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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has unveiled in budget 2020-21 a plan to develop five archaeological sites of eminence as iconic sites with on-site museums. The big message it holds for Odisha is the State has to put more resources in excavation of its historical sites of archaeological eminence.

In this regard, the State has to excavate more tangible archaeological remains and facts about the Prachi Valley Civilisation that flourished in Odisha and is believed by some historians in the State as earlier than that of the Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. The civilisation had flourished in 600 sq km area along the now dead Prachi river.

What needed is a proper documentation regarding the origin of Prachi Valley civilisation through more excavations could put Odisha in the map of iconic archaeological sites in the country.

Significantly, it needs mentioning here that the Budget 2020-21 has decided to develop renowned archaeological places as iconic sites, not the archaeological monuments like Konark temple, Jagannath Temple, Lingaraj Temple or the Dhauli Monastry.

What is Prachi Valley Civilisation? As per the 1974-75 Archaeological Survey Report prepared by Odisha Archeological Department, a glorious civilisation had flourished in the Prachi valley. But the origin is still wrapped in mystery, it observed. The report was prepared after excavations during the period of 1969 - 1974. But not much activity on the Prachi Valley is being heard now.

The report traces the Kalinga temple of architecture to the Prachi Valley.  The State Archaeology report identified the unique brick temple architecture of the State to the Valley. Even, remnants of ports like structures were found, the report observed. It further had mentioned how Portuguese and Olandas were transacting in river Prachi and Devi.

Now a brief glance at the five archaeological sites chosen in Budget 2020-21.

Rakhigarh (Haryana): Located in the Ghaggar - Hakra river, this is a pre-Indus Valley Civilisation site dating back to 6500 BCE (Before Common Era). Global Heritage Fund has listed it in 10-most endangered heritage sites in Asia.

Hastinapur (UP): It is described in texts like Mahabharata and Puranas as the capital of the Kuru Kingdom.

Shivsagar (Assam): This had been the seat of Ahom Kingdom that ruled Assam since 1228 - 1826. Historical texts maintained that the kingdom originated in medieval India and retained its sovereignty for nearly 600 years.

Dholavira (Gujarat): Discovered in 1967-68,  this is the 5th largest of 8 Harappan sites in the country. School history texts mention more about the ancient city.

Adichanallur (Tamil Nadu):  Located close to Tamirabarani Waterway, this ancient site in Tamil Nadu is considered as one of the earliest civilised society in TN dating back to 905 - 696 BCE.

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