Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Humayun's Tomb - A metaphor for Indianization of Mughals

Emperor Humayun
Humayun was son of Mughal emperor Babur. He died on 19th January 1556 after falling from the steps of his library in Sher Mandal which is a monument inside what is today called Purana Qila in Delhi. Humayun was originally buried in Purana Qila. According to some scholars his remains were removed from there to a temporary tomb in Sirhind when Hemu invaded Delhi and Mughals had to vacate the city in 1556. He was re-buried in the Sher Mandal again when Akbar defeated Hemu. In 1569 his widow Haji Begum also known as Bega Begum erected the mausoleum that we know today as Humayun's Tomb at an estimated cost of 15 lakh rupees where his remains were finally buried. Later several other Mughals were also buried in the Mausoleum.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Champaner-Pavagadh : A world heritage site

Champaner-Pavagadh in Halol taluka of Godhra(Panchmahal) district in eastern Gujarat is a World Heritage Site in eye-catching setting of Pavagadh hill. The site was declared a World Heritage Site in July 2004 by UNESCO. The ruins of this site like mosques, temples, forts etc. are perfect examples of Indo-Islamic architecture. In fact Champaner is a magnificent example of pre-Mughal township. You can find that the igneous rocks used in monuments of Pavagadh are of light yellow colour with a hint of red colour. This pigmentation of rocks make them resemble a Champaka flower and this is what gave the name Champaner to this medieval town. Pavagadh has been mentioned as Pavakgadh (fire hill) or Pavangadh (wind hill) in ancient manuscripts.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Lothal - Port town of late Harappan Civilization

Lothal's mound
The word 'Lothal' means 'place of the death' in Gujarati language. The word is said to have been formed by combining words 'Loth' and 'thal'(sthal).  It was interesting for me to find that the word 'Mohen-Jodaro' in Sindhi also have the same sense, namely, 'the mound of the dead'After the partition of 1947 most sites of Harappan/Indus Valley Civilization were transferred to the Pakistan. It became necessary for the Archaeological Survey of India to trace for Harappan sites in the regions south and east of Indus river within the borders of India. During 1953-1954 A.S.I. teams re-excavated Rangpur in Limdi Taluk of Ahmedabad district and the findings in those excavations confirmed that Rangpur represented later phases of Harappan culture. Later on in search for more prosperous sites A.S.I. teams surveyed the Sabarmati valley and it resulted in the discovery of Lothal in November, 1954. Lothal was originally excavated from February 1955 to May 1960 and was re-excavated in 1961-1962. During excavations a cemetery, township, dockyard and a nullah connecting the dock with river were exposed.