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ASI discovered remains of an ancient temple of Gupta period

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    History & Culture
  • Published
    18th Sep, 2021


Recently there have been interesting findings of the remains of a 5th century CE Gupta period temple by the Archaeological survey of India in Etah-Uttar Pradesh.


  • Archeologists have found 'shankhalipi' inscriptions on the stairs on an ancient temple dating back to the Gupta period.
  • The Bilsarh site was declared ‘protected’ in 1928. 
  • The ASI team discovered “two decorative pillars close to one another, with human figurines,”
  • These two pillars were flat rectangular pillars, placed parallel and facing the same direction, and the front faces showed images of the yaksas, ganas, and various geometrical motifs.
  • The stairs led to a structural temple built during the Gupta period. The discovery becomes significant since only two other structural temples from the Gupta age have been found so far 
    • Dashavatara Temple (Deogarh)
    • Bhitargaon Temple (Kanpur Dehat)
  • The inscription on the stairs possibly reads ‘Sri Mahendraditya’, which was the title of Kumaragupta I of the Gupta dynasty.
  • Sri Mahendraditya… which was the title for King Kumaragupta I of the Gupta dynasty whose ruling period was from 415- 455 CE.

What is the Shankhalipi script?

  • Shankhalipi or “shell-script” is a term used by scholars to describe ornate spiral characters assumed to be Brahmi derivatives that look like conch shells or shankhas. 
  • They are found in inscriptions across north-central India and date to between the 4th and 8th centuries. 
  • Both Shankhalipi and Brahmi are stylised scripts used primarily for names and signatures. 
  • The inscriptions consist of a small number of characters, suggesting that the shell inscriptions are names or auspicious symbols or a combination of the two.

Gupta dynasty rulers

  • Chandragupta 1 (320–330CE) -Chandragupta 1 was the founder of the Gupta empire. From being a local chief in Magadha kingdom, he increased his power by marriage alliances and wars.
  • Chandragupta 2 (380–413 CE ) -Chandragupta II The Great also known as Chandragupta Vikram?ditya,son of Samudragupta, was one of the most powerful emperors of the Gupta empire in northern India.
    • Under his rule the Gupta Empire achieved its zenith, art, architecture, and sculpture flourished, and the cultural development of ancient India reached its climax.