ancient indian history


Inscription number 64.
Nandapur copper-plate of the Time of Vishayapati Chhatramaha (Gupta year 169) = 488 AD.
Viṣayapati means “district administrator” It is an official title used for administrative purpose for management of various townships in ancient India. In Gupta empire,
the administration of the State was carried on by different officials with the help of Governors (raṣṭrapati), Collectors (viṣayapatis) and village headmen (gramapati). A Vishayapati administered the Vishaya with the help of the Adhikarana (council of representatives), which comprised four representatives: Nagarasreshesthi, Sarthavaha, Prathamakulike and Prathama Kayastha. A part of the Vishaya was called Vithi.

By this grant the
viṣayapati Chhatramaha procured four kulyavapas of fallow land in the village of
Jangoyika and issued to
a brahmin, Agneya svamin. Here, the grant is issued by the Viṣayapati Chhatramaha, not by the emperor
himself. who had decentralised the powers to his governors, collectors and village headmen.

Provenance: Nandapur on the south bank of the Ganges, 3 Km.
North East of Surajgarha, District Monghyr, Bihar.
Script: Western variety of Gupta Brahmi of 5th century A.D.
Language: Sanskrit.
References N.G. Majumdar, Ep.Ind., XXIII, pp.52-56.
1. From the Facsimile in Ep.Ind., XXIII, facing pp.54.
2. Plural seems to have been used in view of the subject. Adhikarana, being a collective noun.
3. Nanda-vithi has perhaps survived in Nandapura, from where the plate is said to have been discovered.
4. वा in avadharanaya is engraved below the line.
English Translation of the inscription.

Hail ! From the royal grant (agrahara) of Ambila village, the Board of Administration (of the Vishaya) in confidence, informs and writes, after enquiring about their well-being
to the Brahmanas and the householders headed by the judicial
officers, at the village of Jangoyika, chhatramaha, the chief of the Vishaya (district) petitions to us. I desire to give
in charity, after purchasing four kulyavapas of fallow fields
for the increase of my own religious merit to the Brahmana
(Agneya) svamin, a student of chhandoga charana of the samaveda.

The phrase Yushmadvishaye, makes it clear that the Adhikarana in this context is the administrative board of the Vishaya and of Kasyapa gotra, and a resident of the agrahara of
Khatapurana situated in the Nandavithi, for the performance
of the five great sacrifices.
And in your vishaya, prevails the
custom of sale at the rate of two dinaras per kulyavapa of
follow fields, originally devoid of vegetation, yielding no revenue, and enjoyable eternally as long as the moon, the sun and the stars last, under the provision of a perpetual endowment. So you are requested to please grant in perpetual endowment
through a copper-charter, four kulyavapas of fallow fields in
the village of Jangoyika after receiving eight dinaras from me.
Whereas, it has been ascertained on enquiry by the record keepers. Pradyotasimha and Bandhudasa, that there does prevail in this district, the custom of sale at the rate of two
dinaras per kulyavapa of fallow fields originally devoid of vegetation, not yielding any revenue ( to the state) and
yielding little taxes (akinchitpratikara) and whereas there is
no conflict with the royal interests in the sale of such fallow land yielding no taxes, rather in the case of being granted, a sixth part of the religious merit, would accrue to His Supreme
Majesty. Now there fore (the land) be granted.
So having realised eight dinaras from the District-Head Chhatramaha four kulyavapas of fallow land, ku 4, have been
(They are bali, charu, vaisvadeva, agihotra and atithi
granted in the village of Jangoyika, to the south the chartered land of Gorakshita (and to the west of Gopali
bhoga. So knowing thus, you should hand over (the plot) at
a location not conflicting with the cultivation of the householders, after measuring (it) out by (the standard
unit of 8 X 9 reeds, according to the cubit length of darvikanma and also aftar demarkating (the area) in all
the four directions by long-lasting marks of chaff, charcoal etc. And having handed over, you should preserve it for ever under the operation of the laws of perpetual endowments.
And it should be preserved by the present and future administrators out of regard for piety. And so says Lord
(Here follow two of customary imprecatory verses).*
The year 169. the 8th day of the bright fortnight of Vaisakha.

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