), Painted Grey Ware (1200-600 B.C. ), Historical (600 B. C. to 1200 A.D.) and Medieval (1200 to 1700 AD).

Out of which six sites viz. Khokhrakot, Farmana, Girawad, Madina, Meham (near village Ganganagar) and Asthal Bohar Majra were excavated by various agencies. But most of the peoples are not aware of its own heritage and archaeological wealth of the region which is being destroyed for the sake of development. Present article aims to aware common peoples about the archaeological heritage of the region

The land of Rohtak is very fertile and it attracted humans to settle down around 7000 years ago (5000 B.C.).

Archaeologically the antiquity of the Rohtak region can be traced back to the proto-historic period as is attested by the discovery of archaeological sites of this period.

Indo-Greek coins from Khokhrakot. Vivek Dangi: Courtesy

Studies have revealed that the earliest inhabitant of this region belongs to pre-Harappan culture or Ghaggar-Hakra Ware Culture whose remains have been discovered at eight sites, of these Girawad is the only excavated site, excavations here were jointly conducted by Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, Deccan College, Pune and Research Institute for Humanities and Nature, Kyoto, Japan in 2007-08.

The digging has revealed that the earliest settler lives in the dwelling pits which were covered with the help of wattle and daub. These first settlers had an agro-pastoral economy. Some ‘V’ shaped copper arrowheads, fish hooks recovered during excavations indicate that hunting and fishing played a part in their economic activities.

Second phase in the history of the region is represented by the people of the Early Harappan period. In the district around twenty sites have yielded remains of this period but so far no site has been extensively excavated to throw light on various aspects of this culture. People of the Early Harappan culture (3000-2500 B.C.) made technological development leads towards the first urbanization in the Indian subcontinent.

Next phase of the history in the region is marked by Harappan Civilization or Indus-Saraswati Civilization (2500 -1900 B.C.). Many sites have yielded the remains of this civilization in the Rohtak district.

Farmana Site excavation: Indus Project: Courtesy.

Farmana site was excavated on large scale and excavations have revealed that these people were versatile in town planning and fortified townships on classical “chess-board pattern” whose striking features were streets, defence walls and sanitary arrangements.

The concept of bathroom, washbasin, kitchen and courtyard was first introduced by the Harappans in the region around 4500 years ago. Such remains prove that the people in Haryana, knew the concept of town planning 4500 years ago.

Harappans use well-fired pottery and the food includes wheat, barley, mustard, meat, fish, milk and milk products. Remains of the world’s oldest known curry have also been recovered from Farmana. Using the starch molecules analysis paleo- botanist recovered with traces of baingan, haldi and adrak from a cooking pot.

Their seals are an indication of expert craftsmanship and the trade links with the contemporary western civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Their cubical and gamesman-type weight made of stone and ivory show a high degree of precision.

Their skill in metallurgy is evident from a number of excavated materials. Socio-political and economic instability coupled with climate change leads this civilization towards decline around 1900 BC. Cities like Farmana were deserted.

Settlement of Farmana: Picture Courtesy: Indus Project.

Around 80 sites of Late Harappan culture are known in the district. All the striking features like town planning, long distance trade, cities and towns declined and people lived a simple rural life during this period.

Earlier it was believed that there was a 500 years gap in the history, as Harappan Civilization was totally vanished till 1700-1600 BC and Painted Grey Ware culture begins around 1200 B. C.

But excavations at Madina have filled this gap as both the cultures were found overlapped or exist side by side at the site. Painted Grey Ware culture, which flourished in north India during 1200-600 BC has its own significance. Meham (site lies in the jurisdiction of Meham but located near village Ganganagar)is another site on this time period which was excavated and gives an idea about the cultural history of this period.

Stupa Panel: Vivek Dangi: Picture Courtesy

Iron technology was first introduced in the region during this period. In Rohtak district there are 58 sites so far that have been reported by various archaeologists which belong to Painted Grey Ware. This culture is usually associated with the Vedic peoples.

In the later Vedic period, the region under discussion was a part of the Kuru kingdom (Mahajanapada). The use of iron and domestication of horses gave a key to expansion and prosperity of the kingdom and made them the paramount power. The city of Rohtak (as Rohitaka) and Meham (as Mahittna) are referred to in ancient literature at several places. There are ancient mounds within the cities and by the size of the sites one can easily identify these as urban centers.

After the age of Mahajanapadas, the region was a part of the Mauryan empire. This is attested by the discovery of archaeological artifacts of this period. After the decline of the Mauryan empire, the region of Haryana came under the Yaudheyas. The discovery of a large number of Yaudheyas copper coins and coin moulds from Khokrakot proves that during the first century B.C. this region was a part of the Yaudheyas republic and it was their capital and mint site.

In the end of the first century BCE, this region fell into the hands of the Indo-Greeks as evidenced by the discovery of the coins of fourteen rulers and coin moulds of the Indo-Greeks from Khokrakot.

Towards the first century A.D. the Kushanas ruled over the vast area of north India. Kushana coins have been recovered from Khokhrakot, Madina and Kharkhra. Coins of Kushana gold coin moulds have also been recovered from Khokhrakot. Two big stone danpatras having inscriptions have been recovered from Khokhrakot indicates that during the time of Kushana ruler Kanishka there was a Buddhist monastery at Khokhrakot and it received donation from Kanishka.

The Kushanas were succeeded by the Yaudheyas. The powerful Yaudheyas were defeated by Samudragupta towards the middle of the fourth century A.D. Some Gupta gold coin moulds have been recovered from Khokhrakot and now housed in the Archaeological Museum, Department of History, M. D. University, Rohtak.

A stunning sculpture of Vishnu wearing Ekavali and riding on Garuda with outstretched wings was found from Khokhrakot. A beautiful Shiva linga of Gupta period was found from village Kiloi and presently it is worshiped in the Shiva temple of the village.

During the excavations at Khokhrakot, just above the Kushana deposits, remains and debris of a Gupta bricks temple were found. Some complete carved panels depicting animals (bull), makara, long beaked bird, peacock etc. were found along with a beautiful figurine of gana.

A number of broken panels and thousands of bricks, brick bats, terracotta cones and other building material were also found. These are now housed in the Archeological museum of M.D. University, Rohtak. These fragmentary remains indicate excellent craftsmanship and the intricate on bricks terracotta panels.

Destroyed site of Asthal Bohar. Vivek Dangi: Courtesy.

If this temple could have remained intact it must have been splendor of the terracotta sculptors of ancient times. A small temple of the post Gupta period was located in the monastery of Baba Mast Nath but in the recent past it has been demolished.

After the Gupta empire, about in the first half of the seventh century A.D., the region was under the control of Harsa Vardhana. After the decline of Vardhanas, the Pratiharas ruled over the region. A coin minting place of the Mihira Bhoja, a Pratiharas ruler, was recovered from village Asthal Bohar Majra.
Most of the coin moulds recovered from the site belong to Adivaraha type coins of Mihira Bhoja (836-872 A.D.). During the Pratiharas Rohtak was a religious centre of Hinduism and Jainism as it is evident from the large number of sculptures.

A beautiful Buddha head of Pratiharas period was found from village Sanghi indicates Buddhism was still surviving in the region. After, the Pratiharas Rohtak came under the rule of Tomaras and Chahamans. Chahamans were defeated by foreign invader Muhammad Gauri and Delhi Sultanate was established.

Palam Baoli: ASI: Courtesy

A Sanskrit inscription known as Palam Baoli inscription of Ghiyas ud din Balbans time was found from village Asthal Bohar in 1874. This inscription has its own importance as it refers to the name of a region Haritanaka (Haryana).

Thus we can say that the Rohtak is very rich in archaeological heritage and hundreds of archaeological sites are located here. These archaeological findings contributed a lot in rewriting the history of the region.

But most of the sites are now turned into agriculture fields or removed for other development purposes. Situation is so grim that it is difficult to find a single intact site for excavations. People must know the importance of our heritage.

Government and public should take necessary action to preserve it for our coming generations.

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6 thoughts on “‘Archaeological Heritage of Rohtak’

  1. Beautiful article taking the reader on a historical tour of Haryana in general and Rohtak in particular.

  2. Great Article . Provides a great perspective on Archaeological Heritage of Rohtak. As usual i always found your article very informative .

  3. This is an influential explanation for saving the things of history from being destroyed.
    But I have a question, what kind of weapons did they use when their fight was with animals or they rebelled against each other?
    Did they use killers made of stone?
    (About 4500 year ago)
    Did they also know about Acid and bases.

    1. Dear Sandesh, thank you for so nice comment.
      During the Harappan era they have copper tools, probably used for hunting but same tool can be used for warfare also. They ware also using stone tools also. So far acid and bases are concerned they might be having basic knowledge as contemporary Egypt civilization was having the same knowledge in details and Harappans have trading relations with Egypt. You can get enough reading material over internet. It’s difficult to explore here.

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