Basarh

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Basarh (बसाढ़) is village in Muzaffarpur district in Bihar. Basarh is identified with the capital of the ancient kingdom of Vaisali.[1]

History

Vaiśālī monastic cluster, (in) Basarh, Bihar was visited by Xuanzang from March to September, 637 AD. The Archaeological Survey of India conducted excavations in 1903 at Basarh, located in the Tirhut division of the Muzaffarpur District of East Bengal. Though they did not find the monastery described by Hsuan Zang (c. 640), the site matches his description. There had been much removal of brick from the site for modern buildings. Basarh is identified with the capital of the ancient kingdom of Vaisali.[2]

Hukum Singh Panwar[3] (Pauria) identifies Basarh with Basal (L and R being often interchangeable) in Attock district in Pakistan which was a part of Sapta Sindhu in Vedic times. Basal was founded by Taxaka whose surname was Vaisaleya.

We find Basar (बासर) in the list of Jat clans.

Visit by Xuanzang in 637 AD

Alexander Cunningham[4] writes that From the stupa of the measuring-vessel, Hwen Thsang proceeded to the north-east for 140 or 150 li, or 23 to 25 miles, to Vaisali. He mentions having crossed the Ganges on the road ; but as he was already to the north of that river, his notice must certainly refer to the Gandak, which flows within 12 miles of Degwara. We must therefore look for Vaisali to the east of the Gandak. Here, accordingly, we find the village of Besarh, with an old ruined fort which is still called Raja-Bisal-ka-garh, or the fort of Raja Visala, who was the reputed founder of the ancient Vaisali. Hwen Thsang states that the Royal Palace was between 4 and 5 li, or from 3500 to 4400 feet in circuit, which agrees with the size of the old fort, according to my measurement of 1580 feet by 750 feet, or 4600 feet in circuit, along the lines of the ruined walls. The place is mentioned by Abul Fazl, as Besar[5] and it is still a considerable village, surrounded with brick ruins. It is exactly 23 miles from Degwara, but the direction is north-north-east, instead of north-east. This position also agrees with Hwen Thsang's subsequent distance and bearing to the bank of the Ganges opposite Pataliputra, or Patna, which was due south 120 li,[6] or 20 miles, the actual position of Hajipur on the north bank of the Ganges being 20 miles almost due south. The ruined fort of Besarh thus presents such a perfect coincidence of name, position, and dimensions with the ancient city of Vaisali, that there can be no reasonable doubt of their identity.

Basarh Clay Seal of Ghatotkachagupta

Ref - Archaeological Survey of Western India 1903-4,p. 107

Basarh Clay Seal of Govindagupta (r.412 - 415 AD)

Govindagupta (r.412 - 415 AD) has been mentioned in Basarh Clay Seal of Govindagupta (No. 42, L. 2; No. 32, L. 3). He is mentioned as the son of Chandragupta II. His mother's name as Dhruvasvamini.

Tej Ram Sharma[7] writes that we also know of a house of the Licchavis at Nepal but the separate reference to Nepal as a tributary province in the Allahabad Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta proves that it was different from the Licchavi kingdom which Samudragupta had inherited from his mother. The Licchavi kingdom of Kumaradevi may be located in North Bihar with Vaisali (modern Basarh in Muzaffarpur district) as its centre. It was a credit for the astute diplomacy of Chandragupta to marry the Licchavi princess as we know, in ancient times, the Licchavis of Vaisali had been the rivals of the kings of Pataliputra and that they did not marry outside their area.

दलीपसिंह अहलावत लिखते हैं -

....वृजि राज्य एक फैडरेशन (संघात्मक राज्य) था जिसमें आठ स्वतन्त्र वंश मिले हुए थे। लिच्छवि, विदेह, ज्ञातृ आदि जाटवंशी लोग इन्हीं आठ कुलों में से थे। वर्तमान मुजफ्फरनगर जिले के बसाढ़ नामक स्थान पर इस राज्य की वैशाली नामक नगरी थी। [8]

Mandasor Stone Inscription of the time of Prabhakara-Malava (Vikrama) year 524 (=A.D. 467)

Mandasor Stone Inscription of the time of Prabhakara-Malava (Vikrama) year 524 (=A.D. 467) explains the basis of his name :

"The lord of the earth, i.e. king Chandragupta, produced a son whose exalted name was Govindagupta, who was as famous as Govinda (Visnu) for the glory of his virtues, and who resembled the sons of Diti and Aditi, i.e. the demons and gods."

The poet means that Govindagupta resembled demons in physical strength and valour, and gods in spiritual virtues.

Govindagupta probably ruled as emperor between (his father) Chandragupta II and (his younger brother) Kumaragupta I. His reign could not have been more than three years, the interval between the last known date of Chandragupta II (G.E. 93) and the earliest known date of Kumaragupta I (G.E.96). P. L. Gupta assigns his short regnal period between A.D. 412 and 415. That Govindagupta could have ruled as emperor only for a very short period is also evident from the fact that he has left no coins. Being a collateral, Govindagupta does not appear in the genealogical table in the inscriptions of Kumaragupta and his successors.

It is also likely that Kumaragupta I defeated or ousted Govindagupta and seized the throne; and after his accession, avoided all references to his elder brother.

References

  1. http://monastic-asia.wikidot.com/vaisali
  2. http://monastic-asia.wikidot.com/vaisali
  3. The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations, pp. 84f, 192f
  4. The Ancient Geography of India: I. The Buddhist Period, Including the ...By Sir Alexander Cunningham, p.439
  5. 'Ayin Akbari,' ii. 198. See Map No. XI. for its position.
  6. Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' ii. 399. 90 li to Swetapura, plus 30 li to the Ganges, or together 120 li from Vaiaali. In the pilgrim's life, the distance to Swetapura is said to be 100 li; vol. i. p. 137.
  7. Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions,p. 138-39
  8. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Chapter V (Page 464)