The proof of any ancient city or a civilization is based on the following.
1.Internal References in The Epic.
2.References to it in the contemporary texts.
3.Verification of information found in the References of cities, artefacts, style of living, natural calamities recorded.
4.Later references like Edicts, Temple inscriptions, epigraphs.
1.Internal references are aplenty in the Mahabharata of other Kings, Dynasties, description of Land, Flora and Fauna.
The references made to another Great Civilization and Culture, The Tamils would be more than adequate for the other references found in The Mahabharata point to the same area occupied the personae of The Mahabharata.
The reference to the Tamil Kings Chola and Pandavas in the Swayamwar,The Kurukshetra Battle of the Mahabharata War,are corroborated in Tamil Literature.
Specific mention may be made of is the reference to Arjuna marrying the daughter of a Pandyan King in Madurai when he was on a Pilgrimage, or of Perunchotruudiyalathan, the Chera King who is recorded to have fed both the Pandava and Kaurava Armies.
Tamil Classic of the Sangam Age record that The Tamil Kings, Perunchotru Udiyan Neduncheralathan performed the Tharpan or the water Rites for the dead for those killed in the Mahabharata war .
His name is Neduncheralathan.
The term Perunchoru means Big Feast and Udiyan, one ‘who fed’alluding to the fact that he fed the Kaurava and Pandava Armies.
Please refer the History of The Tamils by P.T.Srinivasa Iyengar
Then we have innumerable references by Inscriptions epigraphs.
‘Sri Kota Venkatachalam the author of the book
“Age of Mahabharata War” gives us the details regarding the inscriptional
evidences available. He states “There are mainly four inscriptions extant are
available to us which prove conclusively that the Mahabharata war occurred in
B.C. 3138 or 36 years before Kali”.
“After Parikshit died in B.C. 3041
his son Janemejaya was crowned in. In the 29th year of his reign that is in
B.C.3013-3012 or Kali 89, in the year Plavanga on Monday the-new-moon day at the
end of Chaitra, he donated two villages to two religious institutions and the
two gift deeds were prescribed. The first inscription is found published in the
pages 333, 334 of the Indian Antiquary which clearly states that the gift of
land for the worship of Sitarama made by Emperor Janamejaya in Jayabhyudaya
Yudhistira Saka 89 means Kali 89 or B.C.(3101-81)=3012″.
inscription is that of a copper-plate on which a gift deed in inscribed and is
preserved to this day at the Kedara Kshetra, in the Himalayas. A similar gift of
land was made by Emperor Janamejaya for the worship of Kedaranatha
The 3rd inscription is an inscription on the walls of a temple of
a siva in the village “Iballi” in the Dharwar district. It was carved by the
direction of king Pulakesin II in A.D.634.”
Then we have references to cities and places in The Mahabharata.
“The Mahabharata also describes three cities given to the Pandavas, the heroes of
the Mahabharata, after their exile: Paniprastha, Sonaprastha & Indraprastha,
which is Delhi’s Puranaqila. These sites have been identified and yielded
pottery & antiquities, which show a cultural consistency & dating
consistent for the Mahabharata period, again verifying statements recorded in
the Vedic literatures…
Marine archaeology has also been utilized in India off the coast of the ancient
port city of Dvaraka in Gujarat, uncovering further evidence in support of
statements in the Vedic scriptures. An entire submerged city at Dvaraka, the
ancient port city of Lord Krishna with its massive fort walls, piers, warfs and
jetty has been found in the ocean as described in the Mahabharata and other
This sanskrit verse from the Mausala Parva 7 verse 40
of the Mahabharata, describes the disappearance of the city of Dvaraka into the
sea. “After all the
people had set out, the ocean flooded Dvaraka, which still teemed with wealth of
every kind. Whatever portion of land was passed over, the ocean immediately
flooded over with its waters..
Apart from Dvaraka, more than thirty-five sites in
North India have yielded archaeological evidence and have been identified as
ancient cities described in the Mahabharatha. Copper utensils, iron, seals, gold
& silver ornaments, terracotta discs and painted grey ware pottery have all
been found in these sites. Scientific dating of these artifacts corresponds to
the non-aryan-invasion model of Indian antiquity”
Some of the sites excavated by The Archaeological Survey of India. Visit the Link for more.
Ahichchhatra, Dt. Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh Ahichchhatra which is identified by Alexander Cunningham as Ahicchatra of ancient literature is about 11 km north of Aonla, the tehsil headquarter. This site was first excavated by Cunningham and then by K.N. Dikshit assisted by A. Gosh and others in 1940-44. They identified Nine periods of occupation called ‘strata’ starting from pre mauryan period ( pre 300 BC) up to1100 AD. Besides other things the excavation also reveled number of coins which includes caste coins from the earliest starta followed by panchala coins ( I st C. BC), Kusana coins, coins of Acyu, who is identified with Acyuta, the king who was defeated and the territory annexed by Samudragupta etc. The dates of the various stratums have been arrived based on the coin finds, viz., Stratum IX, before 300 BC; Stratum VIII, 300 to 200 BC; Stratum VII, 200 to 100 BC; Strata VI and V, 100 BC to AD 100; Stratum N, AD 100 to 350; Stratum III, AD 350 to 750; Stratum II, AD 750 to 850; and Stratum I AD 850 to 1100.
Ahicchatra was excavated again by N.R. Banerjee of the ASI in 1963-4 and 1964-5 which brought to light four cultural periods named as Period I to IVstarting from OCP. PGW followed by NBPW up to Kusana Gupta period.
The presence of PGW and NBPW in the core of the rampart indicates that it was built during Period IV. Four phases of expansion and repair of the rampart was brought to light.
Hastinapura, (29°9′; 78°3′), Dt Meerut ,Uttar Pradesh Located on the right bank of an old bed of the Ganga, known in literature and tradition as the capital of the Kauravas of the Mahabharata fame. On the bank of the Budhi Ganga, two places known as Draupadi Ghat and Kama Ghat remind one of the Mahabharata personages. Three Jaina tirthankaras, Sailtinatha, Kunthunatha and Aranatha, are believed to have been associated with Hastinapura.
Kanauj, (Kannauj, Kanoj); (27°3′; 79°59′), Dt Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh
The ancient city, variously known as Kanyakubja, Kanyakubja, Mahodaya, Mahodaya, Gadhirura, Gadhinagara, Kusasthala, Kausa, Kausika and Kusumapura (the last according to Hiuen Tsang), situated on the s. bank of the Bhagirathi near the confluence of the Ganga and Kali. The ASI conducted a small scale excavation at the mound known as Qila in 1955 (IAR 1955-6, p. 19); Prior to that a few stone sculptures-chaturmukha lingas, Varaha retrieving the Earth, Kalyansundara murti, standing Surya and Visvarupa standing with Sndevi and Bhudevi, all belonging to the 7th-8th centuries (Ghosh, 1953), and a later dancing Ganesha had been recovered from the neighbouring regions. Explorations in the early years of. this decade have brought to light a treasure of archaeological wealth. The pottery includes the PGW represented by the bowl and dish, Black-slipped Ware, fine as well as coarse red ware and the NBPW. Several stone sculptures have been found the prominent of them being those of Parvati, Karttikeya, Surya, Vishnu, Siva, Ganesa and some Jaina figures datable from the 4th century A.D. to the medieval times.
The place has yielded variety of terracotta figurines and plaque both human and animal are datable from the 3rd century B.C. to the 12th century A.D. notable among them are a handmade torso of the mother-goddess Gaja-Lakshmi plaque in typical Sujiga style, standing Mithuna Naigamesha figures, both male and female, Mother-and-child (ankadhatri) figurines, Dampati figurines are also made from a shallow mould etc.
Some of them show traces of red slip and one specimen bears black slip. These present diverse hair styles, the lenticular eyes have round pupils, the elongated ears are applied and the stwnpy arms and legs indicate fingers and toes by incised lines.
The other terracotta objects are animal figurines of the horse, bull, birds and rider with cap; skin rubbers spindle whorls with decorated edges; beads of areca-nut shape; and moulds of the Sunga and Gupta periods for producing human figurines. An ivory die and several bone points have also been recovered. All the terracotta figurines and other objects except the stone sculptures recall similar finds from Ahichchhtra. Period I may be dated to c. 100 B.C. on the basis of PGW, Black –slipped Wareand other pottery. Period II is characterized by the find of the NBPW and is hence dated to 600-200 B.C.
Period IV has seven Sub-Periods based on the structures built of lakhauri, some of them in lime mortar and a few also plastered with the same material. Glazed pottery and coarse red and black wares confirm that the levels belong to the late medieval times.
Mathura (27O31’’; 77°14′),Dt. Headquarters Uttar Pradesh
Situated on the Yamuna, a city with a long history as a political centre from early times till at least the early centuries of the Christian era. With the discovery in 1836 of a scupture labeled as ‘Silenus’ the rich antiquarian remains of Mathura attracted art-collectors and archaeologists. Various localities in the city and its neighbourhood were subjectede to digging from about the middle of the last century by Cunningham, Growse, Burgess, Hardinge,Fuhrer, Vogel, Radha Krishna and others..
It was only in 1954-5 that M. Venkataramayya and B. Saran of the ASI obtained a cultural sequence of the Katra mound, an extensive habitation site, ranging in date between 600 B.C. and A.D 600, according to their estimate (IAR 1954-5, p. 15): Further excavations were conducted by M.C. Joshi on behalf of the ASI at about 14 sites from 1973-4 to 1976-7 with the principal objective of examining the antiquity, growth and character of historical Mathura. As a result a sequence of the following cultural Periods has been obtained: Period I, from c. 6th to the closing decades of the 4th century B.C.; Period II, from the closing decades of the 4th century to c. 200 B.C.; Period III, from c. 200 to about the end of the 1st century B.C.;Period IV, from the beginning of the 1st to about the 3rd century; and Period V, from c. the 4th to about the close of the 6th century. Others believing in an earlier origin of the PGW, present in Period I, if Hastinapura, would ascribe an earlier date to the beginning of Period I.