Millions of Indians believe that the mysterious Indraprastha lies hidden beneath the Purana Qila in Delhi. The Indian government has tried to find it several times in the past 40 years. But will the ancient capital of Indraprastha ever show up?
Let us do a little bit of time travel here.
Have you read the Mahabharata?
It is an ancient Indian epic about two sets of cousins-Pandavas and Kauravas- who fought a bloody war for a kingdom. This war is detailed in the Mahabharata.
The Pandavas had founded a city, Indraprastha, in Delhi before this war. Some historians think that this city was built approximately 3,000 years ago. Others like Nilesh Oak conclude that Mahabharata war was fought more than 7,000 years ago.
This means that the age of Indraprastha ranges from 3,000 years to 7,000 years!
Indraprastha was a very beautiful city during those days. It is said that Maya, the celestial architect, had built this city on the request of the Pandavas. It is also said that the current Purana Qila site was the same place where Indraprastha was founded by the Pandavas.
The floors of the palace of Indraprastha were so spotless that one day Duryodhana, a cousin of the Pandavas, slipped on it thinking that it was a swimming pool. On the other hand, the pools of this palace gave the appearance of a spotlessly clean marble floor!
But have we found Indraprastha?
Until now, we haven’t. But various archaeologists have tried to find this mysterious Indraprastha by excavating parts of Indraprastha.
The first attempt to discover Indraprastha happened in the 1950s. The next excavation happened from 1969 to 1973. In 2013, the Indian government again dug up the Purana Qila hoping to find Indraprastha. This year, the Archaeological Survey of India is again exploring the lower depths of this medieval fort and trying to find Indraprastha.
So far, we haven’t found any traces of the lost city of Indraprastha.
But the next question is; what is the proof that Indraprastha existed on the Purana Qila site?
Painted Gray Ware
Archaeologists say that the presence of Painted Gray Ware or PGW in the Purana Qila will prove the existence of Indraprastha.
PGW represents that period of Indian history which is between 1,500 BC and 600 BC. Archaeologists think that around 1,500 BC, the Indus Valley Civilization had started to decline and a new civilization was taking its place. Pots and shards of this period are gray or chocolate in color and have simple geometric shapes on them. Most of these pots and pans are made by using a wheel.
Such shards have been found in many parts of the country. In the past, archaeologists have discovered this pottery in Hastinapur, Ahicchatra, Ambakheri, Atranjikhera, Batesvara, Dadupur, Hulas, Jakhera etc. All these villages are located in the Western Gangetic plain.
There are more than 40 designs of painted gray ware but mostly the PGW comprises dishes, pans, and pots. Some small toys and objects of copper, glass, iron have also been found.
Archaeologists also found bones of animals near hearths in these sites. This proves that animals provided milk and food to the people of that age.
Scientists also discovered that the people of this era lived in huts made of wattle and reed.
Please note that Hastinapur was the capital of the Kauravas in the Mahabharat era. When archaeologists dug up a part of this village, they found several pieces of evidence that this area was flooded thousands of years ago. They also found several pieces of Painted gray ware from this area.
But how can we conclude that the modern village of Hastinapur was indeed the capital of the Kauravas many centuries ago?
The tie-up can be proved according to one of the Puranas of the Hindus.
Puranas are holy books of Hindus and also contain several historical events. One of the Puranas says that many thousands of years ago, the descendants of the Kauravas left Hastinapur when this city was destroyed by floods.
Now that the scientists have found pieces of evidence of flooding in the modern village of Hastinapur, it is easy to conclude that this village was indeed the Hastinapura of Mahabharat.
Therefore, if the scientists can find PGW in the Purana Qila, they can safely conclude that it was indeed the site of the ancient Indraprastha.
You may also read http://www.indiatraveltip.com/padmawati-stories-sighs-indian-fort/
Traces of PGW
All these years, scientists have found http://www.indiatraveltip.com/padmawati-stories-sighs-indian-fort/traces of PGW in the Purana Qila. They have come tantalizingly close to the conclusion that there was an Indraprastha in Purana Qila, but until now, there is no definite proof.
But what have the earlier excavations yielded in Purana Qila?
You will be excited to know that this place is at least 2,300-years old. Various excavations have revealed articles belonging to the Rajput, Kushana, Gupta, and pre-Mauryan era. Archaeologists have also found the remains of a fortification belonging to the Sunga era. It seems that Delhi was an important town more than 2,000 years ago.
All these findings also prove another thing that there was a continuous settlement in this part of Delhi for more than 2,000 years.
If you want to see these articles, then you can visit the ASI museum located within the Purana Qila. A ticket to this museum costs just INR 20.
But the challenge of proving the existence of the mysterious Indraprastha has still not been met.
So, that’s it, folks. I hoped you liked this story on mysterious Indraprastha.
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