It may be a spec on the map of India,but if the Archaeological Survey of India is to be believed,Itkhori block in Jharkhand’s Chatra district,150 km from Ranchi,has an ancient past.
The ASI has stumbled upon many antiquities including Megalith and the Buddha stupas in and around Itkhori.They were scattered around there which throw light on early man and followers of the Bhagwan Budha in tribal Jharkhand.
These antiquities in the form of Megalith-“a stone that has been used to erect a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones”,according to experts(The word “megalithic” describes structures made of such large stones, utilizing an interlocking system without the use of mortar or cement-whose construction took place mainly in the Neolithic (though earlier Mesolithic examples are known)-that continued into the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age,show the tribals of Jharkhand have ancient roots.
The Budhist stupas,each made of stone,belonged to the 9th century AD.
A PTI report by PV Ramanujam said this has come to light by the ASI’s first excavation exercise this year.Ramanujam quotes ASI’s N G Nikoshey, Superintending Archaeologist (Ranchi Circle) saying:”the archaeologists found 58 antiquities, including four Buddha stupas.”
“Among the discoveries made were Buddha statues in various mudras and Boddhisatva deities dedicated to Buddhism. Antiquities belonging to the Jainism and Hinduism were also found during the excavation,” said the same report quoting Nikoshey.
The megaliths are spread over half a km area in Itkhori.The Budhist stupas are said to belong to the 9th and 10th centuries Pala period.Ramanujam’s report is full of details provided by Nikoshey.
- “While 58 antiquities were kept with the department, the villagers kept about 400 antiquities under a shed there refusing to hand them over.”
- ”There were also semi-precious stones, terracotta and metals used as toy objects, ornaments, household objects and ritualistic objects among the finds.”
- ”Also found was a brick floor of single course at the stupa number one at the North-Western side of the excavated place, which measured 3.8M in length and 2.35M width.”
- ”As many as 17 intent hopscotch, made of both terracotta and sandstone, and six beads of terracotta were recovered in the excavation”
Enquiry revealed that a brick embedded mound exists there.The brick measured to 32 x 23.x6 cm.At another site,nearly two km from Itkhori,a series of small mounds with remains of Hindu temples were found.On grounds of their form and style,the archaeologists claim that these belong to the 8th-10th cent. A.D.
Other recoveries were :stone sculptures of Budha,a door-jamb of a temple and a votive stupa.These were lying scattered on these mounds.
The recovery owes to two men-AV Ratan,Chatra’s Sub Divisional Officer and Culture Department(ACD)’s Ex Deputy Director HP Sinha,who recently gave a power point presentation before Governor Syed Ahmad demanding ASI’s intervention.
.In fact,Ratan,a student of history,had stumbled upon these antiquities before Sinha visited the site and pieced together these priceless historical evidences.After Governor Ahmad Syed sounded it,ASI examined and provided credence to them.
In the past,in his book-“The Pre Historic Background of Indian Culture,1960,DH Gordon talked about the mound of 21 axes recovered during the pre independence days in Khunti.