2000-yr-old Shiva shrine found

via http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-4172761,prtpage-1.cms published on February 23, 2009

 LUCKNOW: Believed to be among the oldest brick shrines in India, Lucknow University’s department of ancient Indian history and archaeology has

unearthed a 2,000-year-old Shiva temple as part of its excavation project recently in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district.

‘‘It’s actually a complex comprising five temples,’’ Prof D P Tewari of the Lucknow University said. ‘‘While four temples belong to the Kushana period (1st-3rd century AD or 2,000 years ago), it appears that the primary temple was constructed during the Sunga period (2nd century BC to 1st century AD or 2,200 years ago).’’

The temple site is a mound in Sanchankot in Unnao. The excavations have been going on since 2004, when UGC cleared the project for funding. ‘‘A lot of things have come to fore since we began, but the temple complex has suddenly given impetus to our research,’’ said Prof Tewari.

Spread across an area of 600 acres, the temple is made of baked bricks. In India, most of the brick temples were built in the Gupta period which existed in the fourth century AD. The temple’s architecture is ‘apsidal’ (semi-circular or u-shaped) in nature.

The LU has many artifacts to conclude that Lord Shiva was worshipped in this temple. Prof Tewari said, ‘‘A terracotta seal bearing the legend of ‘Kaalanjar peeth’ in Brahmi script was found from the site in Dec 2008.’’

A shivling, trishul, nandi bull, and a river are inscribed over the seal. The legend of ‘Kaalanjar peeth’ is inscribed just below the river.

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