ancient indian history

Inscription of Mahanavika

Inscription number 176
Ghantasala Stone Slab Inscription of Mahanavika (Sivaka’s wife)
Provenance: Ghantasala village, Kitana district,. 21 Kilometres from
west of Masulipatam, Andhra Pradesh.
Script: Brahmi of about 1st and 2nd century A D.
The script Brahmi is, very similar to the scripts of the inscriptions found else where especially of King Purnavarman.
Language: Prakrít

Text on the inscription.

  1. महघ [ ति ] नो सवरस पुतस महानाविकस सिवस
  2. [भ] रियय परनिय उतरदतय स ( = सि ) ध थ म  ( = मि) ताय स पुतकाय
  3. [ स *] दुहुतकाय स – मित-मचाय अ ( = आ) य [ क-थ ] भ [ दे ] य-धम (II)

Ghantasala is one of the Holy relic Buddhist sites of Andhra Pradesh.
It is a village in district Krishna Andhra Pradesh. It is among several rare and reputed center for buddhist sculptures, in India. This site is very important for the study of evolution of Budhism and Saanatna dharma culture as it was an important religious centre of South Asia. The stupa at Ghantasala, has a circumference of 112 feet and a height of 23 feet. Once, It was also a flourishing town of international trade activities. We can establish various links between trade, hinduism and buddhism also from this important site.

The Buddhist relics and the Hindu structures at the place reveal its past glory. Carved limestone columns belonging to pillared halls associated with Buddhist monastic establishments (2-3rd centuries BC ) have been discovered here.
The ruined Maha Chaitya or stupa that was excavated here is of a unique design. A cube of solid bricks is set in the centre, inscribed with 12 constellations of the zodiac.
The chaityas had a texture and size unique to the Satavahana times and had separate dwelling places for Buddhist monks in the complex. All walls were found to have beautiful plastering with superfine lime mortar. A three-dimensional limestone carved structure, embellished on the dome portion of the stupa had two garland bearers, a dhamma chakra and a miniature stupa on a throne in the middle. Objects such as a four-by-three-feet ‘Purna Kalasa’ containing lotus flowers, indicating the birth of Gautama Buddha were also discovered here.

References: J.Ph. Vogel, Ep. Ind., XXVII pp-4, E.
1. Paleographicaly the writing is definitely earlier than tbe script employed in the inscriptions of the Ikshvaka dynasty from Jaggayapeta and Nagarjunkonda.
Some lettes like are particularly
noteworthy for their resemblance to the Asokan Script.
The inscription may even be earlier than the lst century AD.
2. From the facsimile in Ep.Ind., XXVII, Pl.E.
3. Another Mahanavika Buddhagupta is known from an
inscription discovered in 1834 near a ruined Buddhist temple in the Wellesley province of Malaya, and presented
to Asiatic Society of Bengal and perhaps preserved in
the Indian Museum, Calcutta.
These inscriptions provide
interesting evidence of the sea-faring activities of ancient Indians.
Vogel suggests that the intended expression, possibly,
was Utara-duhutaya (= Skt. : i.e. of the
daughter of Uttara’. But the Writing is clear and legible.

Footnote 2
1. Vogel sa-patilkaya, translated as together with her husband.
2. In three other inscriptions found from Ghantasala,
(Ep.Ind. XXVII, pp.3. inscriptions AB and C mention the name of the city. where stood the Buddhist Chaitya
on whose pillars these inscriptions were engraved, as Kantakasola in Ukhasri-vardhamana.
This Kanta must be identified
with Ghantasala, the find-shot of the inscription and
most probably the Kantakossyla of Ptolemy ( VII,1,15)
who gives its co-ordinates as 134°30 ‘East and 11 °30 North.
Ptolemy also nentions (VII.1.93) Bardamana among the
inland towns, positioned 136°15 I East, and 15° 15I North., which.therefore, cannot be identified without ukhasiri-vadhamana. Kantakasola as a place name also occurs in a long Inscription on the floor of an apsidal temple (Chetiyaghara) at Nagarjunikonda.
Among the pious foundations due to the upasika Bodhisiri, this record
mentions Kamtakasole mahachetiyasa puva-dare sela-mandavo.. i.e. at Kantakasola, a stone pavilion, at
the eastem gate of the Great Chaitya. Ep. Ind. XX, pp-22, text 1.3).
English Translation of the inscription
This ayaka (entrance) pillar is the pious gift of the house wife Uttaradatta siddharthamitra, the wife of
the Master-Mariner, Sivaka, the son of the householder Savara,
together with her sons, her daughter and friends and advisors.

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