This book is a report on excavation conducted at Rajim in 2012-14. The site revealed cultural periods from Pre-Mauryan to Kalchuri. Structural remains and antiquities belonging to Pre-Mauryan, Mauryan, Satvahana, Sarabhapuriya, Panduvamsi and Kalchuri periods were recovered. The dig proved that Rajim was apart from being an important religious centre, a well developed trade centre as a rock-cut port has been located at Sirkatli, on river Pairi. The site was devastated six times by the floods of Mahanadi which takes a turn to north-east at Rajim. The site in still flourishing even after 2500 years as an important religious centre of Chhattisgarh.
A. K. Sharma is worldwide known for his inventive contributions in the field of Archaeology. During his 33 years of active career in ASI, he explored and excavated in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttaranchal, North-East India, Madhya Pradesh, Lakshadweep, Maharashtra, Gujrat, Rajasthan, Goa, Haryana, Chbattisgarh and other remote areas. After retirement from ASI he was appointed as OSD in IGNCA to excavate Jhiri with French team. His all excavation reports (22 Books) have been published. He has edited Purasatana, Puraprakash, Purajagat and is editor of Puramanthan, yearly magazine on recent advances in Archaeology. He has established Archaeological Museums at Mansar and Maa Anandmayee smriti Museum at Kankhal (Haridwar). At present he is advisor to the Government of Chhattisgarh and Member of Standing Committee of Central Advisory Board of Archaeology. He is directing excavations at Rajim in Chhattisgarh.
Prabhat Kumar Singh is posted in Directorate, Culture and Archaeology of Chhattisgarh Government and participated in several Archaeological Excavations, Scientific-clearance and Surveys in different parts of the state. He worked in Sirpur excavations for five years. He Directed the Excavation at Madku-Dweep in 2010-11 and report has published by the Directorate. He is the co-author of the books 'Buddhist Bronzes from Sirpur' and 'Secular Monuments of Sirpur' and author of many research articles. Presently he is working in Rajim excavations since 2012.
Praveen Tirkey is employed as Excavation Assistant in Directorate, Culture and Archaeology of Cbhattisgarh Government and worked in Sirpur and Rajim excavations. He also participated in scientific clearance and surveys conducted by the department. He is the co-author of the book 'Secular Monuments of Sirpur' and has published many articles.
Excavations at Rajim was conducted by the author from 2012 for three seasons on behalf Department of Culture and Archaeology, Govt. of Chhattisgarh, after getting license from the Director General, Archaeological Survey of India.
Rajim an ancient site was a sprawling township at the junction of Mahanadi, Pain and Sondhur rivers. In ancient times the site was selected talking into consideration the director of river in which Mahanadi flows after Pain joins it. As per Vastusastra, for location of a capital or a prominent religious spot it has to be at a place where the river flows in the north-east direction and this is so at Rajim where Mahanadi starts flowing at an angle of 22° north-east. This is so for most of the religious spots like Prayagraj, Ayodhya, Varanasi, Ujjain, Sirpur, etc.
I am thankful to my colleagues S/Shri Prabhat Kumar Singh, Praveen Tirki, Pradeep Sahoo and Lale Singh Netam for actively participating in the excavations and report writing.
I am also grateful to Shri Rakesh Chaturvedi, Commissioner, Culture and Archaeology, Government of Chhattisgarh and other officers and staff of the department in giving full cooperation in various matters due to which the excavation could be conducted smoothly.
Chhattisgarh is archaeologically so rich that a continuous and concerted effort is required to unearth the glorious past so that history could be set right. This has been amply proved by results of excavations conducted at Sirpur, Rajim, Madku Dweep etc. after the formation of Chhattisgarh state.
The department has talent. The only need is to channelize it and put them in right path. They will deliver the results.
At Rajim we excavated in a centrally protected area locally known as Sita bari meaning `Garden of Sita'. It is located on the right bank of Mahanadi, in fact on the right bank of Pairi at the point where it meets Mahanadi and just to the east of Kuleshwar Mahadeo temple and on the south-west corner of Rajiv Lochan temple. The area roughly measures 400x400 m. On the north-east corner of the fenced area there is a pond like depression from where people still carry earth with the belief that it cures skin diseases particularly leprosy. On chemical examination of the soil I found that the soil contains good proportion of sulphur, so it could be presumed that there might have been a sulphur spring at this spot which in course of time got filled up due to dumping of garbage by the people. We intend to excavated the area and regenerate the spring.
As the protected area lies on the bank of river and as the surface indications indicate, this was the area of earlier temples and residences of people connected with its functioning. After excavation our presumptions came out to be correct.
During our survey of the area to the south of the protected area, we found remains of walls both stone and brick spread to nearly 1.5 km along the bank of Pairi. Major part of ancient Rajim township is occupied by modern township.
Most of the standing temples at Rajim are built of architectural material from earlier temples and also brought from elsewhere like Sirpur. By the 4th century A.D. the temple architecture in south-Kosala assumed a definite nuclear architectural identity which was gradually extended horizontally as well as vertically till by the close of the 7th -8th century it introduced a curvilinear spire (sikhara) that constituted its distinctive cognizance. In the evolution of temple architecture regional environmental factors and socio-economic conditions, ritual requirements of the region played distinctive role to evolve sub styles and this is exactly what happened in Chhattisgarh.
Rajiv-Lochan Temple It has triratha sanctum with a sikhara of straight edged paramedical form. The brick built temple, standing on a platform terrace originally comprises of a sanctum, antarala, and a long pillared mandapa. Only the sanctum with its sikhara and antarala have retained original features, though somewhat concealed under thick coat of plaster and whitewash, while the mandapa has been much altered and many appurtenances added, such as enclosure walls with a pratoli (ornamental entrance complex) and a number of subsidiary shrines.
The sanctum is triratha. The plinth displays the mouldings of kumbha, kalasa adorned with asoka leaves (typical of Mahakosala) and kapotapali, the bhadra adds a vedika between with kalasa and kapotapali. The jangha shows on the bhadra a deep niche framed by short Brahmakanta pilasters of the Deccani variety, carrying a prominent awning crowned by a large gavaksha-dormer. . The rest of the jangha is dominated by Ruchaka pilasters of both the Northern type bearing fluted ghata-pallava capital as well as the Deccani type with capital comprised of lasuna and ghata. The varandika has two kopotapalis with pliasters in between, that frame govaksha-dormers.
The sikhara rises as a straight-edged pyramid of four storeys, displaying four imposing gavaksha-dormers in the central ratha and four octagonal domes in the karnas, each done surrounded by four similar sikharikas (spirelets). The dome and the enclosing sikharikas are all crowned by analaka and cap or final. The top portion of the sikhara has been arbitrarily restored.
Two stone inscriptions are fixed in the mandapa interior, an undated one of Nala Vilasatunga, palaeographically assignable to C. A.D. 700-725 and a later one of Kalachuri feudatory Jagapaladeva, dated A.D. 1145. The Nala inscription refers to the construction of a Vishnu temple but as the original Rajivlocahana temple is stylistically datable to C. A.D. 600, the Nala inscription has evidentially no relevance to it. The existing restored doorway (P1.34) of the sanctum and some constituents of the complex like a few mandapa pillars and sculptures and the pratoli in the west, however, are stylistically assignable to C. A.D. 700-725 and it is to these that the Nala epigraph possibly refers.
The mandapa also has heavier pillars with a batter, bearing sensitively rendered figures and decorative designs in registers which have some affinity to the Vakataka pillars; these may pertain to the original Rajivlochan temple. The somersaulting Yakshas interlaced with the meandering scrolls on the doorjambs, attached to the mandapa entrance, also belong to the original style and period.
Our excavation has revealed structures and antiquities right from Pre-Mauryan period to Kalchuri Period, extending from 4th century B.C. to 11th -12th century A.D. Both religious, working and residential complexes have come to light. Pottery comprises from red to black ware and particularly noticeable is the presence of black-polished ware very much akin to Northern - Black-Polished Ware - NBP) of North India. As in Chhattisgarh very hardly any site was excavated vertically, it is not surprising the baked bricks of the size of 40x20x10 cm of which a sprawling multy room complex was built, occurring below the Mauryan period structures is noteworthy which indicates that this so far considered as backward area was 2500 years back a very developed and prosperous area. However, how an area with all types of minerals, diamond, gold and plenty of rain coupled with fertile soil and jungle wealth, could have remained backward. Port at Sirkatti, 10 kms. upstream of Pain where India's first bed-rock cut channels for landing of medium sized ships have been located. With manmade ports at Lilar, Sirpur etc point to water trade routes to South-East-Asian countries as early as 6th century B.C. In fact Rajim was such a developed and popular town ship that its part at Sirkathi had to be a located upstream of Pairi which had a parenial supply of water.
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