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Traces of Ancient Hindu City Found Under Sea Off Indian Coast

April 17, 1985 GMT

NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ Archaeologists believe they may have discovered remains of a 3,500-year-old city mentioned in Hindu epic tales that was drowned by the rising Arabian Sea over the centuries, newspapers said today.

Seals, earthenware and other artifacts that can be attributed to Dwarka, the mythic capital of a Hindu god, Lord Krishna, have been found off the coast of India’s western Gujarat state, said the news reports.

Archeologists believe the ancient city of Dwarka, described in the Hindu holy epic of Mahabharata, was established about 1500 B.C., but was submerged in the Arabian Sea by geological shifts over the centuries, the newspapers said.

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A team of divers and scientists from the National Institute of Oceanography recently completed a search for the ruins of Dwarka near the modern coastal city of the same name.

The reports said the discovery corroborates descriptions of Dwarka given in ancient epics and is expected to bridge an important gap in Indian history between the Harappan civilization of 2500-1500 B.C and the pre-Buddhist era that began about 500 B.C.

Dr. S.R. Rao, leader of the team, was quoted as saying discovery of the city seal, depicting a bull, a unicorn and a goat, also established a link between the Dwarka civilization and the ancient Middle East.

Using underwater cameras, cranes and other equipment, the divers photographed the submerged remains of what they have called Dwarka township, estimated to be a half-mile long and 132 feet wide, the Indian Express newspaper quoted Rao as saying.

The Arabian Sea was about 16 feet lower when the ancient township was built, the newspaper quoted Rao as saying. Other scientific sources suggest that sea level rose over the years between 1500 B.C. and 1300 B.C., he was quoted as saying.

The search for Lord Krishna’s sunken city began in 1979 when scientists objected to a government building in modern Dwarka which blocked a view of a famous temple.

The building was demolished and below its foundations were discovered remains of a temple built in the 12th century. Archaeologists dug deeper and found remains of three more temples. Then the search was extended into the seabed.

The earliest of the three temples was dated to about 900 B.C. and was dedicated to the Hindu god, Lord Vishnu. The last temple was built about 100 years before Christ.

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The dating was done on the basis of ceramic ware and coins discovered from the site.

″Below the earliest temple lay the biggest surprise. There was unassailable evidence of two townships submerged by the sea,″ the Statesman newspaper quoted Rao as saying.

The earlier township yielded ceramic pottery, called ″lustrous red ware,″ which has been dated to the era of 1500-1400 B.C., the news reports said. The pottery had been worn by waves and Rao was quoted as saying it became apparent the ″settlement could well be the ancient capital of Lord Krishna.″