Mar 15, 2014

Ashokan minor rock edict of Siddapura

December 22, 2013
The distance between Jatinga-Rameshwara and Siddapura is 7.5 kms but the time taken to cover that distance was 20 minutes. We passed through two or three villages, part of the road ran parallel to Hagari and finally reached the main road leading to Siddapura. Just across Hagari river is Siddapura village. We arrive at a junction, turn right for Siddapura village and left to Brahmagiri. I knew the approximate location of the edict, a hillock about a kilometer from the village towards Brahmagiri. At the junction was a badly scarred tourism department board.

When this prehistoric site was excavated a sequence of three cultures namely period I. Neolithic Chalcolithic, period II. Megalithic and period III. the early historic was noticed. The period I was characterized by polished cells on doleerity, parallel-sided blades, microliths, copper and bronze objects. The ceramic typology revolves mostly hand made grey were burnished as well as unburnished with dish on stand. channel-snouted bowl, deep bowl with spouted constitute main type ________ ________ domestic structures were similar to the se________ ________ ________ ________ iron implements and the ceramic asse________ ________ ________ black and red ware, black ware, ________ as well as ________ ________ ware also noticed. Shell bangled beads, terracotta, jasper and stealite have been formed. The last period is characterized by a sophisticated pottery made on ________ wheel, with painted geometric designs. ________ shreads of roulatted wase have also been collected. On the basis of material evidence this period is assignated to ________ phase.

We make inquiries for Siddapura edict but for some reason people tried to send us off to Brahmagiri edict. I had to emphasize that my search was Siddapura to which someone said there's no such spot. I made a face to say how ignorant they were and remained silent for a minute. Then a man came forward and volunteered to show us the spot. Good, we ask him to hop in. An extra also jumped in. We turned left, drove towards Brahmagiri for 680 meters and stopped before a cluster of houses and a rock formation. Our car remains on the road while we proceed on foot. Our guide Thipperudra lead us through barren paddy fields towards a rocky hillock about 400 meters away. We could see a stone structure similar to the one at Jatinga Rameshwara nestled among huge rocks but to reach it we had to take a short round about. We are almost there..
Total distance from where we left our car to this structure is less then 500 meters. And people say no such spot exists. Ignorance or deliberately misguiding? Anyway, thanks to Thipperudra.

Thanks to the British archaeologist Brigadier Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler. The inscription has been enclosed, out of reach to vandals.

Sadly, few days ago vandals had removed few bars from the grill. I think the bars were stolen to be sold as scrap for money. And that money would be used to fuel some useless habit like drinking or gambling. Our people, will they ever learn :(

So here we have another edict of emperor Ashoka the Great. Like his other edicts, even this inscription carried a message of peace.

While some parts of the inscription is clearly visible, some parts have faded.

This 3rd century BCE message is in Prakrit language and Brahmi script. The letters are 3 to 4 inches high. In this view the letters are inverted.

May 2013, I had done little research at KUD's history department library. With the librarian's help I had found the Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum volume containing transliteration/translation Maski, Brahmagiri, Jatinga-Rameshwara and Siddapura edicts. Unfortunately translations for were not given for Jatinga Rameshwar and Siddapur edicts. The edicts of Nittur edict or Udegolam edict are similar, perhaps they can be referred to for translation.

1. (A) Suvamnagirite ayaputasa mahamata-
2. nam cha vachanena I[s]ilasi mahamata
3. arogiyam vata[v]i[ya] (B) [Dev]a[na]mpiye hevam
4. aha (C) adhikani a[dha]t[i]y[ani] vasani
5. ya ha[kam u]pasake (D) no tu kho badha pakamte husam ek[am] sa[vachha]..
6. (E) [satire]ke tu kho samvachhare [yam maya sam]ghe upayite badham
7. [cha me] p[akam]te (F) i[m]ina chu kalena [a]misa sama[na] mu
8. ....Jambu[d].....[mi]sa devehi (G) pakamasa hi iyam phale (H) no [h]i i-
9. ya sake [ma]....[ne]va papo[ta]ve kamam tu kho khudakena
10. pi[pa] [v]ipul[e] svage sak[e] aradhetave
11. (I) [s]e.........ya[iya]m savane savite yatha khu-
12. [daka cha ma]hatpa cha imam [pa]kameyu ti ata cha
13. ..........[chira]-thi[t]ik[e] cha iyam pakame hoti
14. (J)[dh]isiti vipu[la]m p[i] cha vadhisiti [a]
15. ..........[yadhiya]m vadhisiti (K) i[ya]m [cha] sa[va]ne
16. ..........(L) [200] 50 6 (M) [ma]..........[si]taviye
17. ..........[hyi]tavyam sa[cha]m va[ta],,[ya]m im[e] dhamma-gu
18. ..........(N) [heme]va [a]m..........[acha]riye apachayitaviye su
19. ..........(O) [es]a [p]o[r]a[na]...[ki]ti di[gha]vu[se] cha (P) heme[va]...m[t]evisine cha
20. achariy[e]..........tharaham pavatitav..........m...
21. [ta]tha kataviye (R) Chapa..........
22. ..........[na]

A close look at the engraving.

A rough map showing locations of the three edicts of Chitradurga district.

Here's the board at the junction.

Ashoka's 2300 year old inscription and an important prehistoric site deserves something better than this.

December 22, 2013 is a day to remember for me because I have completed my mission to see all known Ashokan edicts in Karnataka. If there are any newly discovered edicts, then it would be incomplete...

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