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Mehrauli (महरौली) village in Delhi needs no introduction. It is an ancient Jat village, famous for its UNESCO world heritage site, Qutub Minar, which, contrary to current theory, was built either in the times of Prithvi Raj Chauhan or even earlier, in memory of famous Astronomer, Varahamihira. Mehrauli's original name is Mihirawali, meaning "in the memory of Mihira (Varahamihira). Mehrauli has rich history which can be found in various textbooks. Mehrauli is known in history for the iron pillar inscription. This iron pillar bearing the inscription of Chandra was originally erected on a hill called Visnupada near the Beas, but was brought to Meharauli (Delhi) and was installed near the well-known Kutub Minar. We also know of the transfer of the Ashokan pillars from Topra and Meerut to Delhi.
Ram Sarup Joon writes that ....Chandra Gupta II (Vikramaditya) annexed Gujrat and Kathiawar and extended the already large Gupta Empire. He created the famous Iron pillar at Mehrauli, (New Delhi) which, apart from commemorating his rule, is a fine example of sophisticated metallurgy.
The following inscription has been made on the Iron Pillar, -
- (The King) whose sword had eternal glory. He subjugated the enemy in Bengal and ruined them who had congregated against the king. He has crossed the seven riverbeds of Indus and conquered the country. The breeze of Southern Sea has been full of fragrance due to his chivalry. He left the world for eternal abode reluctantly. He reached the Paradise created by his own noble deeds. His name is surviving in the world due to this glory. His blood drawn might' has not yet subsided from the earth like. The heat of "huge and tangled jungle fire. He maintained his emperorship for ages, which he achieved with his might. His name 'Chander' having a moon likes bloom on his face. He was an Emperor, of this world and was a staunch 'Bhakta of Vishnu God. He put' this huee pillar as a symbol of Vishnu on the hill (Vishnu Pad).
Mehrauli Iron Pillar Inscription of Chandragupta II
The iron pillar of Delhi, India is a 7 meter (22 feet) high pillar in the Qutb complex which is notable for the composition of the metals used in its construction.
The pillar, almost seven meters high and weighing more than six tons, was erected by Chandragupta II Vikramaditya (375 CE–414 CE), (interpretation based on analysis of archer type Gupta gold coins) of the Gupta dynasty that ruled northern India 320–540. The pillar with the statue of Chakra at the top was originally located at a place called Vishnupadagiri (meaning “hill with footprint of Lord Vishnu”). This has been identified as modern Udayagiri, situated in the vicinity of Besnagar, Vidisha and Sanchi. These towns are located about 50 kilometres east of Bhopal, in central India. There are several aspects to the original site of the pillar at Udayagiri. Vishnupadagiri is located on the Tropic of Cancer and, therefore, was a centre of astronomical studies during the Gupta period. The Iron Pillar served as a sundial when it was originally at Vishnupadagiri. The early morning shadow of the Iron Pillar fell in the direction of the foot of Anantasayin Vishnu (in one of the panels at Udayagiri) only around the summer solstice (June 21). The Udayagiri site in general, and the Iron Pillar location in particular, are evidence for the astronomical knowledge that existed in Gupta India.
The pillar bears a Sanskrit inscription in Brahmi script which states that it was erected as a standard in honour of Lord Vishnu. It also praises the valor and qualities of a king referred to simply as Chandra, who has been identified with the Gupta King Chandragupta II Vikramaditya (375-413). The inscription reads (in the translation given in the tablets erected by Pandit Banke Rai in 1903):
- He, on whose arm fame was inscribed by the sword, when, in battle in the Vanga countries (Bengal), he kneaded (and turned) back with (his) breast the enemies who, uniting together, came against (him);-he, by whom, having crossed in warfare the seven mouths of the (river) Sindhu, the Vahlikas were conquered;-he, by the breezes of whose prowess the southern ocean is even still perfumed;-
- (Line 3.)-He, the remnant of the great zeal of whose energy, which utterly destroyed (his) enemies, like (the remnant of the great glowing heat) of a burned-out fire in a great forest, even now leaves not the earth; though he, the king, as if wearied, has quit this earth, and has gone to the other world, moving in (bodily) from to the land (of paradise) won by (the merit of his) actions, (but) remaining on (this) earth by (the memory of his) fame;- (L. 5.)-By him, the king,-who attained sole supreme sovereignty in the world, acquired by his own arm and (enjoyed) for a very long time; (and) who, having the name of Chandra, carried a beauty of countenance like (the beauty of) the full-moon,-having in faith fixed his mind upon (the god) Vishnu, this lofty standard of the divine Vishnu was set up on the hill (called) Vishnupada.
Excerpts from Delhi Gazeteer 1912
See the following link (Page No. 220)- http://revenueharyana.gov.in/html/gazeteers/Delhi%20Gazeetter%201912.pdf
Mahrauli is a small town 11 miles from Delhi on the metalled road to Gurgaon, with, a present population of about 3,883. It is prettily situated in the low hills of which the ridge is the continuation and is built on either side of the main road which, in an inconveniently narrow form, is its main street, There is here a camping-ground, thana, dispensary, an excellent dak bungalow with considerable accommodation, and a rest-house for district officers in the building known as Adham Khan's tomb. The place is locally famous for the Pankha Mela which takes place in August and on which occasion the Hindus and Muhammadans on successive days form processions in which the pankhas or banners of special design are paraded down the main street. At this time the town is visited by large crowds and the houses, usually empty, are filled to overflowing. Here too there is a well known Hindu Temple devoted to the worship of Jogi Maya, the approach to which has been recently beautified by the munificence of the late Rai Bahadur Hardyan Singh. Mahrauli has always been, a sanitarium for residents of Delhi and it is a pleasant place in which to spend a week-end, the air being fresh and cooler than in the city. Sir Thomas Metcalfe himself had a retreat, the buildings of which are now in a ruined state: the gates of the 221 compound are clearly marked by the very English-looking gate-posts. Mahrauli is of world-wide historical interest owing Places of to the presence of the Kutb Minar and is the centre of many old ruins both within the Kila Rai Pithora and without. The walls and keep of the Kila (fort) are well defined enclosing as they do about 2 square miles of country. An excellent plan of this neighborhood and descriptions of the various objects of interest are to be found in Fanshawe's "Delhi Past and Present," Chapter V. The principal objects of interest outside the old fort boundary are the Dargah Kutb Sahib, the Hauz Shamsi, the Jherna garden and the Jahazi Mosque. The Dargah is the resort of pious Muhammadans and contains many graves of interest: the Majawars who are hereditary guardians of the shrine receive the revenue of Mahrauli, some Rs. 2,000, for their services. The Hauz Shamsi is an old tank, situated in a natural depression, which has recently been cleaned out as a famine work and it has always been used as the water supply for the Jherna gardens, a weird spot recalling Rider Haggard’s Romances. The Jahazi or (ship) Mosque has the legend attached to it that a pious merchant vowed to build 11 mosque if his ship came safely to port. The "doli (well) too is interesting: a local family make a livelihood by dropping down the well in return for the bakhshish of sight-seers. The Municipal income is about Rs. 1,700 per year, the income tax assessment is Rs. 280, and the land revenue mostly assigned to the Dargah amounts to Rs. 2,200.
- More info on Jatland Wiki at - Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/I A Note on the King Candra of the Meharaull Iron Pillar Inscription
- Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions by Tej Ram Sharma, p.309
- History of the Jats/Chapter IV ,p. 58-59
- Identity of Chandra and Vishnupadagiri of the Delhi Iron Pillar Inscription: Numismatic, Archaeological and Literary Evidence, R Balasubramaniam, Bulletin of Metals Museum, 32 (2000) 42–64.
- On the Astronomical Significance of the Delhi Iron Pillar, R Balasubramaniam and Meera I Dass, Current Science, volume 86 (2004) pp. 1134–1142.
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