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Mondya, April 22, 2013


The Indian Analyst


 

North Indian Inscriptions


 

INSCRIPTIONS OF THE CHANDELLAS OF JEJAKABHUKTI

No. 97 ; PLATE XCIII
KHAJURĀHŌ STONE INCRIPTION [OF HARSHADĒVA ?]
(Fragmentary)

  The stone bearing this inscription appears to have been found near the temple of Vāmana at the village of Khajurāhō1 in the Chhatarpur District of the Vindhya Division of Madhya Pradesh. Alexander Cunningham, who discovered it in 1883-84, noticed the inscription in his Archaeological Survey of India Reports, Vol. XXI (1883-1885), p. 65, with a small-scale lithograph (Plate xvi-B); and the record was subsequently edited by F. Kielhorn in the Epigraphia Indica, Vol. I (1892), pp. 121 ff., without a facsimile and with a transcript of the text prepared by him from an impression supplied to him by Dr. Burgess, the editor of the Journal. From Kielhorn’s writings we know that the stone existed in “the mausoleum near the temple” till the time when he wrote. The present situation of it, however, is unknown; and, as a fresh impression of it is not now forthcoming, I edit the inscription from the lithograph published by Cunningham.

   It is only a fragment of an apparently very large inscription, and contains thirteen imperfect lines.[2] Its shape is irregular, roughly appearing at triangular. The total height of it, as stated by Kielhorn, is equal to 40∙64 cms., and the length, beginning with 17∙78 cms. in the first line, gradually increases to 38∙10 cms. in l. 8, and decreases again to 15∙24 cms. in l. 13. The size of the letters is 2∙22 cms. and the photograph shows the writing fairly well preserved.

   The inscription is very neatly engraved in the Nāgarī alphabet, showing a close resemblance to that of the inscription of Yaśōvarman, edited immediately after this. With reference to the formation of the individual letters, we notice that the vowel ā, which occurs only once in āstāṁ, l. 9, is engraved so as to resemble mrā; the letter k in kshiti-, l. 10, loses its loop as a superscript; ch, dh and v are often almost alike throughout, e.g., in chatur-vvidhaṁ, l. 4; bh is formed as h; cf. prabhā-, l. 4; and finally, the slightly different forms of the dental s can be seen in -asmāt and sakala, respectively, in ll. 2, where it appears as a combination of the palatal and the dental sibilants, and also in l. 5. The palaeography shows that the inscription is of about the same time as of Yaśōvarman referred to below, or slightly earlier than that.

   The language in Sanskrit ; and the fragment now available is all in verse. The orthography does not call for any special remark except that (1) the consonant that precedes and follows r is, as a rule, doubled, e.g., in pāttra-, l, 2, and kīrtti, occurring three times in ll. 5, 6 and 11, respectively; and (2) the medial dipthongs are shown by pṛishṭha-matras.

   Neither the object nor the date of the inscription is to be found in the existing fragment ; but from the way of writing, it appears to be a praśasti of a Chandēlla king who had Khajurāhō included in his kingdom, as we know from the names occurring therein.

   To note briefly the contents of the inscription, we find the word namaḥ in the first line thereof, showing that the verse containing this word must have been devoted to pay obeisance to some deity; and ll. 2-4 where words like kalpa, viśva and bhūta-vikāra occur, tend to show that they contained an account of the creation of the universe, as we find in the following two of the records of the house.[3] The next line mentions Jējjāka and Vijjāka, two rulers as born from a king (tasmāt) whose name in lost, but taking these two names denoting respectively the well-known ancestors of the house of the Chandēlla rulers and the first of them as giving his own name to Jējākabhukti, which is now known as Bundelkhand, we may take the lost name as of
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[1] This place with its antiquities is described by Cunningham in his A. S. I. R., Vol. II, p. 412; Vol. X, p. 16, and Vol. XXI, p. 55. In the last of these Vols. it is stated that the fragment may have belonged to the temple of Vāmana, from which it was found not far off (p. 65).
[2] For the sake of convenience, the lines of the extant portion are numbered here from one.
[3] See Nos. 98 and 114, below.

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