Saturday, March 7, 2009

Susunia Hill

Susunia Hill 23º27' N and 86º57' E Height: 1442 ft. (440 m) On the Bankura-Purulia Road, about 14 km NW Chhatna and from here towards North about 10 km.

Susunia inscriptions: 4th Century A D From Ancient History of Bengal, vol. I, on Susunia inscriptions: The Susunia Rock inscription,the earliest reference to the cult of Vaishnavism, is a short Sanskrit inscription in three lines engraved in Brahmi script on Susunia hill, recording the installation of an image of Vishnu during the reign of Chandravarman.

The first two lines of it incised below a big wheel (chakra) with flaming rib and hub, refer to it as the work of the illustrious Maharaja Chandravarman, the lord of Pushkarna....

The third line is incised to the right of the wheel, but its reading and consequently its meaning is not very clear. It certainly refers to the dedication (of the cave) to Chakrasvamin, which literally means the 'wielder of the discuss, i.e., Vishnu...It may be reasonably inferred that the excavated cave, on the wall of which the inscription was incised, was intended to be a temple of Vishnu. Suniti Chattapadhaya "holds that Puskarana mentioned in Susuniya inscription is the modern Pokarnya or Pakharna situated in Bankura District of which Candravarma was the king." (Prachin Vanger Puskarna-janapad - in Vangasri, 1339-40 B.S., 1932-33 A.D., pt. 1, p. 135-136).

On the rock face another script is visible, which is "Sankha Lipi (script)" from a period between 8th to 10th Century A.D. Till date this Sankha Lipi can not be deciphered. Many observe this not as script but symbols.

Didarganj Yakshi

The Didarganj Yakshi is a fine specimen of Mauryan art. Almost 2000 years old, it stands five feet four inches and is carved out of a single stone. It is an exquisite carving and almost true to life. Government of India, has used her figure as a fine art ambassador and she has travelled to many countries, including the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., USA.

The painstaking attention to detail by the artisans, is visible in the prominent breasts, broad hips, narrow waist and the creases on the lower abdomen, formed due to the weight of her full breasts, as she is unable to stand erect. These are considered to be classic features of femine beauty even today. And to think that this Yakshi was carved out of a single stone 2,000 years ago is a marvel in itself, a marvel in the advancement of sculpting in stone! I am at a loss of words to describe her attire, and jewellery. The clothes are draped elegantly with folds and pleats, in the front and held in place by an exquisite oddiyanam. To complete her ensemble she has a fly whisk (the chauri) in her right hand. And her pose? It is called ‘tribanga’ (three-bend) which shows her bending at neck, waist and hip to form a gentle "S" shape the quintessence of femine beauty.

Asutosh Museum

Sculpture of Surya

Sculpture of Manasa, varada mudra (gift-bestowing gesture)

Sculpture of Visnu, ca. eighth century CE, 701 CE - 800 CE

Sculpture of a Sudarsanacakra, ca. tenth to eleventh century CE, 901 CE - 1100 CE

Sculpture of Surya, ca. seventh century CE, 601 CE - 700 CE