The ancient city of ‘Dharmakshetra Kurukshetra‘ holds the key to understanding our glorious past dating back to the Vedic times. Every square inch of this city and its outskirts is both historically and archaeologically important. Kurukshetra has been at the helm of many significant events and has faced the brunt of successive Muslim invasions over the years that severely threatened its very existence.
Thanesar which is generally considered to be an extension of Kurukshetra was the capital of the Vardhana dynasty during the reign of Raja Prabhakaravardhana and his successor, the Sanskrit scholar, Maharaja Harshavardhana. This city of great antiquity has innumerable kunds, temples, gurudwaras, battlefield sites and places reminiscent of olden times.
One of the lesser-known archaeological sites in Thanesar is Raja Harsh ka Tila. Raja Harsh ka Tila (mound of Raja Harsha) was unearthed during an excavation conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). This mound is located adjacent to Sheikh Chilli’s Tomb in Thanesar.
Excavations at this site have revealed the existence of a settlement starting from the beginning of the Common Era and continuous habitation from the 1st century to the 19th century. So far, six cultural periods have been identified based on the discoveries namely the Kushana period, Gupta period, Post Gupta period, Vardhana period, Rajput period and the periods of the invaders namely Delhi Sultanate and Mughal.
This mound is 750 metres wide and 1 km long and stands about 15 to 18 metres above the ground. Painted Grey Ware believed to be from the Kushana period and Red Polished Ware of the Post Gupta period have been found in the mound.
Several brick structures belonging to these two periods have been unearthed. The assessment of the time period has been made based on the size and shape of bricks and method of construction. Structural fragments of a garden complex and buildings belonging to the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal period have been found.
Antiquities of various periods have also been found which raises the question of what really existed in this mound. It would be interesting to understand the settlement pattern and layout, cultural influences, religious beliefs and architectural style of the various periods.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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